As their 20-year venture comes to a close, we look back on 10 songs that defined @Tenth Avenue North’s artistic evolution
1. “Love Is Here”
This is the song that first introduced Christian music fans to a new band called Tenth Avenue North. “Love Is Here” served as the lead single from the group’s acclaimed 2008 debut, Over and Underneath. Listeners were captivated by frontman Mike Donehey’s raw vocals and thought-provoking lyrics from the first line of the song, inviting listeners into a bigger story: “Come to the water, you who thirst, and you’ll thirst no more.” The band ended up quenching that thirst with a hit single that began an incredible journey they never could have predicted when they formed in college.
2. “By Your Side”
“By Your Side” became the follow-up to “Love Is Here,” striking a poignant chord with listeners. In mid-tempo fashion, the song became an anthem for those who felt like God had abandoned them, promising that His hands were, in fact, holding them close. The band partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association for the song’s official music video, which highlights the enduring work of the respected ministry organization.
3. “Hold My Heart”
The comfort found in the tender “Hold My Heart” completed a trilogy of introductory singles that solidified Tenth Avenue North as one of Christian music’s brightest up-and-coming acts. Throughout the years, “Hold My Heart” has remained a standout moment in the band’s live show, as Donehey delivers the memorable lyrics against a driving drum beat: “One tear in the driving rain, one voice in a sea of pain. Could the Maker of the stars hear the sound of my breaking heart?”
4. “You Are More”
Tenth Avenue North defeated the proverbial sophomore slump with “You Are More,” which hails from their highly-anticipated second full-length album, The Light Meets The Dark. The song serves as a musical reminder that we are far more than the sum of our mistakes and drives home the truth that we can be made new in Christ.
The members of Tenth Avenue North came out winners on “Losing,” a song that tackled the art of forgiveness while wading into the murky waters of comparison and criticism—two demons the band was inevitably battling at this point in their career. The single, found on their third LP, The Struggle, wasn’t the biggest success story of their tenure, but it did mark a turning point in their sound. The gang vocals on “Losing” really encouraged the band to up their ante on harmonies moving forward—especially in a live setting. At concerts, the group often began this song with all the members huddled around one mic singing the chorus, a cappella.
“Worn”—also from The Struggle—is perhaps one of the most vulnerably raw singles ever to be released to Christian radio. The honesty woven into “Worn” was a bit of a gamble at the time; but the song became one of the strongest contributions to Tenth Avenue North’s discography, proving that listeners were starved for transparent lyrics. The pleading, prayerful chorus soars with hope as Donehey passionately prays: “Let me see redemption win. Let me know the struggle ends. That You can mend a heart that’s frail and torn. I want to know a song can rise from the ashes of a broken life, and all that’s dead inside can be reborn… Though I’m worn.”
7. “No Man Is An Island”
“No Man Is An Island,” from 2014’s Cathedrals, fought against the lies of isolation. A rallying cry for biblical community, the single hearkens back to the band’s rock roots. The song’s official music video details the community the band members have found with one another through the years and shared with fans out on the road as they’ve traveled the world playing music.
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8. “I Have This Hope”
The soaring “I Have This Hope” proclaims the triumphant hope we have in Christ. However, the song was written during a season of sadness, doubt, and confusion for the members of Tenth Avenue North. They penned “I Have This Hope” as a promise for guitarist Jeff Owen’s sister-in-law as she underwent chemotherapy for Stage 4 cancer.
9. “Control (Somehow You Want Me)”
“Control (Somehow You Want Me)” resonated with fans as it encouraged surrendering all of our plans, dreams, and obsessions to the One who holds it all. The powerful bridge emphasizes the truth that the King of Heaven doesn’t need us, but He wants us. The music video features some sweet footage of their families and begins with a confession from Donehey: “We knew we could not sacrifice our families on the altar of ministry.” Ironically, after making the difficult decision to cut back on touring to be at home, a song about surrendering their musical aspirations to God became one of the biggest commercial hits of their career.
10. “Greater Than All My Regrets”
The mournful “Greater Than All My Regrets,” previewing 2019’s No Shame, became one of Tenth Avenue North’s final singles. At the time he wrote it, Donehey didn’t know it would mark the band’s final days together. He simply started scribbling out the song’s worshipful lyrics during a quiet moment of personal reflection as he wrestled with the outcome of his choices—for better or worse—arriving at the truth that Jesus is always greater than our biggest regret.
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