Before making their 2012 album, “Love Come to Life,” Big Daddy Weave band leader Mike Weaver started to seriously question whether he should dissolve the group.
In a late-August phone interview, he said he began to feel disconnected from God, merely regurgitating the same messages from show to show and not doing enough to help bring fans closer to God and better live their lives through God.
“For me … you get in this place where you can literally get up there and share something and not even be connected to it,” Weaver said. “And I’ve got to tell you, there is nothing quite as yuck as sharing something that is hopeful when your hope is hurt.”
The fact that the group was about $60,000 in debt didn’t help.
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“We were just making it from tour to tour,” Weaver said. “It was like we could never dig out of this thing we had.”
But in a single night something fundamental happened to change the course of the group’s career and help Weaver overcome negative attitudes about himself, his self-worth and his trust in God.
“It was super low attendance and I just felt like I was regurgitating the same old thing. But I had a friend I was sharing my frustration with. He came to the show and I said, ‘Man, sometimes I just want to shoot down the whole thing and just pray for people.’ And he just points at me right in the face, and he says ‘Mike, you should do that tonight.’ ”
This caught Weaver off-guard. But he decided to heed his friend’s advice and during the show stepped off of the stage to speak to the audience.
“I said ‘Man, we’re all hurting. Maybe you’re hurting, too,’ ” Weaver related. “I said ‘I don’t got any kind of wisdom for you, but if you want to come down here, I’ll pray with you.’ And I was thinking everybody would probably be too scared to come. And people just started coming.
“That’s what turned it around for us was not feeling so ‘Woe is me. Why is this (band) not working?’ ” he said. “We started praying for other people and then God literally restored us in that process.”
Since that night, band members step into audiences to listen and offer their prayers at the end of every show.
Along the way, Big Daddy Weave has also achieved its highest level of popularity on the Christian music scene in a career that dates back to 2001. That’s when the original band members – lead singer/guitarist Weaver, his brother, bassist Jay Weaver, guitarist Jeremy Redmon and sax player/keyboardist Joe Shirk – formed Big Daddy Weave after meeting at University of Mobile in Alabama. Drummer Brian Beihl, who replaced original band member Jeff Jones in 2013, completes the current lineup.
“Love Come to Life” became a breakthrough album. It featured four songs that topped the Christian music charts, including “Redeemed,” a song that spent 11 weeks at No. 1, became the signature song for Big Daddy Weave and opened the door for the lyrical themes on the band’s current album, the 2015 release “Beautiful Offerings.”
On this latest release (which went top 5 on the Christian album chart), Weaver and his bandmates tell listeners that the forgiveness for their past promised in their monster hit, “Redeemed,” is only part of what redemption involves. Redemption also gives people a path to a better present and future.
“The thing is we’re redeemed from something, but we’re redeemed for something, too,” Weaver said. “And I think the next part of that is the part that for me I wanted to write about. That’s where so many of these songs (on ‘Beautiful Offerings’) have come from, or just a place of what does that (redemption) mean for us now? It means new life.”
The messages of the songs have grown so important that Weaver is now finding the words he shares and the connections he makes with fans are now the highlights – and in fact, the focus – of Big Daddy Weave’s live shows.
“As we have gone along, we’ve always enjoyed music, but I think in this last season, more than anything, we have just really enjoyed seeing God just move in the lives of people in a really powerful way,” he said. “Really, from the beginning to the end (of the show) we want it to be about just sharing the fact that God loves people. He really does. He’s not mad at people … There’s a second chance for everybody, man. I need more than a second chance. So all of these songs come from that place of grace and that place of acceptance, that place of learning about our identity in God.”
Big Daddy Weave with We Are Messengers, Micah Tyler
When: 7 p.m. Sept. 10
Where: Trinity Life Center, 5225 Hillsdale Blvd., Sacramento
Ticket: $20 general admission; $35 early entry; $50 premium package