first call second birth
“Lord of all, of the love that purchased man a second birth”
A theme of unexpected grace and unforeseen opportunities underscores the journey of Marty McCall, Bonnie Keen and Melodie Tunney’s collaboration as First Call. The three vocalists met in the mid1980’s working as studio musicians in Nashville Tennessee. They were hired by producers to record background vocals and commercial jingles. Set on literally staying behind the scenes, the trio was quickly surprised to find themselves in the forefront of Contemporary Christian music, recording 13 projects with Word Records and Warner Alliance.
Three Dove awards and five Grammy nominations led First Call into 20 plus years of touring nationally and internationally, singing and speaking about their faith with a vocal sound often likened to the variety of Manhattan Transfer. Songs like ‘Undivided, ‘The Reason We Sing’, ‘O Sifuni Mungu’, ‘Sweet Love’ and ‘Sacred Journey’ seemed to fuel an audience hungry for a harmony driven trio.
Rebirth is a recurring theme
First Call’s journey is no stranger to change, challenges, regrouping and the ups and downs that come with any recording career. Through three incarnations, the group members changed. Yet the friendships between the original three members grew stronger over time.
In January 2015, the original trio was asked to sing back up vocals for a DVD project, “We Will Stand”. The live DVD taping features 33 CCM artists gathered to pay tribute to songs that live far past careers. It was an evening when the trio revisited the power of singing with artists they’d recorded with, shared tour bus adventures, lives of joy and sorrow and a rich history of receiving God’s grace. The concert continues to air internationally on a variety of television cable channels while the trio continues to be humbled by an ongoing response from fans around the world.
This DVD taping was another gift that took the trio by surprise. This outpouring of excitement sparked First Call to produce a new 6 song EP.
Two words from one of their best-known radio singles, ‘Lord of All’ held the perfect title for their new release, ‘Second Birth’.
2016 Update: The original trio has recorded separately, published books and released solo projects. All three have been touring, speaking, singing and being used in the arts as widely diversely as ever. Both in church ministry, theatre, writing, performing, God continues to open places for each member to pursue the arts for His glory.
“We’ve learned not to put our weight into expectations but to serve the places and opportunities God brings,” explains Melodie. “This EP was recorded as an act of joy, to sing together again and to keep First Call’s music available,” adds Bonnie. Marty, Melodie and Bonnie find renewed depth of meaning to the lyrics recorded years ago. “We may not know what the future holds, but we know who holds the future,” Marty quotes from their first LP, “Undivided”.
These three friends are open to a new season, whatever that may bring, more than ever grateful to have a second birth of First Call.
First Call’s EP “SecondBirth” is now available on iTunes.
Take a listen! https://apple.co/1UCANcb
And come visit our website: https://firstcallmusic.org
EP information: https://apple.co/1UCANcb
Member BiosMelodie is serving as the Worship Minister for The Church at Woodbine, a multi-cultural church in an international community of Nashville, TN. As well, she is writing and teaching a weekly women's Bible study. Melodie and her husband, Dick, continue to write songs they hope will be used to bless the local church.
Bonnie is currently working as a free lance actor and vocalist in Nashville Tn. Among other events, in 2016 Bonnie will be a featured soloist for the ‘Saviour’ concerts and is producing a Broadway Revue for Kathy Troccoli’s cruise. She continues to speaks and sing for solo concerts on the road from her three projects and books. She also enjoys singing on the road with a Michael Jackson symphony tribute, locally with the Eaglemaniacs as well as working as a vocal/acting coach. Her husband, Brent King is a recording engineer in Nashville and most recently began work a special education teacher for middle school students.
Marty McCall continues to work full time on the creative staff ministry with McLean Bible Church in Alexandria VA. He also speaks and holds conferences around the country using material from his solo recordings and vast experience leading and working with choirs. His wife, Vickie is a visual artist with an ongoing career commissioned for her paintings and showings at art galleries and online.
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