Hope. It’s a concept that is both elusive and fragile, both rare and powerful. So few dare to allude to it, and fewer still make it their mantra. After all, it is so much easier to sing of loss and regret than to push through it and persevere. Yet, the word “hope” is the very word that Josh Pearson, front man for the Chattanooga, Tennessee quintet NEVERTHELESS, uses to describe the goal of his band. True hope though faith. Their debut album Live Like We’re Alive is the vehicle through which they want to make this one word known. They are far beyond driven to live for this purpose.
“You have to know what you are supposed to be doing, as well as know where you are supposed to be headed to play music today,” says Pearson. “Without direction, passion, and a belief in our purpose, we would not be doing this. We don’t want to just play for status or for a cool factor. We want every person who comes into contact with us to be encouraged.”
Produced by James Paul Wisner (Underoath, Dashboard Confessional) the band released their debut album Live Like We're Alive in 2006, which contains the hits "The Real" and "Live Like We're Alive."
“These aren’t just songs to soothe breakup sores or to feed the fires of crushes; they are also songs to mend deeper wounds. We chose to explore the entire spectrum of emotions on this record, not just teenage heartache. Records that don’t have diversity are pretty boring to listen to, and there are a lot of them out there today. We want everyone to enjoy this record the entire way through.”
With a pop rock sound abounding, the album's songs naturally led to powerful performances rife with energy. During live performances, however, the band began to take notice of the moments that seemed to connect with people on more of a heart-level; the kind of emotionally-charged moments that one rarely forgets.
"During our shows, we always used the introspective, slower songs, 'Lover' and 'O'Child,' as a transition from the more accelerated, upbeat songs," shares lead singer Joshua Pearson. "Not to take away from our louder, faster songs, because we love to rock out, but people would always get real quiet, and it was at that point in the night that we were able to really show a deeper level of our hearts."
Blame it on audience reaction or simply becoming older, but Nevertheless really wants to be completely honest, open and real. To prove it, they wrote and recorded In The Making (2008).
Produced by Rob Hawkins (Fireflight, Jackson Waters), the album pushed the band's boundaries by delivering the unpredictable. "We took our time to think about what we really wanted to say with our next album," explains guitarist AJ Cheek. "We asked ourselves, 'What can we do to really touch people's lives, and not only make them think, but make ourselves think as well?'"
"I would say the biggest difference, lyrically, is that we pulled even more from our own experiences on In the Making...," shares lead singer, Joshua Pearson. "On this record, every single song has at least a few lines that hit very close to home. An example would be (first radio single) 'Sleeping In,' which was written from a place of insecurity, which I believe to be one of my ugliest opponents, from time to time." And by highlighting such personal perspectives, In The Making... reeks of raw honesty and thus is the best tool to express its message.
And while showing heart and expressing hope may not be new to Nevertheless's lyrics, In The Making... is a different and more accessible approach of expression.
"The goal for our music is to provide hope and inspire a desire to experience God's glory," says Cheek. "I hope people can learn from our songs that no matter what they are going through, and if they don't know where to turn, just know that there is always hope through Jesus."
Pearson adds, "I believe that we are called to write about both the light that shines in the darkness, and about the darkness that does not understand it. I believe that honesty always breaks down walls. Healing begins when we are able to, first of all, be honest before God. Secondly, be honest and vulnerable with one another. I hope that our songs reflect this idea, and that, when people listen to Nevertheless, they get a sense that God loves them, and wants to talk to them."
The beauty, love and awe-inspiring mystery that faith in God brings, even when it seems to make no sense at all, is where the oft-asked-about band name originates. Luke, chapter 5, explains. "When Jesus had stopped speaking, He said to Simon, 'Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.' But Simon answered and said to Him, 'Master, we have toiled all night and caught nothing; nevertheless at Your word, I will let down the net.' And when they had done this, they caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking."