Kutless released Twenty, an EP featuring re-imagined and re-recorded versions of three hit songs from the band’s self-titled debut album, Kutless. Kutless celebrates the album’s 20th anniversary with a musical expression of gratitude for 20 years of ministry.
The Twenty EP features new versions of “Your Touch”, “Run” and “Tonight”, all songs that put Kutless on the map two decades ago as a rock band to watch.
“We’ve been through a lot over the past 20 years,” shares Kutless lead vocalist and songwriter Jon Micah Sumrall. “We grew, we learned, there were hard times, there were fun times. Every step of the way as we revisited those songs, it brought back a lot of memories.
“Our fans expect two things from us,” adds guitarist and songwriter James Mead. “First, they want us to treat their beloved songs with respect. And two, they want to be surprised in a pleasant way. It was exciting to take on this challenge, to give these songs a long enough leash so that we could change parts, add new parts, and really focus on how we’ve grown over the past 20 years.
The new renditions were recorded with Josiah Prince (Disciple, Fireflight) and mixed by Nick “Rad” Radovanovic (Skillet, TobyMac). With this exceptional studio team behind them, Kutless was equipped to reinvent some of their most defining songs of their career. “I was 21 when that first record came out and James was 19,” says Jon Micah. “Now we have all this experience. We are much better musicians, much more seasoned. We wanted to bring that experience and those skills to these new interpretations.
Though cast in an explosive and polished new musical accommodation, these three songs still do what Kutless has always done best: speak to the timeless goodness of God. “Your Touch” offers a cry from a heart in the dark, moving in faith to invite God. “Run” is sung from God’s perspective, tenderly inviting us to return to his love as we run blindly toward the things that never satisfy.
“Tonight” has been something of a credo for Kutless, a mission statement born in the days when few could believe that rock and cult could co-exist. “When Kutless first came out in 2002, rock music was still treated like it was bad,” James recalls. “This song was for anyone who wouldn’t understand what we do and why we do it. ‘Tonight’ shows them what’s going on. We give glory to God, using our gifts and passion to bring people to Him and tell them about Jesus Christ.
A look back at how far songs like “Tonight” have come is proof of Kutless’ impact not only on their listeners, but on the genre as a whole. Kutless were one of the first bands to deliver accessible rock with faith-first lyrics—a format that would inspire a whole cohort of bands to follow.
With these freshly recorded versions of their songs, a whole new generation has the chance to be inspired by the music of Kutless. In fact, that inspiration has already begun thanks to a very special guest in the gang vocals on “Your Touch”: Caleb, Jon Micah’s 17-year-old budding musician son.
“On ‘Your Touch,’ there was a part where I knew we would need to stack the vocals,” says Jon Micah. “So I was like ‘hey, do you want to sing to this song?’ He was so happy that he was able to be part of it.This is his first professional outing.
The Twenty EP is truly poised to be the perfect bridge between where Kutless has been and where they are headed, as they continue to work on fresh new music in the studio. They will also launch a podcast, featuring stories from their many years on the road. Some of these stories are already teased on the 20 album cover, which is a collage of photos of defining moments from the band’s past.
“It has been a privilege to be a part of this, to let God guide us. Thinking back on all those memories is really special to me,” James concludes.
You can find the EP at https://kutless.ffm.to/twenty.