Some of us spend far too much time trying to discern God’s will when all He wants from us is to take a step forward. When we finally do move forward, it is only then that He can truly direct our steps. Tooth and Nail’s newest discovery, Emery, can testify to that. What had its beginnings amidst a friendship between a few five-year-old boys in small-town Greer, South Carolina has now became a musical machine throbbing with moving energy and emotion.
Matt Carter, Devin Shelton and Seth Studley have been friends since their youth. Growing up together, they finally developed a close friendship near the end of their high school career. Then they began playing music together, accomplishing covers from the likes of Nirvana and Silverchair. They split to pursue college educations at three different universities, but stayed in touch. Toby Morrell and Joel Green, the other half of the Carolinian members of the band, had been friends since their youth as well, growing up near the other three boys. They all came together in the last years of college and although they were in very different bands at the time, they would eventually come together to produce a refined and poignant sound.
“Toby … asked Devin and I to dinner and asked if we wanted to leave [our other] band and start a new one and move away from SC,” Matt stated. “We were immediately like, ‘Okay, where?'” This readiness to move forward and discover what great things might be waiting in the unknown is truly what would carry Emery to where they are now. After deciding New York and L.A. were not quite the places for a group of boys from the South, they settled on Seattle, Wash. After some deliberating, Joel and Seth ended up in Seattle with Toby, Devin and Matt. The move was not easy on all the members— much had to be left behind. Even though the knowledge of whether God was leading them to relocate was “vague” in the beginning, as Matt explained, when “looking back, its super easy to see how deliberate and special every aspect was.” Now, as a result, they have learned to trust even more. In addition, God has turned what was an uncertain and huge decision into a wonderful testimony of His good and perfect plan for each of them.
Not much planning had gone into what would happen once the five arrived in Seattle, but God obviously had bigger plans. They made new friends, among which they met their sixth member, Josh Head. Tooth and Nail Records, a well-known and well-loved Seattle-based record label, eventually picked them up. Their new album, a beautiful masterpiece of screamo oozing with passionate desperation, was released by T&N on January 27, 2004. Matt says that the constant theme that runs through the album is that of “giving up on your own strength because it won’t last.” This disappointment with life and the people in it has led the band to “look to God because He doesn’t disappoint.”
Emery did not undergo all these exciting events completely unaware and unprepared. Throughout the entire time they have kept their goal in mind, which Toby described, “We want to show people that love is the greatest thing, not in a worldly way, but just a compassionate way. That’s our message.” Matt continued, “We feel like all love comes from God and we are compelled to spread that, but we do fail everyday.” Regardless of their human failings, God has used them because of their desire to set a positive example. “We’ve seen God work so much through other people in our journey, believers and unbelievers; we are amazed and feel undeserving.”
Besides being a group of six incredibly talented young men whose reputation has been spreading like wildfire throughout the scene, it is their humble and honest attitude that makes them so likeable. This winning combination of talent and personality will hopefully continue to gain them attention and an audience by which they can promote the message of compassionate love.