Beyond December

The City Saints talk about goals and uncertainty

by Kedrick Nettleton correspondent

The City Saints are witty, confident and fun to be around. But no trait is more evident in this band than gratitude: a deep thankfulness to be making music with friends, as well as a strong conviction about why they want to create it in the first place.

The group, which is made up of Moody students Jason Nederhood, Ed Blackmon, Lucas “Archie” Manning, Drew McDonald and Reichert Zalameida, was born a few years ago on campus. Nederhood and Manning were roommates in Culby and began doing what they called “Music Mondays.” One week, Zalameida joined in, and later on McDonald joined them occasionally. The first time the lineup that would come to be The City Saints played together was at Zalameida’s youth group, which needed a fill-in worship band.

“We were just like, ‘Why don’t we see what we sound like together?’” Zalameida said. “It was the first time the five of us had ever played together.” The progression from worship team to full-fledged band happened very naturally. “We kind of just became really good friends through this music stuff,” Manning said. “We just kind of gelled.”

The group has played gigs together for more than a year now, most notably an event called City Fest, but has recently occupied itself with readying an original EP. The band’s future is somewhat uncertain, as two members, Blackmon and Zalameida, will be leaving Moody at the end of the semester.

“We’ve had to start wrestling with what’s going to happen [once they leave],” McDonald said. “Is this EP going to be the only thing we ever do? And if so, what do we want the one thing that we say to be?”

So far, Zalameida said, the band most appeals to a church audience, but the goal is to eventually branch out beyond that.

“It’s not evangelistic music,” Manning said. “We want to reach everyone while being blatantly Christian, because we are blatantly Christian.”

Nederhood said the band doesn’t have a specific demographic they’re targeting, but the goal is to create honest music.

Response to the group has been positive, but limited, as the guys haven’t had many chances to showcase their music. “We won’t really know until the EP comes out how people feel about it,” Blackmon said.

The goal for any band, of course, is to make music a career, but The City Saints realize this rarely happens. As such, their only goal right now is to make music that impacts their audience. “Whether this band lasts much beyond December or not, we’re all interested in making music that provokes thought, and that speaks of hope and redemption, regardless of the lingo that you’re comfortable with using.”

“If this takes off,” Manning said, “great, we’d love that. If not, we got to make music as friends.”

The City Saints are on Instagram and Facebook, where they post original content such as acoustic versions of their tracks. Their debut EP, “The World Falls In,” is planned for release in December.

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