CrossRoad is a 4-piece Christian rock band based in Boksburg, South Africa. Originally the evening worship team at Trinity Community Church in Sunward Park, they felt God’s call to go out and spread His love through their music.
Since 2010 CrossRoad has been spending Sunday after Sunday leading worship and ministering at different churches all around Gauteng. “It’s a true blessing,” says keyboardist and singer Luke Powell. “We learn so much from each church, from each congregation. God has done amazing things, so much more than we could have imagined.”
The band’s old school rock sound began with lead guitarist Richard Pratt’s version of Rock of Ages. He explains, “I was trying to find a way to liven up the old hymn. But with a six-line verse I couldn’t figure it out. And then it hit me… 12 bar blues!” This version of the song had become a favourite at each church, and was the title track of the first album, recorded in 2011.
A second album A New Beginning followed in 2012, and the band continued to go from strength to strength. In early 2013, original drummer Jonathan Digby left the group and was replaced by Kevin Hill, who has been an integral part of the set up ever since.
The band’s third album, Walking With The King, was released in September 2014, and features songs written by Luke and Richard. Highlights include the title track “Walking With the King” – a Bob Seger inspired rock n roll song; “You Walked a Mile in My Shoes” – a powerful ballad from the pen of Richard Pratt, reflecting on Christ’s journey to the Cross in the place of the sinner; “Soldiers” – a call-and-response type of army chant (with a killer guitar riff); “My Poor Heart is True” – 1950s inspired doo-wop; and “Lord Above All”, a beautiful piano ballad proclaiming that Jesus has won!
The only cover on the album is “Hammer No More”, the story of the soldier who drove the nails into Jesus’s hands. Written by Doug Ray and originally performed by American band Chronos, this song has had a deep impact on CrossRoad. “We’ve played ‘Hammer No More’ at every Good Friday service we’ve ever lead, and every time it knocks people over,” Luke says. “We always get people coming up to us saying how touched they were by that song. And so we were so excited to record it for the new album.”
As always the band strives to write a variety of styles and sounds, and this album really has something for everyone. “It’s important to change things up,” admits Luke. “As a musician you want to grow and not get stuck in the same old habits.”
2015 saw the release of a Christmas album, Born in Bethlehem, which instantly became a fan favourite. The band put a rock and roll twist on some of the songs and included some trademark ballads. Only two original songs are on this one – “Isaiah 9:6”, Richard’s take on the Old Testament prophecy about Jesus’ birth, and the title track “Born in Bethelehem”, Luke’s retelling of the Christmas story.
Moving forward, the band is getting ready for a trip to the USA in March/April 2017. After getting in touch with Doug Ray to sort out royalties for the cover of his song “Hammer No More”, Doug invited them to spend a few weeks in Springfield, Missouri to share their music. Luke comments: “This is the dream isn’t it! Every band wants to go overseas, USA in particular, to share their songs. We’re excited to see what God does in our time there.”
CrossRoad’s focus is the glory of Christ. “It’s not about the music, of course. Worship is a way of life. If we’re singing the right songs but not walking in the Spirit, and living out what we sing of, then none of it matters,” Luke insists.
And so CrossRoad continue to follow God’s call and walk with the King every step of the way.