Ben Pasley, the founding member of the Enter The Worship Circle band remembers how they debuted with songs like You Are So Good To Me (later re-recorded by Third Day and went to #1 on the CCM charts) and I Will Not Forget You (later re-recorded by Paul Baloche) to unexpected success. “Our songs were stolen from the Psalms where the everyday struggles of human experience came face to face with the person of God.”
Their first release in 1998 was met with incredible enthusiasm and sold 70,000 CD’s before the advent of digital music online. Much of their success at that time was credited not only to the simplicity of the acoustic guitars, hand drums and live recording styles, but also their shockingly down to earth lyrics. They released 9 albums over the course of 10 years and then, all of sudden, the recordings stopped ...
Part of the reason it stopped was because band members began pursuing solo careers. “My heart was so given to being a singer-songwriter in the Canadian folk scene, that I just had to give that pursuit 100% of my energy,” shares Karla Adolphe, the second member of the newly formed Enter The Worship Circle band. Karla’s successes as a solo artist were notable with a nomination for 2007 Canadian Folk Music Best New/Emerging Artist, consistent national/ regional airplay on the CBC, a selection as one of 5 Co-Winners at the 2008 Mountain Stage NewSong Contest, and performances on NPR’s Mountain Stage radio/television show, but according to Karla, “none of these things seemed to help me become the best version of myself ... in December of last year  I felt a distinct challenge to rediscover the integration of faith and art in my public work."
This is where Ben Pasley and Karla Adolphe’s stories get interesting because they both believed they were doing everything they loved to do over that period of solo pursuits, but they both hit a wall of failed ventures, crashing incomes, and disorientation in 2015 that, according to Ben, “sent us both into our own independent dark seasons of soul-searching trying to find out why we had ended up in such dry places when we thought everything was going to work out great ... and it didn’t.” Soon after, they both found themselves face to face with the wild idea that it was time to bring Enter The Worship Circle back to life after many years of dormancy.
Ben and Karla re-formed the new Enter The Worship Circle band as a power-duo in 2016, and worked hard to successfully release a brand new album entitled Down Here and Up Above. And what is the point? Ben and Karla are answering that question almost every day on their new blog they call the Psalmistry where they release new songs, prose, art and videos--all infused with the struggle the Psalmist led them to back in 1998. The Psalmist lives with his feet on the earth, but his dreams are into eternity. The dissonance between the present hard world and the perfect love of God is they exact place their songs are being born. Ben says it like this, "It is time that we rediscover the Psalms as a guide book for a worship experience that not only flies at thirty thousand feet in the air, but also walks on the ground, and occasionally even goes down into the pit." The duo has found a new energy together in writing toward the stage again, and in weaving the kinds of songs together that will be a warm welcome for any tired heart who wants to hear about heaven, but not be asked to pretend that the real world does not exist.
About the new album: Down Here and Up Above
“Even if our vision is sharp, 20/20 sharp, there is a limit to how far we can see. Without the aid of telescopes even those of us who have perfect vision can’t see very far into the horizon line, much less into the vastness of the heavens. For those of us with spiritual hunger it just might be art, and music, and poetry that carry us farther than our natural eyes could ever go. Down Here and Up Above is an album that is like a telescope into the dreams of God...” This poetic intensity is just how Ben Pasley thinks and how they have written songs for this new release.
They engaged seasoned musicians in every part of the production to build sounds with soaring romance and anchored them pop beats, 808-heavy bass lines, and electronic precision. The heart is the same, but the music is at a totally different level. It is like someone crushed the wild soul-country of the Civil Wars together with the pop rhythm instincts of Bieber or Lorde. Take the track Tear the Veil, for instance, which starts with a refrain that echoes the country mountains of Appalachia, and then, without warning, an 808 heavy track drops so strong that the windows in your whole car vibrate and you literally say aloud, “Oh, yeah, now we are going somewhere!”
The new intensity in their tracks seems to harmonize with the way the both communicate on stage. “To us,” Karla adds, “all album production has one real purpose and that is to give us a way to get on the stage and sing for people!” Their veteranship on the stage--spanning several decades at this point--shines through when they perform live and this is one band where nothing is lost between the album and the stage.
Enter The Worship Circle is back--their voices are still overflowing with the human struggle to engage eternal things while their music is carrying us right along with them!
Woodland Park, Colorado
High River, Canada