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Sanctus Real

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Biography

A respected alternative CCM band from Toledo, Ohio, Sanctus Real was formed in 1996 when founders Chris Rohman and Matt Hammitt were still in high school. With Hammitt handling lead vocals, the duo added drummer Mark Graalman and bassist Steve Goodrum to round out the lineup. The group released three independent albums of melodic power pop (All This Talk of Aliens in 1998, Message for the Masses in 1999, and Nothing to Lose in 2001) before signing with Universal-owned Christian label Sparrow Records. Working with producer Pete Stewart, Sanctus Real made their major-label debut with 2002's Say It Loud, following up a year later with a five-song EP supplement to Say It Loud, entitled SVERIGEEP. Their 2004 cover of U2's "Beautiful Day" for the Sparrow compilation In the Name of Love: Artists United for Africa, became a Christian hit, earning the band their first GMA Dove nomination. That same year, their second LP for Sparrow, Fight the Tide, became somewhat of a breakout release, charting on Billboard's Hot Christian Albums and Top Heatseekers charts and winning a Dove Award for Modern Rock Album of the Year. With incoming bassist Dan Gartley replacing Goodrum, Sanctus Real took another step forward with 2006's The Face of Love, this time cracking into the Billboard Top 200 and notching a pair of Christian hit singles in "I'm Not Alright" and "Don't Give Up." The successes continued over the next few years with 2008's We Need Each Other and 2010's Pieces of a Real Heart both earning Grammy nominations and paving the way for a greatest-hits anthology, Pieces of Our Past: The Sanctus Real Anthology. The band recorded two more LPs for Sparrow, Run (2013) and The Dream (2015) before frontman Matt Hammitt decided to step away from the group. His final recorded appearance with the band he'd founded was "Longer Than a Lifetime," a newly written track which appeared on their second greatest-hits collection, 2015's Best of Sanctus Real. Opting to carry on without Hammitt, remaining members Rohman and Graalman hired singer Dustin Lolli to be their new frontman. With Lolli and new bassist Tyler Mattiello, Sanctus Real began a new phase with the 2016 EP This Is Love, followed in 2018 by the full-length Changed, which was released by the Framework label. ~ Timothy Monger & Steve Leggett
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