One of the most enduring and highly decorated bands in the CCM community, Casting Crowns formed in 1999 as a student worship band in Daytona Beach, Florida. Led by singer, songwriter, and youth pastor Mark Hall, the group's initial lineup also included violinist Melodee DeVevo and a pair of guitarists, Juan DeVevo and Hector Cervantes. The musicians relocated to McDonough, Georgia in 2001 and expanded their lineup by adding bassist Chris Huffman, keyboardist Megan Garrett, and drummer Andy Williams. This augmented version of Casting Crowns released two independent albums on CD, both of which were well received in the Atlanta area. One of the albums then found its way into the hands of Mark Miller, lead singer for the country group Sawyer Brown, who was struck by Casting Crowns' driving pop/rock style and Hall's vocal delivery of his hard-hitting but devout songs. Miller signed Casting Crowns to his fledgling Beach Street Records, a division of Reunion Records with distribution by the Provident Label Group, and took the group into the studio along with co-producer Steven Curtis Chapman, himself a popular artist on the CCM musical scene.
The resulting album, Casting Crowns, was released in 2003 on the Beach Street imprint. It fared extremely well in Christian markets, eventually going platinum and peaking at number two on the CCM charts. A sampler with five songs, Live from Atlanta, was released on Reunion Records in 2004, packaged with a bonus DVD containing band interviews and a music video. Lifesong, released in August 2005, became the band's most successful record yet, cracking the Top Ten in the secular market while maintaining the band's religious fan base as well. Like its predecessor, the record went platinum, and Casting Crowns' increased popularity helped send their follow-up album, 2007's The Altar and the Door, to number two on the Billboard album charts. Meanwhile, the single "East to West" spent a record-breaking 16 consecutive weeks atop the Christian charts. A Christmas-themed album, Peace on Earth, appeared in 2008, tiding over the group's fans (and yielding a number one hit, "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day") while Casting Crowns readied another LP of original material. Until the Whole World Sings arrived late in 2009, followed by the live album Until the Whole World Hears in 2010. Inspired by the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, Come to the Well, the band's fifth studio album, was released on October 18, 2011. ~ Steve Leggett