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Empty Stage
  • Writer's pictureJoel Caballero

First Call

Updated: Oct 3, 2023

First Call is an American contemporary Christian music (CCM) group, consisting of Mel (Melodie) Tunney, Marty McCall and Bonnie Keen. During their career spanning more than 35 years, the group worked with many noted producers and arrangers including David Maddux, Steven Tayler, Dan Keen, Greg Nelson, Keith Thomas, Neal Joseph, Wayne Kirkpatrick, Phil Naish and Darrell Brown.

In the 1970s, McCall was a producer, songwriter, and background vocalist prior to forming the band Fireworks, Keen was pursuing a career in musical theater, and Tunney was solidly ensconced in the burgeoning contemporary Christian music industry following a stint touring with the group, Truth. The three met while working as backup vocalists for other recording artists and commercial jingles, and soon formed a friendship. Recognizing the benefit of marketing themselves as a ready-made trio for backup vocals and other studio recordings, and having developed a reputation for delivering pristine vocals in a variety of styles, they were considered the "first call" by music producers—the first choice for studio work. The term corresponded with their Christian faith, and the vocal band had their name.

None of the three initially foresaw a recording or touring career. As a side project to their backing-vocal careers, they agreed to record an a cappella Christmas album called An Evening in December (1985). The album sold well in the Contemporary Christian market, and the trio was offered the opportunity to accompany five-time Grammy Award-winning Christian vocalist Sandi Patty on her 150-city "Let There Be Praise" tour.

Their first album of non-Christmas music, Undivided (1986), was followed by Somethin' Takes Over (1987) and God Is Good (1989). The two Christmas music collections, An Evening in December (1985) and An Evening in December Volume II (1987), have long been bestsellers in the group's catalog. Many comparisons have been made to the group's style similarity to the recording group The Manhattan Transfer.

More information on First Call at Wikipedia:


Second Birth (EP) (2016)

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