When you hear Dana Isles and her band Facedown perform you quickly realize that they are not your average praise and worship band. They are truly something special. The previous statements are not meant to slight all the other talented and anointed bands that have their roots in South Jersey. It is meant to acknowledge their unique gifts and talent. Their music is their ministry and their ministry is music.
And what a ministry it is! When you listen to Facedown music and especially when you watch them perform live you feel something very different. You see and hear a group of exceptionally gifted musicians with a heart for God. What you feel is the power of the Holy Spirit flowing through your body as they play and sing. It is very powerful. It is a sound and experience that can give you goose bumps. I know because that is what happened to me the first time I experienced their ministry.
I can honestly say that I have not been the same since that night at the Mercy Street Café Social Jam when I heard them for the first time. The Holy Spirit was moving and something happened to me and it can also happen to you.
Their music is heartfelt, meaningful and honest. It is wrought with testimony, emotion, praise and worship. Their sound is unique and given their musical prowess they are able to play any genre of music. This ability gives them the opportunity to reach the lost in every age group, culture or denomination.
The leader of the band is Dana Isles. She is a humble soft spoken servant of God. She writes the songs and as most bands do they come together to practice them.
“The songs Dana writes are often based on ourselves. She gets them from watching us and thinking about herself” Tammy, the bands drummer, explains.
“I write the songs on the piano but the guitar comes more naturally for me. “ says Dana.
Her best friend Tammy Vaughn is the drummer and sings back up vocals. Jen Baker plays bass guitar, Rich Simmerman plays guitar and bass and the lead guitar player is Mike Parillo.
Their bio on Reverbnation and Facebook reads…………..
“We are sold out to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and make no apologies for being so. Our music clearly reflects this passion. Each band member has their own personal testimony as to when we were spiritually kicked in the gut and how God stepped in to help each of us catch our breath. Each band member will also testify that as long as that breath is in us, we will point others to the only one who can do the same for them. The vehicle is music, the style is Christian Contemporary Rock, the venues vary but the destination is always the same – to help people find God. It’s never hard. He’s always right there.”
When you are around them you can feel the closeness they have for each other. They aren’t just bandmates or friends, they are family. Their roots in music and fellowship go way back.
“We started as a worship team at a local church in Vineland. It was there that a friend suggested that we become a band. No, I said. No we don`t want to be a band. We tried it once and it got shut down. So we wern`t interested in doing that again.” Dana explained with a laugh.
As with most performers, singers and musicians they had some exposure to music from a parent or family member.
Tammy explains her musical background, “I had lots of vocal training from my father. I learned to read music. I took drum lessons for 6 months but have been playing for seven years through God’s anointing.”
In fact when you hear them talk about their musical training you find out there isn`t very much. That is what makes them so special. They are operating with the power of the Holy Spirit under God`s anointing.
I asked them about their name “Facedown”.
The name is derived from the scriptures, Ezekial 44:4 “……….so I looked, and behold, the glory of the Lord filled the house of the Lord; and I fell on my face” NKJV. Representing the ultimate posture in front of the Lord, laying prostrate or facedown.
Dana, Tammy and Jen have known each other since their college days. Just like most friends they have been through many things together, some good times and some bad times. It was back in 1996 that tragedy struck this trio of friends. On a road trip to go check out a piano that Dana wanted they were rear-ended by a large box truck. The impact was so extreme that they had to use the jaws of life to cut open the car to get Dana out who was in the rear. With multiple serious injuries Dana had to be taken by helicopter to the hospital. The result of the injuries were numerous broken bones, especially in the face. Sadly she also lost the sight in one of her eyes.
“I remember the helicopter ride. I was going in and out (of consciousness).” Dana said as she described the accident.
With such severe injuries comes lots of time to heal. Dana endured the pain, the numerous reconstructive surgeries, the change in her appearance and the realization that for the future everything would be different for her.
“I know God carried me through it all. He took care of me. I looked in the mirror and didn`t see the same person I had looked at for the last 22 years. I really struggled with my self image” Dana explains.
After her recovery it was back to the task at hand………playing praise and worship.
“I would play as long as I could stay in the background away from the lights and the front” Dana said noting that she felt God was still calling her to be a performer.
But we know that when God wants us to do something He has a way of making it happen regardless of our resistance. It was during a revival that the worship leader had taken ill and could not perform. With no one to turn to Dana was asked or as Dana remembers it “volunteered” by Tammy to fill in as the worship leader for the remainder of the revival. God used that time to tell Dana that this was His mission and this was going to be her ministry. The very thing Dana feared (being in the forefront) became her reality. We thank God for that too as He has made her an awesome worship leader and gave her an awesome band to help praise Him. Although we may care about how we look or sound and we may care what others think about our looks or how we sound the bottom line is God doesn`t care. It is all for His glory!
The future holds many things for Dana Isles & Facedown. Currently they are working on their second album. There are tours, dozens of concerts and venues up and down the East Coast lining up for them.
These saints and warriors for God know that their plans can be changed in a minute by God. They are standing at the ready, instruments in hand preparing for the next challenge that God lays before them. They may be called Facedown but when you experience their ministry you will have no choice or the ability to resist raising up your face, hands and voice to worship the King!