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What’s the 2.0 version of Citizen Way? That’s the questionlead singer and songwriter Ben Calhoun found himself fielding after the band’sdebut album Love is the Evidencegained them a devoted following and produced radio hits like "How SweetThe Sound" and "Should've Been Me."

Calhoun heard the question so often, he decided to name thegroup’s highly-anticipated sophomore album just that, 2.0.

“Everyone kept asking, ‘What’s the next record going to be?What’s the 2.0 version? What does it sound like?’ That kind of stuck.” Calhounsays. “This is what it sounds like. This is who we are. This is the new andimproved Citizen Way.”

The result is an 11-track record sporting pop-rockinfluences, infectious lyrics and a creatively ambitious new sound from the trio,composed of Ben and Josh Calhoun and David Blascoe. 2.0 sees the band pushing their artistic boundaries with songs likethe funk-inspired “Bulletproof” and the soulful, stripped down ballad “I Will.”It also carries with it a decided level of maturity and vulnerability.

The band recently went through a season of changes. Bassguitarist Ben Blascoe announced his departure from the band as Calhoun and hisfamily made the move from their home base at Judson University in Illinois toNashville, Tennessee so that the vocalist could focus and invest in the group’snew record. The singer and his wife also experienced devastating loss with themiscarriage of his son, Jeremiah.

Calhoun relied on his music and the band to get him throughthe tragedy, and from it was born the album’s first single, “When I’m WithYou.”

“I wrote that after we lost Jeremiah,” Calhoun recalls. “Somany things are wrapped up in this song. How death brought me closer to life.How losing a son made me love my little girls more when I didn’t know I could.”

The lyrics, Anytime,Anywhere, Any heartache/ I’m there/There’s never too much/There’s only grace,describe the singer’s unwavering sense of faith in spite of his family’sincredible loss.

“That’s how I feel about God’s word because that’s how it’salways been for me. It feels like I'm not alone in the foxhole. I’m gettingshot at, but at least we’re together.”

The song is already striking a chord with the band’s fans.

“It does that thing that people connect with,” Calhoun says.“It grabs the heart, and it grabs the ear.”

If Love Is theEvidence was the band’s first impression, 2.0 is the group’s statement record. It’s a blend of old and new --a chance for Calhoun to reach deep into the roots of his small-town Wisconsinupbringing while testing the limits of his musicality. The singer grew uplistening to his mother playing Chopin, Mozart and Bach while artists like JamesTaylor, DC Talk and Newsboys took up valuable real estate on his own bedroomwalls.

Those influences permeate the new album.

“It’s part of our DNA, it’s what we grew up with,” Calhounsays.

The album’s closing number “Bulletproof” is a testament tothat. The bass-thumping, funk-pop throwback track fuses the beat of MichaelJackson’s “Billie Jean” with lyrics that echo Ephesians Chapter 6. The songspeaks to the power of the armor of God mixed in a style that instantlytransports you to a 70s roller skating rink.

“I’ve been through spiritual warfare where the enemy attacksme because I’m sharing the Gospel with people,” Calhoun says, “But I’m justoperating in the way God’s made me. I want others to feel comfortable doingthat too.”

Calhoun also wanted the album to show fans a more personal,intimate side of himself.

“I wanted to reach that little part in my heart and my soulthat I haven’t reached yet, and I wanted to talk about it because it’s there tobe explored.”

When Calhoun was just eight years old, the singer remembersseeing the Christian rock group Geoff Moore and the Distance live for the firsttime and feeling a seed being planted. He hopes Citizen Way can give thatexperience to the next generation.

“Knowing when we’re on stage and when we’re sharing the Gospel,we do the same thing and the Holy Spirit just waters those seeds and lets themgrow just like he did for me, that’s everything,” the singer says.

The group prays their latest offering can meet people wherethey are, offering encouragement, uplifting their spirit and reminding them ofthe power of God’s promise.

“My goal is always to put a hook around God’s word and letpeople sing it,” Calhoun says. “I want people to fall in love with Jesus. Ifthey come singing ‘Bulletproof’ or ‘I Will,’ then great. I just want them toknow that the word of Jesus is something worth following and I’m going to spendmy life and my energy on it because I believe in it that much.”