Sixpence None the Richer
Sixpence None the Richer, often known as just "Sixpence", is a pop/rock band with roots in New Braunfels, Texas, United States, eventually settling in Nashville, Tennessee. Named after a passage in C. S. Lewis' theological book Mere Christianity, the group is best known for their critically acclaimed 1999 self-titled album, with 'Sixpence None the Richer' showing their strong influence from both melodic Christian rock and 60s British invasion music. Key members Matt Slocum, a guitarist and songwriter, first met Leigh Nash, a budding vocalist, at a church retreat in the early 90s.
They recorded a demo (which now circulates as 'The Original Demos') and eventually an album, 'The Fatherless and the Widow' for R.E.X. Records in 1993. The record featured Chris Dodds (of Slocum's band Love Coma) on drums. Shortly after the release of the album, Slocum left Love Coma to pursue Sixpence full time. The band added Tess Wiley (guitar), J.J. Plasencio (bass) and Dale Baker (drums) for 1995's 'This Beautiful Mess'. Both albums, with featured the group's early explicit Christian contemporary music sound, were produced by Armand John Petri.
In 1997, the group signed to Steve Taylor's Squint Entertainment and prepared for the release of a self-titled album, with their work slowly began garnering attention from a wider audience. In 1999, "Kiss Me" was released as a single, propelling Sixpence into the national pop spotlight. This song was also notably used in the romantic comedy film 'She's All That'. The next year, the band recorded a cover of Britpop originators The La's "There She Goes", which became their second hit single. This recording was added to Sixpence's self-titled album, an album that received several releases, as a 13th track.
'Sixpence None the Richer', featuring a confessional, melodic sound reminiscent of contemporary power pop bands as well as the softer side of earlier classic rock groups, provided both a critical and commercial breakthrough for the band. The group, made up then of Leigh Nash with Dale Baker, Matt Slocum, Sean Kelly, and Justin Cary, had both "Kiss Me" and "There She Goes" as top 40 hits receiving lasting airplay, and the parent album took the #1 slot on Billboard's 'Top Contemporary Christian' chart. In terms of the group's religiously inspired melodies and lyrics, they had evolved to even more of a subtle, emotionally minded focus based on personal storytelling rather than proselytizing.
The band had a follow up album ready to release, but Squint Entertainment started to fall apart. Though leaving the band in limbo for several years, they still toured to an enthusiastic fan-base. Finally, Squint Entertainment was taken over by Word Records, allowing Sixpence None the Richer to record the album 'Divine Discontent', which was released in October of 2002. It differed significantly from the first pre-release version of the album that had circulated, with five songs removed and six added, but still received some positive critical reviews.
On February 26, 2004, Matt Slocum announced via a letter to CCM Magazine that the group had disbanded. That same year, Best of was released, which also collected some of the Divine Discontent outtakes, and tracks from compilations.
Matt Slocum has started a new band, the Astronaut Pushers which released their debut EP in 2005. He has also recorded and performed with the seminal ambient rock group Hammock. Leigh Nash released her debut Solo Album Blue on Blue on 15 August 2006 on her personal label, One Son Records. The first single, My Idea of Heaven, was released to USA radio the week of 14 July 2006.
In November 2007, Sixpence None the Richer reunited. The band has released a new EP, entitled My Dear Machine, with tour dates planned throughout 2008 in the States and Europe. In October 2008, they released their first Christmas album entitled, The Dawn of Grace.