The One21 Essential 100 Pt. 10

essential100 copy

The One21 Essential 100 is a collection of albums that represent the best in creativity, innovation, and originality in music. This is not a “best of” list, nor is it influenced by album sales, or even popularity. Our attempt with this series is to highlight the gems, those rare albums that push boundaries and encourage new ways of thinking; both musical and philosophically. In our opinion, the music highlighted in this series is the “good stuff”.

Simply what this is going to be is a list of 100 albums from Christian music artists that we think you should own. Like our website, most genres will be represented, and some of the albums will be from as far back as the 60s, to as current as 2009. Each week we will post five albums, in no real order, with descriptions, album artwork, and places to buy the music.

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9

Deep Natural Michelle Shocked
Deep Natural
Michelle Shocked

Michelle Shocked
Buy This Album: Amazon , iTunes
Ten years after she discovered her Christian faith the underground indie folk goddess Michelle Shocked released her first full on expression of her new faith.  Deep Natural is maybe Schocked’smost diverse, confident recording since her breakthrough Short, Sharp,Shocked.      From the dub stylings of “Can’t Take My Joy” to the blue rocker “House Burned Down” to the singer/songwriter style of “Forgive to Forget” the diversity of Deep Natural is grounded n the insight and quality of Michelle Shocked’s artistry.  After ten years of growth her new faith, Michelle Shocked expresses the joy of her relationship with Christ and the possibilities of grace for her and all.
Highlights: Can’t Take My Joy, What Can I Say, Psalm

A Tale of God's Will Terrence Blanchard
A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina)
Terrence Blanchard

Buy This Album: Amazon, iTunes
A Tale of God’s Will is one New Orlean’s musical  response to the tragedy of Hurricane Katrina and it’s aftermath, and it arrives powerfully—drenched in palpable sorrow. It is primarily a vehicle for Terrence Blanchard’s solo trumpet playing, supported by his quintet and his skilled writing for strings. But it is a difficult record to dissect—indeed, one that a listener does not want to pull apart too much.Levees” an extended trumpet solo over piano and drums that exquisitely captures the suffering and agony of New Orleans in 2000, is just one of the brilliant composition that does not set the high bar but just strives to maintain the level of excellence in every song . A Tale of God’s Will (A Requiem for Katrina) is certainly beautiful, and it seems to be a sign of growth in our music that improvisation, composed writing for string orchestra, and so many other elements should coalesce into something so consistently rewarding and original. Terence Blanchard’s promise as a total artist is brought to resounding fruition on this majestic recording.
Highlights: Levees, Ghost of Congo Square, The Water

Sacloth n Ashes Sixteen Horespower
Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes
Sixteen Horespower

Buy This Album: Amazon , iTunes
This blast of off kilter banjoes, accordions, fiddles and raging guitars solidifies Sixteen Horsepower’s “Appalachian Gothic” style.  It is like being lost in a dark swamp.  Sackcloth ‘n’ Ashes is the darskside of “Oh, Bother Where Art Thou” and it is brilliant.  When you combine the unquestionably unique music with David Eugene Edwards’ dark Christian world view you get a record like nothing else you have ever heard. Edwards looks into the dark soul of us humans and finds us wanting.  “I’m an honest man, when I’m not lying.  I’m a loving man when I commence to dying.”  Through all of this, Edwards points to the grace of Christ and demands that we bend our knee.  He knows we will rebel and fail in our gritty battle against sin.  If you think Christian music is soft, filled with Christian speak and platitudes, welcome to the darkside.
Highlights:  Black Soul Choir, American Wheeze, Black Bush

The Loving Kind Cindy Morgan
The Loving Kind
Cindy Morgan

Buy This Album: Amazon , iTunes
The Loving Kind, the story of Jesus’ final days, is a true masterpiece on many levels. The writing, the music, the performance, the utter conviction, is stunning. Though it fits within the overall CCM genre, The Loving Kind transcends the formulas that give CCM a bad rap. Musically adventuresome, this project is boundary breaking and shows the depth of feeling and the pure artistry of Cindy Morgan. Theatrical and intimate, the Spirit moves within this work to a degree seldom reached in CCM. There are more than three great songs on this cd, but “Take My Life” is maybe the greatest CCM song every written.  The chorus, “Take my life, take away all the shattered dreams in me, give me love that will that last forever.  Take my life, give me the love that makes me clean, because I believe your love can save even a wretch like me”, brings you to your knees.  Many have started an Easter tradition of listening to The Loving Kind almost exclusively during Easter week.  A good idea I defy you to keep Cindy Morgan’s triumph in its case the rest of the year.
Highlights: Take My Life, The Loving Kind, Alive and Well

I Am A Stranger In This Place The Violet Burning
I Am A Stranger In This Place
The Violet Burning

Buy This Album: Amazon
The Violet Burning are an iconic legend if the underground indie rock scene.  They pretty much set the stage for the alternative rock scene with their 1989 release Chosen. But The Violet Burning are, at heart, a worship band.  If you want to worship, really lose yourself in worship, I Am A Stranger In This Place is the recording for you.

With The band’s fifth full length release, The Violet Burning opts for re-recording some of their favorite songs from the previous four recordings. The idea though is to record them live in the studio, with new quieter, more reflective arrangements. The result is an introspective reinterpretation of these songs, that is intimate, contemplative and hypnotic. The Violet Burning’s “experiment in vibe” is a success.

“Worship” music today encompasses a lot of pop-oriented stuff, drifting toward the bland and saccharine, that doesn’t seem to have much power behind it. But if you really want to hear how honest, brutal, and beautiful a genuine and moving worship experience can be, you need to slip the I Am A Stranger In This Pace into the stereo, turn the volume up loud and let the music and the intertwining vocals of Pritzl and Melissa Barnett wash over you. These are worship songs cleverly disguised as something else and Pritzl was making intimate, vibey worship in the days before there was a movement to take it to the broader Church. So perhaps now is a good time to discover what makes The Violet Burning such cult heroes.
Highlights: Song Of The Harlot/My God,My Strength; As I Am; There Is Nowhere Else


  1. oteis says:

    Nice to see The violet Burning on this list. Not their best album though if you ask me. Personally i prefer their self-titled album.


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