Essential Songs: Who I Am by Life In Your Way

I think that the genre of hardcore exists to act as a place where honesty can thrive. It allows the bands that play it to simply boil down everything to find the center of what they are trying to say. It is emotional, it is raw, and it is the truth for the bands playing.

Life In Your Way gets this in a way Ive ever seen another band get it. This is hardcore declaration; so sing along and be free!

This is who I am

I’ll walk out this Kingdom, not as a duty, but an honor
Now called a son, I’ve been set free, from the slavery of sin
And when I fall, I stand in the face of darkness and I say
“This is who I am”

My father has freed my past, present, and future

He doesn’t see what I see, He doesn’t see what you see
He sees my destiny and calls me to be a son

This is who I am, in the midst of a firefight, You’ve called me a son.
This is who I am, by the power of the risen death and what You have done
This is who I am, all I’ve been and who I’ve become
This is who I am, who I am: I’m a son!

Download this song and the rest of the album it comes off of, Kingdoms, at Come&Live!

The ONE21 Essential 25 Recordings of 2011

Album of the year: Josh Garrels-Love & War & The Sea In Between

Propaganda & Odd Thomas-Art Ambidextrous
Dolly Parton-Better Day
Gungor-Ghosts Upon The Earth
Over The Rhine-The Long Surrender
Preson Phillips-Wrath
Aaron Strumpel-Birds
John Mark McMillianEconomy
The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow
Son LuxWe Are Rising
Life In Your Way-Kingdoms
The City Harmonic-I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)
Hands-Give Me Rest
O’Brother-Garden Window
Not One Is Upright-God Is Not A Watchmaker And The World Is Not Ticking
Mat KearneyYoung Love
Oh Sleeper-Children Of Fire

Essential Albums 2011: Staff Top 10s

2011 was an incredible year in music. The last twelve months have seen the release of some of the best albums in faith based music in three years, and when we say it was difficult to bring you the absolute essentials, we mean it. Every genre had game changing albums released on the public, some from artists you know and love, but we also saw masterful music flowing through new artists who are no doubt only at the beginning of their musical journey.

With way too much delay, we present to you our celebration of 2011 in music. Feel free to comment and tell us what you think.

Ian’s 10 Essential Albums Of 2011

1.Josh Garrels-Love & War & The Sea In Between
2.Propaganda & Odd Thomas-Art Ambidextrous
3.The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow
4.Son Lux- We Are Rising
5.Life In Your Way-Kingdoms
6.Hands-Give Me Rest
8.O’Brother-Garden Window
9.Not One Is Upright-God Is Not A Watchmaker And The World Is Not Ticking
10.Oh Sleeper-Children Of Fire

Chuck’s 10 Essential Albums Of 2011

1.Josh Garrels-Love & War & The Sea In Between
2.The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow
3.Dolly Parton-Better Day
4.Gungor-Ghosts Upon The Earth
5.MUTEMATH- Odd Soul
6.Over The Rhine-The Long Surrender
7.Preson Phillips-Wrath
8.Aaron Strumpel-Birds
9.Son Lux- We Are Rising
10.Lauryn Peacock-Keep It Simple: Let the Sun Come Out

Rebecca’s 10 Essential Albums Of 2011

1.My Epic-Broken Voice EP
2.Close Your Eyes-Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts
3.Sleeping Giant-Kingdom Days In An Evil Age
4.The Brigade-Warnings
5.The Wealthy West-The Wealthy West EP
6.The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow
7.Josh Garrels-Love & War & The Sea In Between
8.Twenty|One|Pilots- Regional At Best
9.Hands-Give Me Rest
10.Switchfoot-Vice Verses

Debbie’s 10 Essential Albums Of 2011

1.Josh Garrels-Love & War & The Sea In Between
2.Dolly Parton-Better Day
3.Gungor-Ghosts Upon The Earth
4.Leigh Nash- Hymns & Sacred Songs
5.Caedmon’s Call-Raising Up The Dead
6.tobyMac-Christmas In Diverse City
7.The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow
8.Preson Phillips-Wrath
9.Shaun Groves-Third World Symphony
10.The City Harmonic-I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)

Interview With Josh Garrels

The term “god’s gift” is used flippantly in our society today.  Rarely, is it literally true.  God gave Josh Garrels a transcendent talent that he has used to make beautiful, compelling music for us over the years.  In the past two years, God gave Josh Garrels Love & War & The Sea In Between, and then commanded Josh to give it to us to glorify God. I don’t care what style of music you like or don’t like. You need to download Love & War & The Sea In Between, put your headphones on and spend an hour with this work of staggering beauty and compelling complexity. God gave it to you. Take advantage of His free gift, which may be some Unique Gifts for Mom.

Now that Love & War & The Sea In Between is officially One21music’s 2011 Album of The Year come spend a few minutes with Josh Garrels to dig deeper into the artist who created the masterpiece.

Interview with Josh Garrels

One21: Many of our readers are just discovering you.  Can you take us back to the beginning and give us the story of Josh Garrels the musician?

Josh Garrels: I was born outside of Detroit 1980 but grew up most of my life in South Bend, Indiana.  My dad was a music teacher and my older sisters were also avid music collectors, so music was definitely the common language in our house.  Whatever music I was into at the time, I always had a sort of compulsion to not just listen but also create.  So, early on I would record myself by cycling tapes and layering overdubs on a double tape-deck.  My dad would always bring home old instruments and keyboards from the schools he worked at, so our basement was full of stuff to experiment with.  I made a lot of punk rock in middle school and early high school, and then started making east coast sounding hip hop later in high school using four-track recorders and such.  Really though, when I think back, I wasn’t aspiring to do go anywhere with music, mostly it was about creating a soundtrack for skateboarding, which at the time was my main focus.  It wasn’t until I was in my 20’s that I realized how important creating music had always been to me.

One21:   Josh Garrels folklore includes being “discovered” street singing at the Cornerstone Music Festival  food court. Can you tell us that story and share how the musicians from that community helped you get started?

Josh Garrels: At the time I was an intern with Alliance World Coffee’s which is a coffee roastery out of Muncie, Indiana.  Each year AWC would set up a coffee tent in the main vending court and we would serve coffee and espresso to the festival crowd of about 25,000 for the full week.  I’d recently come to the faith, so Cornerstone was an awesome change from the  tripped-out drug haze of the Phish festivals that I’d previously frequented.  Once again, my compulsion to not merely be a listener. but also to create and share got the best of me.  Despite 30 plus stages showcasing bands that actually got invited to play at the festival, I set up one little speaker in front of our coffee tent and played one long set of music.  Looking back, it was so confirming to me that people actually stopped, sat down, listened, and even bought my home-made CD’s!  The next year people were actually waiting for the performance.  The year after that, I was invited to play on a “real stage” at the festival.   Years later I was asked to play on mainstage.  It was a fun progression, and along the way I became close friends with many of the folks at JPUSA.

One21:  We believe your sound is unique into today’s music scene.  Some compare you to Citizen Cope but your discography parallels his.  Who were your early influences as you developed your “signature sound”?

Josh Garrels: Like so many of us, finding my dads old Beatles LP’s was a transformative experience for me, as well as Simon & Garfunkel, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young etc.  As a youth I absorbed a lot of my older sisters’ music as well, so I was affected by the The Cure, Pixies, Morrisey, Bjork, Pavement, and Fugazi among others.  When I started skating I fell in love with punk rock, and spent several years listening to Bad Religion, Pennywise, NOFX, Good Riddance, and No Use For A Name.  Practically overnight I abandon Punk Rock for the layed back poetic aggression of east coast Hip Hop, which at the time was still a form of “struggle music”.  Tribe Called Quest, De La Soul, Guru and Gangstarr, Jeru the Damaja, Nas, and Wu Tang Clan were my constants through high school and into college.

In college I came to faith while studying art and my musical taste fractured in every direction.  I began listening to folk artists such as Nick Drake, Elliot Smith, and Ben Harper, and also old recordings from the Mississippi Delta, Appalachians, and church spirituals.  All of these sounds I’d grown up with suddenly had the freedom to be mashed, juxtaposed, and fit together like collage work.  I’d never felt the freedom blend sounds and genre’s until I became a believer in the Lord, and realized that music no longer had to be subject to strict sub-cultural laws but had the freedom to breath, and blend, and be made new.  In many ways, 10 years later, I’m still completely captivated by this freedom to blend genre and influence…sort of like breeding all these different species of animals together to see what new creature might come about…

One21: I know many musicians dislike the term “signature sound” but, so far, you have maintained, and built upon, the Josh Garrels sound.  Very few musicians in the history of popular music have been able maintain a core sound while successfully expanding their artistic reach. How have you maintained your musical vision while developing and growing the artistry and complexity of your music?

Josh Garrels:  I think if one doesn’t purposefully embed themselves squarely into a specific genre or industry, the better his/her chances are of being free of the particular rules and limitations that that closed sub-culture/club would threaten to impose upon them.  As humans we’re drawn to rules because they give us a standardized method of judging success or failure (aka religion).  When we follow the rules we’re “in”, and when we don’t we’re “out”.  Bob Dylan picks up an electric guitar and his faithful following of folkies are so disgusted they want to burn him at the stake as a traitor.  My guess is that he wasn’t trying anxiously to “reinvent” himself  like Axl Rose in corn rows, but was merely in the mood to play some rock and roll, and it’s honest decisions like this that make an artist great in my book.

There can be a fear of following through with new artistic interests, desires, and influences, because of the possibility offending those who embraced our previous work.  This is called “fear of man”, and any work produced under the compulsion of fear will come off as pandering, soulless, and inferior to ones previous work.  For an artist to refuse to evolve because of fear, or to attempt reinvent oneself out of fear, are equally destined for failure.  If I’ve had any success in the evolution of my sound, I think it stems forth from my impatience of using any sounds, ideas, or influences that are not captivating to me.  Throughout the years some aspects of my music have come and gone, only to be heard during that particular season, yet other aspects that have remained as constants through the years are simply the things that never cease to be of interest to me.  I believe that if I can keep my heart and mind fully invested in all aspects of each song then the end product will contain something of integrity.

One21 :  You have a distinct lyrical vision.  You drive home unflinching truths about our faith appropriately wrapped in the joy and hope of redemption. Some of the best examples of this I can point to are “SISU” from Over Oceans, “Zion & Babylon” from Jacaranda and about five songs from Love & War (“Beyond Blue”, “The Resistance”, “Farther Along”,Etc.) Can you tell us how you craft your lyrics?

Josh Garrels: Faith is an interesting animal to grapple with and “work out in fear and trembling”.  Two people can be looking at the same thing, one through the eyes of faith and the other through the eyes of unbelief, and the thing will be seen entirely differently by the two people.  When I came to faith in Jesus, it’s as if I stepped through the looking glass, and the things that had once been confusing, distasteful, angering, and impossible suddenly began to glimmer with a new shimmering light of hope, forgiveness, redemption, and eternity.  This is how it’s possible to sing of confusion, darkness, spiritual bondage, and betrayal, without resigned to these being final.  I’m seeing and experiencing the same anger, depravity, hurt, and brokenness that the rest of my generation is, and to neglect these would be untruthful and dishonoring to our shared human experience.  Yet, I can also see Gods spirit hovering all around us, waiting for any invitation to break into this reality and bring utter transformation.  So with the darkness I can’t help but point to the coming dawn.

One21:  Starting with Jacaranda but fully delivered on Love & War, your musical arrangements have grown more complex and more beautiful. What is your process for developing your musical arrangements?

Josh Garrels:  I had a defining moment years ago while watching Michel Gondry’s film, “Science of Sleep”.  I was really affected by artfulness and presentation of the movie so afterward I watched all the bonus material, and in doing so, I realized just how much time, attention, and energy was needed to create such masterful work.  At that moment I also realized that I had a lot of work within me that was waiting to come out, and that it would take my full attention and time to realize it.  Up to this point I had been bi-vocational with music, either working at Alliance World Coffee’s while making music, or pastoring a church plant in Indianapolis while making music, and this was the moment that I decided to enter into music full time.  The first thing I did was to move with my wife Michelle to a guest house in the country where I spent the next year of my life fully dedicated to the creation of Jacaranda.  It was the first album in my career that I allowed complete focus, and in so doing, pushed myself to take more time with arrangements and poetry.

As you noted, Love & War was a continuation of this process of focus and dedication that began with Jacaranda.  We began Love & War upon moving to Portland, Oregon, and overall it took us about a year and a half to create.  With Love & War, I took new steps forward in both music engineering and collaboration.  I’ve always recorded and produced my own work, but I’ve had no formal studio education, so engineering my own albums has always been an exciting yet frustrating process.  With Love & War, I was able to to invest in some better studio gear, and also work with other engineers to help refine the sound in ways that had previously eluded me (thanks Dave Wilton!).  I also collaborated with about 15 other artists on the album.  Part of my own growth as an artist was the realization that I’m bound to hit my own limitations and begin repeating myself if I don’t invite in some outside influences.  So, on almost every song in Love & War I brought in other musicians, whether composer, instrumentalist, vocalist, or producer, each song has the fingerprints of more people than just me he even sometimes go to instrument rental stores to firm autographs and greet people.  The album would be far less exciting and dynamic if not for the team of people that surrounded it and infused there own sound into it.

One21:  Now, let’s talk about Love & War & The Sea In Between.  We are telling everyone who will listen that this is a masterpiece of monumental proportions, and we are not the only ones.  It is an epic album of 18 tracks and it has been over two years since we heard from you. How did you come to releasing a huge album in this day of artists rapidly turning out eps and singles for iTunes?

Josh Garrels: First, when I sat down and began writing…a lot of songs came out!  Initially I had over 30 songs that I subjected to editing and the ears of my wife, and I began moving forward with many of them.  Once the album was really underway I considered breaking it up into a few separate albums, but the songs all felt as though they had a common enough center that I knew I had to keep them together.  This may be a source of eye rolling for some, but as best as I can discern the voice of the spirit of God, He kept telling me to “make new songs”, and to “fill up ALL the jars with water” with each song representing a humble clay jar.  For whatever reason, I felt commissioned to not only write songs, but a lot of them, so I followed through the best I could.  More is not always better, in fact maybe rarely so, but I think with the current trend of bite sized musical works perhaps an epic album at least peaks folks interest.

One21:  Each of the songs on Love & War are beautiful on their own, but the entire recording feels like an integrated work. Is there an overriding theme or message you were exploring with this work?

Josh Garrels: Well, the title of the album is fairly self-explanatory in presenting the themes of love, war, and the sea, but I suppose the overarching story is one of navigating life in a dark and mysterious world with the hope of a homecoming where God has set all things right.   I never cease to be intrigued and in awe of how the physical world affects the spiritual, and how the spiritual interacts with the material, so all of the songs tend to be telling stories with dual realities.  Not separate realities but hopefully a holistic vision of our epic journey.

One21:  We could spend hours discussing each song, but I will limit myself to two.  First, let’s discuss “Slip Away”.  I will let you tell us your heart behind the song. In the song someone is relentlessly plucking and strumming what I think is a mandolin, which creates a subliminal sense of urgency. That is contrasted by a lilting cello, which sets a melancholy tone.  How did that song develop and what are you trying to convey?

Josh Garrels:  Once again, two realities were pressing upon me during the creation of this song.  One was the flesh and blood reality of many of my peers getting divorced, including one of my best friends who plays on the album.  The other reality is experiencing my generation falling away from the faith, including some of me and my wife’s closest friends who literally walked away from Christ to become pagans and worship the individual spirits that reside in tree’s and deer and mother earth.  Both of these realities, divorce between humans and divorce from God, are tragic and have deep ramifications.  The urgency is that we only have a short time here in this life, and to reach the end of our life without coming to a reckoning of our own betrayal and finding forgiveness will be to live an eternal separation…and that’s a very heavy reality indeed.

One21: Secondly, I want to discuss one of the most striking songs of your career.  ”Ulysses” is the type of song that makes a person stop in their tracks to listen. It may be the most ambitious vocal performance of your career.   Please, just tell us about “Ulysses”.

Josh Garrels: It was one of those melodies that came to me and made me cry before any words even written yet.  When that happens I know there’s something substantial happening within a song, and I’d do well to pay attention.  My wife Michelle was also in love with the melody, and the song reaching it’s final refinement is as much her work as mine.  She was an english literature major, and she was so jealous for the song to reach the high mark she felt it deserved, that she was a brutal critic and editor of my lines.  We had a few “marital moments” of real anger and frustration towards one another, as I just wanted to be done with the song, but she would keep pushing me to find the best way of saying something.  I love my wife for this.  I kept wavering between abandoning the classic story of Ulysses (which I’ve loved from the time I was a boy), or making the song so literal that it was no longer personal and emotional.  With my wife’s help, we reached the delicate balance of honoring the classic epic, while breathing into universal elements that we all can deeply connect to.

Here is Josh doing a stripped down performance of “Ulysses”

One21: Okay, so the question everyone is asking, “How is that Josh Garrels is giving away this epic masterpiece?”

Josh Garrels: In all truthfulness the idea wasn’t mine, and initially the thought of giving it away actually made me angry.  I was fighting sickness during the final 4 or 5 months of the creation of the album, and I had literally built the entire album around scratch vocal tracks, for I hadn’t had my full singing voice needed to record the final vocals!  I was down to my final few weeks of recording and the lack of a voice had reached a point of crisis.  I fasted and prayed and shook my fists at God exclaiming, “why would you lead me to create an album that I can’t even finish!”.  When he answered I was put in my place like Job before his Maker.  My response was, “Lord, let no one rob You of Your glory!”, and his response shocked me for he said, “Will you?”.  I said, “No Lord!”, and he said, “then give it to Me!”.  And at that moment I knew what he was asking for.  He was asking for me to let go of the album, and all the funds that would come from it!  I sat in silence for 20 minutes, let down and angry, as I counted the cost of what it would mean for me and my family to let go of our work and income.  And he waited in silence for me to give my answer.  I finally exclaimed in true stubborn child fashion, “Alright Lord, it’s Yours!”, and I sensed his pleasure upon this decision.  He then proceeded to lay out the ramifications and parameters of the decision, which were; For one year give away as many copies of the album as you can, this will be a year of Jubilee, any money that comes in from the album through itunes, amazon, or song placements must be given away as well, keep nothing.  He then asked me what I needed to complete the work and I responded, “A voice! and ten thousand dollars!”.  That week my voice came back and a complete stranger from another country wired thousands of dollars into my account.  It was unreal.  The rest as they say is history.

One21: Wow, that story gives me a deeper appreciation for Love & War & The Seas In Between. This leads me to another line of discussion.  If you have a few more minutes I will try to sum it up in one question. John Thompson of EMI and the Wayside has declared that were are returning to a time of the musical troubadour where only the best of the best will be able to make a reasonable living over their lifetime.  But none of us yet know how musicians will be able make a living.  For you, a man of undeniable musical gifts straight from childhood when you used to play with miniature instruments, a man who is driven to speak truth, a father and a husband, how do you provide for you family while exercising your calling?

Josh Garrels: I agree with John, in that it’s common knowledge that the music industry is like the wild west right now.  It’s anyone’s game, but that also means there’s now millions of people trying to win the lottery.  For me, six months after the release of Love & War, my plans on how to proceed after this “year of jubilee” are beginning to really take shape.  I believe we’re actually on the verge of a new Renaissance in the arts, and that similar to the days of old, artists will be commissioned to create new work, rather than trying to win the attention of potential buyers with sexy packaging.  You can already see this happening with the explosion of fan-funding sites like Kickstarter, free music sites like Noisetrade, and the fact that Love & War was completely listener funded .  The difference in a new Renaissance, is that the work will not only be funded by wealthy benefactors and royalty, but the “direct to fan” marketplace of the internet will allow the general public be a part of commissioning their favorite artist to “bring forth” new work.

In the recent past, big companies would front a lot of money to an artist to make an album, but the investors main motivation would be to make product that sells, for their goal is to not only recoup their investment but to make money.  In this model the artist is left with a huge debt to pay off, so they become motivated to create work that is marketable as well.  So in a sense the art becomes merely a product, seen in units to be pushed, and this kills the passion of many honorable artists.  However, with commissioned work, the public will take the responsibility of investing in work that isn’t yet created, which is an act of trust and a calling forth, rather than the consumeristic view of art as “product”.  And this paradigm shift will also bring new freedom to the artist, to not be ruled by the desire to create something that will merely sell, but to create art that is of worth and service for it’s own sake.  In my case, I’m then going to give away my most recent work for free, as a thank you to all who freely give to me.  I intend to continue inviting my listeners to invest in new work, and I also intend to give away each new album for a year, along with all revenue from the new work.

Check out the music video for “White Owl” below

you can listen to Josh Garrels incredible new album below in its entirety and download it for free

Essential Albums 2011: Folk/Americana/Country and Worship

2011 was an incredible year in music. The last twelve months have seen the release of some of the best albums in faith based music in three years, and when we say it was difficult to bring you the absolute essentials, we mean it. Every genre had game changing albums released on the public, some from artists you know and love, but we also saw masterful music flowing through new artists who are no doubt only at the beginning of their musical journey.

With way too much delay, we present to you our celebration of 2011 in music. Feel free to comment and tell us what you think.

The ONE21 Essential Folk/Americana/Country Albums of 2011

Aaron Strumpel-Birds
Burlap To Cashmere-Burlap To Cashmere
Dolly Parton-Better Day
Gungor-Ghosts Upon The Earth
Heath McNease-The House Always Wins
Josh Garrels-Love & War & The Sea In Between
Lauryn Peacock-Keep It Simple: Let the Sun Come Out
Over The Rhine-The Long Surrender
Preson Phillips-Wrath
The Civil Wars-Barton Hollow
The Wealthy West-The Wealthy West EP

The ONE21 Essential Worship Albums of 2011

All Sons & Daughters-Brokenness Aside EP No. 1
Brandon Bee-Inside These Walls
Daniel Bashta-The Sounds Of Daniel Bashta
Great Awakening-Songs In Secret
Leeland-The Great Awakening
Leigh Nash- Hymns & Sacred Songs
The City Harmonic-I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)
The Embers Days-Emergency
Psalters-Chapter VII Carry The Bones
Hymns from Nineveh- Hymns From Nineveh

Essential Albums 2011: Hip-Hop, R&B/Soul, and Pop

2011 was an incredible year in music. The last twelve months have seen the release of some of the best albums in faith based music in three years, and when we say it was difficult to bring you the absolute essentials, we mean it. Every genre had game changing albums released on the public, some from artists you know and love, but we also saw masterful music flowing through new artists who are no doubt only at the beginning of their musical journey.

With way too much delay, we present to you our celebration of 2011 in music. Feel free to comment and tell us what you think.

The ONE21 Essential Hip-Hop Albums of 2011

Propaganda & Odd Thomas-Art Ambidextrous
Heath McNease-Straight Outta Console: The Nintendo Thumb Mixtape
Alert-Red Opus .45 EP
Braille-Native Lungs
The Ambassador-Stop The Funeral
Michael Manasseh-Gradient Skies
Mr. J Mederios-Saudade
S.O.-So It Begins
muzeONE-Cold War

The ONE21 Essential R&B/Soul Albums of 2011

Bekhah Shae- Destiny
Deitrick Haddon-Church On The Moon
Donald Lawrence & Company- YRM (Your Righteous Mind)
Dominic Bali-American Dream
Jennifer Hudson-I Remember Me
Kim Burrell-The Love Album
Mandisa-What If We Were Real
Nicole C. Mullen-Captivated
William McDowell-Arise
VA-This May Be My Last Time Singing

The ONE21 Essential Pop Albums of 2011

Feather & Bell-Pockets Run Deep
Francesca Battistelli-Hundred More Years
Katie Herzig-The Waking Sleep
Mat Kearney- Young Love
My Brightest Diamond- All Things Will Unwind
Owl City-All Things Bright And Beautiful
Son Lux- We Are Rising
Twenty|One|Pilots- Regional At Best
Brett Dennen- Loverboy
Bigfoot Wallace- Malleable
Sara Groves- Invisible Empires

Essential Albums 2011: Rock/Indie and Hardcore/Metal

2011 was an incredible year in music. The last twelve months have seen the release of some of the best albums in faith based music in three years, and when we say it was difficult to bring you the absolute essentials, we mean it. Every genre had game changing albums released on the public, some from artists you know and love, but we also saw masterful music flowing through new artists who are no doubt only at the beginning of their musical journey.

With way too much delay, we present to you our celebration of 2011 in music. Feel free to comment and tell us what you think.

The ONE21 Music Essential Rock/ Indie Albums of 2011

Abandon Kansas-Ad Astra Per Aspera
Bare Branches-Haunts
Bodies of Water- Twist Again
Cool Hand Luke- Of Man
Eisley-The Valley
John Mark McMillian- Economy
Maylene & the Sons of Disaster- IV
Manchester Orchestra-Simple Math
Marksmen- Sister of Mine
My Epic-Broken Voice EP
Sleeping At Last- Yearbook
O’Brother-Garden Window
Switchfoot-Vice Verses
This Love-At War
The Violet Burning-The Story of Our Lives

The ONE21 Music Essential Metal/Hardcore Albums of 2011

A Hope For Home-In Abstraction
Becoming The Archetype- Celestial Completion
Close Your Eyes-Empty Hands And Heavy Hearts
Divide The Sea-Fear. Anger. Strife. EP
Hands-Give Me Rest
Hundredth-Let Go
Jawbone-Loss Of Innocence EP
Life In Your Way-Kingdoms
Love Begotten-Ugly, Dirty, Poor
Not One Is Upright-God Is Not A Watchmaker And The World Is Not Ticking
Oh Sleeper-Children Of Fire
Sleeping Giant-Kingdom Days In An Evil Age
The Gun Show-Discontentment

An Interview About Wrath by Preson Phillips

The (ONE)21 Music: Wrath is your third release since 2008. How does your role as Pastor and Worship Leader compliment and feed you as a recording artist and vice versa?
Preson Phillips: I never think of myself as a recording artist as if it were a second job that I had. I am simply a pastor, and the way that I am best able to communicate the gospel to people is through a mixture of preaching and songwriting/leading. If those things spread beyond the walls of the church, so be it.
I don’t think that either one of those things, either the music or the preaching, would be very effective without the other. I need to do both of them. You can say things through lyrics that you could never say in preaching, or even normal conversations, because it would be awkward and cheesy. Music and lyrics are the atmosphere that make those “cheesy” statements acceptable, and even powerful!

ONE21:Your music seems to embody the weightiness of traditional hymns with the excuberance of modern worship music. How did these two styles of “Church” music come together to influence your sound?
Phillips: I didn’t really write like that in the past, but being a pastor means that you have to read a whole lot of really really old theology books. Any student will tell you that when you first start reading those books (polycarp, augustine, brother lawrence, william law, and even calvin and luther) they are really hard to read and its a slow and exhausting process to comprehend what they are saying. But the longer you keep it up, it becomes simple… almost normal. Then you start to appreciatte the way our forefathers wrote and communicated the gospel, and you sit there and say “man, I wish I could write like that and not get laughed at!”.
The lucky thing is, with music I am allowed to do that. I can write as if I was some snobbish Elizabethan playwright… and no one even thinks twice about it. There are much more beautiful ways of saying things than the modern english language allows for. Our speech is too efficient. We get to our point fast, we just want people to get it. Old english was like that. They took their time getting to the point, and they often times circled around it for a while before landing there.
Where we sometimes just say “he came”, people used to say “Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our immanuel”. Same thing, different weight.

ONE21:Your band seems to play a more prominent role on Wrath than on your first two recordings. What is drove the change in sound?
Phillips: This has really taken a turn from solo project into a full on band over the years. I put two LP albums out with no band, and now 3 with a band. We’ve even kicked around the idea of naming the band, but I guess it might a little late for that.
All in all it was almost the exact same group of people that recorded the last 2 records (we added Ryan Payne, who was playing in the band at the time, he played allot of the guitar on “wrath”). We actually recorded almost the whole record in a couple of weeks in December 2010. I think the difference is that we sat on it for almost a year and would regularly go back to it and think about how we could produce it to make it stand on it’s own. I want every record to have its own identity and sound, while still being rooted in the southern folk hymn sound.
The best songs on every record are the ones the band took ownership of and changed, songs like “Grace and Peace” and “Wandering Soul”. We love them, so we play them over and over until they become something else, something bigger than what they were.
I have a pretty solid conviction that you shouldn’t be recording a song you haven’t been playing regularly for at least 6 months, it hasn’t even really been born yet and you are taking it out to people?
Got off topic, sorry.

ONE21: Wrath is not a very popular subject in the modern Church and your music is so exuberant. Where did the title come from?
Phillips: Love is the subject of 99.99% of worship songs, but people never quite think about the fact that you cannot have love without wrath. A man who loves his wife will furiously defend her against other men who are competing for her eye. He will even let himself be killed in an act of love.
If you love someone, you hate and wish wrath on the heads of all who want to destroy what you love wether it be your children or your way of life or your freedom.
“Dealt a traitors fate,
With Roman nails to hold your weight,
Suffering as you died
Stil pleading for afflictors lives”.
I know we see the love in that story, but if we can’t see the wrath in it then it will never have the weight it was meant to.
The pharisees dealt wrath on Jesus for destroying their idols.
Satan leveled wrath against Jesus because he loved himself.
Jesus himself felt the wrath of God so that he could save his own family.

Love is not love where there is no wrath.

ONE21: You create worship music. Can you describe your songwriting process?
Phillips: Most of the time it simply starts with one of 2 things: a phrase, or a small catchy melody in your head. I usually record it in my phone or type it in my evernote box and then I’ll forget about it… usually for almost a year. Once a month or so I open up all my songwriting notes and see if any of them can be expanded or combined or put to different timing. Sometimes I get songs out of em, most of the time I do not. It’s all kind of a regular exercise that I work into my life. If I don’t keep it up, I’ll run out of ideas. Its pretty messy, but It works.

ONE21:As you have played the songs in your Church and around the country, which ones seem to be evoking the most intense reactions?
Phillips: Playing at my church is the most enjoyable situation. There is nothing more joyful than filling a sanctuary with the voices of my brothers and sisters. That pretty much rules. I enjoy hitting the road once in a while, and every summer, but there’s only really been a couple of times when I’ve really been able to deeply connect with a crowd at a show. Honestly, if I’m gonna go out and play I really enjoy playing at secular clubs and bars. We can play the louder and faster stuff, and there is usually a more “music-loving” crowd in those places. I seem to get a better reaction, and I get to have more philosophically meaningful conversations with people who are curious about my beliefs but do not share them.
Thats really what this is all about for me. Meaningful and eternal connections with other eternal beings. If I can bring out a little bit of the eternal in every interaction that I have with people, I believe that God will do the rest. That’s why I write and record, and its why I preach.

Enjoy this live video of “Wandering Soul”, that we filmed at Conerstone Festival in 2011

You can download 4 of the songs off of Wrath through Come&Live! here

An Interview About Twist Again By Bodies Of Water

The (ONE)21 Music: Talk about the writing process for Twist Again
Bodies Of Water: The time it took to write the songs varied, some took months of intermittent work, and others were written as they were recorded. We were working on other things while recording, and so from beginning to end, it was about a year and a half of part time work to record everything.

ONE21: Twist Again seems to be Bodies Of Water once again evolving their sound; when you are putting together an album, is it a intentional to write differently or natural?
BOW: This was the first time that (almost) all of the songs were recorded before they were played out in public, so we had a different set of expectations for what the right and wrong ways for them to feel were. Maybe because of that, this group of songs was more concise than those on previous records. If any section or part was feeling too long or redundant, we got rid of it. I know this seems callous, but it is unavoidable. Think of it as a haircut, not an amputation…

ONE21:Twist Again seems alot more carefree in its execution, do you think Bodies Of Water is in a happier place than they were in previous records?
BOW: I don’t really feel like that about it. To me the writing and recording of this one was a little more organized. We spent more time with Noah and Laura (who played drums and bass on this record) working out the arrangements, and group jamming didn’t figure into the songs the way it used to.

ONE21: Is there a lyrical theme to Twist Again?
BOW: I’m sure there is, but I couldn’t say what it might be. A few years ago I tried to write a group of songs that would tell the story of the beginning of the world, but everything diverged once I got going. Some of these songs ended up on the ‘Certain Feeling’ record but most of them were stillborn. That was my only attempt to intentionally tie a bunch of songs together, and it was a huge bust. What a waste of time.

ONE21: What is your opinion of Twist Again as a finished product?
BOW: What a curious question. Nobody has ever asked me that before. Here are several thoughts: My favorite song (for now) is ‘Open Rhythms.’ Also, I like the cover of the record, which is a photo of our friends’ hands. This was taken at a new year’s eve party a few years ago. Also, we received a report telling us that ‘One Hand Loves the Other’ was the song that was played the most on radio stations after the record came out, which was an interesting surprise.

You can listen to Twist Again below:
Twist Again by Bodies of Water

Essential Songs: Tithemi By Sleeping Giant

Hardcore worship. Joy and movement. Declaration and power.

All fear, all pain, all hurt, all grief, all lies, must bow to Jesus’ name
All kings, all thrones, everything that breathes life, must bow to Jesus’ name
The earth, the sea, the sun, the stars, the sky, must bow to Jesus’ name


There is no one like you God
No one like You my King
There is no one like you

Kings, crowns, thrones,
Fall face down
Kiss the ground
Jesus, you hold the crown