Christian Music Artist Tops Paste’s Best of Decade List

Paste magazine just released their list of 50 greatest albums of the decade on their website. Five recordings made by Christian music artists made the list.

We were excited that iconic indie artist Sufjan Stevens was number one on the list with Come On Feel the Illinoise (notice Paste did not get the name correct)  and alternative rock’s darling Pedro The Lion made the list with Control.  The rock cred of Jack White garnered the attention of Paste writers so that country legend Loretta Lynn made the list with Van Lear Rose.  The best movie soundtrack of the decade ‘O Brother Where Are Thou? made the list but why do we include it here?  Well, the soundtrack was the brainchild of Christian music artist and famed producer T Bone Burnett.

Finally, we were shocked and thrilled that one of our favorite cds of the decade, Over The Rhine‘s Ohio made the list. We did not think anyone had noticed the greatness of this folk, rock, jazz, pop masterpiece.

Of course we think the list excluded these masterpieces:

But worry not we are working on our list of essential recordings by Christian Music Artists.

In the meantime, here is what Paste had to say about these great records.

1. Sufjan Stevens: Illinois [Asthmatic Kitty] (2005) Amazon

Sufjan Stevens IllinoiseIn 2005, when Sufjan Stevens released Illinois, the second album in his planned 50-state project, American pride was at a record low—especially among young people. The death toll in Iraq was steadily climbing, and Abu Ghraib was fresh on our minds. Meanwhile, Stevens was beginning to seem brilliant enough to fulfill his ambitious plan. His music pushed boundaries between pop and classical, and the emotional weight of his lyrics grounded his feather-light voice. There was a distinct peculiarity about Illinois and Stevens himself, who gave his songs titles like “To the Workers of the Rock River Valley Region, I Have an Idea Concerning Your Predicament.” Critics embraced the mystery and declared the album a masterpiece. Stevens and his band, The Illinoisemakers, wore cheerleading costumes onstage to promote the record, and once its success took them to larger venues, Stevens switched to giant, colorful bird wings. His band was a spectacle, their performances magical. Thousands of fans gathered in theaters across the country to behold this winged creature and rally behind his songs about America’s heartland. It was a new, weird kind of patriotism.

26. Over the Rhine: Ohio (2004) Amazon

Over The Rhine OhioIn the liner notes accompanying Over the Rhine’s gloriously self-indulgent double-disc, Ohio, co-founder Linford Detweiler, writes, “We grew up in small coal mining towns in the Ohio Valley, listening to music that could have only been unearthed in America: Southern Gospel, Country Western and Rock ’n’ Roll. This music fertilized the soil of our early lives. We sit down at the upright piano these days with dirt under our fingernails.” And I suppose that’s what I love about this album. The songs feel gritty and real, unpolished and perfect. Just like people. All the artifice (both musical and emotional) has been carefully dismantled, traditional instruments—upright piano, pedal steel, acoustic guitars—have been dusted off, arrangements have been simplified, windows into souls have been propped open a bit wider. In stark contrast, Karin Bergquist’s voice has never felt as undressed and painfully honest as it does in these songs, as if she’s opened her gut and tugged the melodies out like a breach baby. This process is partly masochistic, partly exhibitionist, entirely self-consuming: but such is true art. Ohio, is more than simply a dense, rich, vulnerable collection of songs; it’s a dirt road companion on that difficult journey inward, upward. Homeward. Jason Killingsworth

34. Various artists: O Brother Where Art Thou? [Mercury] (2001) Amazon

T Bone Burnett O'Brother Where Art ThouThis old-timey country album and most unlikely hit may have signaled the last gasp of alternative country. On the bright side, it suggested that those alt-country values (rough-hewn vocals, acoustic instrumentation, a palpable connection to American roots music) had busted out of the sub-genre ghetto and crossed over into the mainstream. After all, the album did win the Grammy for Album of the Year. Some of our favorite female vocalists—one-named artists like Emmylou and Gillian—got much-deserved exposure thanks to this collection, which scored a freewheeling Coen Bros movie and did nothing but good for all concerned. Nick Marino

36. Pedro The Lion: Control [Jade Tree] (2002) Control

Pedro The Lion Control

David Bazan’s Seattle indie rock is well played, and his voice is perfectly restrained, but his most unique gift lies in storytelling—vivid images and a thoughtful perspective create a deep, dark feeling of sadness. In-depth descriptions of extramarital affairs appear throughout Control, a characteristically bold move for the former Christian singer/songwriter. The music is heavier, too—this time around, electric guitars dare to match the lyrical intensity. Kate Kiefer

48. Loretta Lynn: Van Lear Rose [Interscope] (2004) Amazon
Loretta Lynn Van Lear RoseIn 2004, 69-year-old Loretta Lynn released her thirty-seventh solo studio album. It could have been a sad affair, the desperate yawp of a legendary Nashville madam teetering into an aged cliché of herself, but with the help of rock ‘n’ roll upstart Jack White, Lynn made the greatest record of her career. Like a bunch of rowdy grandkids, White and a crew of friends (most of whom would converge a year later as The Raconteurs) lent a sly, gritty feel to Lynn’s 13 mostly-autobiographical tracks—Van Lear Rose was her 70th release overall, but it was only the second time she’d written or co-written all of her songs. Her seasoned, tremulous voice paired perfectly with White’s electric guitar warble, pulling off mournful country crooners and all-out rock numbers with equal grit and spunk. She hasn’t released anything since, but it almost doesn’t matter. Rachael Maddux

Post Idol-Kris Allen v. Adam Lambert

Christian music artist Kris Allen (see our artist profile) won American Idol Season 9 over Adam Lambert. Many considered it a travesty at worst, an upset at best. We thought America got it right.  We thought then that Kris Allen was the most soulful, nuanced winner of American Idol since Season One’s Kelly Clarkson.

Both Kris Allen and Adam Lambert have new CDs releasing this month. Judging by the first real videos we have seen from Kris Allen and Adam Lambert, we believe even more strongly that America got it right.

Here is the video for “Live Like We Are Dying” Kris Allen’s single off of his debut album entitled Kris Allen.

“Live Like We Are Dying” is a soulful funky uptempo song about gratitude and living in the moment. Kris Allen’s musicianship shines through, his ability to take an acoustic guitar and a piano and turn them into instruments of rhythm and color make the song compelling. Kris Allen’s upbeat personality and soulful voice bring the message home while drawing you to dance.

In contrast, Adam Lambert’s “Time for Miracles”, from the movie 2012, is an assault on the senses. Sure, the powerful, other worldly voice is here in all of its glory. But as with many of his American Idol performances, the entire production is loud and shrill. Adam Lambert stomps through a green screen montage of disasters as he sings over loud, simplistic pop music that is supposed to be a compelling rock ballad, in the style of Whitesnake or Poison:

I think the movie analogy is a good one.  If Kris Allen were a movie he would be a cool indie flick like “(500) Days of Summer” or “Once”.  These are heartfelt movies that cause you the think and feel and engage.  On the other hand Adam Lambert is a big budget Hollywood film like “2012″ or “G.I.Joe”.  You know, movies that blow your hair back and rattle your bones but leave you feeling empty.

To us at One21music it looks like round one of the post Idol comparison of Kris Allen and Adam Lambert goes to Kris Allen.

Send Christian Music Artists to ACL

Austin City Limits Music Festival is one of the top rock music festivals in the world. When you stroll the fields of Austin’s Zilker Parks every fall you meet music fans who have flown in from Europe, Asia, Australia, South America and Africa to experience the three days of beautiful weather, great Austin food and some of the best hip rock, indie, hip/hop, country and electronic music in the world.

Austin City Limits Music Festival has featured Al Green and Bob Dylan, Arcade Fire and Pearl Jam, Bjork and Wilco and Coldplay. However, Christian music artists are usually under-represented at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. All major music and entertainment media attend and report from the festival.  This year, Mute Math, Billy Joe Shaver and a few local gospel groups were the only Christian artists we saw on the Austin City Limits Music Festival line-up. Mute Math received rave reviews and many are predicting a headline spot for them in the near future.

We have an opportunity to change that. Austin City Limits Music Festival promoter, C3, has sent a note to ask fans to suggest bands to book at the 2010 Austin City Limits Music Festival. We need your help in creating a good sample of music made by Christians that would catch the eye of hip music fans local and national media.

Each of us can only suggest five bands. We ask you to go to the site below and list the following bands for Austin City Limits to book in 2010:

Austin City Limits Music Festival- Be a Booking Agent

These bands represent a broad range of styes, from mewithoutyou‘s post-hardcore neo-folk talk music, to Buddy Miller‘s Americana, to Danielson‘s experimental Indie music to, Over The Rhine‘s jazz driven folk pop to Wovenhand‘s gothic folk hard rock revival meetings.

There are many, many bands that deserve to be on the list so you can go to our Music A to Z page and find your own.  However, if you join us in this concentrated effort to promote the artists we may have chance of pushing a few through.  But, whatever you do, go quickly.  Our opportunity to book Christian music artists at Austin City Limits Music Festival ends on Tuesday, November 17, 2009.

The(ONE)21 Music’s Best Albums Of 2008:Retrospective

We do indeed understand that it has been a long time since we should have posted our favorite albums of 2008. Sometimes though, hindsight makes you love certain CDs you hadn’t really listened to in a while. So we though it would be fitting, as how we are almost half way through 2009, to suggest and recommend our favorite CDs from 2008 made by Christian artists.  Feel free to tell us if you love the list or hate it, and we would love to hear your lists as well. These are not in order (besides for our favorite across the board), and they are not ranked in any other way.

The(ONE)21 Music’s best Christian music albums for 2008

Album of the year:

Bodies of Water- A Certain Feeling Bodies of Water - A Certain Feeling
Deeply creative, lyrically dense, and unwaveringly beautiful. Bodies Of Water do more in their all to short sophomore album than most bands can in 15 songs. This is indie music at it’s finest.
For fans of: Anathallo, Polyphonic Spree, The Arcade Fire.
Category: The Light (whats this?)

Best of the rest:

Advent- Remove the Earth Advent - Remove the Earth
Brutal, heavy, and unlike anything being done in the heavy music scene today. Advent take cues from the days of spirit-filled hardcore days with in your face lyrics, and waves of fuzzy distorted goodness. Bringing back the true sound of metalcore.
For fans of: Converge, Strongarm, Focused
Category: The Message (whats this?)

Anathallo- Canopy Glow
Anathallo - Canopy Glow
Intricate, progressive, and a collection of songs that improve an already good thing. Anathallo present their first real critical sucess with a profound maturity and skill that most bands two times their senior have yet to grasp. Canopy finds a brilliant band coming into their own, once again.
For fans of: Arcade Fire, mewithoutYou, Danielson
Category: The Light (whats this?)

Becoming The Archetype- Dichotomy Becoming the Archetype - Dichotomy
Intelligent, diverse, extreme metal played from a heart changed by Christ. Dichotomy resides as the best metal album no one talked about. A true classic in metal brutality.
For fans of: Living Sacrifice, Lamb Of God, Believer
Category: The Spiritual (whats this?)

Brian Lee & His Orchestra- Vol.1
Mellow, heartfelt, and a unique take on worship infused folk music. Vol.1 was one our first free downloads on this website, and Brian Lee & His Orchestra remain one of the best new bands flying their Christ flag in the folk/indie scene. An album to change your heart to.
For fans of: Pedro The Lion, Bon Iver, M.Ward
Category: The Spiritual (whats this?)

Cool Hand Luke- The Sleeping House Cool Hand Luke - The Sleeping House
Entrancing, heart-breaking, and the return of a great band in indie rock. Where Cool Hand Luke‘s last effort saw them experimenting in many different sounds, The Sleeping House sees the indie veterans achieving heavy atmosphere by simply playing progressive rock music. A diamond in their already stunning career.
For fans of: Sleeping At Last, The Fray, Sunny Day Real Estate
Category: The Spiritual (whats this?)

Doug Burr- The Shawl Doug Burr - The Shawl
Honest, simple, and masterful. Doug Burr‘s worship album (of sorts) brings one back to the true heart of singing before God, and The Shawl has the power to bring you to your knees and lighten your heart all at the same time. An album willing to be imperfect achieves quite the opposite.
For fans of: Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Iron & Wine
Category: The Spiritual (whats this?)

Brooke Fraser- Albertine Brooke Fraser - Albertine
Sweet, heartfelt, and able to put a good face on the pop genre again. Brooke Fraser walks an incredible line of teetering into the pop/contemporary Christian genre, but never does, and the result is an intelligent, soulful collection of songs that are easy to listen to but never easy to hear.
For fans of: Sara Barreilles, Jewel, Ingrid Michealson
Category: The Spiritual (whats this?)

Hannah Atkins- Falling Hannah Atkins - Falling
Creative, quirky, and so intricate, you wont believe one person is making this music. An electro-pop gem with multi-layered vocal tracks, pounding beats, and a little bit of folk thrown in for good measure. A new face for a new genre: electro-folk.
For fans of: Imogean Heap, The Postal Service, Headphones
Category: The Light (whats this?)

Josh Garrels- Jacaranda Josh Garrels - Jacaranda
Heartfelt, unique, and unlike anything out in the air right now. The pure songwriting ability in this young man is gorgeously displayed in his second full-length album, a hard look into the heart of those who seek God’s face. A truly blessed man offers up another amazing display of talent.
For fans of: Sublime, Dave Matthews Band, John Mayer
Category: The Spiritual (whats this?)

Kaboose- Excuse Me Kaboose - Excuse Me
Funny, deep, and the perfect mixture of intelligent content and fun hip-hop. Excuse Me is a great collection of songs by an emcee who is not only committed to being light in the world for God, but being a truly thoughtful underground artist with songs that could rival the mainstream any day. Underground hip-hop with a lot of heart.
For fans of: Atmosphere, Dilated People, RedCloud
Category: The Message (whats this?)

La Dispute- Somewhere at the Bottom of The River Between Vega & Altair La Dispute - Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
Intense, chaotic, and what post-hardcore should have always been. La Dispute come out of nowhere with a classic album that combines their energy, mind, and passion on every note of every song. One of the best bands in heavy music’s latest masterpiece.
For fans of: At The Drive-In, mewithoutYou, These Arms Are Snakes
Category: The Light (whats this?)

Lecrae- Rebel Lecrae - Rebel
Hard, truthful, and unrelenting. One of the biggest sounding hip-hop albums in recent history, Lecrae pulls no punches as spits truth in a world where he could easily stand up against MTV’s finest. The new prince of hip-hop has revealed himself.
For fans of: 50 Cent, Lil Wayne, The Ambassador
Category: The Message (whats this?)

MyChildren MyBride- Unbreakable MyChildren MyBride - Unbreakable
Mosh-inducing, brutal, and a whole lotta fun. Behind the walls of well executed breaksdowns and crew vocals, we discover moshcore’s new superstars, a band who grab your attention form note one and will not let you go for a second. Mosh metal that cannot be duplicated.
For fans of: Acacia Strain, Darkest Hour, August Burns Red
Category: The Message (whats this?)

The Welcome Wagon- Welcome To The Welcome Wagon The Welcome Wagon - Welcome to the Welcome Wagon
Simple, playful, and deeply meaningful. In the midst of over-produced praise and worship and pop CCM singles, this stripped down, delicate album sinks into the definition of “sacred music”, bringing some modern musical nuances to bridge the gap between the old and the new, and finds a new place of worship that sounds like what fresh air smells like. Truly lovely.
For fans of: Sufjan Stevens, Simon & Garfunkel, Cat Stevens
Category: The Spiritual (whats this?)

Brooke Waggoner- Heal for the Honey Brooke Waggoner - Heal for the Honey
Near-flawless, deeply thoughtful, and evidence that of what a true artist can create when artistic freedom reigns. This is the type of album that makes you wonder what happened to the rest of the music industry, because Brooke Waggoner is an artist who deserves to heard, and heard by as many people as possible. Music that makes your day seem better, and makes you want to play and sing your heart out.
For fans of: Anathallo, Tori Amos, Sia
Category: The Light (whats this?)

Thrice- Alchemy Index, Vol. 3 & 4: Air and Earth Thrice - The Alchemy Index, Vol. 3 & 4: Air & Earth
Skillful, engaging, and proof that Thrice might be the best rock band in music today. Two volumes of the Alchemy Index that display Thrice‘s power over the atmospheric rock and folk genres, containing some the band’s best music, but also a triumph for them as songwriters conquering new aspects of their music. Thrice‘s finest hour.
For fans of: The Myriad, Damien Rice, Radiohead
Category: The Message (whats this?)

Wovenhand- Ten Stones Wovenhand - Ten Stones
Dark, apocalyptic folk from the mind of man with one foot in the heavens, and one being used to step on the devil’s head. Ten Stones continues the reign of David Eugene Edwards (Wovenhand) as the warning voice to a generation in need of a Savior. There is nothing like this album.
For fans of: Nick Cave, 16 Horsepower, Johnny Cash
Category: The Message (whats this?)

Deastro- Keeper’s Deastro - Keepers
A sprawling tour de force of synth pop, progressive rock and electro folk Deastro’s keeper’s takes through a transcendent journey filled with wonder and awe.  The most awe inspiring aspect of Keeper’s is that it is a one man show from the writing, to performing, to producing and mixing.  Keeper’s is simply a beautiful listen from beginning to end.
For fans of: Postal Service, Crystal Castles, LCD Soundsystem
Category: The Light (whats this?)

Underoath- Lost in the Sound of SeparationUnderoath - Lost In the Sound of Separation
Diverse, epic, and evidence that Underoath are the kings of the screamo scene they helped create. This time around, the band went for the unknown, diving farther into experimental rock, electronica, and even beefing up the more aggressive side of their sound. True experiential brilliance.
For fans of: Fear Before The March of Flames, The Refused, Gallows
Category: The Message (whats this?)

Red Letter Rock Fest 2009: Day Two Wrap-up


Well, I started to write this post at about Midnight last night (Saturday), but I was watching my team fall asleep as they were editing the pictures from the fest so we decided to call it a night and get up in the morning to have this for you.

Day two of Red Letter Rock Fest 2009 was a full day of music. We had a lot more to do, and a lot of stuff to cover in a very short amount of time. Like I mentioned before, we had all access passes, so we were able to walk around where ever we liked, and it made the experience very rich. Everybody needs to understand that putting the festivals on is not easy work, there are hundreds of people that make it happen minute to minute. If you are reading this and you know Reid or Cody, give them a hug next time you see them, because they need it after this weekend..

Anyway, on to the music. The day started off with new comers Stars Go Dim. Well, I say new comers, but the band features members of both Pillar and rapcore band Justified. They don’t really recreate the sound of their former bands though, and instead go for the alternative/emotional sound captured by band like Matchbox 20 and Third Eye Blind. If you are into those bands, then you may really dig Stars Go Dim, and they seemed to get a pretty good response despite being brand new to the fest.


Stars Go Dim At Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


The White Collar Sideshow took the stage next, and oh man, I dont think anybody knew what to expect. The White Collar Sideshow isnt a band as much as a production, a show that is meant to express the visions of ring leader T Benten. They play saw blades, wear masks, and in general really push the boundaries of any audiences imagination. We did an interview with these guys, so Im not going to say much more about them (the pictures speak for themselves), but I do want to say that this crew are some of the nicest, coolest, most sold out for God people that I have met in a long time. You will be reading a lot about these guys in days to come.

White Collar Sideshow at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

White Collar Sideshow at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009



White Collar Sideshow at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Next up was Tooth & Nail pop/goth punks Children 18:3 These guys were awesome! These guys were one hundred percent the entire time they were on stage, they never stopped moving! Their music was fast and loud, but still very happy and carefree. The crowd loved them, and they made a new fan out of me.

Children 18:3 at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Children 18:3 at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Children 18:3 at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


Stage two lit up as the guitars rang out from Children 18:3, and revealed the festivals mystery performer, who ended up being hip-hop main man KJ-52. I love KJ, and I have been listening to him for a long time. The crowd really loved him, but I was a little frustrated that this extremely talent emcee didn’t seem to really play a song, but instead played beat after beat to get the crowd moving. Im not hatin’, just wanted to hear “The Hard Way”, call me sentimental.

KJ-52 at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

KJ-52 at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Decyfer Down destroyed the speakers with their high octane hard rock for the next thirty minutes. I have never seen these guys before, but I understand why I hear about their show so often. Eve though this style of heavy music isn’t my cup of tea, I tip my hat to the band for knowing their audience, and keeping the energy high from moment one.

Decyfer Down at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Decyfer Down at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


Decyfer Down at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

The show I was looking forward to the most was Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster, and they did not disappoint. Heavy, southern, and a whole lot of fun! One of the funnier moments was when virtually every member of the band would walk down into the crowd and just casually walk around, still playing their instrument. Their bassist was down on the floor for almost two songs!

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Haste The Day brought the mosh, as they were the most hardcore band on the line-up. Their real talent lies in their ability to blend soaring ,melodies with brutal breakdowns, and that dichotomy was not lost on their live show. The down-to-the-floor back bends from one of their guitarists was defiantly a sight to see as well (luckily we got pictures right).

Haste The Day at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Haste The Day at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Haste The Day at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Next up was Superchick. They have been around for ever, and they worked the stage like pros. I haven’t seen these guys in about 6 years, and they haven’t lost a step. I was also surprised that this younger crowd seemed to know almost ever word of this band’s songs. But then again, that is the power of Superchick!

Superchick at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


Superchick at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Superchick at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Hard rock band RED hit the stage like a freight train. They were flawless, the vocalist’s voice was out of this world. In all reality, this band has had the most cross over success out of all the bands on the show, and after seeing a few songs, I understand why they are able to hit the road with bands like Staind and Seether, and hold their own. RED will be around for a long time…

Red at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Red at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Red at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Red at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

At the end of RED, we snuck out to do one of our interviews, which ran pretty long, so I am sad to say that we missed the majority of  The Glorious Unseen‘s progressive take on Praise & Worship. They blend a lot of more modern elements into their worship music, and it was really refreshing, even if it was just for a few minutes, to close my eyes and hear 800 kids sings praises at the top of their lungs.
Directly after, Kevin Kirkland spoke to the crowd and shared God’s word. Giving a nice break in the music, and reminding us why we were all there to begin with.

Fan favorite Hawk Nelson hit the stage around around 7:30 with their fun blend of pop-rock. Despite their size (they are kind of little dudes, and after seeing the six man team of Maylene, four guys just didnt seem to fill up the stage), Hawk Nelson had the crowd’s heart from note one. massive sing-alongs, big guitars, and lots of fun ensued. Good job guys.

Hawk Nelson at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Hawk Nelson at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Hawk Nelson at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Headliner Skillet wore their experience on their sleeves, and rolled in with pyrotechnics, hydrological lifts, and a amazing girl drummer. They mixed up the song list well, playing songs from virtually every record, along with a brand new song called “Monster”. Great light show, great stage performance, and Skillet left the crowd exhausted but happy.

Skillet at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Skillet at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Skillet at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Skillet at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Skillet at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

If you are reading us for the first time because you either met us at the festival or took a sticker, you will agree that Red Letter Rock Fest was a lot of fun. As far as I am aware, nobody got hurt, and every performance was something that people will remeber all year. I say all because, of course, everybody read this should go to Red Letter Rock Fest next year. You wont regret it, in fact it may spoil you. All the other summer festivals may just not seem the same….

Red Letter Rock Fest: Day One Wrap-Up


So we had a great day here in Snyder Texas, at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009. We saw some great bands, met some amazing people, and in general had a grand ol time. That’s right, I said ol, not “old”, because ol is how old people say “old.” Sorry about that, its been a long day.

First of all, Cody and a Reid have been really amazing to us. Let’s be honest, we arn’t a big website, so we are really lucky to have the access that we have had at this festival. We are all over backstage, in the green room, the photog pit, and have some really amazing one on one access with the bands. Thank you so much to Cody and Reed for treating us like big wigs, we really appreciate it.

Ok, so now to the festival. We got here about two hours before the doors opened. We watched Spoken and Audio Adrenaline sound check, talked to some cool people, and just in general hung out like homies.

First of all, the crowd is awesome.


Also, there is a this awesome dude who is painting the entire time the bands are playing. This piece was created during Audio Adrenaline.

painting at Red Letter Fest 2009

Norma Jean started things off and proved why they are the kings of metalcore. They took over the crowd almost immediately, and really set the pace for the rest of the night. They always are able to put on a superior show, and tonight was no exception. Much later in the day we were able to chill with vocalist Cory and ask him a few questions. Stay tuned for that one, but until then..

Norma Jean at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009



Norma Jean at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


On the second stage, Spoken lived up to their reputation as one the better Christian rock acts on the planet. A cool point of the show was when the band reached waaaay back and played “This Path” from one of their older albums from before they were on Tooth & Nail.  It was very fun to sing along with a song I heard back when I was in my teens still.

Spoken at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Spoken at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


Spoken at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009

Audio Adrenaline Speaks took the stage next. If you haven’t seen this show, it is a stripped down AA set-up, in which the vocalist and bass player play a few songs, share testimonies, and tell the story of the Audio Adrenaline. Despite singer Mark’s lack of a voice, it was a fun little stroll down memory lane, and was a really cool time of getting to know AA like I had never been able to before.

Audio Adrenaline at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009



Disciple brought their high-octane rock to the stage next. Man, those guys can put on a show, movement was constant, guitars were loud, and sings alongs were many.  One of the guitarists even did a no hands back flip with his guitar still strapped to his chest, landed, and kept playing like nothing had ever happened. You owe it to yourself to see these guys at least once, you wont be disappointed…

Disciple at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


Disciple at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009


Last of the night was the world famous Family Force 5, and their over the top, rock dance extravaganza. I see why these guys are talked about so much, they put on quite a show. Lots of dancing, lots of wild acrobatics, and just all around fun. Dance rock at its finest for sure.

Family Force 5 at Red Letter Rock Fest 2009




Thats it guys for day one. Hit us back tomorrow for Red Letter Rock Fest 2009, day two!

The One21 At Red Letter Rock Fest: Intro


So as you are reading this right now, I (Ian) and my awesome team are driving to Snyder Texas to go experience Red Letter Rock Fest 2009!  It is about a six hour drive, and lots of planning, loud music, and sleeping are being had.  We hope you guys are as pumped as we are to be part of this event, it is two days of great music, speakers, and lots of fun. W are going to be keeping you up to date with all the best performances, doing some interviews, giving you some exclusive pictures, and hopefully much more.

Also, be paying close attention to that Twitter box up there, because I will be updating it frequently to give you guys up to date info when it become available.

If you are still a little misty on what Red Letter Fest is, go check out our interview with festival founder Reid Johnson, watch the video below, and get ready to experience the craziness!


Dreams Can Come True- Susan Boyle

For those of you who have not seen this, get ready.  For those of you who have, can you really see this enough?  This is one of the most incredible things I have ever seen.

Follow my instructions closely: read the lyrics, watch the video, read the commentary from Lisa Schwarzbaum  @

Susan Boyle is 47 year old, unmarried, unemployed woman who lives with her cats.  She auditions on “Britan’s Got Talent” singing “I Dreamed A Dream” from Les Miserables.  For those of you who do not know this song here are the lyrics:

[Fantine is left alone, unemployed and destitute.]

There was a time when men were kind
When their voices were soft
And their words inviting
There was a time when love was blind
And the world was a song
And the song was exciting
There was a time
Then it all went wrong

I dreamed a dream in times gone by
When hope was high
And life worth living
I dreamed that love would never die
I dreamed that God would be forgiving
Then I was young and unafraid
And dreams were made and used and wasted
There was no ransom to be paid
No song unsung
No wine untasted
But the tigers come at night
With their voices soft as thunder
As they tear your hope apart
And they turn your dream to shame
He slept a summer by my side
He filled my days with endless wonder
He took my childhood in his stride
But he was gone when autumn came
And still I dream he’ll come to me
That we’ll live the years together
But there are dreams that cannot be
And there are storms we cannot weather
I had a dream my life would be
So much different from this hell I’m living
So different now from what it seemed
Now life has killed
The dream I dreamed.

Now watch the video.  It will play in a pop-up so come back to read the rest.

Now read the commentary from Lisa Schwarzbaum at

I’m still stuck on Susan Boyle, and still weeping. I suppose that’s so 24 hours ago, and I should be thinking instead about how Mel Gibson’s divorce might affect his box-office cred with conservative Catholics. Instead, I play the YouTube clip over and over of Boyle, the frumpy, middle-aged British lady who marched out on the stage of the national TV show Britain’s Got Talent this past weekend. She bided her time through the judgmental hoots and snickers of the studio audience and judges (headed by international snickerer-in-chief Simon Cowell). She sang “I Dreamed a Dream” from Les Miserables. And she brought a worldwide audience to their feet — to her feet — with the grandeur of her voice.

I’ll get back to pondering how Vin Diesel’s future might change with the success of Fast & Furious soon enough, but right now I’m pondering why the experience of watching and listening to Ms. Boyle makes so many viewers cry, me among them. And I think I’ve got a simple answer, at least for me: In our pop-minded culture so slavishly obsessed with packaging — the right face, the right clothes, the right attitudes, the right Facebook posts — the unpackaged artistic power of the unstyled, un-hip, un-kissed Ms. Boyle let me feel, for the duration of one blazing showstopping ballad, the meaning of human grace. She pierced my defenses. She reordered the measure of beauty. And I had no idea until tears sprang how desperately I need that corrective from time to time.

Yep. Simple as that.  That’s why I weep. What’s your excuse?

Christian & Gospel Music on Sale at iTunes

Hey everybody, iTunes is having a sale on Christian & Gospel music.  I just bought the most recent music from  Francesca Battistelli’s, which is quite good.  It has old and new stuff. Check it out.

Apple iTunes

Expanding Your Musical Tastes

Everyone has had the conversation. At least once.  The one where you ask someone, in a non-threatening attempt to get to know them better, what kind of music that they listen to. Easy enough right?  It is a question that reveals a little bit about the person asked, without getting too “personal”. It is a great tool to break the ice. How many times though, have you heard this as the response:

“Oh, I listen to everything.”

Maybe the first time you heard this answer, you believed the person, and probed a little deeper to understand what they meant by “everything”. Unfortunately, you, like the so many times I have, found out that this person did not, in fact, like “everything”, but liked a lot of a very limited pool of  music, and was resistant to anything outside the pool. You then sit there in awkward silence, trying to not seem pompous or uninterested. One time when I had one of these types of conversations, the emotion that swept over me was betrayal. This person just lied to me. I was all excited to talk about cool music, and they just lied to me.

Gets up and walks away…

It is an endearing trait through, to be enthralled with all of music’s many facets.  In truth, the people that say they like “everything” are simply saying that they like more than ONE thing, which is great.  There are a lot of people out there that don’t see the need to venture out of their “safe genre”, to not be defined by the one type of music that they listen to the most. So bravo to all of you “oh I like everything” people, there is hope for you.

Okay, I know, I am being a little sarcastic.  I am, however, trying to talk about a subject that is important to me.  I think that in this day and age, it is important to really try to be continuously expanding your musical threshold.  Music is such an amazing language we humans have adopted to speak to one another. It allows a timid man to speak of undying love through a microphone, and a frustrated heart to let go of the things that keep it hurting, and in doing so inspire others to do the same.  For these different messages and individuals, literally thousands of musical styles have sprung up to allow just about any artist to express how they feel, the way they want to express it.  Music, by its inception and practice, was never meant to be contained to one mode of execution.  The diversity of music that exists today is natural, and good.

As we have turned a corner in the music industry over the last few years with the introduction of the digital age and the “music like water” mentality, our ability to experience all these vast forms of expression through music is limitless.  With digital stores and online radio, a person’s location or culture can no longer withhold a person from experiencing new things, as it did in the past.  As we see Ipods get bigger, and more obscure artists become mainstay, so does the opportunity to be enriched and inspired through music.

I love that people refer to preferences in music as “tastes”, because it is very much like one’s experience with food. When we were young, there were no doubt foods that we either didn’t like, or didn’t think we liked. For me, I think it was mushrooms. As we got older, and our taste matured, our willingness to expand our palette also changed. Instead of frozen pizza everyday, maybe a well cooked pork loin or roasted salmon would do the trick. Instead of Koolaid, a fine wine is what brought comfort to our hearts. My wife and I now make dishes that solely feature mushrooms, I love those fungi. What I have found in my life is that I as I have grown up and tried new things, it has opened the door for other foods in my life that I now love. My affection for good sushi would not have been possible without my preference for fish and asian food proceeding it.

I am not telling you that you are some how “missing out” by not liking sushi.  More what I am trying to illustrate is that the journey discovery can take you on.  On the music side of this thinking, for most of my life I have sworn that I hated country music.  Despite living in Texas (we don’t all ride horses and wear cowboy hats, I promise), I couldn’t stand anything on CMT.  Even as I moved into college, I would say that I love most any music besides country.  Fast forward to last year, when I was working for FREEMAN AVW, an audio/visual company where most of my co-workers were good ‘ol boys. One day in the warehouse I was listening to one of my favorite albums of 2007, Dustin Kensrue‘s Please Come Home.  My co-worker, who only listened to country, remarked that I was finally listening to something good. I stopped and thought about that for a moment, and realized that I was indeed listening to, and enjoying, a form of country music. My wife and I talked about it, and we came up with scenario for how I had allowed the ONE genre I had always detested, into my heart.

  • My first musical obsession was with MC Hammer as a kid
  • Hammer allowed me to love hip-hop into my teens
  • Hip-hop allowed me to love electronic music
  • Electronic music allowed my to love it’s mash up with metal, called industrial music
  • From industrial, I began to love nu-metal bands like Korn and Limp Bizkit
  • I always enjoyed the more brutal parts of both of those bands, so when I was 16 I began to explore the metal/hardcore scene
  • From the hardcore scene sprang its more melodic cousin, post-hardcore, which feature former members of hardcore bands doing more progressive rock music
  • The mellow, acoustic offspring of post-hardcore is a style called emo, which (at least when it began) was mainly composed of one person and a guitar
  • Seeking out more substantial subject matter than I was getting from emo, I began to explore variations on folk music, such as Iron & Wine and The Swell Season
  • Most of those indie-folk artists use a wide variety of instruments that I began to really enjoy, such as the banjo
  • I then moved on to folk-country (without knowing it), because I thought I was listening to indie-folk with more twang to it.
  • Hence, Dustin Kensrue Dustin Kensrue
  • To take it one step further, I now love blue-grass music; the metal of country music.

I only illustrate this journey because I want to point out a few things. One is that despite finding new forms of music, I have never given up on past favorites. I still listen to a lot of hip-hop, electronica, and hardcore.  Finding new things through those genres didn’t require me to give them up, just to incorporate them in to a larger field of vision.  The second is that the journey was joyous.  I can go back and listen to old things in a new light and be completely surprised.  I can now walk into a room with the soundtrack from O’ Brother, Where Art Thou playing and not want to throw the stereo through the window.  As this journey continues, I find that there was a lot that I have missed along the way, and so there is always something “new” for me to listen to, even if the song is 20 years old.

As we come in to the summer season, music festivals will begin to open their doors to the public.  Places like SXSW, Cornerstone, and ACL fest allow people to be surrounded by music for long periods of time, most of which they have never heard.  To walk through these unique settings and never expand your musical understanding will only rob you of a truly amazing experience. I cant tell you what it was like to watch mewithoutYou for the first time without ever hearing them before. Or see Jason Upton sound check his music before the opening night of a camp he was leading.

It may seem hard and frustrating at first, but allowing yourself to have broad musical tastes only creates joy and enrichment in your life.  On The One21 Music, we are constantly throwing new music in your face, artists we know that you may have never heard of before. We want you to take a chance.  My prayer is that you are able to hear something that you never thought you would like and it touch your heart. Through that discovery you were able to experience a whole new world of music that has been hidden from you, and now it is the only thing you want to listen to.  The other aspect is the ability to see the workings of music you don’t fully understand. It is really cool to be able to hear what sounded like noise before and realize it is no different than the music you have always loved and respected.

Don’t believe me? I can with all confidence compare The Chariot to The Who.  Ask me…

So, what kind of music do you listen to?