Riverside Worship Project-Cornerstone’s Best New Band

Cornerstone Music Festival just announced Riverside Worship Project as the grand prize winner of their New Band Showcase.  This is significant because past winners have included P.O.D., Anathallo, Ester Drang, Sixpence None The Richer, Eisley and Over The Rhine.

The contest posts bios and music for a group of artists selected by  Cornerstone panelists and then allows fans to vote.  Here is a little background on Riverside Worship Project and all of the bands that will be featured on the Cornerstone 2010 New Band Showcase.  In the weeks to come we will help you discover all of these up and coming bands.

The Riverside Worship Project (Grand Prize Winner)

Riverside Worship Project

Riverside Worship Project refers to Brian Alpizar, Ryan Campagna, Steven Hale, Jason Hermansdorfer and Andrew McQuaig. We write songs and sing them with a community of . Our songs reflect the conversations, struggles, and experiences that we have shared with fellow college students at First Baptist Church of Opelika in Opelika, Alabama. In this way, The Riverside Worship Project is is an experiment in engaging life and God through music, not a skill bestowed upon a special few, but the natural response of those who have encountered Christ.

Da MAC (Music About Christ)
Benjamin Clark
Red Hill City
Scars of Eden
Flight From Below
Skyhawk Drive
The Sacred Eternal
Upon This Rock
Wolves At The Gate
campbell the band
A Place Past Hope
Josh Harmony
This Fires Embrace

Join us starting June 27th as we report on these bands and the full experience of Cornerstone Music Festival 2010.

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.1

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.

Staple Singers- Freedom Highway
Freedom Highway
The Staple Singers

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Before The Staple Singers became an icon of gospel/folk/civil rights music they released a classic live gospel album. Freedom Highway was a 1965 marker in the merge of popular music styles with gospel music. Here Pops Staples’understated sound is complemented perfectly by the others’ melancholy harmonies and Mavis Staples‘ growlingly soulful lead vocals. Tracks like “This Train Is Bound For Glory”, “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” and “What You Gonna Do” are superlative?” Also deserving a mention is their semi-acappella rendition of the “Lord’s Prayer” which will truly make the hairs on the back of your neck stand to attention. Freedom Highway is a great selection from one of gospel’s greatest and most original groups and an absolute must for anyone interested in gospel or blues music.
Highlights: Lord’s Prayer, Nobody’s Fault But Mine, This Train

beloved failure on
Failure On

Buy this album: Amazon,iTunes
While most bands like to experiment in many different styles, it is rare to see a band that is able to not only FULLY embrace both sides of it’s musical coin, but blend them in a way that makes sense. After making a name for themselves as a “indie hardcore” band , the North Carolina quintet, Beloved, unleashed Failure On in 2003, surpassing all expectations of being able to combine melodic indie rock with brutal hardcore. The dynamic allowed the band explore many different avenues, not on musically, but lyrically as the softer more rock driven vocals of Josh Moore served as a catalyst for the aggression driven emotions of drummer Joe Musten’s grit filled screams. Failure On proved that two very different shades of sounds could play together, and when used as they were in Failure On, be a powerful double-bladed sword.
Highlights: Death To Traitors, Defect from Decay, Aimless Endeavor

andy hunter exodus
Andy Hunter

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The wall of rhythm and sound that marks Andy Hunter’s debut, Exodus, didn’t come about overnight. Andy’s ability to weave together elements of Progressive House, Trance, Drum and Bass, and Electronica genres is the result of several years of experimentation and refinement in dance clubs and churches across Europe. But it wasn’t only his craft that was progressively honed during those years; it was also Andy Hunter’s vision for worship and his skills as a worship leader. The songs on Exodus are praise and worship songs with a beat. “Go,” inspired mainly by Exodus 12:31, reminds us of this revealed truth, which the postmodern mind fails to recognize — that true freedom cannot exist apart from God. “The Wonders of You” is inspired by Exodus 15:11 “Who among the gods is like you, O LORD? Who is like you — majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?” The lyrics of “Radiate” are simple, and I think the music is able to translate their earnestness. I want you/To radiate/Your perfection/Permeate/Burn in me/Eradicate/So burn, burn. Based on Romans 8:26, “Angelic” is part trance, part prayer. The vocals are without lyrics (“groanings which cannot be uttered”). Speaking-in-tongues set to a cool “chill out” beat.
Highlights: Go, Angelic, Radiate

anathallo canopy glow
Canopy Glow

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
The indie collective known as Anathallo had spent a good part of the mid to late 2000s becoming one of the most adored band’s in their scene; but it was 2008’s Canopy Glow that saw the band finally solidify and focus their chaotic sound and record an album that was as much interesting as it was creative. Canopy Glow runs the gamete of Anathallo’s musical abilities, allowing at time for both their uncontrolled jam clattering while honing their melodic and lyrical prowess. Every song is a journey, every instrument a different character in Canopy Glow’s whimsical play. In the end, Canopy Glow’s unconventional song structures and fleshed out layering make it a classic for any who like to hear something new every time they listen.
Highlights: John J. Audubon, Italo, The River

Third Day - Conspiracy 5
Conspiracy No. 5
Third Day

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Conspiracy No. 5 is Third Day’s second studio album and fifth album overall. Conspiracy No. 5 is considered by most to be the band’s most aggressive album to date. It is a departure from their original rootsy Southern rock style to a heavier, Southern grunge style. Whereas many people compare their first album to the music of Hootie & The Blowfish, this second release is often compared to Pearl Jam. This is a soaring, rollicking rock album that marks the highpoint of Third Day as a rock band.
Highlights: I Deserve?, My Hope Is You, Alien

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?)

eMusic Is The Coolest

One of the biggest surprises since we have started One21music is the lack of interest our readers have shown in eMusic.
Download 25 FREE songs at eMusic.com!
This was the first ad we put on our site. We thought people would flock to get 25 free songs. No one has explored the trial subscription, so I thought I would give you a testimonial from an excited subscriber. But first let me explain eMusic.

eMusic is the #1 site for independent music, with a library of over 4,500,000 MP3s.  eMusic sets itself apart from other well-known subscription music services (such as Napster and Rhapsody) because eMusic customers truly own the music they download.  The files available for download are in the MP3 format, making them fully compatible with all digital music players, and free from digital rights management Hippo software restrictions such as expiration dates, or copying or CD burning limitations. eMusic’s MP3′s play on any portable music player (including the iPod and Zune), can be downloaded to unlimited computers as well as burned to CD.

Here is how it works.  You can subscribe to download  25 to 100 songs each month based on the subscription level you buy.  The base subscription is 25 songs ($11.99 per month), then grows in 25 song increments (50 songs for $14.99, 75 songs for 19.99, 100 songs for $24.99).  eMusic offers about 25 different plans bu these are the most popular.

I have been a subscriber for over a year and my co-founder has been a subscriber for about nine months.  We love, l-o-v-e, eMusic.  Ian maintains a list of over 100 CDs and uses up his subscription on the first day it is available.  I like to save my downloads to use over the month.  Today is May 8th and I have already downloaded 65 of my 100 songs, so I am not such a good saver.

These downloads are just like buying the CD’s or downloading songs from iTunes, except they are cheaper and you own them.  If you really like music, or if your CD store is the electronics section at WalMart or if you are just cheap; eMusic is for you.  I downloaded , on their release date, the highly acclaimed new CD from Beirut for @$2.75, the EP from Bon Iver for $1.00 and M.Ward’snew one for $3.50.  Beat those prices WalMart and iTunes.

But more than convienence and thrift, eMusic has great services to help you find music you will love.  You can browse by genre, editors’ picks, new music, free tracks, advance releases, members ratings and any combination of those categories.  eMusic has music journalists writing artist and genre features and reviews.

Finally, eMusic has an extensive collection of songs and CDs from artists we have profiled on One21music. See the list below.

I encourage you to at least give eMusic a try.
Download 25 FREE songs at eMusic.com!

By the way, eMusicalso has a similar service for ebooks if you like to listen to ebooks
Heard any good Audiobooks lately? Get one free!

One21Christian Music Artists on eMusic

Jason Upton
August Burns
Iris Dement
The Ambassador
Josh Garrels
Cold War Kids
Fiction Family
Enter The Worship Circle
Bodies of Water
Cool Hand Luke
Kirk Franklin
Brooke Waggoner
Buddy Miller
Nicole C Mullen
Pigeon John
Bosque Brown
Paper Route
The Welcome Wagon
Kate Miner
Bradley Hathaway
Jeremy Egnik
Mute Math
Bill Mallonee/Vigilantes of Love
Brooke Fraser

The Many Facets Of Christian Music

Ever since we started The One21, we have been learning a lot. From the vast amount of  new talent we come across, to the trends in music and entertainment we have been able to identify, this company has allowed us to learn new things daily about the world of music we love so much.  We have tried to share those trends with you, and explore what the digital age of music has done for the underground music movement. We have attempted to expand the knowledge of the music out there being made by believers.  We have tried endlessly on this site to change the perception of what most people think when they hear the term “Christian music”, and bring you a whole new world of music that exists outside of the mainstream Christian industry.

It is in that last idea that we have run into the most trouble.  We feel that this website and the database of music we are building is our calling, our ministry to you, the person reading this.  We feel that we have a responsibility to give you as much information about the artists we talk about so that you can make the most informed decision on what music you allow in to your life and those around you. On the other hand, we also feel that we have a responsibility to artists we talk about. We don’t want to force any artist to label themselves as something they don’t want to labeled as.  The choices that an artists make in their career are their own, and it be irresponsible for us to (forcefully) change those decisions ( we REALLY want Kate Minor to come back to music, and I REALLY want Damien Rice to become a believer).  So how do we talk to people about music that is made by believers without forcing those artists to be pigeon-holed into a scene they want to exist outside of.

This struggle was put center stage recently as we attended SXSW. A band that we have featured on this site (I’m not going to tell you who it is, don’t ask), had a very strong reaction to us wanting to interview them and talk about it on the site. They told Chuck “well we are Christians, but we defiantly don’t make Christian music”, and were still debating this issue when I walked past them ten minutes later. Some of the members seemed upset that since we were a site that covered Christian music, that talking to us would change the perception of their band in the general public. However, all the research we had done on the band not only revealed that they were believers, but the majority of their lyrics centered around the dark picture the church paints of Christ versus what He truly is. We felt a little awkward because in a way we had tried to make them something they didn’t want to be, which is their call, not ours. The outcome is that they didn’t talk to us, even when Chuck attended their show a few nights later.

Later that same week, Chuck presented our pastor with a signed copy of a CD, from one of the hip-hop artists we interviewed, for his ten year old son who is really into hip-hop at the moment.  Our pastor thanked Chuck, but said that he needed to listen to it before his son could have it.  That seemed strange to me for a moment, but then he explained that another Christian hip-hop artist had frequently used the word “hell” (in the correct context by the way), a word that shocked and offended his young children who had been told NOT to say that word. It occurred to me that a lot of people can’t just listen to ANY artist who says that they are a Christian, even with ideologies that match up, subject matter is still an issue.

So on one side, we have believers who are making music, but do not want to be part of the Christian music world, and on the other side, we have people who need help with finding the right artist that helps them live their faith.  On the one hand we know of a lot of Christian artist who hardly ever talk directly about their faith in their music, and on the other we have a responsibility to present music that lines up with the ideologies that exist in Christianity. The dichotomy bothered me all week until we met with Tre9, a Houston hip-hop artist and founder of DaSouth.com, who spoke in our interview with him about hip hop artists being relevant to the audience that they are trying to reach.

79975“You’ve got to know as an artist who you are going to target your message to. Obviously if you want to disciple Christians then you need to make music relevant to them. Which would be music: quoting scriptures, having heavy spiritual content; but if you want to reach people that don’t have church knowledge and maybe don’t even read their Bible then you need to bring it down to their level. So, that may require you to do music that shares your life story more often, and maybe closes with the fact that you found fulfillment in Christ, but you’re not so heavily focused on making sure you get a scripture in there. Throw a Jesus here; throw a God, a Holy Spirit there. Throw the word redemption. You know sanctification; these words that the world doesn’t understand. You want to make music that is relevant to where they are at mentally and even spiritually.

When I say relevant, you’ve got groups like P.O.D. who are way into the world, but are making relevant music to their audience, and look at them, they are global. They have penetrated a market that they couldn’t penetrate when they were labeled a Christian artist. I think that’s good. A lot of people think they are sell outs because they don’t preach the gospel in their music, but for me I feel that this world needs Godly principles, they need the Bible interpenetrated in today’s language so that it’s relevant. So, if P.O.D. makes a song about ‘I feel so alive’, but they don’t say it’s because of Jesus; I think that person will eventually become a follower of P.O.D.; listening to their music, going to their website, researching and finding out “Hey, these guys are Christians. So that’s what they mean by ‘I feel so alive’.” So they don’t have to put it into a song for me. Now, a lot of people would disagree with that but, we need wholesome music. We need songs that deal with drugs, and the dangers of drugs; songs that deal with abstinence. These songs don’t have to say anything about God.  God is in that, God wants people to live an abstinent life, God wants people to avoid drugs. So, I’m ok with making music that is relevant to that market or that particular group of people. Going into public schools we can’t do Christian music, especially during school hours. You can’t just go in there preaching about Jesus. So, if you are going to make music relevant to a school; if it’s an elementary school, then you need to write some stuff elementary level. Junior high, High school…so that’s what I mean by relevant.”

I was blown away. This was a concept that had always been in the back of my mind, but I had never heard put into words.  I also realized that this line of thinking could be applied to all music, not just the world of hip-hop.  As I thought about it more, I became aware that this was how the whole scope of the Christian music scene fit together, even the artists that wanted to exists outside the borders of what is traditionally thought of as Christian music.  This is how we can talk about really good music that is being made by believers, but not really overtly spiritually, and then turn around and talk about worship music in the same breathe.  It is because in “Christian music” there are different forms of it, but all of them are written from a world-view of Christ.

In the end, I propose that all music, written from a foundation of hope and faith, that God can use to touch people’s hearts, can be divided into three categories:

The Spiritual- this is music that is made by believers, and is mainly intended for believers.  This music uses language and subjects that believers understand, and is made mainly for the purpose of worship, education, and encouragement. This music will use a lot of direct Biblical scripture, or discuss the literal concepts within the Bible. The gospel message is OBVIOUS to anyone. This music is meant to celebrate and discuss God and His teachings. This is were the majority of worship music will exist, as well as artist who talk about heavy Biblical truths.
The Ambassador
Becoming The Archetype
Third Day
Derek Webb
Jason Upton
Shane and Shane
Enter The Worship Circle
Toby Mac
For Today

The Message- the music in this category is evangelical in nature. It is made by believers for everyone. While it deals with strong Biblical truths, the music is made to appeal to both believers and non-believers alike.  The messages are meant to talk about address the need for Christ and the struggles that people go through before the come to know Him, and the relationship that exists afterward. Sometimes the message is obvious, sometimes it isn’t.  Most artists talk about their faith not only through their lyrics, but also from the stages that they play from (be it a church or a bar stage). This category is a musical response to the great commission.
August Burns Red
A Plea For Purging
Project 86
Joy Whitlock

The Light- this is the category that collects all the Christians who are out their making music, but are not necessarily talking about anything that is directly Biblical. This is just music made by believers. Most of the time, the songs have a indirect message pertaining to the artists faith. The artists in this category are not trying to speak to their beliefs, but are simply trying to make music , and their faith shines through from time to time.  The artists in this category most times exist completely outside of the Christian music radar, some of them you will know, but most you have never heard of. What is important to note is that while the music in this category is not overtly faith-based, it is music that is written from a heart changed by Christ, and can be used as a catalyst  people’s life.
Brooke Waggoner
Bob Dylan
Cold War Kids
Bodies Of Water
Buddy Miller

On our site, we are going to begin using these categories to define our artists better. You will begin to see them on our “Christian Artists To Know”, and as we build our database of artists, the categories will also be incorporated.

The idea behind these categories to allow all the many ways that music is made by believers to be viewed as a unified music scene. For the artists that sing honestly about thier life  and for the worship leader in the church, God uses all this music to touch people’s hearts.

Ian’s SXSW 09 Wrap-Up


It is the Monday after the Saturday we finished covering SXSW 09 and all the Christian performers playing the fest.  I’m pretty sore from walking around so much, crouching for pictures, and pushing through crowds.  The strain was worth it though, we saw some great music, met some cool people, and were able to re focus and hone in on what we wanted The One21 to become.

We have been reporting all week from SXSW, but I thought it would be cool to go back through some of the great shows we saw and post some bigger pics.

The first show we saw ended up being one of the best. Anathallo played the Paste Magazine party at around noon on the first day of music, and it really sat the tone.  Big, soaring choruses, a ton of people on stage, and a whole bunch of instruments made their show a joyful explosion of energy and fun.


Anathallo play hand bells at the Paste Magazine party at SXSW 09

Anathallo on piano at the Paste Magazine Party at SXSW 09

Anathallo on piano at the Paste Magazine Party at SXSW 09

Anathallo singing their heart out at the SXSW 09 Paste Party

Anathallo singing their heart out at the SXSW 09 Paste Party

The chaos of Anathallo at the SXSW09 Paste Magazine Party

The chaos of Anathallo at the SXSW09 Paste Magazine Party

Here is a video of that great show

Remember, you can always get Anathallo‘s music on Amazon and Anathallo

The next night we got see the lovely and talented Brooke Waggoner do her thing.  We were also fortunate enough to interview her before the show, so you can look out for that in the coming weeks.  She played with no percussion of any sort; it was just her voice, her piano, a cello, two violinists, and a friend singing back up vocals. Her music was soft and intricate, but the crowd that was there for her never wavered. For 45 minutes, she captivated the audience with her unique blend of indie style piano pop.  Brooke is a truly talented artist, and you never doubted it for a second watching her play.

Brooke Waggoner gives some joy at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner gives some joy at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner killing those piano keys at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner killing those piano keys at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner's string section making beautiful noise at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner's string section making beautiful noise at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner sings to us at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner sings to us at SXSW 09

Want to hear what I’m talking about? You can pick up Brooke Waggoner‘s music at Amazon and on Brooke Waggoner

The next morning we got to meet and watch the guys from hip-hop duo Rootbeer (aka Flynn Adam and Pigeon John) tear the stage up earlier in the day.  Their music is a lot of fun, and their show was high energy, giving them an appeal that you don’t find in a lot of today’s tuff guy rap scene.  The boys jumped and danced around the stage for a good twenty minutes, joked with the crowd, and told some stories.  I have said this about them before, but these dudes just put a smile on your face, you cant help but love them.  People were walking in off the street the entire set, and by the end of the show, the place was packed.

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) jumpin like chimpanzee at SXSW 09

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) jumpin like chimpanzee at SXSW 09

Pigeon John workin it out at SXSW 09

Pigeon John workin it out at SXSW 09

Flynn Adam doing his thing at SXSW 09

Flynn Adam doing his thing at SXSW 09

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) dancing for the crowd at SXSW 09

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) dancing for the crowd at SXSW 09

You can get Rootbeer‘s debut EP on Amazon and Rootbeer

That same night, Chuck and I made our way over to a little club called Spiro’s to catch a band we had been really excited about all year, Wovenhand.  Outside the door, Wovenhand‘s leader David Eugene Edwards was chatting up some friends and relaxing.  The man that was standing out side though was not the man that took his place on the stool right in front of me barely 20 minutes later. The man in front of me was a force, and voice of an angry and vengeful God that would some day come back to earth and take back what was His. For almost an hour, Wovenhand made my jaw drop to the flow in a scary display of power, passion, and revelation.  While their music was dark, I felt God’s presence over the show in the same way I had felt while watching mewithoutYou for the first time and Jason Upton several years before. If Jason‘s music is the heart of God, and mewithoutYou‘s is the mouth, then Wovenhand‘s music is the fist. The fist that swings the axe.

Wovenhand sings to the crowd at SXSW 09

Wovenhand sings to the crowd at SXSW 09

Wovenhand makes the crowd see at SXSW 09

Wovenhand makes the crowd see at SXSW 09

Wovenhand keeps it heavy at SXSW 09

Wovenhand keeps it heavy at SXSW 09

The chaos of Wovenhand at SXSW 09

The chaos of Wovenhand at SXSW 09

Here is video from the actual show. I am kneeling right in front of Edwards if you can spot me

You can purchase Wovenhand‘s incredible music at Amazon and Wovenhand

Now, these were just some of my favorite’s that we covered. I saw some great stuff from Dignan, Seabird, Paper Route, Anberlin, Kaboose, Bosque Brown, and Braille.  The feeling that overwhelmed me at the end of SXSW is that there is a lot of great music out there. In this age of digital music and online CD stores, there is so much opportunity for discovery and experimentation when it comes to the music we listen to.  For me though, it gives me hope that there is a ton of great music, better than most, being made by artists who want to express thier faith in Christ, be it directly or indirectly.  When I became a believer over ten years ago, the perception was that Christians just didnt have the good bands or songs. After SXSW 09 though, I know that it not true, and in reality Christians are making some of the most original and satisfing music out there. For a music lover, it will sound like great music, for believers, it will sound like new way to express the God that lives inside of us.

SXSW Winding Down

Saturday is the last real day of SXSW.  Everyone heads home tomorrow, but there are still a ton of exciting shows tonight (see SXSW Schedule for Saturday). But before we strike out on out on the Saturday night adventure, I have some final thoughts from SXSW 2009:

  • I am still buzzing about the thunderous, apocalyptic roar of Wovenhand.  I was up until 4:30 this morning writing my review of the Wovenhand show.  I assure you nothing I could have written would paint the picture of what we saw last night.  They are headed to Europe for a few weeks, so check their tour dates at the Wovenhand mySpace page.  Do not miss a chance to see this amplified roar of worship.
  • We spent the afternoon with a collection of hot rappers at the SXSW Holy Roller Rapper event in East Austin.  Tre9, Kaboose, LeCrae, Braille and the rest of the crew are  a great bunch of guys who are being belittled and marginalized for rapping their faith.  Good for you guys.  The pure at heart and brave in spirit will be persecuted.  Endure for your rewards will far surpass the indignities you encounter.
  • Best quote of the week came from Pigeon John, “If God wants to talk to you, He will make you cry.”
  • It is a jarring transition to go from the Interactive festival where everyone walks around with their laptops open, typing as they walk, to the music festival where people say to you, “Yeah dude, we will check it your website in a few days when we get on the Internet”.  People live in different worlds in this country and I am grateful for diversity.
  • We have been happily surprised by the Christian music artist’s shows at SXSW.  We thought we knew this music pretty well but Anathallo, Brooke Waggoner, Dignan, Seabird, Paper Route and certainly Wovenhand were all better shows than we could have imagined. See all of our SXSW show reviews by clicking on this link.

    Anathallo at SXSW


    Anathallo Pounding Percussion @ SXSW

  • It is encouraging to see God glorified in the midst of this worldly event.
  • It is impossible to truly capture the SXSW music festival with words.  It must be experienced.  It is a sensory overload with music everywhere.  We have done our best to capture SXSW and we have had a good time bringing it to you, but we are not finished.  We have a few hours of interview video we will edit and post over the next few weeks.  So stay tuned.
  • I am really happy to live in Austin, Texas. First, it is just a cool city.  We stumbled upon this little business pictured below while walking to the Asthmatic Kitty party on Friday. Second, Austin is in Texas and Texans are nice and polite.  The lead singer of the New Zealand based band, The Renderers told a story last night about how she had run out of minutes on her cell phone because the customer service agent at her cell phone company could not understand her when she was trying to buy more minutes.  Two people heard her dilemma as they walked by and offered to let her use their cell phones and to help her get the minutes renewed.


    East Austin Oasis

My feet hurt and I am sleepy.  With all of that, I am excited to see the four Christian music artists shows we can reach tonight.    We will put up our thoughts before we go to bed tonight, but tomorrow we will happily take a Sabbath rest.

SXSW Music and Scene ’09- Seabird, The Elms & Crowds


The highlight of SXSW Wednesday came at 1:00 a.m.  I was tired, I had work to do and I hated the bar Seabird was playing. “Wave” had no business hosting SXSW shows.  The stage was  a 6′x6′ square crammed in a corner at the back of the stage, at the bottom of a set of stairs that lead to another stage.  Seabird had to contend with no stage space and a constant stream of people walking down nearly on top of the stage and pushing their way through the Seabird fans to leave the club. Cranky Chuck.

Seabird (see our artist profile of Seabird) steps up to their mikes and I am not Cranky Chuck anymore. The brothers Morgan, Ryan and Aaron led the quartet through 40 minutes of beautiful piano driven rock.  Aaron’s powerful voice boomed emotive lyrics of loss, self examination and redemption.  Ryan’s crying guitar punctuated the mood of the songs.  Don’t get me wrong the music is upbeat and bouncy.  I had not had the opportunity to fully engulf myself in Seabird’s music, but this SXSW show has made me a raving fan.


You can buy Seabird’s music at iTunes Seabird

Anathallo and Dignan were both really great (see Ian’s recap of the Anathallo and Dignan SXSW shows) but Seabird made my night.

And what a night it was.  Thousands of music fans descended on Austin’s 20 blocks of blocked streets creating a street party of SXSW hipsters and people like me, not hipsters.  This is not Cornerstone.  When we isolate ourselves in our Christian scene we lose site of the world.  I have nothing against drinking, but goodness.  By 10:00 p.m. I was exhausted so I found a  stool at Buffalo Billards to watch a few interesting secular bands, but mostly I  just wanted to rest.  Why do people come out to see great SXSW music and then proceed to power drink?  When I emerged from my bar stool at 12:45 the SXSW thoroughfares were filled with people who had no business walking, much less driving.  I am not judging, I am just not used to this type of party.


I saw The Elms earlier in the evening.  The SXSW crowd of about 200 people was punctuated by about 50 hardcore FANS of The Elms.  They broke into the rambunctious midwestern rock and roll and for 40 minutes The Elms strutted, soloed and danced.  The best song of the night was from their new album and then they abruptly announced that they had run out of time and ended their set.  I have the impression that The Elms are used to being  headliners with more control over their show than they had at SXSW last night.


Check out all of the great music by The Elms at iTunes The Elms

We are off this moring to dive back into the deep pool of cool Christian music at SXSW.  Check out Ian’s preview of SXSW Thursday.

SXSW 09 Show Round-Up: Anathallo & Dignan


Our first day at SXSW Music was great. It was the hottest day of the week so far, but the weather was great none the less.  Music was in the air, and people were there to hear it.

img_6991We hit the Paste Magazine Party around noon. It was a great way to start the day, the crowds weren’t really out yet and the air was still a little cool. What was also great about it was that Anathallo was the first band to hit their outside stage, so we were able to get really close despite the crowd.

img_6998 img_7027

If you have never seen these guys play you are missing out! They put on a show to be reckoned with. Tons of instrumentation; I believe every person in the band played at least two/three things during the course of the show.  There were huge bass drums, wooden blocks, horns, bells, and harmonicas to name a few.  Their passion is undeniable, I am surprised these guys don’t pass out on stage often.  I told Chuck after we watched them that there is just no way someone could watch these guys and not smile. This is an immensely talented band, hands down, and it was a great way to start the day off.


You can buy Anathallo‘s music on Anathallo

At 6:30, we headed over to Ace’s Lounge and taped our interview with the progressive rock band Dignan.


The interview went great despite having to dodge cars in the ally we had set up in. The band was really cool, and answered all of our questions with insight and understanding.  They hit the stage around 8PM. It was an odd stage because it was completely surrounded by the bar for the venue, making picture taking a little difficult.


I have to say that I was VERY impressed with these guys. They bring this kind of shy intelligence to their stage show. their music is not altogether dark, but the feeling of the show was kind of a shadowy progression.  They share a lot of music traits with Anathallo, in that they use a a lot of different types of instruments to get their sound across. What stands out with Dignan is their song progression, each song is very much a journey, and it totally works in their show. I watched five great musicians get lost in their music, and it was incredible. The last song that they played was immense, and that is the only way I can describe it.


Please go buy Dignan‘s music on Dignan

I think Chuck has the rest of the day covered, so we will be checking in with you tomorrow, please be sure to take a look at our schedule and come find us at the shows.

Chuck’s Thoughts from SXSW Music


This is a sensory overload,  As we walk the streets of Austin, Texas the sound of a cool R&B band gives way to walking rhythms of an Americana artist to the screaming guitars of a rock band.  Five square miles of  SXSW music pervades the air. This is really cool.  And to top it off, today is a perfect Austin day, 80 degrees, cool breeze and not one cloud.

Let me set the stage.  The centerpiece of SXSW are the 1800 official showcases that go from 8:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. in more than fifty downtown Austin clubs.  But the showcases are only a small part of the festival.  Companies, economic development agencies, radio stations all hold private parties to promote their brands and their bands.  Most of the shows are free and many of them are open to the public.  Dylan, our intern, has his SXSW days booked from noon to 4:00 a.m. everyday and he will not spend a dime.  The cool think about the parties are that they host major acts such as M.Ward and Passion Pit.

We started the day at the Past Magazine party to see Anathallo.  While waiting in line to get in, we met Josh. He is a social marketing representative for the Dow Federal Employee Credit Union.  His job over the next few days is to see as much as he can see of SXSW without spending any money. He will then blog about the experience, sort of like I am doing now. You see, many of these parties not only put on free live shows but they also provide food and drinks.  At the Paste party they were giving away tasty Fuze drinks ( I had sparkling clementine).

Christian music artist Anathallo hit the stage at 12:30 and took us through 45 minutes of swirling driving alternative artistry.  We were outside and it reminded me of Cornerstone.   They combined basic rock instrumentation with multiple keyboards, bells, marching band bass drums, wood blocks, pots, trombones and trumpets.  They mix these instruments in a way that clarifies the songs while keeping us enthralled.  Their percussionist is a show unto himself.  We are lining up an interview with them for later this week and we are going to see them again tonight.

We then went to the trade show to meet people and gather goodies.  It is funny.  When we tell people what we do, they immediately think we cover the middle of the road, watered down adult contemporary music that is associated with Christian music.  As we explain to them that Christian music is not a genre or a style but a set of foundational beliefs from which artists of all genres make music, they begin to get excited.

One person we met was Jennifer Eitel Young, one of the founders of Curtaincalltv.com, an online stage for performers to build fan bases.  As we discussed one21music.com we discovered that Jennifer was a Christian music artist and, even though she not longer records, she continues to perform at women’s conferences around the country.

I finished the day at the Canada music party where they had six bands on an outdoor stage and served BBQ.  Let’s see good music outside under the trees with Texas BBQ.  It was even better than it sounds.

As soon as I finish this post, I am headed to interview Dignan and then watch their show before I hit The Elms, Anathallo again and Seabird.  We will give you the lowdown before we go to sleep tonight so check your email before you head to work tomorrow.

To see the full schedule of Christian music on tap today check out Ian’s article on the SXSW Schedule for Wednesday.