The One21 Essential 100 Pt.12

essential100 copy

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

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

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9
Check out Pt.10
Check out Pt.11

Kelly Jones Parks Do Not Fear
Do Not Fear
Kelly Jones Parks

Buy this album: iTunes
Kelly Jones Parks‘ 2001 debut Do Not Fear is a masterpiece, almost a diary of a young woman struggling with the fear and excitement of coming to maturity in the transition from high school with family and college on her own. The opening track “Right Hand” focuses on the comfort of Christ’s presence in Park‘s life as she explores the freedom of her new life. “The One” should be required listening for all teen girls and young women as Kelly Jones Parks shares the wonder of finding the One she has waited for God to bring to her. “Scarborough House” celebrates the discovery of new friendship and the importance of sisterhood in college. The triumph of Do Not Fear is “Isaiah 43 (You Are Mine)” which is Kelly Jones Parks‘ celebration of God’s love for us. We defy you to listen to all 4:21 minutes of this song without praying gratitude and praises.
Highlights: Isaiah 43 (You Are Mine), The One, Scarborough House

Manchester Orchestra- Mean Everything To Nothing
Mean Everything To Nothing
Manchester Orchestra

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
When you are able to marry both catchiness and intelligence, then you created something very special. Manchester Orchestra have done just that with equal parts gritty garage rock, and angry post-hardcore combined to result in a cohesive group of songs that not only build on each other, but also communicate a vast range of emotion and mood. Much of the album feels like the best of 90s era grunge mixed in with the best of modern progressive indie rock.

Many songs deal with the frustration of wanting more out of everyday life than the status quo, while others try to reconcile love for a person who does not deserve it. Lyrically, it can range from the baffling to the profound, but every word, every note is performed with a rising sense of tension, and sometimes all out pain. It is the post card of a band no longer young men, but not quite grown either.

The depth as to which these songs are written is amazing as well, the layers each song presents only give power to the emotions being expressed. Every song has something that you didn’t hear the first time (or the second), and Mean Everything To Nothing will keep you coming back. In plain English, this is a phenomenal album.
Highlights: The River, Everything To Nothing, Shake It Out

Vigilantes Of Love - Slow Dark Train
Slow Dark Train
Vigilantes Of Love

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Vigilantes of Love blended blues, gospel, folk-rock and country-rock. Formed in 1990 in Athens, Georgia, the group consisted of chief songwriter Bill Mallonee on vocals and acoustic guitars, Newton Carter on electric guitars and backing vocals, David LaBruyere on bass, and Travis Aaron McNabb on drums and percussion. Vigilantes of Love began as an acoustic duo, with just Mallonee and an accordionist; after releasing two independent albums as a duo, Mallonee added some other Athens-area local band veterans to go electric.

Bill Mallonee and Vigilantes of Love deliver crushingly good music written from a Believer’s view of faith and hope. But it is not a belief packaged by today’s Church. It is a belief built on the scars of life and redemption. The band does their best to turn this to their advantage by cranking out Southern post-punk garage rock songs of despair held in check only by day-to-day faith in God. They mostly succeed, and the album is full of excellent hooks, in addition to Bill Mallonee‘s typically inspired lyrical genius: “I was drowning in/complancy’s cheap perfume/yeah, licking my wounds…” is one of many indellible verses.

Bill Mallonee has called Slow Dark Train his “testament to despair,” and it fits. The opening triumverate–”Locust Years,” “Tokyo Rose,” “Black Crow”–is about is hard and angry as VOL is ever likely to be. When the record isn’t raging against corrupt record labels, false friends, and human nature itself, it finds Mallonee weeping in a motel room over his own fallenness and inability to follow the truth.
Highlights: Locust Years, All The Mercy We Have Found, Judas Skin

the call reconciled
The Call

Highlights: Amazon, iTunes
Call were one of the great bands of the 80’s with smart musicians, a passionate singer, great songs, an “original” sound, intelligent and thought provoking spiritually-themed lyrics. Some critics place The Call in a group with REM and U2 and they were darlings of music icons like Peter Gabriel and Robbie Robertson. The Call‘s music is characterized by driving rhythm, deep and subtle lyrics and a texture unlike anyone else out there. The Call sucked you into their world, with a driving danceable beat and intelligent lyrics that were easy to sing along to. The band’s musical interplay is tight, and Michael Been’s lyrics & transcendent lead vocals are passionate with a capital P.

In 1986, The Call released what is without a doubt their masterpiece, Reconciled. It is one of the greatest, most passionate rock albums ever made. Reconciled, more than any other captures the anthemic essence of The Call’s mission…great rock and roll with a reason. The Call delivers one emotional, powerhouse rocker after another, such as the dramatic “Everywhere I Go,” the triumphant “I Still Believe,” “Blood Red,” “Oklahoma,” “Sanctuary,” and the closing “Even Now.” Michael Been’s voice is the absolute glue. Deep,rich and gutsy his treatment of the lyric puts this album in a class by itself. And, for the coup de grace, Reconciled features guest performances by such The Call fans as Peter Gabriel and Simple Minds‘ Jim Kerr on backing vocals, and Robbie Robertson on guitar. Outstanding music from start to finish, Reconciled is a magnificent album from a magnificent band. Many of the songs feel fresh 20 years later…a couple are beginning to sound like “classics.” This just might be one of the top 10 most perfect albums of the 80′s.
Highlights: Everywhere I Go, I Still Believe, Sanctuary

Washington Phillips - The Key To The Kingdom
The Key To The Kingdom
Washington Phillips

Highlights: Amazon, iTunes
How does a set of raw, simple early gospel tunes make onto this list of underground Christian music? It is really good. Washington Phillips was a street preacher, street musician and gospel pioneer. Phillips’ laid the foundation for 20th century gospel music influencing modern music influnecers Sister Rosetta Thorpe, Sam Cooke and the Blind Boys of Alabama.

The Keys to The Kingdom features Phillip’s sincere, plaintive vocals accompanied by some rare fretless zither-like instrument that is a cousin to the auto harp. The quite sincerity and humility of these songs haunt you for days after hearing them. Songs from The Keys to The Kingdom have been covered by everyone from Ry Cooder to Phish and were featured in the movie “Elizabethtown.”

Washington Phillips had a short but amazing recording career. He recorded these 16 tracks between 1927 and 1929 and never recorded again. It is some of the most gentle, beautiful, passionate spiritual music I have ever heard.
Highlights: Denomination Blues Pt. One, Denomination Blues Pt. Two, I Am Born to Preach the Gospel, Paul and Silas In Jail

Paste Magazine Launches Songs For Haiti

It is hard to ignore the immense travesty that has occurred in Haiti following a record breaking earthquake that has a death toll in the thens of thousands already. Since the quake, the world has rallied to help the people of Haiti, some by going there, some by sending aid. Paste Magazine has stepped up encourage the giving with a cool little deal. Read below to find out:

Like so many others, Paste has been moved by the tragedy facing the survivors of the Haitian earthquake. We have launched “Songs for Haiti” ( as a way to raise money and keep awareness high. A diverse array of artists — Ludacris, Of Montreal, Andrew Bird, Hanson, Umphrey’s McGee, Switchfoot, Bruce Cockburn and over 200 others — have donated MP3s (many unreleased) for us to give everyone who donates to help Haiti.

You can donate through Paste or to a charity of your choice (just tell us), and you will have access to our Download Vault and 250 songs (and counting). We don’t think people should donate to the relief efforts in Haiti just to get a reward. But this gives Paste and artists a way to help, using the thing we’re most passionate about—music.

To donate, click below. 100% of money contributed through “Songs for Haiti” will be spread among three charities active in Haiti: Doctors Without Borders, Red Cross, and Wyclef Jean’s Yele Haiti Earthquake Fund.

Visit the Songs For Haiti Website

Many of the artists that we cover on this website have taken part in this, so please check out the list below and go help out:

Andy Zipf- “See No Saviour”, I Sing Hallelujah
Ben + Vesper- “LuvInIdleness”, “An Honest Bluff”, “Especially We”
Bill Mallonee- “The Ghosts I Run With”
Deas Vail- “The Things You Were”
Derek Webb- “Heaven (Pre-Mix)”
Dignan- “Tangled Woods”
Gasoline Heart- “Armadillo”
Katie Herzig- “Waiting For My Night”
Lenny Smith- “I Saw A Mighty Angel”
Sandra McKracken- “10,000 Angels (Love Has Come)”
Switchfoot- “We Are Bound”
The Rocketboys- “Triumphs Of Love & Fortune”
The Welcome Wagon- “I Am Not Skilled To Understand”
Wovenhand- “Kicking Bird”, “Dirty Blue”, “Bleary-Eyed Duty”, ” White Bird”

and Im sure I missed a few

Visit the Songs For Haiti Website

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!
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!

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

Christian Artists To Know- Bill Mallonee/Vigilantes of Love


Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love
Genre: Rock
Styles: Americana, Alternative, Rock n’ Roll, Brit-pop, Folk rock
Location: Athens, Ga.
Label: Independent
Christian Label: No
Category: The Message whats this?

It is virtually impossible to separate Vigilantes of Love from Bill Mallonee. Not to diminish the contribution of any of member of VOL over the years, but the music and lyrics of Bill Mallonee, sung with the urgent, pleading vocals of Bill Mallonee defines the greatness that is  Vigilantes of Love.  Whether the music is labeled Vigilantes of Love or Bill Mallonee, musical genius prevails.

Bill Mallonee’s music has traveled a wide swath of musical styles over the years with heavy influences from Bob Dylan, Neil Young, REM, The db’s and New Order as well as the great undiscovered bands of the 80′s Athens music scene.  Bill Mallonee’s conversational singing style is infused with aching urgency and pleading hope.  The bulk of the Bill Mallonee/VOL music fuses traditional rock, Amerciana, country instruments into a sound marked by crunching. soaring anthemic guitars and relentless rhythms of the heartland.  This music is equally at home played on an acoustic guitar in a coffee shop or blistering the walls of a club through a wall of Marshal stacks.

It is the lyrics, though.  Bill Mallonee’s songs are stories of transcendent hope, crushing disappointment,soaring faith and anger filled rants.  Bill Mallonee writes songs about living as a Believer in this skin on this Earth.  As we all know, this is a story of disappointment, frustration, pain, joy, triumph and love.  Paste magazine named Bill Mallonee as the 65th best living songwriter (in the company of Alex ChiltonMerle HaggardConor OberstRichard Thompson and Sting).

Here is a vintage video of Vigilantes of Love singing “All The Mercy We Have Found”  at Cornerstone 1997.

Here is a recent video of Bill Mallonee, with is wife and touring partner Muriah Rose performing “Resplendent”

Bill Mallonee has released 25 albums over his 17 year career to much critical acclaim. Musically, his songs tend towards a very broadly defined Americana, embracing Folk-rock, Brit-pop, psychedelia and troubadour folk.  Bill writes 40-50 songs a year. He releases them through the EP series called the Works Progress Administration.  Here are the lyrics on one of his most recent “Coming Out of Hiding”, released around Easter of this year:

I heard you were mother’s pride and joy
she was pretty young when she had that baby boy
you were up against the powers…and down with the man at the start
You had a hunger in your belly and the fire in side your heart

you said mysterious things like: “living looks more like dying.”
Now, you’re coming outta hiding

I heard they called your mother ’bout every name under the sun
I heard you turned your cheek a lot and bit your tongue
You had a knack for making friends who couldn’t pay you back
spending your coins on the wrong side of the tracks

picking up the tab after all that wining and dining
now, you’re coming outta hiding

spent some time in the underground just to get the lay of the land
spent some time with the sick to take them all on vacation
spent some time in the jail just to let the prisoners loose
spent some time on the gallows just to cut the hangman’s noose

all of these reversals are just a reminding
that you’re coming outta hiding

I heard they kicked you to curb when your show went down like a storm
heard they stole your crown…and gave you one of thorns
You know when love gets close it can be perceived as a threat
and God, you know we’ve got so much…to protect

I hear your love is always and ever abiding
and you’re coming outta hiding

I discovered Vigilantes of Love as I searched for great Christian music ( see Underground Christian Music Saved Us) and have been a fan since 1996.  Bill Mallonee and Vigilantes of Love are crushingly good music written from a Believer’s view of faith and hope.  But it is not a belief packaged by today’s Church.  It is a belief built on the scars of life and redemption.  As Bill Mallonee told Christinanity Today in an interview last year:

“Those songs are about inconsistent human beings-fragile, fractured, frail from top to bottom,” he says. That anyone should be surprised when they see that frailty lived out in real life baffles him.

“The Good News doesn’t make any sense until you know what the bad news is,” he says. “And the bad news isn’t that we have a few harmless peccadilloes and we screwed up on the way between high school and college or whatever-it’s deeper than that. It’s unrelenting.”

Vigilantes of Love have reformed to tour and release a new CD this year.  In the meantime explore Bill Mallonee’s and Vigilantes of Love’s catalogue at

Bill Mallonee Bill Mallonee & Vigilantes of Love

Vigilantes of Love Vigilantes of Love

Or buy the CDs from

Vigilantes of Love


Driving the Nails

Killing Floor

Welcome to Struggleville

Blister Soul


Slow Dark Train

To the Roof of the Sky

Audible Sigh


Bill Mallonee

Fetal Position

Locket Full of Moonlight

My Year In Review

Perfumed Letter

Dear Life

Friendly Fire