Christian Music News December 1rst,2009

Headlines

Josh Olds (also known as Fatty) of the Family Force 5 fame is in an ICU with some serious liver problems after this weekend. Please pray that everything turns out well….

Brandtson have officially now broken up, despite the fact that they have not performed together in over a year.

You can watch a professionally recorded 5 song live set from Thrice over on Shockhound right now. So go do it…Watch Thrice perform live.

La Dispute got robbed in Michigan last week.

Mark Nicks (aka Cool Hand Luke) announced this week after saying earlier this year he would be done with music that fans could expect not only a lot more shows from him, but the possibility of TWO new albums in 2010. Yer wearin me out Mark….

Bluesy rock solo artist Maron said that she is knee deep into a second album which will see the light of day in 2010.

The band Advantage have broken up. Lead vocalist Shane is now in pop rock duo The Threats. Also in breaking up news, He Only Promised Everything, and Heroes Will Be Heroes have also called it a day.

You can watch a 3 song performance from Lights on Yahoo Music right now. So do it….Watch Lights perform.

Metal band Embracing Goodbye have signed on with Driven Music Group.

A stripped down performance from Manchester Orchestra can be seen over at IHeartRadio.com right now. So once again, you should go watch it! Watch Manchester Orchestra perform.

Videos

Speaking of Thrice, here is the video for their song “In Exile”

yep, the video for “Must Be Santa” by Bob Dylan

Album Info (more in the Release Dates page)

Below is the album artwork and tracklisting for Greeley Estates January 26th, 2010 release, No Rain, No Rainbow.
greeley estates no rain no rainbow
1. Seven Hours
2. I Shot The Maid
3. Loyal.com
4. Friends Are Friends For Never
5. They Won’t Stay Dead
6. Jealousy Breeds Killing Sprees
7.Lying Through Your Teeth Doesn’t Count As Flossing
8. Swim For Your Lives
9. You’ll Never Leave Vegas Alive
10. Wolves Make Great Actors
11. The Offer

This is the album artwork and tracklisting for Saving Grace‘s upcoming January 5th,2010 releases entitled Unbreakable
6PnlDigi_Web Template:Layout 1
1. End of Days (Intro)
2. Unbreakable
3. Bury Me in Jimenez
4. The Disgusting Maw
5. Pukelips
6. Where It Rains
7. The Eye of the Storm Part II (Interlude)
8. Oaxaca
9. All, But the Archer
10. The Listener
11. Bound by Blood
12. The Determined Drunk

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.

New Releases For October 13th, 2009

ahmad-the-death-of-me
The Death of Me
Ahmad

We C.L.A.P.
Hip-Hop

bob-dylan-christmas-in-the-heart1
Christmas In The Heart
Bob Dylan

Sony Records
Folk/Christmas
Buy NOW:
Amazon

eisley fire kites ep
Fire Kites EP
Eisley

Sire/Reprise Records
Indie Progressive Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

grave-robber-inner-sanctum
Inner Sanctum
Grave Robber
Retroactive Records
Horror Punk
Buy NOW:
Amazon

Lions and Tygers Coat Of Color
Coat of Color
Lions and Tygers

Independent
Pop Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

sherwood qu
QU
Sherwood

Myspace Records
Pop Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

sonsofday autumn heart
Autumn Heart
SONSOFDAY

1964 Records
Pop Rock

we-shot-the-moon-a-silver-lining
A Silver Lining (digital release)
We Shot The Moon

Afternoon Records
Pop Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

Essential Songs:I Believe In You by Bob Dylan

Christian Music Artist Bob Dylan

I Believe In You by Bob Dylan Bob Dylan - Slow Train Coming - I Believe In You

This declaration of Christian faith from the Jewish poet and conscious of the Baby Boomer’s social revolution in the 60′s.  It is really a simple expression in God’s love and faithfulness in times of trouble and times of joy.  Dylan’s conversion, expressed in his 1979 album Slow Train Coming, caused him much trouble in his counterculture circles.  This was the generation that rejected the traditional church and in their immaturity rejected the faith.  Dylan’s conversion was a betrayal.  Dylan balks at being labeled a Christian music artist but he performs this song on his current tour. Read the story of the Apostle Paul in Acts and tell me if this feels familiar.

I Believe In You
Bob Dylan

They ask me how I feel
And if my love is real
And how I know I’ll make it through.
And they, they look at me and frown,
They’d like to drive me from this town,
They don’t want me around
‘Cause I believe in you.

They show me to the door,
They say don’t come back no more
‘Cause I don’t be like they’d like me to,
And I walk out on my own
A thousand miles from home
But I don’t feel alone
‘Cause I believe in you.

I believe in you even through the tears and the laughter,
I believe in you even though we be apart.
I believe in you even on the morning after.
Oh, when the dawn is nearing
Oh, when the night is disappearing
Oh, this feeling is still here in my heart.

Don’t let me drift too far,
Keep me where you are
Where I will always be renewed.
And that which you’ve given me today
Is worth more than I could pay
And no matter what they say
I believe in you.

I believe in you when winter turn to summer,
I believe in you when white turn to black,
I believe in you even though I be outnumbered.
Oh, though the earth may shake me
Oh, though my friends forsake me
Oh, even that couldn’t make me go back.

Don’t let me change my heart,
Keep me set apart
From all the plans they do pursue.
And I, I don’t mind the pain
Don’t mind the driving rain
I know I will sustain
‘Cause I believe in you.

Is Dylan singing about himself, or the Apostle Paul, or both? Can you make the declaration of this song?

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.
Examples:
The Ambassador
Becoming The Archetype
Third Day
Derek Webb
Jason Upton
Shane and Shane
Enter The Worship Circle
Toby Mac
For Today
Dirt

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.
Examples:
Switchfoot
Lecrae
August Burns Red
P.O.D.
SuperChick
Kaboose
A Plea For Purging
mewithoutYou
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.
Examples:
Rootbeer
Anathallo
Brooke Waggoner
Paramore
Bob Dylan
Cold War Kids
Thrice
Danielson
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.

Christian Artists to Know: Buddy Miller

buddy-miller-close-up

Buddy Miller
Genre: Country
Styles: Alternative County, Americana. Gospel
Location: Nashville, TN
Label: New West Records
Website: http://www.buddyandjulie.com/
Christian label: no
Category: The Light whats this?

No Depression Magazine , the combination New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone of the Americana/Alt Country scene, published its last issue in June 2008 (it is now a vibrant webzine).  That final issue featured underground Christian music artist Buddy Miller on its cover, declaring Buddy their “Artist of the Decade.”

Emmylou Harris, for who he served as lead guitarist and band leader for 8 years, calls Buddy Miller “one of the best guitar players of all time.”  Steve Earle, another former band mate, pronounces Buddy Miller “the best country singer working today.”

And yet, most of us have not heard of him.  Who is this guy?

Buddy Miller hit the country music scene in the sixties as a young guitar slinger touring the country with acts large and small.  He made his way to Austin in 1975 and became a fixture in the “Outlaw Country” scene led by Willie Nelson. There, Buddy met his soul mate, Julie Miller (now a CCM star in her own right). As Buddy and Julie were building a growing fan base in New York in the early 80′s, Julie gave her life to Christ and disappeared.  Buddy Miller followed his soul mate, discovering Christ and new life.  The couple left the music scene for several years only to emerge in the early 90′s as solo artists.  His first solo album Your Love and Other Lies was not released until 1995. Many don’t know Buddy Miller because his music pays homage to the roots of the greatest country music and does not succumb to the formulas of the country hit machine.

The sound is pure old-school country, mixed with swamp rock and high plains vocals with complex roots instrumentation and song structures from soul, gospel, rock and the best country.  His first four solo albums did not touch much on his faith.  The themes of the early records on Hi-Tone Records mostly dealt with the traditional worldly themes of country music: lost love and broken dreams.  According to Miller, “although my faith is a big part of my life, I just make my records, my country records. Maybe there will be a little something of faith in there, but it’s not what I’m comfortable doing.”

That was until Buddy Miller ripped open his shirt in 2004 to reveal the heart of a devout Christian, steeped in universal-house-of-prayerGod’s love and greatly troubled by the evil all around him.  His fifth solo record Universal House of Prayer is the second best Underground Christian record of the decade and I cannot imagine anyone displacing it in the next two years.

With Universal House of Prayer, he has created a masterpiece where modern Americana meets traditional roots country meets gospel meets soul meets blues in a breathtaking gumbo of Biblical teaching and universal Truth for humans and society alike.

Our overriding theme at One21music is One Hope, Three Chords and The Truth and Universal House of Prayer exemplifies that mantra.  The CD is full of meaty lyrics by Buddy Miller , Bob Dylan, Mark Heard and several others like these from the amazing song “Don’t Wait”:

Temptation will rust
Crawls in with the fog
Eats away at your trust
Mean as a wild pack of dogs
Uses you up throws your life away
Don’t let it win for another day

Don’t wait don’t wait
Don’t wait it’s late
Don’t wait don’t wait
Don’t wait don’t wait don’t wait don’t wait

Now I’m praying for strength
To get one last try
From mercy’s cup to drink
Before it’s time to die
And all the wicked they best
Start to change their ways

Here is the video for Mark Heard‘s “Worry Too Much”  from Universal House of Prayer.

If you like country wrap this around yourself  like an old coat and, if you don’t, buy it anyway and dance to this music.  If you are a believer, take comfort from these lyrics and if you are not, find yourself in his observations on our society today.

Universal House of Prayer is Buddy Miller‘s masterpiece and one of the greatest alt-country and Christian records ever made, but his reputation was made long before 2004.  His Best the Hi-Tone Years was named one of the essential Americana records of all time. His music has been recorded by Emmy Lou Harris, The Dixie Chicks,Steve Earle, Lee Ann Womack, Brooks and Dunn, Suzy Bogguss and Garth Brooks and even jazz singer Jimmy ScottBuddy Miller is also a highly sought after producer, recording albums for Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Vigilantes of Love.

Buddy Miller is one of the most respected writers, producers, arrangers, instrumentalists and singers in Nashville.  More than that he is a devoted believer who openly professes his faith from the stage and who is highly respected in the Nashville community as a man of character.  Forget genre labels and enjoy one of the greatest American musicians recording today.

You can find Buddy Miller’s solo work digitally on Buddy Miller

You find Buddy & Julie Miller’s work together digitally on Buddy & Julie Miller

You can also get his CDs through Amazon: Poison Love(1997 solo), Cruel Moon (1999 solo), Buddy & Julie Miller (2001 with Julie), Midnight and Lonesome (2002 solo), Love Snuck Up (2004 with Julie), Universal United House of Prayer (2004 solo), The Best of the Hightone Years (2008 solo), Written In Chalk(2009 with Julie)

Bored At The Grammys

The mainstream music scene continues to lose relevance as they pursue the easy hit over cultural meaning and artistic quality.  Underground Christian musicians, free of the illusion of mega-stardom, are a creating body of meaningful work.  Despite what is pushed on you by the mainstream secular and Christian music industries, great music is being created as an honest expression of a believers’ struggles in this world.  We believe this music can overcome the bland music scene we see today.

The past few months have revealed a lot about the mainstream music industry. With every one’s “Best of 2008″ lists, the Grammys, and several predictions on what is going to take over the industry in the next year, a strong emotion has washed over me. Apathy. I don’t care. How could I? In a year when some of the most celebrated and well received music came from the likes of Kid Rock, Lil’Wayne, and Vampire Weekend, why would I be excited about the upcoming year in mainstream music?

This is not to say that 2008 wasn’t a GREAT year in music, there were some amazing albums (Bodies of Water, Thrice, Kaboose, Becoming The Archetype) made by newcomers and veterans alike.  The problem is that these were not the CDs that got their due.  Instead Katy Perry was on every award show and in every headline.

The music industry seems to be suffering from amnesia, because they are falling back into their self-indulgent, manipulative, money grubbing ways again. This persona that the music industry is putting on is the exact reason that the whole market began to move towards not only the digital age, but to the vibrant independent world of music several years ago.  The mainstream music industry continues to leave true music lovers on the side lines, instead opting for the quick gratification of the lowest common denominator, and the industry won’t survive for much longer because of it.

I started thinking about this a few months ago when I caught the movie I’m Not There on television, a biopic of sorts about rock legend Bob Dylan.  The concept of the movie is that he is played by five different actors (well, four actors and one actress, Cate Blanchett should have gotten an Oscar), each actor depicting a different aspect of Dylan’s persona.  The movie can be really hard to follow at times, but in the middle of it I realized that the whole point was that they were not trying to depict Bob Dylan the man, but instead his folklore-ish like legend.

This also got me thinking about how can a man who plays a guitar and sings (some would say not very well) become so respected that a movie depicts him as some type of urban legend? For most, the answer was that Bob Dylan was such a huge influence at so many points in his career, that no movie could focus on one aspect of that life, but instead had to encompass many parts of a great whole. I see it as something different altogether though, because there were other folk performers at the time of Dylan.  Bob Dylan wrote authentic, relevant music that was unlike anything that had been heard before, and his music changed the way that rock, folk, and pop was crafted.  There wasn’t anyone like Bob Dylan.

How many musicians do you know in the modern music industry who operate the way that Bob Dylan did?  Do you think that Britney will be immortalized in a movie about her artistic achievements?  Its hard to think of many performers in our generation that were like Dylan, because the music industry no longer celebrates what his music stood for. Instead, we are saturated with warmed over versions of the next big thing, suffer through mediocre performers who command the charts, and watch the industry ignore truly gifted musicians who don’t fit in their plastic molds.

It seems ironic that this same industry threw a fit a few years ago when online retailers like Itunes and Amazon were offering digital, pay for what you want, MP3 albums.  The argument was that people would only buy the songs that they wanted and the digital age would kill the album.

Well, yea, that sounds about right.

The 90′s were a terrible time to be a music lover on a budget, because by the end of the decade, the $15 CD with three good songs was very common place. The industry wasn’t trying to produce albums, they were producing hits, and the public consumer response was to download the songs we wanted (legally or otherwise), and not the fluff. Simple as that.  However, this did not change the music industry’s strategy on their album focus.  So the market started to look towards the independent music scene, who were more focused on the creation of great music than making pop hits, to once again give us entire CDs of great music.  The changes in the industry were direct responses to the problems that had existed in the mainstream market for a long time. For a while, things seemed to get better.

Get to the point.

The last few years have proven though that the mainstream music can’t change their stripes, so as passionate music fans, we continue to look else where to find deep, meaningful music that will last longer than the plastic it is burned to.  It is in this need that the Christian music scene has a great advantage.  The very nature of combining our faith with our art creates something that has much more meaning than 70 percent of the music that was featured on The Grammys this year.  In a world that we know is hurting, and in need of Christ so desperately, there is also a need for music that is real, genuine, and authentic.  This music scene that we celebrate on The One21 is so different than any out there. We have a vast group of talented musicians that cannot help writing from a place of deep meaning and creativity.

As listeners, we must continue to support the truly unique and innovative, encourage the new artist, and pray that God continues to grow this music that we love into something that will surpass generations.  Bob Dylan is so iconic because he never wrote his music for fans of the day, but his music was an artistic outcry of his heart, in times of great tumoil and passion.

Today, we need artists to demonstrate the powerful ability that music has on the listener, and to just simply say something, anything that matters. To be authentic.  The Christ-centered music scene has the ability to achieve this same level not just based on the talent of the musicians, but because the core of the music is something greater than any of us.

What are the major problems facing the modern music industry today? Is true creativity rewarded or pushed aside? What does this mean for Christian musicians?