American Idol Season 8- The Year In Review

It would be a short article if we did an American Idol Season 8 Top 2 Power Ranking, so I thought we could take a look back at the Season 8.  The top story of the year is the very visual presence of Christian music artists in American Idol Season 8, followed by the emergence of Christian music artist, star Kris Allen.  I will also share a couple of my favorite moments.  We will finish the article with the Top 15 Performances of American Idol Season 8.

Christian Music Artists on American Idol Season 8

Season 8 enjoyed the largest, most visible group of Christian music artists in the history of American Idol. There was much attention in the press about their participation in American Idol and Christian music artists experienced unprecedented success with two of the Top 3, three of the Top 5 and four of the Top 7.   See our mid-season update in American Idol Season 8- The Christians. Here are the Christian music artists, in order of finish, who competed on live television of American Idol Season 8:

  • Kris Allen (he is gonna win)
  • Danny Gokey (3rd)
  • Matt Giraud (5th)
  • Lil Rounds (6th)
  • Scott MacIntyre (8th)
  • Michael Sarver (10th)
  • Ricky Braddy (semi’s)
  • Felicia Barton (semi’s)
  • Mishavonna Henson (semi’s)
  • Kristen McNamara (semi’s)

American Idols Season 8- Favorite Moments

Norman Gentle

A two stories stood out for me this season. The first was the the surge of Norman Gentle (played by Nick Western) into the Top 36. He was an unlikely candidate to move this far, because his campy, over the top performances seemed to mock American Idoland few competitors achieve success with that strategy. However, Western was so unrelenting in his commitment to the Norman Gentle character that he could not be denied. Here is his audition

The best part was that he neverrelented. WithSimon trying to run him off the show, he continued into Hollywood Week with crazier performances and in his brief stint on live television he called Simon “sassy pants”. Classic.

Michael Sarver’s Back-story

There were some very compelling back-stories on American Idol Season 8, but Michael Sarver’s transcended all. We heard about his dream to sing his way out of one of the most dangerous jobs in America, oilfield widcatter. What most of America did not see was the impact he was having on his hometown of Jasper, Texas. For 10 years Jasper had been the national symbol for bigotry and racial hatred because of the horrible murder of James Byrd Jr. Michael Sarver’s success on American Idol Season 8created a rallying point for the citizens of Jasper, Tx and Michael took on that responsibility and is using his new fame to try to bring healing. See our article American Idol Season 8- Michael Sarver.. Here is a funny clip of one of Michael’s post Idol promotional activities. He is in a TV studio in a mall in Beaumont, Texas, there is a crowed watching them.

Top 15 Performance of American Idol Season 8

I guess if you receive virtually no coverage during the auditions or Hollywood Week you really need to bring it when you get your chance. Kris Allen and Allison Iraheta did just that during American Idol Season 8. Kris Allen snuck into the Top 12 with the 3rd place spot in Round 2 of the Top 36.   Kris proceeded to deliver 4 of the Top 6 performances of the Season 8.  Each performance was fearless, with unfathomable arrangements, cool soulful vocals and a compelling ,if understated, stage presence. Allison Iraheta, on the other hand, used a huge, mature, powerful, bluesy voice to establish herself from the start then continually surprise everyone with her roof raising vocals and creative arrangements. Danny Gokey is well represented with four songs in Top 15.  The two performances that should be in the American Idol Season 8 Top 15 , but aren’t, are Adam Lambert’s “Tracks of My Tears” and Danny Gokey’s “Stand By Me”.

  • Kris Allen-”Heartless” (May 12-Top 3)
  • Kris Allen- “Ain’t No Sunshine” (March 31-Top 9, iTune Top 100)
  • Danny Gokey- “You Are So Beautiful” (May 12- Top3)
  • Adam Lambert-”Mad World” (April 7- Top 8, Year of Birth Songs)
  • Kris Allen- “She Works Hard For The Money” (April 21- Top 7 II- Disco Songs)
  • Kris Allen-”Falling Slowly” (April 14-Top 7- Movie Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta- “Papa Was A Rolling Stone” (March 24-Top 10, Songs of Motown)
  • Danny Gokey-”Come Rain or Shine” (April 28- Top 5, Rat Pack Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta- “Hot Stuff “(April 21-Top 7 II- Disco Night)
  • Danny Gokey-”Hero” (February 17th-Top 36 Round 1)
  • Adam Lambert- “Feeling Good” (April 28-Top 5, Rat Pack Songs)
  • Allison Iraheta-”Alone” (February 25th-Top 36 Round 2)
  • Danny Gokey- “Stand By Me” (April 7-Top 8, Year of Birth Songs)
  • Matt Giraud-”Have You Ever Really Loved A Woman” (April 15-Top 7 Save, Movie Songs)
  • Lil Rounds- “The Way You Make Me Feel” (March 10-Top 13, Michael Jackson Songs)
  • Download these songs or make you own best of American Idol Season 8 mix from iTunes

    Apple iTunes

    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

    The One21 Interviews Tre9


    PT. 1

    Pt. 2

    Tre9 is this amazing dude out of Houston TX. He is a hip-hop artist, promoter, manager,and founder of both Much Luvv Records, and At SXSW, he was responsible for the event that brought Kaboose, Braille, and Lecrae to Austin. We were lucky to get a few minutes with him. This is one of those interviews were I didn’t have to ask a lot of questions, Tre9 is a passionate dude!  In the midst of his excitement, he talks about some really serious issues in the Christian music scene, and in fact his interview in part inspired a new way for us at The One21 to approach the music we are putting on this site (read The Many Facets Of Christian Music). Even if you arn’t into hip-hop, I’m sure you will love this interview.

    This is Tre9‘s video for his song “Rise To The Top”

    You can buy Tre9‘s music digitally on Tre9 and Amazon MP3

    You can also buy his CDs on Amazon:
    The Farmer

    Christian Artists To Know:Project 86


    Project 86
    Genre: Rock
    Styles: Nu-Metal, Hard Rock, Progressive
    Location: Orange County, CA
    Label: Tooth And Nail
    Christian Label: Yes
    Category: The Message whats this?

    Lets get something straight from the beginning, Project 86 isn’t just a band. Project 86 is a force. From frontman Andrew Schwab’s menacing and powerful vocals to guitarist Randy Torres’s brutal and emotional musical landscapes, Project 86 have always been a band that redefined the box they were placed in. With every new chapter of the band, the listener never gets a new album, but a soundtrack to a new and frightening story from Andrew’s head space.  Making the heavy beautiful and the artistic interesting, Project 86 is one of the best band’s making music today.

    In many ways, Project 86‘s longevity is many due to their ability to endure.  When the band’s first CD was released in 1998, the group was lumped in with the wave of Rage Against The Machine/Limp Bizkit rip-offs populating the Christian market. It was a strange landscape to debut in, because the the Christian music scene was changing and growing in strange ways. Ska was king in the Christian circles, but the mainstream market was focused on the darker, more aggressive sounds of nu-metal that were coming from Korn, Deftones, and Staind. Many bands that hit the Christian market at that time were “safe alternatives” to the nu-metal chart-toppers, but fizzled out quickly due to a lack of originality and conviction. It was during this time that members of a hardcore band called Innermeans hooked up with a prolific and dynamic lyricist named Andrew and created Project 86.

    The band’ self-titled  debut was a step ahead of the pack. The mood of the CD was very dark, almost bordering on apocalyptic. The lyrics were more poetic than hip-hop, and the songs were ever evolving roller coasters of brutality and melody. Many listeners did not know what to make of it. Luckily for Project though, a small group of bands that were committed to creating intelligent and unique music for Christ embraced the band’s sound. A friendship between Swedish nu-metal band Blindside, California hardcore band No Innocent Victim, speed punk band Dogwood, and rap-metal pioneers Payable On Death and Project allowed the band to be encouraged to make the music they believed in.

    In fact, here is a really old video of Project 86, featuring a very young Sonny Sandoval (of P.O.D.), playing their end of times masterpiece “Six Sirens”.

    After building name for themselves with shows like that, Project 86 entered the studio in later 1999 to record their sophomore effort. The result was Drawing The Black Lines, an album that has not only defined the band’s sound for the majority of their career since, but  changed the way many of bands approached writing Christian music. The CD was immense, as much artistic as it was heavy. The songs ranged from the straight forward intense, to bitterly somber, to the unsympathetically dark.  Drawing The Black Lines was a wake up call in a scene that had become bogged down bad rip offs of popular mainstream bands. Project 86 proved in their 50 minute opus to the Christian struggle that you never had to sacrifice intelligence for faith.

    Possibly one of the best songs they have ever written, “One Armed Man (Play On)”, was given its own music video, and the world was introduced to the new Project 86.

    The years have gone by, and Project is still out their destroying stages and changing perceptions. It is important to note that when they hit the scene before the turn of the century, there were very few bands pushing the envelope like Project was. Many bands both in the Christian music scene and outside of it point to Project 86 as one of their main influences.  Their body of work continues to prove that they are massive talents, who are never scared to talk about their faith with Christ. Andrew has said from the beginning that they never wanted to be a “typical” ministry band. that they wanted to make relevant music to both believers and the un-saved. Several albums later, the band is still pumping all pistons, and we hope they never stop.

    Here is the band playing an overseas festival, with their song “Evil (A Chorus Of Resistance)”

    I cant tell you what a special place this band holds in my heart. They are THE band that made me realize that I shouldn’t be looking for Christian versions of mainstream music, but I should be seeking out great music created from the heart of believers. Drawing The Black Lines is a shinning example of how believers can create unique and interesting music, and in my opinion it is own of the best albums ever created. That is not say that the rest of the band’s work has been bland, Project continue to shake things up and surprise fans song after every new song.  The best part is that as I am writing this, the next chapter of Project 86 is being readied to be unleashed in 2009. This might be one you should hold your breath for.

    You can buy Project 86‘s music digitally on Project 86 and Amazon MP3

    You can also get their CDs on Amazon:
    Project 86
    Drawing Black Lines
    Truthless Heroes
    Songs to Burn Your Bridges By
    And the Rest Will Follow
    Rival Factions
    The Kane Mutiny EP and This Time Of The Year EP are both digital only

    The One21 Interviews Rootbeer


    Pt. 1


    So we have talked about Rootbeer a lot on this site. Rootbeer is the musical collaboration of Flynn Adam and Pigeon John. The two are not strangers though, they both started in the quirky hip-hop mega-group LA Symphony. That group has split off into many different factions, Cook & Uno, Poems, both John and Adam have pretty solid solo careers, but the latest and most visible is Rootbeer. The duo just released their Pink Limousine EP, a cool collection of fun and bouncy songs, and have been working really hard to get the word out.  We talked about that, how they got started, and their thoughts on faith and music.

    Note: I (Ian) have been listening to both of these guys for a long time. I was a little nervous, so the beginning of the interview starts off a little awkwardly. Give it a few questions, because we fell into a great groove after a bit and even more sips from our coffee cups.

    Here are the boys in Rootbeer with the title track from their debut EP

    and for fun, here is both Pigeon John and Flynn Adam (doing the beats) WAY BACK in the first video from LA Symphony (younger versions of Cook & Uno, Poems, and Joey The Jerk also in the clip)

    You can get Rootbeer’s EP digitally on Rootbeer and Amazon MP3

    Voices Of The Underground Pt.6


    Several weeks ago One21 Music posed fifteen questions to a number of music artists in the Christian music scene, ranging from the light-hearted to the deeply spiritual. We received many responses, some very helpful, and some…. not so much. Some of the answers were short and sweet, some were extensive and eloquent. Many expressed frustrations with the current landscape of the music industry, while others were hopeful for a future of uncertainty. We heard from guys who had been performing for years, and bands that are just now starting to get their names heard. From indie rock to hip-hop, from hardcore to worship, the Christian music scene spoke back to us. Realize that these answers are by the people making the music that you are listening to, and these are un-edited and real. The opinions expressed don’t always reflect ours, but we aren’t perfect, right?

    Need to catch up?

    Read Pt.1- What Do You Love About Music?
    Read Pt.2- What Are Some Of Your Favorite Albums/CDs?
    Read Pt.3- What Is The Best Thing About Making Music?
    Read Pt.4: What Is Your Opinion Of The Music Industry?
    Read Pt.5: What Impact Has The Digital Age Of Music Had On The Industry?

    This is a very special week for us. Last Sunday, we as a company, and as believers celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  The most significant historical event to take place on this earth saw God and His Son defeat sin and death to bring salvation and redemption to His people.  Our sins were forgiven, our slate was wiped clean. The Holy Spirit allowed us to have a relationship with The Creator, and we will live knowing that world is just a flash in comparison to the eternity we have in Heaven. This week we asked a very simple question to all of our artists and bands, and through their words we celebrate what God has done through so many different people. In fact, this week we are featuring all the artists who took place in this series. Newcomers include Dewey Lybecker, Royalty Jackson, and members of Our Proclamation, Neocracy, The Goodnight Horizon, Divulgnce, For Today, and Darkness Before Dawn.

    Who is Jesus Christ to you?

    inhaleexhalejohninveryback John (guitarist for Solid State Records metal band Inhale Exhale) Inhale Exhale
    He is God, I believe he walked the earth and I believe in what the gospels have recorded.

    hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)       Hyland
    JC is my support. He’s my focus and my reason for doing this. If I didn’t have the talents He’s given me I don’t where I would be. He’s a dream giver. He’s a savior. He’s grace.

    a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent) A Thousand Times Repent
    Jesus Christ is my Lord and Savior. I have my ups and downs and my own troubles. I am not perfect by any means but I know when I fall he is always there to help me up. When we are in band practice we always start off with a prayer and end with a prayer. We invite Jesus into our practices to be apart of our writing or rehearsing.

    corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi) Corpus Christi
    The man who died to save my life.

    the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthamic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon) The Welcome Wagon
    I believe everything the Bible says about Jesus. He is God’s Son, fully divine and fully human. And though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped. He made himself nothing, and took the form of a servant. Being born in the likeness of men, and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    sendoutyourscudsdanielmulletDustin (trumpet player for Blood & Ink ska-core band Send Out Scuds) Send Out Scuds
    Jesus Christ? Well Jesus Christ is some hippie-looking white guy in painting prints across middle class homes all over the Western world. Yeshua Barjoseph on the other hand, was a man who lived roughly 2000 years ago. He lived a spiritually perfect life, died against natural law, and came back to life having paid my irredeemable spiritual debt. To me, he is my savior and Lord, and while I’m sure that’s a cliche answer, I urge you to look up the meaning of both words in a Strong’s and a Vine’s. That’s your homework.

    dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)   Dewey Lybecker
    Jesus Christ to me is someone who I could only dream to become like. I look at how He loved people and interacted with others, and realize that I’m a huge jerk!

    takeitbackdanielDaniel(guitarist for Facedown Records hardcore band Take It Back!) Take It Back - Can't Fight Robots
    Jesus Christ is the single most important thing that has ever happened to the planet. His life gave us the opportunity to be free from our terrible vices. Because of Him we have a direct link to the Father God. He was the ultimate sacrifice which enabled us to live fulfilling lives in Him.

    dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
    The only person WORTHY.

    hill Brett Hill (Paradigm Nashville solo country artist)                              Brett Hill
    Everything. He is a mentor, a big brother to run to, help when I need help, and Salvation for those who do not deserve it. He is everything to me.

    christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                             Chris Taylor
    Starting at the age of 15, Jesus became the central figure of my life. Jesus is my only access to God on a daily basis. Jesus is God in flesh, the one who died on the cross, bore our sin in his body, and physically rose from the dead. He will return again from the heavens, and will judge the world and all people. I do have a lot of personal experiences I could speak into this question but in a day where folks make Jesus into whatever they want to, I will stick to the above truths.

    brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)                Brooke Waggoner
    My Savior and Restorer

    ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation) Our Proclamation
    To me, Jesus Christ is more than just my God, my savior and my father. To me, Jesus is the only person that can put up with all of my crap, and still love me for who I am. Jesus is the only one who will listen to me complain about whine and not get fed up with it. Jesus is my best friend, that’s pretty much the best way to put it.

    royaljon1Royalty Jackson (independent hip-hop artist)
    My Savior and Redeemer. The joy and escape in my life.

    johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
    Jesus is the reason why I’m alive. He has saved me from so many mistakes I’ve made in the past. I’m so grateful He thinks I’m worth loving.

    runkidrundavidoneinhat David (lead singer/guitarist for Tooth & Nail pop/rock band Run Kid Run) Run Kid Run
    My personal lord, my savior, He gives me a purpose in life.

    domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                            Dominic Balli
    My savior. My King. My hope. My life. He’s all I need and more than I could dream.

    darknessbeforedawngabeGabe(guitarist for Bombworks Records metal band Darkness Before Dawn)
    Everything. He is everywhere I look He’s in everything I do He is the reason I do anything in my life.

    amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                       Amy Courts
    Savior. Friend. Lord and King. Advocate of the friendless and unwanted. The Great Motivator.

    divulgencecamCameron(guitarist/vocalist for Bombworks Records metal band Divulgence)
    My personal Lord and Savior of my soul. My everything and my reason for living.

    sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)             Endeverance
    Jesus Christ is my personal Lord and Savior, and I try my best to live my life by what he taught…But I fail everyday…

    curtisblackhighvally Curtis(mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley) High Valley
    Jesus Christ is Gods son. He took the punishment for my sin and the sin of the entire world. When I accept His gift of eternal life and begin a REAL relationship with Him I am made perfect in Gods eyes and am able to live with Him eternally!

    fortodaydavid1David(drummer for Facedown Records hardcore/metal band For Today)For Today
    DA MAN!

    mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                Mahogany Jones
    Christ is the reason why I even get to live a life worth living. He is the savior that took a hit that I wouldn’t have been able to take. He is my best friend and I am asking for the Holy Spirit’s help in fashioning me so I am more of a suitable friend to Him.

    bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
    He is my Lord and Savior… My best friend, Companion, Healer, Provider. He is honestly everything to me. I would be nowhere without His love and grace upon my life. I have made countless mistakes and He has faithfully seen me through every circumstance I have encountered.

    christopherthegoodnighthorizenChristopher(vocalist for Harvest Earth Records metal band The Goodnight Horizon)
    The Goodnight Horizon
    Lord, savior, best friend.

    xcess Xcess (solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
    Everything. Jesus Christ is like my dad, best friend, camp counselor and even hero all in one to be somewhat lighthearted about it. But seriously what He did for me and the rest of the world was beyond what anyone else would or could do and He was the only one qualified to do it. Obviously I could never repay Him, how could any of us?

    heathstripsinirons Heath (bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)                   In Irons
    The Father, Son and Holy Spirit, duh.

    NeocracykentKent(guitarist for independent metal band Neocracy)
    He is my Lord and Savior.

    daveleftpoorlybuitparachute Dave (half of Holdfast Records electro-house duo Poorly Built Parachute) Poorly Built Parachute
    My Savior and best friend… I suck at being a good friend.

    fortodaybranddon Brandon(bassist for Facedown Records hardcore/metal band For Today) For Today
    God in the flesh. A man who came to the earth, lived a perfect life, and set an example for us.

    brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
    He is my Savior ultimately. Friend always. God and father.

    echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                  Echocast
    He is God.

    Amen. Join us next week on Thursday when we ask What Is Christian Music?

    Free MP3 Album Download:Sho Baraka-Barakology


    I know what you are thinking, MORE HIP-HOP?  Yea, I get it, but these guys love to just give their stuff away. So I am not going to stop them.  I have a feeling though that you guys will love this one. Sho Baraka is a seriously good hip-hop artist, and Barakology will not disappoint. Dude reminds me of Luda for sure, and he will you too. This a serious car banger album, with seriously good theology to go along with it. You will love it!!

    You can get the rest of Sho Baraka’s stuff on Sho Baraka

    The link below will take you to a MEDIAFIRE site. Click on the .ZIP file in the center of the page, save it to your computer, EXTRACT ALL FILES, and then just let it blast.

    Download Sho Baraka- Barakology

    Free MP3 Album:Downhere-Wide-Eyed & Mystified


    All you rock fans rejoice. I know we test your limits sometimes with our own strange taste in music. Hip-hop, abstract electronica, and airy folk rock isn’t always everyone’s cup of tea.  We understand, so this week we got Downhere for you.  Modern rock with flavors of atmosphere and worship mixed in, make Wide-Eyed & Mystified a perfect fit for Switchfoot fans. A really solid collection of songs all for the high price of nothing. You know you love us.

    You can get the rest of Downhere’s music digitally on downhere

    Click on the link below, save the .ZIP file, EXTRACT ALL FILES, and play it loud in your car!

    Download Downhere- Wide-Eyed & Mystified

    1,000 Recordings- Christians Making Music

    In a previous article I heaped praises on Tom Moon’s 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die, A Listener’s Life List. As I continue my thrilling journey through this book I find more and more ways to spend my hard earned money.  Thank goodness for emusic and used book stores.

    I discussed great Gospel music last time, highlighting Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Rev. Gary Davis and Fern Jones.  Now, I would like to point out a few Christian musicians, highlighted by Moore, who make music in the mainstream music world.  Listen to these recordings and see if you can detect a difference in mood and tone from others not so deeply rooted in their faith.

    Christian Artists featured in 1,000 Essential Recordings

    American Recordings by Johnny Cash marks the beginning of the final chapter of Cash’s transcendent career.  After creating a legacy as one of the most influential musicians in country and rock music, after falling to drugs and infidelity, and after experiencing spiritual forgiveness and redemption, Cash was living as a legend on the fringes of the limelight.  That was until producer Rick Rubin pulled Cash from the shadows and made him relevant to today’s young hipsters.  This and the subsequent four recordings reveal a man at peace but not satisfied.  Listening to “The Beast in Me” you hear the lifelong struggle of his flesh and the Holy Spirit.  All of the Cash/Rubin collaborations are available at iTunes and Amazon.

    Illinoise by Sufjan Stevens is the second step of a rather ambitious public pilgrimage.  Stevens, the former apprentice of Danielson’s Daniel Smith, proclaimed that Illionoise was the second in a series of albums he intended to make for each state in the union.  He hasn’t released the third since 2005.  It does not matter. Illinoise is a textured, colorful, broad reaching musical accomplishment.  I do hope he is working on Texas because I would love to listen to such a beautiful musical depiction of my state. Illinoise and Stevens’ delightful Christmas recordings are available at Amazon, iTunes and eMusic.

    Fan Dance by Sam Phillips is a milestone in a series of masterfully crafted pop recordings from the former Contemporary Christian Music star Leslie Ann Phillips.  If you have not heard her story you are in for an aural treat.  She left the CCM industry in a storm of turmoil when she began recording under the name of Sam Phillips and signed with Virgin Records.  Her discography is filled with extraordinary songwriting and intricate relationships.  The sparse arrangements and evocative style changes of Fan Dance expose her songs in a new light and mark a high point in her catalogue. Fan Dance and her rich catalogue are available at both Amazon and iTunes.

    The Joshua Tree by U2 burst forth from this post punk protest outfit in 1987 as a groundbreaking new sonic landscape.  The lyrics of “With or Without You”, “Where the Streets Have No Name” and “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” express the great desire and frustration of young Christians struggling with injustice in the world and the hope of a triumphant King.  Check out the Bono trying to express the complexities of his faith at the turn of the Century.


    Joshua Tree was ranked 26 on Rolling Stone’s list of 500 greatest albums of all time.  U2′s entire catalogue is filled with music of hope and joy, but Joshua Tree is a triumph few rock bands have surpassed.  Of course, U2′s recordings are available wherever music is sold, including Amazon and Itunes.

    As I said in my previous article, buy 1,000 Essential Recordings to Hear Before You Die for you and all the music fans in your family.

    Share with me your thoughts on these artists, as artists and as artists representing our faith.  Let me know if I missed anyone.  Tell me about your great discoveries from 1,000 Essential Recordings.

    Underground Chrisitian Music Saved Us

    Parents of teenagers beware!  Your children will listen to the popular music of today. The values of today’s mainstream pop, rock, R&B and country artists will influence your children values and the messages of today’s music will help form your children’s attitudes.

    At best those values rest on the unstable foundation of self worth and at worst the messages of misogyny, self loathing and despair will permeate your kid’s world view.

    Do not despair because there is a world of music that your kids will like, performed by popular musicians who are infused with the confidence, hope and faith of Jesus Christ.  We are creating One21music to help you and your kids find this wonderful music that reinforces our values.

    Please read about my journey…

    You can only imagine my thrill, as a lifelong music junkie, when my 12 year-old son started sitting with me to go through my music collection (1500 LP’s and 2,000 CD’s).  When the roar of Nirvana and the squeal of Smashing Pumpkins wafted from his room, I smiled.

    However, as my 13 year-old turned into a 14 year-old, my influence over his musical tastes, values and friends began to waver.  He had turned to the harder, darker music of Limp Bizkit, Korn and The Deftones. His new found friends were on the edge, and sometimes beyond, of trouble.  He became sullen and distant.

    We turned to our Church and very quickly Christ stepped into his life.  A wonderful period of growth ensued for our entire family.  My son embraced his faith, made new friends and eased back into our life.

    However, the Christian music community failed him.  The music thrust on him as a passionate teenager was bland and did not deal with the real life challenges of being a 14 year boy in the late 20th century.  We could see the conflict in this new believer that was being bombarded with the anger and confusion of the lost musicians he was listening to.

    So I, being a music fan myself, began a quest to find music that my son would embrace and encourage the burgeoning value system of a new believer.  I spent hours scouring this new frontier called the Internet and searched magazines for signs of faith in popular musicians.  I hit the mother lode with a small Christian bookstore that had a vast selection of edgy Christian music and a listening station.

    I spent many lunch hours sampling the music.  I struggled to reconcile my faith with the industrial roar of Chatterbox, but I was excited to discover the revival of ska with the Supertones.  I bought a lot of music.  My son liked some of it.

    When we found P.O.D. and he found ZAO, we had broken through.  You could see the change in him as the negativity of mainstream music was replaced with the transcendent hope and joy of believing musicians.  The music was as hard and in many case harder than the popular heavy music of the day, but the believers exuded a palpable joy that enveloped my son.

    As my son and I pursued this deep underground music scene we discovered the great pop music of Sam Phillips, the funky R&B of Nicole C. Mullen, the exciting rock of Underoath and mewithoutyou and the challenging electronic music of Andy Hunter and Scott Blackwell.  We simply discovered truly great music, of all genres, written from a foundation of hope and faith.  We shared this music and we saw God use this music to touch people’s hearts.

    This is vibrant, edgy music written and performed by talented musicians who are pursuing their craft and are committed to their faith.  Because they are free from the pursuit of wealth and fame, their music is honest and true.

    We are creating One21music (the music of Christ in the 21st Century) to make your quest easier.  We love this music and we believe these musicians deserved to be heard.  When you are in Best Buy browsing the cd racks we want you to know which of these artists share your journey.

    If we can help one of you save your teenager, as P.O.D. helped me save mine, I will be overjoyed that God handed this task to us.

    We are bootstrapping this endeavor so it may take a while to fully develop, but please stay with us.  Comment on our articles so that we know what you are thinking and we can keep you informed.  Keep reading our blogs so that we know you are behind us.  Pray for us and we will be fortified.