Christian Artists To Know: Bradley Hathaway

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Bradley Hathaway
Genre: Folk
Styles: Indie Folk, Spoken Word, Singer/Songwriter
Location: Fort Smith, AK
Label: None
Myspace: myspace.com/bradleyhathaway
Christian label: N/A
Category: The Message whats this?

In 2004, my brother and a few of his friends met me in Dallas, TX to see a show at one of the local venues. The bill had mewithoutYou and Blindside as the headliners, and there was the usual array of local openers and bands I had never heard of before either of them were to hit the stage later in the evening.  During one of the band changes, a skinny, small little man walked up onto stage and picked up the mic. He was easily the same weight as my gymnast girlfriend (now wife), and his tight, thrift store worn clothes didn’t help the illusion. He walked to the front of the stage, smile at every body, said a very polite “hello”, looked down, and in a huge voice proclaimed” I   AM  HAARRDD-CORE!“. For the next minute or so, this little man delivered a passionate, funny, and intelligent rant/poem about the state of hardcore scene that was prevalent in the Dallas area at the time.  I was shocked, it was spoken word poetry, at a hard rock show, and….it was great. The crowd erupted with applause when he was finished, and over the course of the night he treated us to more of his bizarrely passionate  poetry in between the music.  I, like so many have since, had been introduced to Bradley Hathaway.

Bradley Hathaway is a 26 year old former University Of Arkansas student, who quit school in the middle of his time there to manage a local music venue called The Gate.  It was there that he not only met many of the bands that made up the Christian hardcore, metal, and indie scene, but also saw poet Clayton Scott perform.  Hathaway was so moved by Scott’s performance, that he wrote his first poem soon after, which eventually led to many others.  He soon began to tour with hardcore and metal bands, delighting crowds all over the nation with his unique takes on faith, love, fear, and the world as he saw it. Bradley’s poems are spoken word, but he has a present rhythm that exists on each song. For him, the words are only half of it, the way you emphasize and pronounce those words are what give meaning to people and allow the poems to stick in people’s heads.

It is crazy to see a few hundred people “sing” along with a poem the same way they would a song on the radio.  There are few as popular to sing along with than Bradley’s social commentary on masculinity, “Manly Man”, illustrated beautifully here by Relevent Magazine.

Like many artists though, Hathaway was not content to continue to do the same thing over and over again. After beginning to integrate musical elements into his poetry, he decided to flip the table and  integrate poetry elements into music.  Calling on a wide array of friends and trusted collaborators, Bradley Hathaway recorded Mouth Of Dust, a stripped down folk/singer-songwriter album that demonstrates his ability to adapt his almost child-like faith into song.

Here is Bradley Hathaway performing one of the lead songs from that CD, “Look Up”

There is not much you can say about Bradley Hathaway that is bad. He is a great man seeking God’s heart through his poetry, music, and his life. It just doesn’t seem right to close this post any other way than sharing one of his poems.

This is “The Hug Poem”
I read about how you touched them and they were healed
Or even if someone just touched your cloak they were forever changed
You let a broken women bathe your feet in her tears
And you washed your best friend’s feet
I am just wondering though did you just ever hug people

I mean I know that it is a silly question and all I am sure you would have why wouldn’t you
But its one of those things that was never mentioned that got me thinking about it

And how whenever there was a touch from you sins were forgiven and sickness fell
I think I’m caught up in my sins last time I checked all my body parts were properly working, nothing special here
I am just a kid with a heavy heart these passing sunrises and sunsets

I don’t think our encounter would have ended up in the gospels or anything
Because all I really need is a hug
That is ok for me to imagine right
That’s not going to be conflicting with any sort of theology is it
Ok good, then hug me

But not one of these side ways one arm around the neck type hugs
Or the ghetto right hand clasp fists elbows to chest pit pat on the back back
Or you put your right arm over my right arm and I put my left arm over your left arm and we make this weird sort of diagonal thing
Nah none of those

BEAR HUG ME MAN!!
Take your old school carpenter arms and throw them over my upper body leaving my arms dangling underneath yours somewhere and I can barely move them because your squeezing so hard
But don’t pick me up and make my back pop because I hate it when people do that

And hold me, hold me here in your arms until I start to cry because
I WANT TO CRY
But I just can’t seem to do it on my own
I have been teary eyed once recently but not even enough for a drip down my cheek
There’s just hurt in my soul that needs to be purged so hold me in this hold pose until the pain is flowing from my eyes and nose

You can get Bradley Hathaway‘s music digitally on Bradley Hathaway and Amazon

You can also get his CDs on Amazon:
All The Hits So Far
The Thing That Poets Write About, The Thing That Singers Sing About

SXSW 09 Show Round-Up:Brooke Waggoner & Paper Route

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Alright, day two of SXSW Music under our belts and we are feeling a little tired and sun burnt (at least I am), but feeling good beyond that.  We didn’t have a whole lot show wise until night time, so we didn’t even arrive downtown until noon.  What we saw at 6th and Red River was, well….

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You see, in Austin, there is this little place called Emo’s, and every year they have a huge show that is free to the public around SXSW time. This year the headliners were A Day To Remember, Whitechapel, and one of our bands, The Devil Wears Prada. This pic doesn’t quite get it, but lets just say that there were riot cops there…

We did various fun stuff until around 7PM, when we went to see a band that all our research had pointed to being a band of believers, The Rosebuds.

Well, we were wrong. Sorry about that folks, we make mistakes too. Their music was great, but the language used from stage made it so we just can’t feature them on this site. So…my bad… by the way, did you know that Grammatrain and Frodus are not Christian bands? I didn’t…

Anyway, the great stuff happened late. Chuck and I hit Maggie Mae’s, and met up with the amazing Brooke Waggoner.

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We got some time to get an interview out of her, and she was more than courteous. Brooke, if you are reading this, thanks for being so cool.  the real treat however, was her show that started around 11.

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Brooke is simply an amazing song writer and musician. She played with no form of percussion at all, but yet was able to captivate the audience with every new song.  There is no denying her talent after watching her play the piano, but it is in the delivery that she excels.  She and her team are confident in their skills, but seem to always be playing their music like it was the first time they had heard it.  There was a moment during a long instrumental part that I caught a moment you rarely see anymore. As the music was building and Brooke was just killing the keys, she seemed to stop just playing and surrendered to the music. For a moment there was no one else in the room but Brooke and the sound. It was over too soon, but the crowd was able to bully the sound guy in to allowing Brooke to play an extra song. Her show was truly a blessing.

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You can get Brooke’s amazing music on Brooke Waggoner

Right after Brooke  on the same stage was the electro-indie rock band Paper Route.

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Wow. I was blown away by these guys. I hadn’t really listened to them away from what Chuck had shown me, but I have been missing out. First of all, these guys use a lot of equipment. Tons of keys, pedals, and drum machines round out the bands full live band set up. From the first note they were working the crowd over. Their music was high energy and interesting, giving you enough of what you wanted without ever letting you know what was next.  If you ever get a chance to see these guys, do it, because it will not disappoint. Great great great show..

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you can buy Paper Route‘s music on Paper Route

Thats it for today, hope we are helping you keep up with what is going on. Check our schedule for Friday, and we will see ya out there!!

SXSW 09 Show Round-Up: Anathallo & Dignan

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Ian’s Thoughts from SXSW Interactive

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I am rounding out my fourth day at SXSW Interactive, and there has been one prevailing issue that seems to be coming up over and over again. Well, two actually, but the second I am not as concerned with.

Passion, and Twitter

Almost every session I have attended here has harped on passion. Being revved up and excited about what you are doing.  This seems really funny to me that people would have to remind themselves about this. I mean, if you are writing a blog, just stop writing if you don’t feel like it, right?

It then occurred to me that I am lucky to do what I do. You see, a lot of the people here are on the net in some form or another for the sole purpose of making money. Their are guys here who only blog about blogging. I am lucky because I realized that, like so many of the artists we show you guys everyday, I have something better to work towards.  We are a company, so we want to able to make a living off of this, but the core motivation behind this site is you. The person reading this right now! We want to share with you the incredible music that God has put in our lives, to give you a chance to find the music you love that helps you live your faith.  I don’t need a pep talk in passion to get excited about that. I’m trying to pass the passion to you.

Twitter is another thing all together……

Expanding Your Musical Tastes

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

“Oh, I listen to everything.”

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

Gets up and walks away…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So, what kind of music do you listen to?

Christian Artists To Know: The Chariot

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The Chariot

Genre: Metal
Styles: Metalcore, Avant-Metal, Chaotic Hardcore
Location: Douglasville, GA
Label: Solid State
Website: www.wars5509.com
Myspace: www.myspace.com/thechariot
Christian Label: Yes
Category: The Message whats this?

In 2004, metalcore fans were presented with a  grey and black colored album named Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing, Nothing Is Dead, Nothing Is Bleeding.  After the ritual wrestling match that takes place with music buyers and the ridiculously hard packaging that CDs are housed in, the disc meets the CD player and ears await.  Feedback, then static creep out the speakers. An almost tribal drum roll begins, and then a raspy, animalistic voice cries out from the noise:

THIS AINT MY FIRST RODEO!
Ten thousand times, ten thousand
Walking and marching and running and pressing on!
Step by step, to the grave, marching on
You have a  song: unsung
I sing a new song, falling on deaf ears
Unsung!

For the next 30 or so minutes, the world became aware of a force that has remained unrivaled since the first note of that song. Combing brutal grit, with art-house mentality and chaotic approach, that force calls itself, The Chariot.  Although there have been many members in the band over the years, The Chariot is musical projection of frontman Josh Scogin.  Josh was one of the founding members of  Luti-Kriss, who, after a major music direction change in 2002 became known as Norma Jean. Despite critical adoration for the bands debut as Norma Jean, Bless The Martyr Kiss The Child, Josh left the band at the seeming height of their career. He took close to a year and a half off, and returned with The Chariot. Josh has said that he wanted to “create something out of nothing” with his new project. He did, something that most people didn’t see coming.  His vocal presence may have  reminded people of his former band, but people quickly realized that there was something completely different about Josh’s new endeavor.

The Chariot are what pure emotion and struggle can sound like in metal.  The band does not rely on straight rhythm or tricky instrument work to create there music. In fact, their approach is almost minimalistic, relying on walls of feedback, guitar squeals, and cymbal crashes to fill most of their songs.  Josh’s vocals are brutal, filled with desperation and expression. The lyrics are cryptic, poetic, and intelligent. The songs twist and turn very quickly through one part after unrelenting part. Small blasts of chaos. Although this description may not appeal to most casual fans, truly unique  bands in the metal and hardcore scene are rare. The Chariot, instead of taking notes from the popular music trends in the heavy scene, seemingly pull more elements from band like Converge and Fear Before The March Of Flames to create their original compositions.  They continually push themselves and test their fan’s loyalties by exploring new avenues of hard with with every new song, every note, every scream.

2007′s The Fiance’e further solidified the band’s reputation as innovators. This time around, choir choruses, broken record distortion, and harmonica solos (provided by Aaron Wiess of mewithoutYou no less) diversified the band’s sound past its metalcore roots. Josh and the gang made a truly original album that  blew away critics and fans alike.  It was on this album the band toured their heaviest, introducing the world to their chaotic sound and to heavy music’s best front man, Josh. Their live shows play on the theatrical combined with pure anarchist stage presence.  There are few shows like a Chariot show. In fact, it is frequent that Josh is injured several times during a tour, but he has never met a stack of speakers he didn’t want to climb or a crowd he didn’t want to throw himself into.

well, I mean,….oh…just watch for yourself..

As I said before, The Chariot, despite the fact that it takes many people to make a band work, is the heart of Josh Scogin at its core.  Josh very much has always dedicated himself to making his faith part of his art, no matter how crazy or loud that may be.  While the video above gives you a glimpse in to his more chaotic side, the one below deals with the true meaning of his desire to be on stage. Sorry about the commercial at the end there, this speech was taken from a performance at Soulfest…I think they need to pay us now, right?

I have to be honest and say that I hated The Chariot for a long time.  I was coming high off of  Bless The Martyr Kiss The Child, and I was expecting a lot from Mr. Scogin.  What I got was..different.

It took me almost a year to get it. This isn’t metal, this isn’t Christian rock, it isn’t even music. Its art. Its taking what was, and tearing it down to begin again. It is the true expression of a gifted individual. It is the heart of a man who loves God so much that he would follow Him in to the unknown of the “new”, and speak the words the way He wanted him to. Josh may have started what is one the most successful metalcore bands on the planet, but when God called him to something different, he followed. Success was never the issue. Fans weren’t the issue. Josh wanted make the music he was put on earth to make. Like Dallas from Underoath (now in Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster), he did something completely new, and will most likely keep The Chariot train steaming ahead until God takes him somewhere else.

Lets hope that’s not soon…

You can find The Chariot’s digitally music on The Chariot

You can also find their CDs on Amazon: Everything Is Alive, Everything Is Breathing Nothing Is Dead and Nothing Is Bleeding(2004), Unsung EP
(2005), The Fiancee (2007)

New Releases for 2/24/09-GO GET UM!!

Lost Messengers: The Outtakes

August Burns Red

Solid State Records

Metal/Hardcore

Official

Daniel Weatherspoon

Spoonfed Productions

Gospel

Small Sacrifice

Twila Paris

KOCH Records

Contemporary Christian

Voices Of The Winds

Usynlig Tumult

Bombworks Records

Metal

Music From The 3D Concert Experience

Jonas Brothers

Hollywood Records

Pop

Who Speaks For Planet Earth?

And Then There Were None

Tooth & Nail

Rock

God’s Country

Anthony Burger

EMI

Instrumental

Christian Artists To Know: Cool Hand Luke

Cool Hand Luke
Genre: Rock
Sub-genres: Progressive, Atmospheric Rock, Experimental
Location: Nashville, TN
Label: Lujo Records
Website: www.coolhandlukeonline.com/
Christian label: no
Category: The Spiritual whats this?

Hush, little boy, don’t say a word
Don’t you know Daddy’s got this one?
Hey, little boy, bury your sword
Jesus already won this war

The chorus of the opening song, “Heroes Will Be Heroes”, off of Cool Hand Luke‘s 2003 CD Wake Up O Sleeper immediately sets up listeners for the band’s message.  Surrender.  With deeply introspective lyrics, soaring atmospheric guitars, and the broken whisper of frontman, Mark Nickes, Cool Hand Luke has evolved from their early screamo days to become a unique and progressive voice in Christian art rock.  Since the release of Wake Up O Sleeper, the band has focused their sound, and crafted an identity that is theirs only. On the surface, Cool Hand Luke is a mellow indie rock band. However, to listen deeper not only reveals strong rock elements, along with heavy percussion and experimentation, but also very intense and personal lyrics crafted by Nickes.  Comparisons to Radiohead prior to the Kid A electronic phase are valid.  Like Radiohead, Cool Hand Luke is able to make what would seem boring at most times interesting and doesn’t allow the listener to turn away.

The follow up to O Sleeper was the band’s most experimental stage of their career with The Fires Of Life.  Bigger song progressions, more instruments, and hints of electronic back beats made songs like “Cinematic”, and “I’m Not Running” instant classics. The band toured relentlessly for almost two years on the album, gaining new fans and critic appreciation across the US.

Then it all stopped.  By 2004, Cool Hand Luke had completely dropped off the face of the planet. Most of the members were working on other projects, including Nickes drumming for art-chaos band The Chariot.  For fans, this unannounced hiatus was long and saddening. In 2006, the band returned with an altered line-up, a “best of” CD (mainly to fulfill their contractual obligations to Floodgate Records), and new direction. In 2008, the now three-piece band released The Sleeping House through Lujo Records. The CD saw Cool Hand Luke enter yet a new area by exploring a more progressive and straight rock sound, once again displaying the band’s commitment to true artistic expansion.

The core of Cool Hand Luke though, is the intimate and personal lyrics that exist in all of the band’s songs. Songs of brokenness, prayer, redemption, joy, and as stated before, surrender make up Cool Hand Luke‘s vast song library.  One of these songs is “One Time” from Wake Up O Sleeper, preformed here by Mark and friend Aaron Roche.

Let me tell you what he did for me,
with the weight of my worries tearing my sleeve.
I cried to my father the other night, the end of all hope.
“Show me the rope, which way to go”
As I fell asleep, he took away my worries.
He picked me up put me on his shoulders.

I could see for miles.
He showed me that the mountain I’m climbing,
is not a mountain at all,
but a gentle slope leading home.

There are mountains
towering ahead.
He says to me “These are mine.
Hold my hand, you’ll be fine”

I could see for miles.
He showed me that the mountain I’m climbing,
is not a mountain at all,
but a gentle slope leading home.

“The mountains are mine”

We also have to post this incredible video for the band’s song “Wonder Tour” from The Sleeping House. I’m going to let you experience the lyrics for yourself this time.

In 2003, I was tired. I had been at Cornerstone Festival all week, and it was a hot year. I had been going through a lot in my life at the time, a relationship that I had been very happy in had ended the night before I traveled to the festival. I was starting a new school in a few months, and I was struggling with where my life was at the time.  I had three more bands on my list to see, but in the heat of the afternoon on my last day there, all I wanted to do was rest. I wondered into a tent close to my camp site, and just sat down. The band playing was just walking up onto the stage and getting settled.  The background music faded, and a voice came over the mic and said:

“We are Cool Hand Luke, thank you for worshiping with us”

I stayed in that tent for an hour and didn’t move, speak, or even stand up. I let the music surround me and just let myself relax. When I stood up, I felt rejuvenated, happy, and lighter.  I have always remembered what Cool Hand Luke‘s music did to me that day, and for what God did in my heart during their short set. They continue to surprise me and inspire my faith. The new era of the band gives me hope that we will not have to suffer through another dry period, and that we will continue to see how the band will evolve and surprise for years to come.

Cool Hand Luke’s music can be found digitally on Cool Hand Luke

You can also get their CDs on Amazon: Wake Up, O Sleeper(2003), The Fires of Life(2004), The Balancing Act(2007), The Sleeping House(2008)

Christian Artists To Know: Bodies Of Water

Bodies Of Water
Genre: Rock
Sub-genres: Indie, Gospel, Folk, Choir
Location: Highland Park, CA
Label: Secretly Canadian
Website: www.bodiesofwater.net/
Myspace: www.myspace.com/bodiesofwater
Christian label: No
Category: The Light whats this?

From the beginning of just about any of Bodies Of Water‘s many songs, you know you are in for something different. Maybe it is the Arcade Fire like guitar progression.  Maybe it’s the fact that you never know what new instrument will pop up at any time. Or maybe it is the sound of a large group of distinct voices singing on top of each other  in some type of off beat harmony for the majority of the songs.  Whatever strikes you, there is no denying that Bodies Of Water doesn’t fit into many molds that people put around music.  Pulling influences from folk, choir music, indie rock, and adding their own sense of progression to the mix, Bodies Of Water have been making a serious name for themselves ever since the release of their first album, Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink, in 2007.  Since that time, they have already released another well received CD, toured, and were even featured on a SXSW Music Conference showcase in 2008. Their strength is in their ability to combine older sounding styles of chamber choir music with more modern elements of progressive rock.  The end result allows the band to explore new sounds and avenues of experimental music without becoming too heavy handed.  Although only a four piece at its core, the band is known to play shows with as many as five other people on stage, giving their live shows and music an experimental communal quality.

The band formed in 2004 under the name Death Of A Unicorn, but after keyboardist Meredith Metcalf was struck with the symbolism of “any heat is bearable next to a body of water”, she , her husband David, and friends Jessie Conklin and Kyle Gladden decided to change the name of their newly formed group to Bodies Of Water.  The name seemed to just work better with their joyous and soulful approach to the indie rock platform.  Although they have been compared many times to folk choir The Polyphonic Spree, Bodies Of Water‘s everybody-sing-at-once approach is more steeped in gospel than hippie sing-along music.  Leader David has said that he loved quartet gospel groups like Swan Silvertones because of the way that music was able to work seamlessly with the group’s faith.  Taking that idea and incorporating some more modern elements have given Bodies Of Water a sound that is unlike any of their peers.

Lyrically, the band tries to deal with matters of faith by talking metaphorically about the body, most often in reference to the body of Christ and the intimacy between God and His children. Hands, eyes,and feet are all images that get visited over and over again in their songs.  Other songs deal with the nurturing and sustenance of that body, many times referring to water and food to invoke images of rest and restoration.  All in all, Bodies Of Water makes you dig for meaning. Their lyrics are not obvious, in fact they’re a little strange.  Bodies Of Water is just not one of those bands who will give what is on the surface, but instead will give you something you won’t forget.

Here is the band preforming the song “If I Were A Bell” in 2008.

I also just had to post their video for the song “Under The Pines”. It is a great little video, a fairytale type story, but be warned that there are some strange images in the video, including a little blood.  We are all grown-ups here though, right?

I (Ian) discovered this band almost by accident last year on Emusic. I was impressed immediately by their very unique sound.  I had heard bands like them before, but I was really drawn to how happy and creative the music was.  A few days later I discovered that they were a band of believers, and I have recommended them ever since. We are always going to present bands to you that we think are doing something different than the rest.  Bodies Of Water openly talk about their faith in interviews but somehow have never been defined or shunned by that fact.  The indie music scene just loves them to much.  I have to agree though, you just cant help but love this band.

You can find Bodies Of Water’s music digitally on Bodies of Water

You can also buy their CDs on Amazon: Ears Will Pop & Eyes Will Blink(2007), A Certain Feeling(2008)

Free MP3 Album Download: Lovelite- All Color

The album All Color is from the California worship band Lovelite. Think of it as more alternative worship, because some of the traditional worship music trappings are extinct here. Instead you are left with remnants of bands such as Sleeping At Last and Six Pence None The Richer. I’m not saying that Lovelite sounds exactly like either of those bands, but they incorporate some of both band’s better qualities into their style of worship.  The production is high quality, the songs are great, and style is unique.

This one is a bit different. I said FREE at the top because this is one of those pay what ever you want for it. The album is worth a full album sticker price, but Lovelite have set it up for you to give them what you think it’s worth. Click on the link below, and type in the amount you want to pay. hit the PROCEED button, and they will ask you to enter a name, email address, and few friend’s emails to send the album to. Hit the DONATE AND DOWNLOAD button, and the site will send a link to the email you entered. Open the email, click on the link, and download the .ZIP file. EXTRACT ALL FILES after it is done, and All Color is yours.

Download All Color from Lovelite.