American Idol Season 9 Top 9 Performances

In a shocker, we lost Christian music artist Didi Benami last week.  There are at least three performers that should have gone home before Didi.  But, who am I to question?  I predicted, and still believe, that Katelyn Epperly should be winning American Idol Season 9.

There are only two Christian music artists remaining in the American Idol Season 9 Top 9Michael Lynche continues to deliver winning performances every week.  I think he has been the most consistent performer on American Idol Season 9Tim Urban is consistently harangued and demeaned by the judges every week.  The judges do not believe Tim Urban belongs in the competition and are frustrated that he continuously expresses joy and gratitude at his opportunity to participate in American Idol Season 9.  I love Tim Urban‘s transcendent gratitude.

American Idol Season 9 will feature songs from the Lennon/McCartney songbook this week.  The material will be great.  Will Crystal Bowersox and Michael Lynche continue their strings of superior performances?  Will Siobhan Magnus recover from last week’s fall from adulation and emotional train wreck?  Will Lee Dewyze build upon last week’s great performance?  Join us as we live blog the next two hours of American Idol Season 9 performances?

Ooh, Kara is wearing sparkly dress and Ellen is dressed like Charlie Chaplin, late in life.   Is Ryan the only one of the cast that can walk down the stairs.  Goodbye Didi Benami.  Aaron Kelly stands next to Ryan and he looks terrified.  We do Lennon/McCartney songbook.  I saw Paul McCartney discuss the writing process he and John Lennon followed.  They wrote most of these songs 3 hours as at time.  Amazingly, two guys, guitar, piano, three hours and out comes “Day Tipper”, “I Should’ve Known Better”?  Wow

No wonder Aaron Kelly was looking terrified.  He starts the night singing “The Long and Winding Road.”  He has managed to strip the soul from this heart breaking ballad.  His pacing is clunky, the song does not build.  He hits most of the notes but the performance is soooo boring.   Randy hates it.  “I don’t know, aaaah”.  He calls the arrangement sleepy.  Ellen hated it as well.  Kara is calling him to change his performance and do something with a little more tempo.  Simon calls is old fashioned and boring.  At least the judges agree with me.  Why do the judges act surprised when people boo them?  What did Simon mean by saying that Aaron Kelly should have done some research on the song?

With a 90 minute American Idol show for 9 singers we should have plenty of time for the singers to sing and the judges to judge.  Is that goos or bad?

Katie Stevens is next wearing a pink dress and looking 35.  Katie is pimping herself out as a prom date for votes.  What!  She is singing “Let It Be”.  Why are these young kids singing these deep, mature songs.  Come on kids have some fun.  Wow this is actually pretty good.  She brings a little Aretha arrangement to the song. This is Katie’s best performance since she auditioned.  Good job, Katie Stevens.  Randy?  He loved it, you can see it in his face.  “It reaffirms for me …. fumbler, fumble (what am I saying?), dude those were hot vocals.”  Ellen says it was amazing.  Kara says she made the song her own.  It is amazing that she is confident after the beating she has taken the past two weeks.  Simon says she got it right.  Simon says it was country.  The judges don’t get it and I don’t either.  There was no country there.   I am two for two in agreement with the judges.

Andy Garcia, according to his fellow American Idol Season 9 performers, has personality.  Are you listening Simon?  He is singing one of my all time favorite Beatles songs “Can’t Buy Me Love”.  Why do the performers stand behind the judges? How can they judge without seeing them perform?  This is a good version of the song.  It was one of Andy’s best performances but nothing amazing.  What Randy?  You agree that is was solid but not great.  Ellen thought it was a lot of fun.  Kara wants to love it but says it is nothing new from Andy.  Simon calls it a wedding song- corny and old fashioned.  I didn’t hate it like Simon did, but I didn’t  love it like Ellen did.

What do the fellow Idols think of Michael Lynche?  Katie Stevens thought he was the Incredible Hulk and he makes some weird high pitch squeal. Mike is performing “Elanor Rigby”.  He keeps the strings but delivers a quasi R&B vibe.  The semi rap,talk singing start sets up the big vocals at the end.  Maybe a little over dramatic but a wonderful vocal performance.  Randy thinks Mike is doing what ever he wants on the show and that he should put it on his album.  Ellen says he can do everything.  Ellen says it was incredible.  Kara calls it fire.  She loved the drama.  She says he made the song commercial and modern.  Simon did not love it as much as the others.  He thinks it was too theatrical.  Kara and Randy argued with Simon.

I just went back and watched Michael Lynche’s performance.  I agree with Kara.  That was Hot!

Crystal Bowersox sits on the stools with Ryan and she is letting her dreadlocks fly.  She is singing “Come Together” because of its fun groove.  She drops a didgeridoo onto the Beatles. Crystal brings the funk and her always great vocals.  She is just so original.  Crystal Bowersox is everything the judges wanted Adam Lambert to be last year.  Amazing vocal, amazing arrangement, amazing performance.  Randy kinda liked it.  Ellen worries about finding new ways to say how great she is.  It is one of Kara’s favorite Crystal Bowersox performances.  Simon says it just worked.  He says it was quirky and contemporary.  I agree with the judges.

Well my first question has been answered.  Michael Lynche and Crystal Bowersox continued their march of greatness tonight.

Poor Tim Urban.  He has to follow those two performances.  The fellow Idols are overwhelmed by the smile.  He is singing “All My Loving”.  A quiet understated opening and then he kicks it up.  The song loses some of its edge in Tim’s hands, but the performance is interesting and solid.  He sings perfectly.  Good job, Tim Urban.  Randy is condescending, “I am going to judge if it is a good Tim performance”.  Tim Urban does look like one of a Beatle tonight.  Ellen thought it was his second best performance.  Kara said it was solid and asks him to smile.  Simon respectfully thought he did very well and thinks the song sounded contemporary.  Simon compliments him on his maturity with the criticism.  Thank you judges for being fair.

Casey James is known as the playboy soap opera star with a huge laugh.  He is doing John Lennon’s “Jealous Guy”.  These songs are just so great.  Casey, his guitar and cello gives this song a distinctive vibe.  The performance a slight country feel to it, in a good way.  Casey doesn’t have the voice to completely deliver on the arrangement.  It was sensitive and moving.  Randy appreciates the individualism in the performance.  Ellen though is was soulful and beautiful.  Kara says he showed depth and vulnerability. Simon calls it the best performance of the night.  Simon felt his emotion.  The judges loved it better than I did, but I thought it was very good.

I just went back and watched Casey James‘ performance again.  I agree with everything the judges said, I just don’t like the way Casey sings.

Can Siobhan Magnus recapture her momentum?  Tonight she is going to sing “Across The Universe”.  Of course Siobhan would dig deep into the Beatles psychedelic era. It feels like I am watching Eydie Gorme singing on the Andy Williams Show.  This is certaintly the most understated Siobhan performance of American Idol Season 9.  Randy loves the tender side but thought it was a little sleepy. Ellen says she is special and thought it was beautiful.  Kara says the singing was perfect but a little too polite. Simon says she came back much stronger after last week.

Went back and watched the Siobhan performance again.  She did come back from last week.  I think it may have even gotten her attention and caused her to grow a bit.

Lee Dewyze is the resident worry wart, so much so that the other Idols laugh at him.  He is singing “Hey Jude”.  Oops.  Maybe last week was a fluke.  The singing was just okay.  The bagpipes were way too much.  The arrangement was a mess.  Sorry Lee, that was not good. Randy loved it?  What did he see?  Ellen thought he showed a lot of confidence.  Kara was mixed about the performance.  Simon thought the bagpipes were too much.

A very good night.  I thought Aaron Kelly was the only one who did rise to the occasion.  I though Lee Dewyze and Andy Garcia just missed in their performances.

Come watch Rihana with us tomorrow night as we live blog the results.

Indie Vision Music Interviews Hundredth

The guys over at Indie Vision Music recently did an interview with Chadwick Johnson of the metal/moshcore band Hundredth.  In it they talk about how faith dictates art and morals, the term “Christian Music”, and on tours pranks.  Click the link below to go read the interview.

Read The Hundredth interview

One21 Guide To Christian Music Festivals:July

So Summer time is is around the bend, and for music lovers that means one thing: Music Festivals! In the world of Christian music, summer festivals are a big deal, there are many artists who only play these once a year mega-events. For audience members, festivals are a great way to experience music that may have never come into focus until they saw it live. In our lives, mewithoutYou, La Dispute, Josh Garrels, Anathallo, Enter The Worship Circle, RedCloud, and Cool Hand Luke would never have hit our radar if we hadn’t wandered into a tent at Cornerstone Festival over the years. Even though we at One21 think Cornerstone is great, it is only one of the many around the country. Maybe you want to hit one, or tour them of all (we have met people who do), so we have put this little schedule together of all the Christian music festivals in 2009. You are welcome:

If you missed our last post, view the Christian Music Festival guide for June 2009

Lifefest 2009 (July 8th-12th):
Oshcosh, WI
Lifefest is a true all-in-one experience. They have not only music, but art fairs, kid camp, skate parks, bonfires, tons of game, and interactive prayer journeys. Camping is the main way to experience the fest, but the website has a link to a nearby Radisson Hotel. The music is a good mix of styles, along with quite a few speakers and comedians. The fest seems to be more geared to towards families and large youth groups. There is really something for everyone, young and old, at this festival.
Website:www.lifest.com
Line-up Highlights:
Skillet Skillet(here we go)
Salvador Salvador
Ilia Ilia
tobyMac tobyMac
The Afters The Afters
Secret & Whisper Secret & Whisper
PillarPillar
Third DayThird Day
Shane & Shane Shane Barnard & Shane Everett
War Of Ages War of Ages

Sonshine Fesival (July15th-18th)
Willmar, MN
Sonshine is another outdoor, camp at the site festival, but cuts out all the fluff. None of this “other stuff to do” thing going, Sonshine is all about the music. Three days, and from the looks of it there are a few hundred acts performing on three stages (along with a kids stage, and a extreme sports tent). Most of the mainstream acts hit the main stage, but a whole lot of heavy music is going on the side stages, along with what looks like an entire day of hip-hop. Sonshine are looking pretty good with pleasing just about ANY music lover.
Website:www.sonshinefestival.com
Line-up Highlights:
Switchfoot Switchfoot
Family Force 5 Family Force 5
Skillet
Skillet(oh yea)
Relient K Relient k
Tal & Acacia
For Today For Today
Living Sacrifice Living Sacrifice
Kaboose Kaboose
As I Lay Dying As I Lay Dying
Barlow Girl BarlowGirl

Hills Alive (July 18th, 19th)
Rapid City, SD
This is a little smaller than some of the other festivals we have listed, but with two of music on tow stages, it is pretty amazing that this one is completely free. Yep, that’s what I said, free. I wish I lived on that side of the country, ’cause I love free stuff, and so should you.
Website: http://hillsalive.com
Line-Up Highlights:
Kutless Kutless
Casting Crowns Casting Crowns
Skillet
Skillet(maybe they will be at every one I list today)
AbandonAbandon
Remedy DriveRemedy Drive
The AftersThe Afters
Krystal MeyersKrystal Meyers
AvalonAvalon
Big Daddy WeaveBig Daddy Weave
The FoldThe Fold

Creation Northwest 09 (July 22nd-25th)
George, WA
Hey remember Creation Northeast that happened in June? No? Well here is my write up on that because this is an identical set-up: “Creation is a huge outdoor event geared towards youth pastors. It claims to be the largest Christian music festival, with tons of music, activities and stuff for kids. Creation also features themed stages, with a main stage reserved for the bigger acts, the fringe stage for lesser known bands, and a stage completely reserved for worship. There is a lot of music crammed in to three days, so come ready!”
Website: www.creationfest.com
Line-up Highlights:
Skillet Skillet(you know it)
Chris TomlinChris Tomlin
Relient KRelient k
Casting CrownsCasting Crowns
Hawk NelsonHawk Nelson
Worth Dying ForWorth Dying For
The ShowdownThe Showdown
IvorylineIvoryline
House Of HeroesHouse of Heroes
LecraeLecrae

Soulfest (July 29th-Aug 1rst)
Gilford, NH
Soulfest is a huge outdoor festival that has a more of a focus on the worship aspect of the music scene. There are lots of rock bans, activities, and what not, but many of the bigger names are worship leaders. From what I can tell, there isn’t camping, so they provide a ton of local hotels on their website so you can be best served. The fest seems a little more lighthearted, although as I said before, it’s not ALL worship.
Website: www.thesoulfest.com
Line-up Highlights:
Jason Upton Jason Upton(plays twice)
Derek WebbDerek Webb
Natalie GrantNatalie Grant
Phil Wickam
The AftersThe Afters
A Plea For PurgingA Plea for Purging
OceanaOceana
Casting CrownsCasting Crowns
FireflightFireflight
Skillet
Skillet(ha, you thought they had missed one)

Spirit West Coast (July 30th-Aug 1rst)
Monterey, CA
Going on at the same time is Spirit West Coast. This is more like a mini-Cornerstone, there is a ton of kids stuff, games, sports going on at the same time as the music. They are putting up a lot for just a few days of festivities. Camping and hotels are available, and this one seems to be very family friendly, no one should get bored. The music part is the who’s who of Christian rock, so it will be loud and fun for sure.
Website:http://monterey.spiritwestcoast.org
Line-up Highlights:
Jeremy CampJeremy Camp
David Crowder BandDavid Crowder Band
MercyMeMercyMe
KutlessKutless
Family Force 5Family Force 5
SeabirdSeabird
House Of HeroesHouse of Heroes
WavorlyWavorly
Thousand Foot KrutchThousand Foot Krutch
Steller KartStellar Kart

Alright, that’s it for July, come back next week, and we will have your line-up for September.

American Idol Season 8- Kris vs. Adam The Finale

The American Idol Season 8 finale could not be any more different in style and persona.  The wild, and wildly popular, Adam Lambert with more than a decade of professional and amateur stage and singing experience comes into tonight’s show as the favorite.  Christian music artist Kris Allen, the business major from Conway, Arkansas whose experience has been limited to leading worship in his church, in his fraternity and on overseas mission trips rose from obscurity through American Idol’s eighth season.   Both have taken risks with arrangements and performances.  The question will be: Does America love Adam Lambert’s mad vocals and flamboyant performance style or does America love Kris Allen’s uncanny song selection and arrangement skills and his insightful ability to interpret songs?

The American Idol Season 8 final performance show will have Kris Allen and Adam Lambert perform three songs each.  American Idol creator, Simon Fuller will pick a song for Adam and a song for Kris.  Then, Kris and Adam will perform a song they select of the themselves.  There are rumors that they will be limited to songs already performed on American Idol Season 8, but that would be lame.  See my article Top 2 Fighting Songs to see what I would like for them to sing.  The final performance could be very telling.  Kris Allen and Adam Lambert will both sing a song that will become the American Idol Season 8 winner’s first single.  Will Adam’s superior singing talent impress the voters or will Kris’s ability to infuse meaning into a song win America’s heart?

This has been a fun season with a crew of really talented performers.  See my American Idol Season 8 year in review for some fun memories and my Top 15 performances.  Tonight should action packed and exciting, so let’s get to it.

We are at the Kodak Theater and the crowd is huge.  Simon and Randy are both wearing jackets, amazing.  Kris won a coin toss last week and has chosen to perform second.  Both guys are wearing leather jackets.  Kris and Adam were limited on their song choice to songs performed during the season.

PROGRAMMING NOTE. IF YOU PLAN TO RECORD TOMORROW NIGHT’S SHOW, SET YOU DVR FOR AN EXTRA HOUR.  THEY PLAN FOR THE TWO HOUR SHOW TO GO LONG.

Adam Lambert starts off the performances.  According to his parents he would scream all through the night as a baby.  Adam is performing “Mad World” from Tears For Fears.  This was his breakthrough moment during the season.  He is singing well, but the magic from the previous performance seems to be missing. This version seems a little bland compared to the first time I saw it.

Randy loves Adam showing his sensitive side and gives him an A+.  Kara gushes.   Of course, Paula calls the performance haunting.  Simon thought this was his best performance during the season.  He thinks tonight was a little over theatrical.

We go straight to Kris Allen.  As a kid his family had to pay him to sing, a business major all the way.  Kris is singing Bill Withers “Ain’t No Sunshine”.  He is playing the baby grand Steinway.  Very slow, soulful opening.  As the band picks up the beat he picks up his singing.  This is brilliant again.  Incredible command of this song.  Beautiful singing.  That was special.

Randy calls it one if his best performances ever and Kara agrees.  She says he creates an intimate bond with the audience.  Paula calls him a great artist.  Simon takes back all of doubts about Kris back after that performance.  Simon calls Kris the winner of round 1.

Now they sing songs selected by Simon Fuller.  Adam Lambert is singing “A Change Is Gonna Come” by Sam Cooke.   This is very, very good.  A little over the top, but good.  This guy surely can sing.  He picked up his game.

Randy thinks it was unbelievable.  Kara thinks it was his best performance of the season.  Her comments on how he interpreted the song by taking us up high then pulling back to connect with emotion of the song was the best comment by a judge all season.  Paula thinks it was the best she has ever heard him sing.  Simon says he is 100% back in the game.

Kris Allen has his work cut out for himself.  Kris is singing Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On”.  He is back with his percussionists, bongos and a beat box.  The arrangement doesn’t seem to fit the sentiment of the song, but the original version was similar.  Very good but not great.

Randy thinks his arrangement was a little light.  Kara is glad he sang a socially conscious song.  Paula loved it.  Simon thinks it was too laid back for tonight.  I think I agree with Simon.  Round 2 to Adam.

Final performances, we get to see Kris Allen and Adam Lambert interpret the same song.  It is down to this.

The song is “No Boundries” co-written by Kara.  Adam Lambert is first.  He gives it a synth pop arrangement.  Adam is wearing snake skin pants.   This is a typical big, loud Adam Lambert performance.  He sings it well, but I don’t really feel it. The judges will eat this up.

The crowd goes crazy.  Randy thinks he can sing great but did not like the performance.  Kara is moved and proud.  Paula finishes her season long gushing.  Simon thinks he has been one of the best, most original contestants of the season.  It is interesting that none of the judges says anything good about his performance.

I am not sure what Kris Allen can do with this song that will not reveal its maltziness.

Okay so Kris let’s see what you got. Interesting he takes a straight forward big backing band approach to the song.  He performs well but struggles with the singing.  Not my favorite Kris Allen performance.

Randy liked it better than Adam.  Kara thinks the song was too high for him.  Paula does not mention the performance at all.  Simon calls watching him on the stage tonight incredible.   Simon says Kris deserves to be on this stage.

Vote, vote, VOTE, VOTE, VOTE , VOTE.

See you later with my review and predictions.  Vote for Kris Allen.

New Releases 5/19/09

So, in opposition to last week’s three releases, this week has a lot to choose from. New Mat Kearny, a Family Force 5 remix album, Mike Herrea’s (MXPX) Tumbledown album is finally out, and of course the next installment of the mewithoutYou saga. There are some real gems here, so follow the Amazon links today, and I will have the iTunes links tomorrow. Support the scene!

mewithoutyou-its-all-crazy-its-all-fake-its-all-a-dream-its-alright
It’s All Crazy! It’s All Fake! It’s All A Dream! It’s Alright
mewithoutYou

Tooth & Nail
Progressive Rock/Folk
Buy NOW:
Amazon
AmazonMP3
Me Without You - It's All Crazy! It's All False! It's All a Dream! It's Alright

mat-kearny-city-of-black-and-white
City Of Black & White
Mat Kearny

Inpop
Pop/Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon
Amazon MP3
Mat Kearney - City of Black & White (Bonus Track Version)

family-force-5-dance-or-die-with-a-vengence
Dance Or Die With A Vengeance
Family Force 5

Tooth & Nail
Dance Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon
AmazonMP3
Family Force 5 - Dance or Die With a Vengeance

tumbledown
Mike Herrera’s Tumbledown
Tumbledown

End Sounds
Punk/Pop
Buy NOW:
Amazon
AmazonMP3
Mike Herrera's Tumbledown - Tumbledown

tedashii-identity-crisis
Identity Crisis
Tedashii

Reach Records
Hip-Hop
Buy NOW:
Amazon
AmazonMP3

lanae-hale-back-and-forth
Back & Forth
Lanae Hale

Centricity Music/Word
Pop
Buy NOW:
AmazonMP3
Lanae' Hale - Back & Forth

sam-levine-smooth-praise
Smooth Praise
Sam Levine

Springhill
Jazz
Buy NOW:
Amazon
AmazonMP3

press-play-life-is-beautiful
Life Is Beautiful
Press Play

Dream Records
Pop
Buy NOW:
Amazon
Press Play - Life Is Beautiful

until-june-sound-of-defeat-ep
Sound Of Defeat
Until June

Sony BMG
Pop/Rock
Buy NOW:
AmazonMP3
Until June - Sound of Defeat - EP

mr-del-thrilla
Thrilla
Mr.Del

Holy South
Hip-Hop
Buy NOW:
Amazon

jaymes-reunion-everything-youve-been-looking-for
Everything You’ve Been Looking For
Jaymes Reunion

BEC
Pop/Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

Free MP3 Day!

nuns dance for free mp3s

So today is very special, because today we join the ranks of MP3 blogs all over the world. Every month a ton of promo MP3 downloads come across our screens. We would be constantly killing ourselves if we tried to write a post about every single one of them. So, instead, twice a month we will be posting all the promo MP3s we have found in ONE place for you to get your hands on. Great news right?   We think so..

I want to assure all of our readers that the tracks below have been posted for free on a variety of places as a means of promotion for the artists. If you download something off of our site, and enjoy it, please go and buy the rest of the music. If you are an artist and you don’t think we should have your song on these MP3 posts, please hit us up on the “Contact Us” tab up there, and we will be more than happy to delete the file. No questions asked.

HERE ARE YOUR DOWNLOADS (all the tracks below will take you to a Mediafire page, simple click on the track on that page and your download will begin):

Air Five- Please Don’t Change
Awaken North Wind- Grace
Bobby Bishop- Please
Carolina Story- Long Way South
Danyew- Streelight
Darrel Evans- In Jesus’ Name
David Ramirez- Deal In Me
David Ramirez- Good To Be Bad
Fireflight- Unbreakable
Gentlemen At Arms- Honestly
Gentlemen At Arms- Lay It Down
Gentlemen At Arms- Silence This
Gentlemen At Arms- The World Is Breaking
Gentlemen At Arms- When We Fall
Giano- Beautiful World
Jeremy Enigk- Life’s Too Short
Just Me- How I Met Your Mother
Kiven- Story
Mark Arthur- Gain
Move Merchants- Live As It Gets feat. Theory Hazit and Playdough
Owl City- Hot Air Balloon
Psalters- Hosanna
Psalters- Amal
Ryan Morgan Band- Someday
Sara Reeves- Come Save
Shane Kidd- Son Light
Katie Herzig- Hey NaNa
Katie Herzig- Two Hearts Are Better Than One

Shop at the iTunes Music Store.
Buy MP3s on Amazon
Get 25 FREE Music Downloads for your iPod® or any MP3 player!

Voices Of The Underground Pt.9

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

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?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?
Read Pt.7: What Is Christian Music?
Read Pt.8: What Is Your Opinion On The Christian Music Industry?

Last week we talked about the Christian music industry, and found that most of our artists were either frustrated or hurt by the business that runs that industry. This week we are talking about the Christian music scene, and if our artists at this point believe that it is important. The Christian music scene, in our eyes, is something completely different from the industry we covered last week. The scene encompasses the full spectrum of the believers out there making music. It is the family that is out there all over the world, in many different voices, making music from a foundation of hope and faith.  In the 90s, it was a growing scene, trying to expand the boundaries of “sacred” music. As we close in on the first decade of the 21rst century, much of the passion and urgency seems to be derailed by feelings of hypocrisy and anger towards the machine that controls the CCM world. So is Christian music still important?

Do you think the Christian music scene is still important?

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)                         Dewey Lybecker
I think it is very important. I was reading a book by Erwin McManus, and one of the things he was talking about in the book was how Christians should be creating the culture, and how back in the day they use to run the show. If we want people to see that God is a creative guy, we need to be creative! I think if we are labeled a “Christian Artist,” it’s our job to not just regurgitate other peoples material to sell records.

curtisblackhighvally Curtis(mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley)
High Valley
Yes, very important. Sometimes I really need to listen to some straight up worship music just to remind me who God is. It’s important to remember that God created music and that if Christians are making music it should point straight to Him.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)
Chris Taylor
Oh, it’s important. So, important that Christians should know when not to participate in a lot of things that go on in the scene. Just like any scene there are pitfalls but for Christians the Supremacy of Christ should be the primary goal in all we do.

takeitbackdanielDaniel(guitarist for Facedown Records hardcore band Take It Back!)
Take It Back - Can't Fight Robots
Absolutely. I think that there is an underground force that is building its forces, and that soon it will explode into the world and change things forever.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)
Echocast
I think the Christian music scene is great, especially being that it opens up rock shows to under age kids and gives impressionable kids albums they can get into without foul language and/or questionable lyrics and imagery…

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
I think Christian music is important; the “scene” is like any other: image- and category-driven, a means of separating the “in” crowd from the “out.” Don’t get me wrong: I’m not nearly as cynical about Christian music as it may sound! There is a growing group of Christian artists who weren’t and won’t be accepted on the scene because they don’t play by the unwritten rules, and they’re on the move: We see the good they’re doing for authentic Christianity in the efforts of Derek Webb, Sara Groves, and others like them. And that’s the Christian music “scene” I think will be most effective, impacting, and lasting when the money Machine eventually breaks down.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)
Hyland
It’s incredibly important. People want to invest in things that they know are safe, especially parents. The church is ever important and the church needs music to keep everyone’s pulse moving.

xcess Xcess(solo Darkside records hip-hop/industrial artist)
It’s very important because it’s where we should all come together as a Body of Christ no different than the Churches should. But I think we are a little more unified as opposed to alot of denominational bickering and separation. We need to be together in this to do our best to spread the Gospel in every venue possible.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
Yes, I think it is important but I don’t think it should be called the “Christian Music Scene” because singles out the artist a bit…Like you don’t call a truck driver that is a Christian a “Christian Truck Driver” so why with the arts do we give everything a label and than look down upon an artist if they don’t want the label…I just think this goes back to the C.S. Lewis quote I used earlier…Christians are going to make great music and let us leave it at that great music is great music why label it…

heathstripsinirons Heath(bass player for Holdfast Records metal band In Irons)
In Irons
Most definitely. Some kids that come to the hardcore and metal shows might not ever even hear the gospel or step foot in a church. And when a they see a band they like live and hear a message they’ve never heard it could really change something in their lives. I’ve seen so many kids come to Christ at shows and its an amazing thing.

fortodaydavid1David(drummer for Facedown Records hardcore/metal band For Today)
For Today
Myself included, it’s sucky to really like a band’s music and disagree 110% with everything they sing about.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation)
Our Proclamation
Not particularly. To define a “scene” would be separating music into different groups, and by doing this, non-Christians might not take the message as well as they would if we just called it the music scene.

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent)
A Thousand Times Repent
I do it is very important for these Christian bands to get together with the kids and connect and let them know that Jesus is there for them. Cause being a growing kid is a hard confusing job. And offering them Christian music in the style they like will provide a more positive output then some groups offer.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust)
Dirt As much strife, heartache and opposition as I feel I have experienced within that ‘scene’…. yes. It is VERY important.

domicballi Dominic Balli(independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)
Dominic Balli
I only think it’s important if it is causing Christians to go out into their daily lives and be more potent for the sake of gospel of Jesus Christ. To be more salty and shine brighter. If it’s doing that, then yes, it’s important. But I think we forget the reason we’re here is not just to be “Christians” and walk in purity and holiness or even just to have Relationship and communion with God. We could do all of that in Heaven (and we will). The reason God has left us here is to be his ambassadors. His desire is to save the world. That’s why He sent His son. And He wants us to partner with Him in His mission to save the world. That’s why we’re here. So, if the Christian music scene is not directly or indirectly impacting the world for the sake of the gospel, then all of our record labels, Gospel Music Channels, Radio stations, and festivals are nothing more than music. Which is very ok with lot of people which is fine for them. For me personally, I want my music to go to deeper places and for a deeper reason that just music.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones(independent hip-hop artist)
Mahogany Jones
Yes, I feel like believers need to have music and entertainment that edifies them and whether the world wants to embrace it or not they need to hear music being used properly- for the glorification of God. So the Christian music scene is important to give Christians a market and an outlet to minister and essential in creating venues for Christian artist sharpen and use their gifts and talents. Come back next week as we talk about Christian artists being more accepted for their talents and their faith..

Voices Of The Underground Pt.8

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

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?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?
Read Pt.7: What Is Christian Music?

This week we asked our artists what their opinion of the Christian music industry was. Before you read them, let me emphasize again that these are their opinions, and not always ours.  There are a lot of artists that are happy with the way the industry has grown over the last ten years, but their are many that aren’t. You may read some things in this installment that seem very negative, but let me assure you that these guys know what they are talking about, and this is their inside view on what is happening. I also want to take a minute and say that when many of our artists were talking about this subject, they were not talking about Christian music, but the industry that drives the majority of what you see in Christian book stores and what is on the radio.  There is a difference. I have done my best to display a balanced and fair depiction of the industry from the artist’s view, but sometimes maybe a cry for change just needs to be heard.

What is your opinion of the Christian music industry?

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                           Mahogany Jones
I think that there is good and bad. There are people with pure motives to minister the gospel to people who need to understand the importance of a relationship with Christ, and there are people who use their gift as a means not to promote the gospel but themselves, and I feel that if we aren’t careful to ask God to keep us humble that we may be in for a rude awakening.

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)                           Dewey Lybecker
I feel like the Christian music industry is beginning to come into a place that’s its needed to be in for a while. I think that a lot of Christian music was kind of cheap. It was a bunch of people that just regurgitated everyone else’s songs but added a different hook or something that made it “cool/ hip” again. It wasn’t very original, and because of this it wasn’t very respected by other
musicians. I think where it’s headed is the opposite of that, with bands like Switchfoot, MuteMath, Underoath, P.O.D., The Fray, One Republic… they’re showing the world that Christian music isn’t as lame as a lot of people think it is.

hylandjon Jon (lead singer/guitarist for independent pop/rock band Hyland)       Hyland
I think the Christian music industry is doing a terrible job of staying current. They are banking on bands that are tried and true (Newsboys, Third Day) and aren’t taking chances on new original talent, only on what has already worked in the secular scene. Where are the Audio Adrenalines and the DC Talks of THIS generation???!!! Everyone in the industry is worried about their bottom dollar instead of realizing taking a chance on originality will pay off ten-fold.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Honestly, it stinks that it has come down to a business plan, labels, and it stinks that it actually is an “industry”. I feel like Christians should be at the head of the line creating the best art the world has ever seen. It should just be known that we are Christians based on what we stand for and how we live. It’s weird to me that it has become it’s own separate industry.

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)          Brooke Waggoner
It’s a shame that it’s so divided and set apart from other genres and in other ways, it’s not set apart at all.. it’s really like any other industry – they tapped into a market, create products to fit that demographic, and package it accordingly. It’s difficult to find genuine amongst alot of this, but it does exist!

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
Since we’re all trying to survive in a broken industry people are starting to fight against their morals to stay afloat. As a band we’ve been ripped off, lied to, and stepped on a lot. Unfortunately, the Christian music industry has been the worst about that to us. I hate to say it, but the snakes are in the Christian music industry. That said there are also a lot of awesome people in the Christian music industry that have done wonders for us. It’s no different than the secular side I guess. They’re just selling to Christians.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)               Echocast
I think that a lot of artists are jaded towards the Christian music industry because they might have felt slighted at some point in the business end… But, a lot of people forget that that the music business is still a “business”…

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)
Amy Courts
Honestly? Having come and gone from a number of major Christian label opportunities and seen the ins and outs of their operations, I see the Christian Music Industry much like Jesus saw the sale of goods in the temple: an exploitation of righteousness and holiness for the sake of making money, and a tyrannical dictatorship regarding what defines “Christianity” in melodic terms.

christopherthegoodnighthorizenChristopher(vocalist for Harvest Earth Records metal band The Goodnight Horizon)
The Goodnight Horizon
They spend to much time catering to those who already know Jesus. Open the door, plant the seeds. Stop hiding.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)
Endeverance
I think the “Christian Music” industry sometimes is worse than the Mainstream industry because there is no grace in “Christian Music” I mean if your sin gets out and you’re in the “Christian Music” industry sometimes you get ex-communicated…I mean we are all humans we all sin and fail…Why does it mean when you’re a so called “Christian Artist” you can’t fail…And I think that’s horrible if anything you would think they would be more understanding. But I mean it does have good things like promoting music that has a meaning behind it…

curtisblackhighvally Curtis(mandolist/singer for Centricity Records country band High Valley) High Valley
I think it’s sad that Christian music has to be so “commercial” and surface in order to have success. I like deep songs that may possibly offend someone or really challenge them rather than telling someone that God loves them and knows there name over and over again. These are good messages but hearing it over and over again won’t change anyone’s life if they have heard that message a thousand times before. I think that Christian music good have deeper and more powerful messages. A band that I believe does an awesome job is Downhere. Lyrically the best Christian band I have ever heard.

divulgencecamCameron(guitarist/vocalist for Bombworks Records metal band Divulgence)
Its almost as though Christians have the mindset that since they are playing for God they get to slack off on their song writing. I can turn on the local Christian radio station and hear 5 songs that sound the same in about an hour. It shouldn’t be that way. If you are writing for the King of kings you should give it all you got and don’t take the easy way out by doing some overused chord progression.

corpuschristijarrodinfront Jarrod(guitarist/singer from Victory Records metal band Corpus Christi) Corpus Christi
Sadly, I find the name is often one of the only differences between it (Christin music industry) and the secular music industry.

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                              Dominic Balli
It’s the same as the mainstream one. At the top, there’s still a dude that is just really all about one thing. Money. That’s the industry, not the artists. There’s some artist with wonderfully pure hearts out there. A bunch of them. And there’s some labels that are the same. But as far as most of the “big” Christian labels. It’s all the same.

I think Dominic best summed it up, “it’s all the same”. That seems to be the pervailing theme throughout all the answers this week. Christ called us to be different, so why is it not?

Next week we are talking about the importance of the Christian music scene, so check back with us next week!

Voices Of the Underground Pt.7

voicesoftheundergroundlogo-copy2

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?
Read Pt.6: Who Is Jesus Christ To You?

This week we explore a question that we have debated a lot on this site. In fact, this question explores what is perhaps one of the most controversial and important concepts when it comes to faith and music. For our site, we have defined what we consider Christian music, and then have even gone farther to clarify the many parts of that definition. For most people, and especially music lovers, the concept of what makes music “Christian” is a big deal. In all reality, most of us that talking about it are speaking from the outside in, so this week we ask people making the music what their definition is. As with all of our Voices Of The Underground episodes, the answers are very diverse, and most will surprise you. Alright, enough talk:

What is Christian music?

amycourts Amy Courts (independent pop/folk artist)                                         Amy Courts
I believe Christian Music is – in real terms, not industry terms – anything that flows from the hearts of the redeemed. As one who’s struggled to find a fit in both the “Christian” music world and the “Mainstream” world, I’ve become more and more convinced that being a Christian artist has less to do with how many times I mention “Jesus” in any given song, or how many songs per album are about God, church, Jesus, heaven, or the Bible. Instead, it’s about a faith that filters into and seasons everything I am, say, and do. My faith in Christ and relationship to Him is not “a” thing or even “the” thing that tops any list of priorities. It is the filter through which all priorities find their place. Because I am a Christian, in my heart, my songs will be flavored by my faith. Because Christ is my King, and His heart is for the least of these, my actions will be on behalf of of those He cherishes.

mahoganyjones Mahogany Jones (independent hip-hop artist)                                 Mahogany Jones
Music that is Christ centered. Music that the subject matter doesn’t have to be Christ, but it’s solution or resolve is Christ.
So if I write a song about relationships or about my job- the context needs to be about how I handle either in relationship to my relationship with Christ.

bryanblondstreakabandon Bryan (bass player for Forefront Records pop/rock band Abandon) Abandon
Music that glorifies our God. Plain and simple. It isn’t a fad or even a “genre” in my opinion. I believe that if you are a Christian and you are an artist, your art should reflect your love for your savior, no questions asked. He created you, so anything you create should bring him glory.

brandonsayyouwill Brandon (bass player for independent pop/rock band Say You Will)
Christian music is music that is glorifying to God in any way. Even if it doesn’t say a word about God.

the_welcome_wagon_-_0938-c Vito (half of Asthmatic Kitty indie/folk band The Welcome Wagon) The Welcome Wagon
I think this is a term that should be defined by whoever is using it at the time. It’s not a term I use, thus I do not have a working definition of it. I have terms I do use that are similar, for example, “church music.” I am the pastor of a church, and it is my duty to select music for our church to sing and hear in the context of our worship service. I have a set of criteria that I bring to that task that helps me to choose that music. So that’s a definition—“church music”—that I could give.
But “Christian music” is not a term I use, so I can’t define it.

a thousnd times repent dowd Dowd(guitar for Tribunal Records metal band A Thousand Times Repent) A Thousand Times Repent
I think it is a way to make more positive music that is based around Jesus in any genre. I don’t think any genre should be left out. I think you can do straight death metal and be a Christian band if you want. We need those options available to kids.

dewey Dewey Lybecker( independent solo singer/songwriter)                     Dewey Lybecker
I think Christian music is music that reflects life from the perspective of a person that has a personal relationship with God. The good and the bad..

brookewaggner Brooke Waggoner(solo indie/pop artist on SlowMoon Music)            Brooke Waggoner
Anything that is created from the heart of believers: CCM, indie, rock ‘n’ roll, experimental – there’s Christians in all of these places.

dirt DIRT (underground hip-hop artist and founder of Shadow Of The Locust) Dirt
I know what Christian music SHOULD be…. it should be any music that inspires you TOWARDS God.

ourproclamationfrankieinstrips1Frankie (vocalist for Infantry Records hardcore band Our Proclamation) Our Proclamation
Well, there’s a lot of debate about this. Can you be a Christian band and have songs that aren’t about God? Or do you have to sing about or praise God in everything you perform?
Honestly.. It makes no difference to me. We get lost in the title of “Christian” that we lose our relationship with Christ. I’d rather play music about Christ than Christian music.

sethinfrontendervence Seth (singer for independent hard rock band Endeverance)          Endeverance
To me I honestly don’t think there is a thing as “Christian Music”. I think there is a thing called “Worship Music” which is played in churches every week, but the rest of everything that is called “Christian Music” to me is just plain music…I mean I look at it in the way C.S. Lewis did, as Christian’s I think we should just make music, but do it a million times better than non-Christians…and just leave it at that…

johanna fellow Johanna Miller (keyboardist/singer for South Pawl pop/rock band Fellow) Fellow
Christian music should always direct our thoughts toward God and living a Christ-like life. It’s not limited to strictly church worship songs.

christaylor Chris Taylor (BEC solo artist/song writer)                                             Chris Taylor
Praising His Glorious name!

domicballi Dominic Balli (independent Reggae/hip-hop artist)                       Dominic Balli
To me, “Christian” describes who I AM. I am a Christian. I play Rock Reggae music. “Christian Music” is the only genre in Popular music that is defined not by a style of music but by lyrical content. When someone asks me, “What kind of music do you listen to?” And I say, “Christian Music.” That could mean anything from Project 86 to Mary Mary to Jeremy Camp, to Cross Movement to Fernando Ortega. So what is Christian Music? It’s music where the lyrics are Christian in content.

echocastbandwb8David (singer for independent nu-metal band Echocast)                       Echocast
My personal opinion is that “Christian Music” is music consisting of songs either about the Lord or worshiping the Lord… But at the same time, if an artist writes songs that are more or less autobiographical or are putting their personal thoughts and feelings across, and that artist is a Christian, then Christian ideas and principals are going to come through in individual songs…

So, at the end of the day, the jury is still out. Maybe we as a body of believers will never be able to solve this debate, but we will continue to seek out what the answer is in our own lives. Join us next Thursday as we talk about the Christian music industry.

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.