Free Download: Heath McNease – The Weight Of Glory

If you are new to this website, then you may have NO idea how much of a Heath McNease fan we are. He is a gifted artist with a heart for God that defies all boxes you could put him in. Heath is two artists in one: on one side he is an indescribably talented emcee with a knack for the silly and the sacred all at the same time. Towards the beginning of the year, he put out his finest work in the genre called Thrift Store Jesus (download for free here). On the other side, he is also an awesome singer/songwriter in the vein of Iron & Wine, Dustin Kensrue, and M. Ward. Well, I guess he decided topping himself ONCE in a 12 month span wasnt enough, because Weight Of Glory is my favorite work McNease has done in this genre. Listen below and download yet another amazing release from this awesome man of God.

New Releases For November 9th, 2010

Aaron Neville-I Know I’ve Been Changed
I Know I’ve Been Changed
Aaron Neville

Tell It Productions
Gospel/Soul
Buy NOW:
Amazon
Amazon MP3 ( [+video] [+digital booklet] only $3.99 for a limited time)
iTunes

A Bullet For Pretty Boy  Revision Revise
Revision:Revise
A Bullet For Pretty Boy

Razor & Tie
Screamo
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3
iTunes

Dre Sr.-The Maturation
The Maturation
Dre’ Sr.

Kingdom City Records
Rap
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3
iTunes

dustin kensrue the good night is still everywhere
This Good Night Is Still Everywhere
Dustin Kensrue

Vagrant Records
Christmas Music/Folk
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3
iTunes

Josh White Achor
Achor
Josh White

BEC Recordings
Indie Folk/Worship
Buy NOW:
Amazon
iTunes

messengers anthems
Anthems
Messengers

Strike First Records
Hardcore
Buy NOW:
Amazon
iTunes

the voice loud and clear
#Loudandclear
The Voice

Vine Style Records
Rap
Buy NOW:
iTunes

shonlock-where-never-begins
Where Never Begins EP
Shonlock

Arrow Records
Pop/Hip-Hop/Rock

underoath Disambiguation
Ø (Disambiguation)
Underoath

Solid State Records
Metalcore
Buy NOW:
Amazon
iTunes (deluxe edition

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.9

essential100 copy

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

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

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

Dustin Kensrue-Please Come Home
Please Come Home
Dustin Kensrue

2006
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
There was so much to be surprised by on 2006’s Please Come Home. First and foremost, it was the debut solo effort from Thrice frontman, Dustin Kensrue, a band known for their complex, mosh inducing post hardcore anthems. So the fact that he choose to make a folk/country album let you know this was something completely different in itself.

The second surprise is just how GOOD Please Come Home is. Kensrue’s normal growl translates into earnest grit in this stripped down setting, and the whole feel of the album is set off by this fact. Think of something in between Johnny Cash, The Mommas & The Pappas, and old timey gospel, and that’s about where this album lands. The songs are well constructed, catchy, and thoughtful. Everything about them seems very familiar and yet fresh at the same time. Please Come Home is track after track of your favorite song that you’ve never heard.

Perhaps the biggest surprise though, and the one that makes all of this so special, is Kensrue’s willingness to talk about his faith on Please Come Home in a very personal and real way. When he isn’t putting parables into song form (Please Come Home), or declaring his beliefs directly (I Believe), Kensrue is confronting issues of sin and struggle in such a thoughtful manner you hardly know he is preaching. What Dustin Kensrue accomplished in 2006 with Please Come Home was speaking on the human struggle through the eyes of a person touched by Christ, and made us love every moment of it.

Truly a diamond in an already stunning career, and as he continues to prove himself over and with Thrice, Dustin Kensrue continues to prove that he may be our generation’s most talented songwriter.
Highlights: I Knew You Before, Please Come Home, Blood & Wine, Pistol

sam phillips the turning
The Turning
Sam (Leslie) Phillips

1987
Buy this album:Amazon, iTunes
Throughout the 80’s Leslie Phillips was a CCM darling, with three hit records. The Turning, however, marked a shift in the singer’s attitudes: a definite pop sensibility was now apparent in the music, and a disillusion with the narrow-mindedness of the Contemporary Christian Music machine was expressed in the lyrical content. As a result, the album fared less strongly in the religious market, but earned greater critical attention in pop music circles. The Turning was also important to Sam Phillip‘s career (and personal life) in that it paired her for the first time with producer T-Bone Burnett, who has produced all of her subsequent albums to date, and whom she married in 1989.

Following the release of The Turning, Sam Phillips made a public separation from both her former label and her previous body of work; with the help of Burnett, she signed to Virgin Records and, adopting a nickname given to her as a child, released her next record, The Indescribable Wow (1988), as Sam Phillips.

The Turning stands out as an artistic turning point in Sam Phillips‘ career as a singer and songwriter as well; on one side, the cheerful, upbeat pop-rock albums that she recorded in the early 1980s, and, on the other, the quirky 60′s music influenced rock and folk albums, with a much darker and more poetic tone lyrically. Most critics would agree that Phillips‘ songwriting abilities grew by leaps and bounds beginning with The Turning. Others might even say that this album was a pinnacle that has yet to be topped by the artist.

The Turning was listed at #8 in the book CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music.
Highlights: The Turning, Answers Don’t Come Easy, God Is Watching You

Hands - Creator
Creator
Hands

2009
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Music can be incredibly powerful when in the hands of the right artist. The best music, in my book, is one that can take a sound or a genre, and twist it to serve a completely new purpose. So it is only fitting that Christ-centered metal’s first real prog-metal band would be named Hands, and Creator proves that not following the rules can be so much better sometimes.

Creator is two things at all times; it is progressive metal, and it is worship. There is no time during the album’s 10 tracks (more than half of which are over 6 minutes long) that it is one or the other. The mere fact that these two seemingly opposing genres can meet and work together is by itself pretty stunning, but it is the fact that they succeed that makes Creator amazing in everyway. Creative isn’t even the word, superior may be better. If you want to know what kind of metal we may listen to in Heaven, this may be it.

The reason it all works is that Hands understand the emotional and spiritual core of their songs. They know the exact moments to pull back and let the atmosphere take over, and then hit you with everything they have to give the words a sense of release. They know that sometimes singing makes sense, that sometimes spoken words are appropriate, and that screaming is the only volume appropriate for some of the lyrics. Nothing ever feels forced, nor overdone; everything just fits in balance.

Hands isn’t a band, it is a force to be reckoned with.
Highlights: Brightest, Robed In Majesty, Returning

They Sang As They Slew - Get Well
Get Well
They Sang As They Slew

2004
Buy this album: Amazon MP3, iTunes
The brainchild of Luxury and Canary member, Jamey Bozeman, They Sang As They Slew released their debut, Get Well, to the amazement of underground Christian hipsters. Weaving between soaring experimental emo and pleading acoustic ballads, Get Well weaves a mesmerizing soundscape that pulls you into the lyrics.

“Her Left hand Rocks the Cradle” sets the tone for the entire CD, with its ethereal back sounds and samples that break into psychedelic lyrics. “I Can See With My Eyes Closed” is a straight ahead driving rocker with layers of fuzzy guitars. “It Goes On”, the psychedelic ballad with distorted vocals and layers of sound closes the CD.
Highlights: Her Left Hand Rocks The Cradle, I Can See With My Eyes Closed, 10,000 Candles

John_Reuben_Are_We_There_Yet
Are We There Yet?
John Reuben

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
I guess it is the whistling at the beginning of Are We There Yet?’s opening track (Divine Inspiration) that really tells you that this is something…a little different. From the beginning of his career, John Reuben, a quirky, unassuming white kid who has proved himself as one of Christian hip-hop’s pivotal artists, has always done things differently. Instead of embracing the more party oriented mainstream hip-hop sound, or a completely abstract underground sound, John Reuben has been able to push a fresh new sound that is something in-between the two. Are We There Yet? Was the introduction to this sound, and remains Reuben’s purest interpretation of THAT sound.

The songs on here are just SO GOOD. Tell me one emcee in the scene today that has a song like “Do Not”, and can pull it off like John Reuben. Then there are song like “No Regrets” and “Identify” that are almost rock songs, with some of the painfully honest lyrics I have heard in hip-hop in a long time. What you get with Are We There Yet? Is a mix of fun and real; of party and grit. It has been almost 10 years since the release Are We There Yet?, and it still feels completely fresh. Today, John Reuben continues to do thing his own way, and we are so glad for it.
Highlights: No Regrets, Do Not, Divine Inspiration, Identify

Essential Songs: In Exile By Thrice

thrice in exile

With the release of 2009′s Beggars, Thrice once again not only trumped their previous effort, but also dug farther into the vast symbolism that acts as singer Dustin Kensrue‘s declaration of faith. While previous songs have only hinted at Thrice‘s more spiritual side, Beggars contains more vivid and frank imagery concerning Kensrue‘s relationship with God.

The lyrics speak for themselves, and “In Exile” may as well be named “In Exile From Heaven” as Thrice pour out what is to be separated from our true home in Heaven. With equal parts calm acknowledgment and constant yearning, “In Exile” could be song over congregations as well as concert goers. Partner the beautiful lyrics with one of Thrice‘s more experimental song structures, and “In Exile” has the potential to be added to the pile of classic songs of our time, Christ-centered or not.

Buy this song on iTunes and Amazon MP3

Check out Thrice’s One21 Artist Profile



I am in exile, a sojourner
A citizen of some other place
All I’ve seen is just a glimmer in a shadowy mirror
But I know, one day well see face to face

I am a nomad, a wanderer
I have nowhere to lay my head down
There’s no point in putting roots too deep when I’m moving on
Not settling for this unsettling town

My heart is filled with songs of forever
The city that endures when all is made new
I know I don’t belong here, I’ll never
Call this place my home, I’m just passing through

I am a pilgrim, a voyager
I wont rest until my lips touch the shore
Of the land that I’ve been longing for as long as I’ve lived
Where they’ll be no penalties anymore

My heart is filled with songs of forever
The city that endures when all is made new
I know I don’t belong here, I’ll never
Call this place my home, I’m just passing through

Essential Songs: The Artist In The Ambulance by Thrice

thrice

In 2003, a post-hardcore band calling themselves Thrice unleashed their major label debut on the world. The Artist In The Ambulance was a crushing display of talent, energy, and honesty. Despite the fact that the band was labeled as “hard rock”, leader Dustin Kensrue‘s lyrics reflected a more insightful and passionate way of looking at the world. For many, the crown jewel of this album was the title track; a song warning against apathy and being grateful for the time given.

The Artist In The Ambulance by Dustin Kensrue and Thrice

Thrice - The Artist in the Ambulance - The Artist in the Ambulance

Late night, brakes lock, hear the tires squeal
Red light, can’t stop so I spin the wheel
My world goes black before I feel an angel lift me up
And I open bloodshot eyes into fluorescent white
They flip the siren, hit the lights, close the doors and I am gone

Now I lay here owing my life to a stranger
And I realize that empty words are not enough
I’m left here with the question of just
What have I to show except, the promises I never kept?
I lie here shaking on this bed, under the weight of my regrets

I hope that I will never let you down
I know that this can be more than just flashing lights and sound

Look around and you’ll see that at times it feels like no one really cares
It gets me down but I’m still gonna try to do what’s right, I know that there’s
A difference between sleight of hand, and giving everything you have
There’s a line drawn in the sand, I’m working up the will to cross it and

I hope that I will never let you down
I know that this can be more than just flashing lights and sound

Rhetoric can’t raise the dead
I’m sick of always talking
when there’s no change
Rhetoric can’t raise the dead
I’m sick of empty words,
let’s lead and not follow

Late night, brakes lock, hear the tires squeal
Red light, can’t stop so I spin the wheel
My world goes black before I feel an angel steal me from the
Greedy jaws of death and chance, and pull me in with steady hands
They’ve given me a second chance, the artist in the ambulance

I hope that I will never let you down
I know that this can be more than just flashing lights and sound
Can we pick you off the ground,
more than flashing lights and sound

I thought it would it would be cool to show Dustin’s more stripped down version of it as well.

Essential Songs:Dustin Kensrue-Please Come Home

dustink

We continue our Essential Songs series today with Dustin Kensrue‘s (also the singer and main song writer for Thrice) heart-breaking re-telling of the Prodigal Son story. Read the words and listen to this live recording, enjoy the song, and then maybe answer some of the questions at the bottom of the post:

Well I woke one morning,
found you staring down at me,
you said “I’ll take my share now, father please”,
and you took your money,
and you took your leave,
you took my heart and turned your back on me…

And you hit the town,
and you hit the bottle hard,
you race ’round in your fancy cars and you blow all your money,
on brothels, beds, and bars,
before you know your broken times get hard…

I still stand here waiting,
with my eyes fixed on the road,
and I fight back tears and I wonder,
if you’re ever coming home,
don’t you know son that I love you,
and I don’t care where you’ve been,
so please come home.

And now you’ve hit bottom,
all those open doors have shut,
and you’re hungry stomach’s tied in knots,
but I know what you’re thinking,
that you troubled me enough,
nothing could ever separate you from my love…

I still stand here waiting,
with my eyes fixed on the road,
and I fight back tears and I wonder,
if you’re ever coming home,
don’t you know son that I love you,
and I don’t care where you’ve been,
yes and I’ll be right here waiting,
’til you come around the bend,
and I run to you and hold you close,
won’t let go again,
so please come home,
please come home…

Don’t you know son that I love you?
And I don’t care where you’ve been,
so please come home

You can purchase this song on Dustin Kensrue - Please Come Home - Please Come Home and Amazon MP3

Why do you think Dustin chose to write about this particular story?

Do you think people will realize the signifcance of the story, or believe that it is just another good folk song?

Christian Artists To Know: Thrice

Thrice
Genre: Rock
Sub-genres: Hard-rock, Experimental, Folk, Post-hardcore
Location: Irvine, CA
Label: Vagrant Records
Website: www.alchemyindex.com
Myspace: www.myspace.com/thrice
Christian label: no
Category: The Light whats this?

There are very few bands that can achieve what Thrice has. Both musically and in their career, Thrice has continually surprised and exceeded expectations with innovation and determination.  From their beginnings as a young band in the sprawling post-hardcore scene of California, Thrice sat themselves apart early on by relying on musicianship and complex time signatures to define their sound. The other element that drove them was the unrelenting vocal style of frontman Dustin Kensrue, effortlessly combining solid melody with fire like scream vocals.  Their major break through came in 2003 with their album The Artist In The Ambulance, which was released through Island Records, a major record label at the time. In support, Thrice toured relentlessly and established themselves as a serious leader in their genre.  In 2005, the band released Vheissu, their most experimental and cerebral album to date. On the CD, Thrice played with electronic beats, slower progressions, and over all a more expanded sound. Once again, Thrice had blazed new trail for themselves, establishing themselves outside of their original fan base for the first time.

In 2007, Thrice broke from Island, and announced that their next album would actually be four, six-song EPs, called the Alchemy Index. All four CDs were self-produced and self-recorded, and each EP was themed according to a different element (Vol.I Fire, Vol.II Water, Vol.III Air, Vol.IV Earth). Each CD’s music explored a different aspect of Thrice; while Fire was a return to their dark and heavy sound, Earth was almost a straight folk CD. The Alchemy Index has solidified the band’s reputation as solid song writers and musicians. Dustin himself has released two CDs as a solo artist, both tapping in to his love for country and folk music.  Musically, Thrice has never been content with being put into a box, always pushing genres to conform to their taste, but never allowing their experimentation to become a parody of the influences they are trying to honor.

Another box that Thrice has always been reluctant to be put in to is that of the Christian music industry. From the beginning of their career,key songwriters Teppei and Kensrue have said that they didn’t want to known as a Christian band. Their earlier work is reflective of that ideal, but as time has gone on, and the music has become more diverse, Thrice‘s lyric have started to bring their beliefs to light.

One of the most prominent examples of this is the lyrics for “Come All Yea Weary” from The Alchemy Index:

Come all you weary with your heavy loads
Lay down your burdens find rest for your souls
Cause my yoke is easy and my burden is kind
I’ll take yours upon me and you can take mine

Come all you weary move through the earth
You’ve been spurned at fine restaurants and kicked out of church
Got a couple of loaves sit down at my feet
Lend me your ears and we’ll break bread and eat

Come all you weary
Come gather round near me
Find rest for your souls

Come all you weary, you crippled you lame
I’ll help you along you can lay down your canes
We’ve got a long way to go but we’ll travel as friends
The lights growing bright further on further in

Here is Thrice preforming that powerful song in March of 08.

Here we have Thrice‘s anthem against greed, “Cold Cash And Colder Hearts” from The Artist In The Ambulance.

Thrice has always impressed us at The One21.  They were above the rest when they were just trying to be a straight rock band, but since the release of Vheissu they have become something so much better. It is very rare that you see a band that pushes themselves this hard creatively. On top of that, the messages behind the songs are full of hope, questioning, and urgency, solidifying them as a band that will be remembered far beyond their career. You may want to judge Thrice on their reluctance to embrace the Christian music scene, but realize Thrice is out there in front of crowds that usually only hear songs of despair and anger. Thrice is able to play for those people, and effect them through their incredible music like few can.

you can find Thrice’s music digitally on Thrice

You can also find their CDs on Amazon: Identity Crisis(2000), The Illusion of Safety(2002), The Artist in the Ambulance(2003), Vheissu(2005), If We Could Only See Us Now (W/Dvd)(2005), Red Sky(2006), The Alchemy Index, Vols. I & II: Fire & Water(2007), Alchemy Index, Vol. 3 & 4: Air and Earth(2008), Live at the House of Blues(2008)

Stuff From All Over

2009 is up and going, and things are starting to pick up again for us around here. Some formatting issues didn’t let me post a New Releases post this week, but we have taken care of it, so there will be one up next week. I promise.  Anyway, the music scene is starting to go back to work, so the news is a bit more plentiful than past posts. We do this every week (almost every week) to keep you, the reader, up to date on what is happening in the Christian music industry. If you think we have missed something, or you want to hear about your favorite Christian artist, hit us up in that Contact Us tab over there, and we will do our best to change our ways..

Friction Family did an interview that debuted on hearitfirst.com. They were also featured in Billboard Magazine. Watch Friction Family video interview. See Friction Family in Billboard Magazine.

Rapper Apple Jaxx put a new song called “Rebel” for free download. Download a free Apple Jaxx MP3.

Emery and Underoath announced their European tour together. Check tour dates for Emery.

HANDS updated fans from the road about their latest tour and whats going on with the band. Read HANDS tour blog.

Glam metal icons Stryper posted the track listing for their latest CD. Read Stryper’s tracklisting for their new CD, Murder By Pride.

Agraceful is streaming their entire CD right now on myspace. Listen to Agraceful’s full CD, The Great I Am.

A live video of Copeland surfaced on Buzznet.com this week. Watch a live music video of Copeland.

Skillet gave a huge update concerning new music and various band stuff. Read updates on Skillet.

Indievisionmusic.com did a great interview with Tooth And Nail Records owner/founder Brandon Ebel. Read the online interview with Brandon Ebel of Tooth And Nail.

Believer’s official announcement concerning their signing to Meta Blade Records was made public. Read Metal Blade Records official annnouncent on signing Believer.

Rapper KJ-52 posted another of his ongoing video devotionals, this one is entitled “Who Do You Compare To?”. Watch KJ-52′s video devontional #12.

Underneath The Gun posted an update concerning their new CD, Forfiet Misfourtunes, being featured on Smartpunk.com, new tours, and their purevolume site. Read updates for Underneath The Gun.

Yours For Mine‘s new album, Dear Children, was reviewed by highbeamreview.com, christianmusiczine.com, and jtindie.com. Read Dear Children CD review on highbeam. Read Dear Children review on christianmusiczine.com. Read Dear Children CD review on jtindie.

Red has new music video up for the song “Death Of Me” on their website. Watch Red’s music video for “Death Of Me”.

High Valley issued their latest e-news update concerning a new CD, tours, and joining a cruise next winter. Read news updates for High Valley.

Esther O’Conner gave a short update on her Christmas break, and some new songs from her new CD. Read Esther O’Conner updates.

Abandon Kansas posted their first tour vidoe blog from their “Left Coast Tour”. Watch video tour blog from Abanddon Kansas.

Open Grave Records signed I Built The Cross this week. Read Open Grave Records announce the signing of I Built The Cross.

The artwork for THE ASCENDICATE’s new album made its way online this week. See the cover art for the CD To Die As Kings.

Brain “Head” Welch will be holding open auditions for his touring band very soon. Read how to audition for Brian Welch’s touring band.

Veronica Ballestrini gave asmall update about her new album. Read updates from Veronica Ballestrini.

R-Swift‘s new video for the song “Lifetime” hit the web this week. Watch R-Swift’s video for “Lifetime”.

A rendition of of “A Little Help From My Friends” featuring Dustin Kensrue (Thrice), Jon Foreman (Switchfoot), and Aaron Gillespie (Underoath/The Almost) recorded at a recent To Write Love On Her Arms event was posted on Spin.com this week. Watch the all-star video of “A Little Help From My Friends”.

Anathallo gave an interview to AbsolutePunk.net this week. Read Ananthallo interview.

The HipHope 2009 website launched this week to promote the album in February. You can listen to many of the 15+ songs through the website, and also read short bios on each of the artists featured on this year’s compilation. Check out HipHope 2009′s website.

Cornerstone Festival revamped and updated their website this week. A few bands were announced, along with an address from the fest’s director. Visit the Cornerstone Festival 2009 website.

Mae will be releasing a new song in MP3 form, every month, for a year. All proceeds will go charity. Read information on Mae’s charity song drive.

A press release concerning August Burns Red was issued this week. Read August Burns Red’s official press release.

Facedown Fest 09′s website launch this week. Visit Facedown Fest 09.

Dolly Parton announced she will be taking part of the “From The Heart Series”. Read the official announcement about Dolloy Parton and the “From The Heart Series”.

A huge update on Rebecca St. James was posted this week on her myspace. Read Rebecca St. James updates.

The Fray‘s new video for their song, “You Found Me” premiered this week. Watch the video for “You Found Me” by The Fray.

KJ-52‘s video for his song “Stuck In The 80′s” palso premiered this week. Watch the video for “Stuck In The 80s” by KJ-52.