The One21 Best Of 2009 Pt.1

2009 is almost over, and in the world of music, that means one thing, Best Of lists! At One21, we wanted to wait a little bit to post ours; because to me posting a “Best Of” list before Thanksgiving is kinda like nominating Avatar for Best Drama the week before it is screened for critics.

Wait, yea, that happened….

This list is simply our celebration of the amazing music that came out in 2009. We understand that many may disagree with us on the albums we picked (or didn’t pick), but we completely believe that this is the best of what came out this year. In 6 months we will do a retrospective list for 2009, so it will be interesting to see what makes it onto that list. Feel free to leave your thoughts…

In no real particular order, here are the first 12 albums that made 2009 great:

Album of the year

manchester orchestra mean everything to nothing
Mean Everything To Nothing
Manchester Orchestra

Why we picked it: When you are able to marry both catchiness and intelligence, then you created something very special. Manchester Orchestra have done just that with equal parts gritty garage rock, progressive indie, and angry post-hardcore combined to result in a cohesive group of songs that not only build on each other, but also communicate a vast range of emotion and mood. Every song has something that you didn’t hear the first time (or the second), and Mean Everything To Nothing will keep you coming back. In plain English, this is a phenomenal album.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

Best of the rest

thrice beggars

Why we picked it: Coming off their incredibly diverse and profound Alchemy Index project, Thrice once again has proved that they may be the American band of this generation. Once again, Dustin Kensrue and the boys dug deep and came out with a collection of soulful, passionate songs that play to all their strengths. Every member of the band shines bright on Beggars, so there is a lot of radiating going on. With another album full of gems under their belt, Thrice pushes on and continues to remind us what true rock looks like.
Buy:Amazon, iTunes

a mouth full of dust bradley hathaway
A Mouth Full Of Dust
Bradley Hathaway

Why we picked it: This may be the most joyfully depressing album you will ever listen to. Channeling Bob Dylan, mewithoutYou, and Daniel Jonhston, the one time poet in Bradley Hathaway fully bloomed into a indie folk genius with A Mouth Full of Dust. Deeply personal, every song attempts to create the sound of Bradley’s emotional state, ranging from sweetly content to painfully chaotic. Never relying on over-musicianship, A Mouth Full Of Dust is simple enough to be called folk or lo-fi, but has so many twists and turns you won’t know how to describe it when the last note rings out. You will be a little out of breath though.
Buy:Amazon MP3

the red baron my first love
My First Love
The Red Baron
Why we picked it:
The hardcore movement was supposed to be about having heart, and The Red Baron have plenty to pass around. Every track on this blistering, fast paced album just kicks you in the chest, and at the same time is able to hit an emotional chord. The term “blood, sweat, and tears” may have been coined a band like this, the music is an all-encompassing mesh of ticked off punk and old school hardcore. On top of that, the lyrics are more theologically honest than most worship songs, making My First Love the perfect (and I mean perfect) Christ-centered hardcore album.
Buy:Amazon, iTunes

ok bear jeremy enigk
OK Bear
Jeremy Enigk

Why we picked it: Enigk‘s work has been legendary for almost a decade and a half now (Sunny Day Real Estate, The Fire Theft), and OK Bear seems to be a return to more simple times. Not to say that Jeremy Enigk‘s work is by any means simplistic now, but in terms of an album, this seems to be the first time his solo work has been able to focus his genius. The songs have a more straight forward feel to them (similar to Sunny Day), but somehow Enigk is able to make the simplest of structures somehow very unique. Drenching every song with his deep, introspective lyrics, and then letting his soulful and painful vocal style do the rest of the work, OK Bear is the album that every underground band wishes they could write.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

my brightest diamond shark remixes vol 2 son lux
Shark Remixes Vol.2:Son Lux
My Brightest Diamond

Why we picked it: In 2008, solo songstress Shara Worden, under her moniker My Brightest Diamond, released her latest dark pop masterpiece, A Thousand Sharks Teeth. In 2009, she allowed several electronic artist to remix the album, resulting in several interesting volumes of The Shark Remixes. The most profound of all these was the collaboration with trip-hop genius Son Lux, who took My Brightest Diamond‘s sound and twisted it into something very different. In addition to Shara’s uniquely operatic vocals, distorted jazz horns, fuzzy base lines, and creepy backing effects made Son Lux and My Brightest Diamond‘s collaboration a match made in dark electronic heaven.
Buy: Amazon MP3, iTunes

pink limousine rootbeer
Pink Limousine EP

Why we picked it: Want to have some good clean fun? The boys in Rootbeer got ya covered. The latest collaboration between LA Symphony alum Flynn Adam, and Pigeon John has proved you can have a lot of fun being better than most everybody in the hip-hop club scene. Each song is created to get the party started, and is chalked full of Flynn and John‘s unique sense of humor (heck, we have been hearing about this pink limo since the very first LA Symphony single). I dare you to listen to this EP and not be a little happier afterward. Go ahead….try. See? Not possible…
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

Wars And Rumors Of Wars
The Chariot

Why we picked it: There is simply not any band quite like The Chariot. They combine noise rock with metalcore, chaos with genius, and some how always come up with music that is easily better than 90% of the music put out in the metal/hardcore scene. On their last album, we saw The Chariot go experimental; on Wars And Rumors of Wars, we see them light everything on fire. Then they throw firecrackers at it. Vocalist Josh Scogin’s lyrics are top notch; the crazy parts are crazier, the heavy parts are heavier, the experimental parts are more….well you get the picture. The Chariot is on a rampage, and Wars And Rumors Of Wars is the warning siren.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

derek webb stockholm syndrome
Stockholm Syndrome
Derek Webb

Why we picked it: Out of all the albums that came out this year in the Christian music scene, this may have been the most talked about by far. Once again sparking controversy with the song “What Matters More”, Derek Webb once again reinvented himself in both his lyrics, and in musical style. No longer content with folk music supplying the background to his messages, Webb instead harnessed a Thom Yorke-esque electronic sound with incredible results. With so much of today’s music being released with no real meaning or depth, Derek Webb was able to pave new trails for artistic musicians, be the music sacred or secular. Is this album and it’s messages for everybody? No. Is Stockholm Syndrome important? Without hesitation, yes.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

ascend the hill
Ascend The Hill
Ascend The Hill
Why we picked it:
Ascend The Hill should be the new benchmark for worship music. Deeply theological, heart-breakingly honest, and unrelenting; Ascend The Hill is able to capture their passion for the Lord on their self-titled debut. This is the kind of music that God can use to knock down walls, to change lives, and renew hearts. Ascend The Hill‘s music isn’t a gimmick, a routine, or a performance. It is an expression of a heart truly and completely in love with God.
Buy: iTunes

hands creator

Why we picked it: Hands hit the music scene this year like a freight train. Their ability to weave together the brutal nature of progressive metal and earnest Christian theology could have so easily turned into a cheap parody. Thankfully for us, it didn’t, because Hands approached their music like a lion tearing apart its meal. Every song has layer upon layer of creativity and aggression, while at all times acting as a 10 song prayer. If the music was acoustic, this would be some really deep Christ centered folk/worship; if the lyrics weren’t about Christ, then these guys would be one of the most brutal progressive bands on the planet. Creator is neither, and it is both. Creator is a totally unique album from beginning to end, one we will be talking about for a long time.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

So Long Forgotten the things we can see and the things we cannot
The Things We Can See & The Things We Cannot
So Long Forgotten
Why we picked it:
So Long Forgotten is yet another band testing the limits of the term progressive rock. Strange tempo changes, tons of stark guitar sounds, horns, and the cathartic lyrical style make this one you need to listen a few times before you truly grasp what is going on. What is going on is that Things We Can See And The Things We Cannot is a powerhouse of an album that is sure to satisfy an underground rock fan. The honesty in the lyrics make this a stand out on its own, but every song evolves in a singular way so that the listener will be left with something truly profound and beautiful with every track.

maylene and the sons of disaster III
Maylene And The Sons Of Disaster

Why we picked it: The kings of southern metal-core proudly display why they were the first and they may be the last. All the grit and rawness from previous albums are here, but III just kicks it up 10 notches. No holds a bar rock guitar solos, banjos, monster ballads amidst the scream vocals, and of course plenty of metal pound at you track after track. This is the CD you will listen to when all your windows are down, and you are driving just a little too fast down the highway. Can’t wait for IV.
Buy: Amazon, iTunes

check back tomorrow to see the rest of our list!!

Top 5 Music Videos For June

Its that time again, we wade through the videos that debuted this month and bring you the best ones.  You may very well think our list is terrible, but then again, you arnt writing this blog, are you? Enjoy:

5. Dominic Balli-Warrior

Reggae and I have a uneasy history. I tend to like it in small doses, but Dominic Balli‘s release Public Announcement brings out the qualities of the genre that I love, without the elements I don’t. This is such a well done video, and despite some of the heavier subjects dealt within, the video is just so stinkin’ happy.

buy this song on Dominic Balli - Public Announcement - Warrior

4.Flynn Adam-Adios

I dont know Flynn Adam. I mean, I have met him, and we did an interview, but I dont KNOW him. However, in my short time with him, I can safely say that the best part about the video for “Adios” is that it is SOOOO Flynn. I mean from the retro look to the laid back atmosphere, Flynn most melodic single I have ever seen him do just seems so natural.

buy this song on Flynn Adam - Adios - EP - Adios

3.Son Lux-Wither

This is an ultra artsy video, but if you have ever listened to Son Lux‘s trippy progressive electronic music, you know it works. This video very much reminds me of the older Nine Inch Nails stuff, which, lets be honest, were some of the most visual stunning videos ever created. This comes close, so it is our #3.

buy this song on Son Lux - At War With Walls and Mazes - Wither

2. mewithoutYou- The Fox, The Crow, The Cookie

So you may notice that there is no video for our #2. That’s because for some stupid reason, the video is ONLY available on Entertainment Weekly’s website. Does that not seem strange to anybody else? The sad part is that its such a cool video. The band performs a stage show that go along with the fable told in the song. I have watched it like 8 times, its that cool. To bad I cant show it to you..

1.Holding Onto Hope-We Are The Beacons

This video is simply gorgeous. It perfectly captures and exemplifies the essence and message of this heartfelt and passionate song. Even if you don’t like heavier music, watch the video. It gave me chills the first, second, and third time I watched it. This is one of those videos that can change people. Great work Mr.Lawler (the director) this is a masterpiece.

buy this song on Holding Onto Hope - Of the Sea - We Are the Beacons

Christian Music News 6/9/09

Lots to do, no time to talk, here are your headlines:

A few new albums hit stores today. Check them out.

Enoch magazine did an interview with Before There Was Rosalyn frontman Carlos. Read Before There was Rosalyn interview.

Two (count ‘em TWO!) new music videos for experimental electronic artist Son Lux debuted this week. Watch them below:

“War” by: Son Lux

“Wither” by: Son Lux

Josh Head of Emery did a little Q&A with Read Emery interview.

The new Gwen Stacy is in the studio, recording some sweet tuneage for YOU! Watch below to see their progress:

An official Jars Of Clay update has been issued for all you Jarsheads out there (I dont know if that is what you call Jars OF Clay fans, but it will catch on, mark my words.) Read Jars Of Clay update.

Outrun The Gun has split up. Thats like 6 in the last month or so now, right? Read Outrun The Gun statement.

Flynn Adam has posted the video for his song “Adios”. Watch it below:
Flynn Adam – Adios

Metal band Harmony ALSO have a new video. Its gonna be an “on” month for videos I can see. Watch below:

“Prevail” by: Harmony

Old school spirit-filled hardcore band Focused has reunited with the majority of their original members. sweet.

Free MP3 Day!-End Of May Edition..

nuns dance for free mp3s

This our second attempt at being a real MP3 blog. You see, we love for you guys to hear and receive all this great music we are always talking about on the site.  We come across a lot of free promo MP3s all over the net from a bunch of different artists.  So what we are doing for YOU, the dear reader, is collecting them then presenting them to you in one place. So download away, and you are welcome…

*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):

Anberlin- A Day Late
Ayiesha Woods- Love Like This
B.Reith- Go On
Eleventyseven- Love In Your Arms
Eleventyseven- Trying
Flynn Adam- Feel It Now
House Of Heroes- In The Valley Of The Dying Sun
House Of Heroes- Friday Night
House Of Heroes- Serial Sleepers
I Am Terrified- Falling On Everlasting
John Reuben- Word Of Mouth
Relient K- The Scene And Herd
Son Lux- Silence (a remix of a Takka Takka song)
Stephanie Smith- Not Afraid
The Fold- Faster Still
The Fray- Never Say Never
The Southern Sea- These Things Always End Badley

New Releases 5/26/09

A few gems hitting stores this week, but after last week’s massive CD drop, the pickings are going to be kind of slim over the next few weeks. Not to say there wont be anything good, just not as much as the last few weeks. Here are your new releases, now go support the scene.

Flynn Adam Adios EP
Adios EP (digital only)
Flynn Adam

Buy NOW:
Flynn Adam

Out Of The Darkness
In The Midst of Lions

Strike First Records
Buy NOW:
In The Midst of Lions - Out of Darkness

Birth Eaters

Rise Records
Buy NOW:
Oceana - Birth Eater

Identity Crisis

Reach Records
Buy NOW:
Tedashii - Identity Crisis

The One21 Interviews Rootbeer


Pt. 1


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

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

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

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

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

Ian’s SXSW 09 Wrap-Up


It is the Monday after the Saturday we finished covering SXSW 09 and all the Christian performers playing the fest.  I’m pretty sore from walking around so much, crouching for pictures, and pushing through crowds.  The strain was worth it though, we saw some great music, met some cool people, and were able to re focus and hone in on what we wanted The One21 to become.

We have been reporting all week from SXSW, but I thought it would be cool to go back through some of the great shows we saw and post some bigger pics.

The first show we saw ended up being one of the best. Anathallo played the Paste Magazine party at around noon on the first day of music, and it really sat the tone.  Big, soaring choruses, a ton of people on stage, and a whole bunch of instruments made their show a joyful explosion of energy and fun.


Anathallo play hand bells at the Paste Magazine party at SXSW 09

Anathallo on piano at the Paste Magazine Party at SXSW 09

Anathallo on piano at the Paste Magazine Party at SXSW 09

Anathallo singing their heart out at the SXSW 09 Paste Party

Anathallo singing their heart out at the SXSW 09 Paste Party

The chaos of Anathallo at the SXSW09 Paste Magazine Party

The chaos of Anathallo at the SXSW09 Paste Magazine Party

Here is a video of that great show

Remember, you can always get Anathallo‘s music on Amazon and Anathallo

The next night we got see the lovely and talented Brooke Waggoner do her thing.  We were also fortunate enough to interview her before the show, so you can look out for that in the coming weeks.  She played with no percussion of any sort; it was just her voice, her piano, a cello, two violinists, and a friend singing back up vocals. Her music was soft and intricate, but the crowd that was there for her never wavered. For 45 minutes, she captivated the audience with her unique blend of indie style piano pop.  Brooke is a truly talented artist, and you never doubted it for a second watching her play.

Brooke Waggoner gives some joy at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner gives some joy at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner killing those piano keys at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner killing those piano keys at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner's string section making beautiful noise at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner's string section making beautiful noise at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner sings to us at SXSW 09

Brooke Waggoner sings to us at SXSW 09

Want to hear what I’m talking about? You can pick up Brooke Waggoner‘s music at Amazon and on Brooke Waggoner

The next morning we got to meet and watch the guys from hip-hop duo Rootbeer (aka Flynn Adam and Pigeon John) tear the stage up earlier in the day.  Their music is a lot of fun, and their show was high energy, giving them an appeal that you don’t find in a lot of today’s tuff guy rap scene.  The boys jumped and danced around the stage for a good twenty minutes, joked with the crowd, and told some stories.  I have said this about them before, but these dudes just put a smile on your face, you cant help but love them.  People were walking in off the street the entire set, and by the end of the show, the place was packed.

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) jumpin like chimpanzee at SXSW 09

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) jumpin like chimpanzee at SXSW 09

Pigeon John workin it out at SXSW 09

Pigeon John workin it out at SXSW 09

Flynn Adam doing his thing at SXSW 09

Flynn Adam doing his thing at SXSW 09

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) dancing for the crowd at SXSW 09

Rootbeer(Flynn Adam & Pigeon John) dancing for the crowd at SXSW 09

You can get Rootbeer‘s debut EP on Amazon and Rootbeer

That same night, Chuck and I made our way over to a little club called Spiro’s to catch a band we had been really excited about all year, Wovenhand.  Outside the door, Wovenhand‘s leader David Eugene Edwards was chatting up some friends and relaxing.  The man that was standing out side though was not the man that took his place on the stool right in front of me barely 20 minutes later. The man in front of me was a force, and voice of an angry and vengeful God that would some day come back to earth and take back what was His. For almost an hour, Wovenhand made my jaw drop to the flow in a scary display of power, passion, and revelation.  While their music was dark, I felt God’s presence over the show in the same way I had felt while watching mewithoutYou for the first time and Jason Upton several years before. If Jason‘s music is the heart of God, and mewithoutYou‘s is the mouth, then Wovenhand‘s music is the fist. The fist that swings the axe.

Wovenhand sings to the crowd at SXSW 09

Wovenhand sings to the crowd at SXSW 09

Wovenhand makes the crowd see at SXSW 09

Wovenhand makes the crowd see at SXSW 09

Wovenhand keeps it heavy at SXSW 09

Wovenhand keeps it heavy at SXSW 09

The chaos of Wovenhand at SXSW 09

The chaos of Wovenhand at SXSW 09

Here is video from the actual show. I am kneeling right in front of Edwards if you can spot me

You can purchase Wovenhand‘s incredible music at Amazon and Wovenhand

Now, these were just some of my favorite’s that we covered. I saw some great stuff from Dignan, Seabird, Paper Route, Anberlin, Kaboose, Bosque Brown, and Braille.  The feeling that overwhelmed me at the end of SXSW is that there is a lot of great music out there. In this age of digital music and online CD stores, there is so much opportunity for discovery and experimentation when it comes to the music we listen to.  For me though, it gives me hope that there is a ton of great music, better than most, being made by artists who want to express thier faith in Christ, be it directly or indirectly.  When I became a believer over ten years ago, the perception was that Christians just didnt have the good bands or songs. After SXSW 09 though, I know that it not true, and in reality Christians are making some of the most original and satisfing music out there. For a music lover, it will sound like great music, for believers, it will sound like new way to express the God that lives inside of us.

SXSW 09 In The Daylight: Whole Lotta Hip-Hop


Our last day at SXSW started around 1PM at The George Washington Carver Museum. There, we saw a collection of some of the best in Christian hip-hop. Lecrae, Kaboose, Braille, Tre9 and many more hit the tiny stage at a rapid fire pace to a very excited crowd. The problem was that even though we got there close to an hour before the show was supposed to start, the theater was already at capacity, and there were no signs of that ending before the emcees hit the stage.

By chance though, we ran into Tre9, a hip-hop artists himself, but also the creator of DASOUTH.COM, and also the organizer of the event. He quickly was able to help us and only took us back stage to watch the show, but introduced us to all the artists playing the event. Thanks alot man..


You can check out Tre9‘s music on Tre 9

I couldn’t get pictures because of where we were, but I will tell you that both Kaboose and Braille tore the stage up.


Kaboose is a big lovable guy who just gushed on the crowd in between his lighthearted but extremely complex blend of hip-hop. He talked a lot about the meanings and thoughts behind his songs over his fifteen minute set, allowing the crowd to see his heart along with his talent.  Don’t hear me saying that his music is lite though, the tracks he played off his latest CD, Excuse Me, sounded like they were defiantly testing the theater’s speakers for capacity.  Kaboose is a SOLID hip-hop artist with a lot to give, and this show displayed that he loves giving it.

You can get Kaboose‘s music on Kaboose

A quick transition saw a white dude in a jumpsuit, carrying a helmet, wander on to the stage, and announce his name was Braille.


Braille is one of those guys that you hope keeps making music because you know that there isn’t anybody quite like him.  He has this strange manner of speaking that makes him almost charming on stage.  His music is serious in nature, and he is obviously a talented guy, but it was the little things like talking about his family and asking the crowd to help him drive his imaginary moped that will stick with people after the show is long over.  He gave me one of his CDs,  a recent colab with fellow artist Symbolyc One called Cloud Nineteen, and if it as anything like his show, I know I am in for a treat.

You can get that album, and the rest of Braille‘s stuff on Braille

We spent the next hour interviewing Tre9, Lecrae, and Kaboose, and left, unfortunately, before we could watch the end of the show. We came back over to the Austin Convention Center, and no sooner had I begun to write this post, Rootbeer began to play in the next room!


If you read my post on the show we saw Friday, you know what to expect. Unlike the show at Troubadour, the boys seemed to be working the crowd a lot more. The place was pretty empty at the beginning, but by song two people were rushing to the front of the stage, dancing, and singing along. The boys did a great job, and the crowd was eating it up.

You can get Rootbeer‘s EP on Rootbeer

From here we are going to be hitting a few more late shows (including a solo Pigeon John), and then SXSW is done for us.  If you are up real late tonight, check us out, because will have our final update from SXSW 09.

SXSW 09 Show Round-Up: Rootbeer


Day three of SXSW music had gotten me down a little bit. I was tired and a bit sore from walking all over the place in the heat. I know I know, I’m from Texas, whats the big deal? I should be used to the heat. Well let me clue you in, its not the heat that’s getting me, its the pants. The cool thing about working on an internet business is that you can dress how ever you like to work, so I haven’t been in long pants for more than a couple of hours in the good part of six months.

All this to just say, I was beat when we made our way down 6th ST to find a venue called Troubadour and meet up with Flynn Adam and Pigeon John (better known as Rootbeer) to do an interview.


The interview went great: coffee was drank and Jesus was discussed.

We wondered around for a bit, but made our back to Troubadour to see the guys of Rootbeer do their thing. And oh, did they do their thing.


There were only a handful of  people in the place on the first song, but by the end the place was packed. Rootbeer just tore the place down with their lighthearted blend of party hip-hop. They were backed by a drummer and percussionist, and it really worked sound wise for the duo. The beats just hit way harder and meant more coming from a live drum sound.  The boys hopped and danced all over the tiny stage, looking like they were having the time of their life.  The thing is that these guys arn’t just giving in to happy abandonment, these are two emcees that KNOW what they are doing.  What may looked silly and off the wall to some is actually a well seasoned stage presence that knows how to give people their money’s worth.  Hands down, Rootbeer deliver. They will make you laugh and want to jump at the same time.

After the show, I wasn’t as tired, that’s so weird….


You can get Rootbeer‘s music on Rootbeer

check our schedule for Saturday and come hang out with on our last day at SXSW 09

SXSW In The Daylight- Friday


Friday of SXSW, two days behind us and two days to go.  My feet hurt, but the SXSW music conference and festival are great.  We have met so many wonderful people.  We feel like One21music is starting to gain momentum.  Traffic is climbing, thank you. People in the music industry will leave Austin, with our business cards and fans will leave with our great stickers.


We started our SXSW day with an interview of Rootbeer, the LA hip hop duo of Pigeon John (see our artist profile on Pigeon John) and Flynn Adam.  For those of you who don’t know these guys, they were part of one of the seminal Christian hip hop groups, LA Symphony, in the late 90′s.  We will have the interview up soon but I want to share a couple of thoughts.  First, these guys are just nice people.  They were polite, outgoing and thoughtful.  I work the video while Ian interviews, so I get to watch.  It was fun to see these guys flow with the sounds of the street, always moving in small subtle ways and then breaking out in joy when they hear a really great beat.

After the interview, I went totally unprofessional and thanked them for their 10 years of artistry.  I told them that their music had a profound impact on our family.  They brought a lot of fun into our house while helping my sons grow in their faith.

We then rushed back to B.D. Riley’s Pub to catch Lisa Hannigan weave her Irish magic, but alas, we were too late to get into the Pub. We saw the last two songs standing on the street and then convinced  Lisa’s drummer to give us a copy of Lisa’s handwritten set list.  Very cool.

We dashed the opposite end of 6th Street to catch the Rootbeer show at The Troubador.  More on those guys in a minute.  Rootbeer was playing the “To Write Love on Her Arms” party and, once again, our mission to cover Christian music at SXSW led us discover a wonderful new happening in the Christian world.


This is a suicide prevention organization ( read about the vision of To Write Love on Her Arm) that has been embraced by the Christian music industry.  I am going to write a full article in a few weeks.  I met Chris Youngblood of TWLOHA who explained the movement to me.  TWLOHA is dedicated to sharing love in the fog of addiction, depression, self-injury and suicide.  The movement was embraced early by Jon Foreman of Switchfoot and Fiction Family (see our profile of Fiction Family) and has rapidly grown into widely respected mission.

We went over to a book signing with Tom Moore, who wrote the great book 1000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die ( the gospel artists on 1000 Recordings and the Chrisitian artists profiled on 1000 Recordings).  I told Tom how much we enjoyed the book, asked how he put it together and discussed some of the music in the book.

Like Pigeon John and Flynn Adam, I told Tom thank you for creating something that enriched our lives.  No matter, how “famous” or successful someone has become, it is always nice to hear “thank you” and “I enjoy what you do”.  Never be hesitant to tell the most famous person you see or the humble grocery cashier “thank you, you made my life better”.

To end the day we walked over to the Asthmatic Kitty party in far east Austin.  After about a 10 block walk we stepped into the back yard of Okay Mountain gallery and enjoyed the free pizza (shared nicely, only took one piece) and cool shade of the oak trees.  We heard Dent May & His Magnificent Ukelele’s rousing folk music.  He was followed by DM Smith who performed a beautiful set of quiet, but intense, back woods music.  The afternoon ended with Bosque Brown (see our profile on Bosque Brown).  They performed their minimalist, soul, gothic gospel as the sun faded behind the rooftops and the breeze turned cool.  Very nice.


I think I may have upset the band when I asked for an interview.  When I explained that One21music covers underground Christian music, the drummer quickly informed me that they do not make Christian Music.  He politely explained that they are Christians who make music.  I don’t know that they will agree to an interview, but we will see.

Their reaction caused me to think about what we do and I think we need to find a way to convey these two points more clearly:

  • More than Christian music, we cover “Christians who make music”.  We do want artists whose faith drives their music.  Can any serious Believer truly separate their faith form their work,  especially work as personal as music?
  • Our goal is to expand the definition of Christian music rather than try to force artists into today’s definition of Christian music.

So that is all for today.  The sun is going dark and the music is rocking.  We will give you all of the SXSW low down tonight, or really in the morning.