Christian Artists To Know: Thrice

Genre: Rock
Sub-genres: Hard-rock, Experimental, Folk, Post-hardcore
Location: Irvine, CA
Label: Vagrant Records
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)

Christian Artists To Know: Josh Garrels

Josh Garrels
Genre: Folk
Styles:Surf, Singer/Songwriter, Hip-Hop, Blue-Eyed Soul, World
Location: Waxhaw, NC
Label: Small Voice
Myspace :
Christian label: yes
Category: The Spiritual whats this?

A mystic Christian playing a mix of surf-infused, Lo-Fi folk; Afro-Caribbean hip-hop, spoken word post modern spirituals with electronica underpinnings, Josh Garrels is underground because he had not resolved the conflict of creating his deeply personal, spiritual music with the business of selling songs.

As I researched this article, many had stories about the first moment they saw Josh play. Mine was Cornerstone Festival 2007.  It was evening of the last day and my wife and I were exhausted.  Our plan was to catch Sleeping At Last and hit our tent early.  As was our custom, we were sharing our dinner at the food court with my son and his wife.  The sound check caught my attention and my wife said, “He can keep playing as far as I am concerned.”  This is actual performance that caused us to stop and listen.


We stayed.  For the next 45 minutes we were enthralled with the deeply spiritual, beat driven, complex message delivered by the tall white dude with the hair, a beat box, a guitar and some friends.  We have been fans from that moment.

Josh’s musical career was spawned at the Christian Missionary Alliance, a communal group of a dozen or so young men pursuing their callings and selling coffee in Muncie, Indiana.  It was through this coffee ministry that Josh was first introduced to Cornerstone.  He began doing sets at the Alliance coffee outlet in the food court and has moved into being much anticipated fixture at the annual Christian rock music festival.

Josh Garrels performing “Freedom” live at Off Center Studio shows him in full style.  You can buy the full video of this show at his website.


Josh’s music is more than great melodies and cool beats.  He layers his songs with free form Postmodern Christian theology.  An excerpt from “SISU’ from Over Oceans:

And when I look for freedom he puts

More chains on me

Strangles my hope so that I live like a zombie.

What master’s house can this be,

that when I look for freedom he still deceives me?

If there’s a God I screamed, answer me!

I didn’t expect an answer to be received

He said, you must die to be set free,

Living in the kingdom of God eternally

Josh’s two most recent recordings, Jacaranda and Over Oceans, are both tor de forces of free flowing Postmodern Christian philosophy over every style of music you can imagine.  We encourage you to dive in and meditate on his message.  Soak in the joy of his freedom in Christ.  But, please do not forget to dance.

Josh Garrel’s amazing music can be found digitally on Josh Garrels

You can also find his CDs on Amazon: Over Oceans(2006), Jacaranda(2008)

Free MP3 Album- Brian Lee & His Orchestra: Vol.1

We are on a roll with finding these free MP3 albums for you guys.  This time around its from Brian Lee & His Orchestra, a three piece folk/gospel band out of Nashville. Vol.1 is a emotional, laid-back EP that warms and surrounds you through song.  Its great music to wake up to, or go to sleep to….whatever your sleeping habits are. The lyrics are personal and moving, so there is bound to be something in there that everyone can love.  7-songs for the price of nothing, cant beat that! You know the drill, click on the link below, extract the files from the ZIP file, and your next fireside coffee chat has background music..

Download Brian Lee & His Orchestra- Vol.1 EP