Rejoice and Shout: The Definitive History of Gospel Music

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

“If we really heard the voice of God, we would be reduced to juice.  The vibration of His voice would reduce us to liquid. . . So He has to use other people to speak his word.”

–Pastor Andraé Crouch

Perhaps the most intense and emotional music one can ever hear is the best of African-American Gospel music.

Packed with evocative photos, rare audio recordings, stirring film appearances and TV performances, REJOICE AND SHOUT covers the 200 year musical history of African-American Christianity.  Culled from hundreds of hours of music, REJOICE AND SHOUT features the crème de la crème of Gospel music.

REJOICE AND SHOUT traces the evolution of Gospel through its many musical styles – spirituals and early hymns, four-part harmony-based quartets, the integration of blues and swing into Gospel, the emergence of Soul, and the blending of Rap and Hip Hop elements.

REJOICE AND SHOUT:The Definitive History Of Gospel Music

Gospel music also walked in step with the story of African-American culture – from slavery, hardscrabble rural existence and plantation work, the exodus to major cities, the Depression, World War II, to the civil rights movement and empowerment. REJOICE AND SHOUT connects the history of African-American culture with Gospel as it first impacted popular culture at large – and continues to do.

Years in the making, REJOICE AND SHOUT captures so much of what is special about this music and African-American Christianity – the sermonizing, the heartfelt testimonials, getting “slain in the spirit,” the hard hollerin’, and of course the inspiring music.

Rejoice and Shout The Gospel Music DocumnetaryGospel music.  The very words evoke images of powerful voices singing skyward, of tearful shouts of joy and praise.  Of African-American men, women and children, exhilarated by the freedom of expression of their faith, shouting aloud in joy or laid low by the humility the music instills in them, releasing the hardness of their lives into the hands of their Lord.

Gospel has been around in America since the days of slavery, as slaves sought to lighten their load each day in the fields, turning to the source of their lives in response to their dreary existence.  And that music has remained a source of strength and direction in the African-American community ever since.

The story of this music is one that producer Joe Lauro has been wanting to tell for some time. “I’ve always focused on trying to find some of the great Gospel that I knew had to exist on film,” he explains.  “I’ve slowly, for 10 years or so, been acquiring material for representation, looking up the old producers or finding shows that were long-defunct, to try and find prints.”  The search resulted in over 10,000 hours of amazing material – as can be seen in REJOICE AND SHOUT.

Though Lauro himself did not grow up hearing Gospel music in his own Sunday church experience, it nonetheless, like for many white Americans, had a tremendous impact.  “It really is a minority music, truly, in so many ways.  White folks really don’t understand the importance of it and the power of it.  It’s the bond in the African-American church community.  But it’s beyond just singing at church.  The music is so moving and riveting and visceral.  And I’d never seen anything that really got into the story of this music.”

Filmmaker Don McGlynn decided fairly early on, for the most part, to play performance clips in their entirety.  “I think it’s really important that you see the music numbers play out – because they’re music films,” he says.  “I think it’s kind of strange when you see movies about music where there barely is any, just musicians talking.”

Indeed, the director soon realized that it was important to provide viewers a context to understand the music and its history.  “There’s always the challenge of, ‘How do you balance this?  How do you set off each of the individual numbers, so they have the maximum impact?’  You don’t do that by just lining them up and playing them.  You have to contextualize them.  We’re telling a musical story, but we’re also coming at it from an historical, social, cultural and personal level at the same time.”

In order to provide SHOUT  AND REJOICE that context, three eminent Gospel music historians provide perspective.  Anthony Heilbut is well-known for his definitive book on the genre, “The Gospel Sound,” written in 1968.  Lauro says, “Tony’s life has been devoted to this music.  He has single-handedly helped keep the community organized and get records out there.  He’s championed some of the older performers.  And he’s an expert.”

Two other experts, both from the Washington, DC, area – author Bill Carpenter and radio host Jacquie Gales-Webb – also provide great context, often offering a perspective on the personal histories of the artists.  “They know where everybody is in the community, and they understand it well,” Lauro notes.

Ira Tucker and Dixie HummingbirdsOne of the last great elder statesmen of Gospel, The Dixie Hummingbirds’ Ira Tucker – who died in 2008, before the release of the film – appears, alongside his son, Ira, Jr., and Willa Ward, of The Ward Singers, as does Marie Knight (who has also since passed), another performer from the classic era, offering the kind of perspective only those who lived through this history can provide.

“When you see Ira early in the film, you just see this wonderful old gentleman in his cap,” notes Lauro.  “But once he begins telling stories, it allows you to somehow beam yourself into his memory and become part of the places and the things that he did.  That’s part of what drives me, as a filmmaker and as a historian, to fantasize about being there.”  McGlynn agrees.  “These people actually witnessed a lot of the events that we’re describing in the movie.  So when they say something about it, you have the benefit of seeing things from a personal point of view.  So we have personal reminiscences of things from the late 20s and early 30s, which is remarkable.”

Offering a more contemporary perspective are R & B greats Smokey Robinson and Mavis Staples.  Though known to secular audiences in the 1970s for rhythm and blues, Mavis, since her childhood, was, alongside her siblings and father, “Pops” Staples, part of The Staple Singers, well-known for their Gospel music long before their days in the pop world.

Smokey Robinson‘s appearance in the film is not simply one of a musician offering an appreciation.  “Look at Smokey and The Miracles in 1964-65, and what he’s singing,” Lauro says.  “They all come from the Gospel church.  When you see them perform ‘You Really Got a Hold On Me’ on The Tami Show in 1964, if you look at TV Gospel Time from the same year, with some of the other quartets and quintets, it’s the same stuff.  Just the lyric is a little different.”

Smokey Robinson and The Miracles- “You’ve Really Got A Hold On Me”

Even more important to McGlynn was Robinson’s spiritual perspective.  “He talks about a lot of things, like about his belief in God and how he spends so much time throughout his day praising God and asking for guidance,” McGlynn says.  “I realized that was something that was essential to a movie like this.

REJOICE AND SHOUT, in fact, spends its first 15 minutes exploring this very topic – laying the spiritual groundwork for what is to follow.  “In so many of these types of historical documentaries, they usually say why the thing’s important and why you’re watching it in the first two or three minutes, and then they cut to the baby picture,” the director explains.  “In this case, I thought, ‘This is about Gospel music.  What’s the most important thing about it?’  The number one thing you need to know before anything else is you really have to see what these people feel about God and how they express it in the music.”

REJOICE AND SHOUT is loaded with rare audio and film clips, from the Historic Films archive and other sources, dating back to the beginning of the last century.  “We’re very proud of the archival material, some of which hasn’t seen the light of day since the day it was filmed,” says Lauro.

The very first African-American vocal group to make a phonograph recording is represented in a rare 78 rpm disc from the Dinwiddie Colored Quartet – “Gabriel’s Trumpet” from 1902.  “Black artists, such as the Dinwiddie Quartet, traveled around the United States, playing tent shows and in black vaudeville, which was still at its very beginning,” explains Joe Lauro.  This disc, from Lauro’s personal collection, was recorded by Monarch Records, a precursor to RCA Victor.  “This is about as close as you can get to the way it sounded during slavery days.”

The disc is significant for another reason, McGlynn notes.  “This record precedes by almost two decades the secular blues and jazz, which started getting recorded around 1921, 1922.  I guess because this was God’s music, they thought it was more important to document.  It’s just sort of an accident that they happen to have been recorded, and they happened to make history.”

REJOICE AND SHOUT opems in New York on June 3rd and in a limited number of cities throughout the U.S. on June 10th.  Start today calling your local theaters to bring REJOICE AND SHOUT to your town.  Every music fan needs to see this movie.  Everyone interested in cultural developments of the past 200 years needs to see this movie.

Check in with us next week when for our review of REJOICE AND SHOUT. We will provide you our biased insight and more details on how the movie takes you through the history of Gospel music.  REJOICE AND SHOUT is a real American treasure that every reader of this site needs to see.

Calvin Hunt Passes Away

Calvin Hunt, legendary gospel singer, and former member of The Christ Tabernacle Choir and Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers, passed away on December 26th, 2009 in a hospital in Queens, New York. He was 52.

From Cross Rhythms announcement:

Hunt grew up in Queens, one of eight children. He worked in a pizzeria before forming his own band but when the group disbanded he became addicted to crack cocaine. After four years Calvin’s daughter took home a flyer for a movie entitled Cry For Freedom, about young people hooked on crack, and after seeing the film he gave his life to Christ. It took another year before Hunt fully surrendered to God and went into a drug rehabilitation program.

Hunt went into full time ministry and began recording albums, including Mercy Saw Me (1996), Not I But Christ (1998) and Power In The Name Of The Lord (2001). With the Brooklyn Tabernacle Singers he received a Grammy and a Dove Award and appeared on radio and television shows like Good Morning America, Good Morning New York and 700 Club. His latest solo album on Vine Records, Bridges, earned him two 2008 Dove Award nominations for Contemporary Gospel Recording and Contemporary Gospel Song, “Come On”.

Over the years Hunt played every kind of gig, including concerts, coffee houses, homeless shelters, schools and prisons.

The One21 Interviews Lecrae

lecrae

Lecrae is a hip-hop artist on Reach Records. he has been doing music for a while now, but it was 2008′s release, Rebel,  that has elevated this young emcee to one of the biggest names in Christ-centered hip-hop.  With straight up party, west coast hip-hop, Lecrae has brings a quality level to the game that is rarely seen in both the secular and Christian scenes.  We were able to sit down with Lecrae before his show at SXSW, and he was able to share his heart and his story in a very cool way. One warning, we ran out of tape towards the last question, but don’t worry because we still were rolling with our audio. Stay till the end, Lecrae has some great stuff to say.

Here is the music video for Lecrae‘s song, “Dont Waste Your Life”

You can get Lecrae‘s music digitally on Lecrae or AmazonMP3

You can also can his CDs on Amazon:
Real Talk
After the Music Stops
Rebel

Christian & Gospel Music on Sale at iTunes

Hey everybody, iTunes is having a sale on Christian & Gospel music.  I just bought the most recent music from  Francesca Battistelli’s, which is quite good.  It has old and new stuff. Check it out.

Apple iTunes

Christian Artists To Know: The Welcome Wagon

the_welcome_wagon_-_0026

The Welcome Wagon
Genre: Country/Folk
Styles: Americana, Indie Folk, Gospel
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Label: Asthmatic Kitty
Myspace: www.myspace.com/welcometothewelcomewagon
Christian Label: No
Category: The Spiritual whats this?

When the modern worship movement began way back In the sixties, the modernizing of the gospel felt like a fresh approach for a generation feeling alienated by their hymnals.  As time progressed, so did the way we worshiped. Larger bands and more vocals aloud worship services to build to a crescendo never felt before in church.  Like all good things though, an over saturation of highly produced, commercialized praise music began to leave some of the intimacy out of the process.  A need has begun to grow for music that not only is able to be relevant to the current generation, but also never lose the heart of praise, and the sweetness of a seeking believer. It is in this need that we find The Welcome Wagon.

The band is made (primarily) up of Monique and Reverend Thomas “Vito” Aiuto, a pastor and wife team out of Brooklyn.  Neither are trained musicians, but that did not deter the couple from playing music in their home. Since they weren’t able to read music, their early sessions were simply made up renditions of old church songs. Time went on, and they began to write their own songs and experiment more and more. Thus the beginnings of  The Welcome Wagon were in place.   It was with the help of friend, neighbor, and church member Sufjan Stevens that Welcome To The Welcome Wagon was recorded however; with the Aiutos writing the core of the songs and arrangements for the tracks,  and Stevens producing and fleshing out the couple’s sound.  Sufjan released the album through his label, Asthmatic Kitty, and the critics loved it. Welcome To The Welcome Wagon was in the top of most people’s “Best Of 08″ lists, and the album has been well received by anybody lucky enough to hear it.

So what is so special about THIS album? How can a couple out of New York with no musical ability make songs that everybody, inside and out of the church, seems to love?  Two things: sincerity and quality.  The Welcome Wagon lead a new brand of worshipful music that does its best to remain honest in front of God. Not all the songs are originals, some are older than people playing them, but the new arrangements make every track The Welcome Wagon‘s. This allows their original songs to flow seamlessly with the cover songs, and for the collection of tracks to work as a body.  Thoughtful but simple lyrics populate their original songs, uncluttered by “church speak”.  At times it almost sound like the type of songs that a child might write to God on a rainy night.

Don’t take that to mean that the songs are not deep, Vito is a pastor remember, but the ideas are never presented in a way that only believers could understand. The music that accompanies the words moves along the same lines, blending elements of country, folk, and Steven’s unique indie touch. There are horns, soaring vocals, and a little piano jazz in there. At no times are you ever thinking that this band made this is a studio though, it is safer to assume that they might be in a living room, all sitting around on the floor recording. This allows the album to draw the listener into an intimate atmosphere with the band and their Creator.

A perfect illustration of this intimacy is the song “Up On A Mountain” , recorded beautifully here in late 2008

The Welcome Wagon are a breath of fresh air. Their light-hearted but deeply intelligent approach to music is one rarely seen in a world of T-Pain and Three Doors Down.  Their music will make your heart soar and your mind happy.  Their is a undeniable sweetness that just makes you want to listen them over and over.  We are featuring Vito as one of our “Voices Of The Underground”, and so far he has contributed some of our best responses. Maybe with all the attention, The Welcome Wagon will make a lot more music over the next few years. Maybe they wont.  My prayer is that everybody gets to listen to this cool little couple’s music and smile like I did the first time I heard The Welcome Wagon.

You can buy The Welcome Wagon‘s music digitally on The Welcome Wagon

You can also buy their CD on Amazon:

Welcome To The Welcome Wagon

Christian Artists to Know: Buddy Miller

buddy-miller-close-up

Buddy Miller
Genre: Country
Styles: Alternative County, Americana. Gospel
Location: Nashville, TN
Label: New West Records
Website: http://www.buddyandjulie.com/
Christian label: no
Category: The Light whats this?

No Depression Magazine , the combination New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Rolling Stone of the Americana/Alt Country scene, published its last issue in June 2008 (it is now a vibrant webzine).  That final issue featured underground Christian music artist Buddy Miller on its cover, declaring Buddy their “Artist of the Decade.”

Emmylou Harris, for who he served as lead guitarist and band leader for 8 years, calls Buddy Miller “one of the best guitar players of all time.”  Steve Earle, another former band mate, pronounces Buddy Miller “the best country singer working today.”

And yet, most of us have not heard of him.  Who is this guy?

Buddy Miller hit the country music scene in the sixties as a young guitar slinger touring the country with acts large and small.  He made his way to Austin in 1975 and became a fixture in the “Outlaw Country” scene led by Willie Nelson. There, Buddy met his soul mate, Julie Miller (now a CCM star in her own right). As Buddy and Julie were building a growing fan base in New York in the early 80′s, Julie gave her life to Christ and disappeared.  Buddy Miller followed his soul mate, discovering Christ and new life.  The couple left the music scene for several years only to emerge in the early 90′s as solo artists.  His first solo album Your Love and Other Lies was not released until 1995. Many don’t know Buddy Miller because his music pays homage to the roots of the greatest country music and does not succumb to the formulas of the country hit machine.

The sound is pure old-school country, mixed with swamp rock and high plains vocals with complex roots instrumentation and song structures from soul, gospel, rock and the best country.  His first four solo albums did not touch much on his faith.  The themes of the early records on Hi-Tone Records mostly dealt with the traditional worldly themes of country music: lost love and broken dreams.  According to Miller, “although my faith is a big part of my life, I just make my records, my country records. Maybe there will be a little something of faith in there, but it’s not what I’m comfortable doing.”

That was until Buddy Miller ripped open his shirt in 2004 to reveal the heart of a devout Christian, steeped in universal-house-of-prayerGod’s love and greatly troubled by the evil all around him.  His fifth solo record Universal House of Prayer is the second best Underground Christian record of the decade and I cannot imagine anyone displacing it in the next two years.

With Universal House of Prayer, he has created a masterpiece where modern Americana meets traditional roots country meets gospel meets soul meets blues in a breathtaking gumbo of Biblical teaching and universal Truth for humans and society alike.

Our overriding theme at One21music is One Hope, Three Chords and The Truth and Universal House of Prayer exemplifies that mantra.  The CD is full of meaty lyrics by Buddy Miller , Bob Dylan, Mark Heard and several others like these from the amazing song “Don’t Wait”:

Temptation will rust
Crawls in with the fog
Eats away at your trust
Mean as a wild pack of dogs
Uses you up throws your life away
Don’t let it win for another day

Don’t wait don’t wait
Don’t wait it’s late
Don’t wait don’t wait
Don’t wait don’t wait don’t wait don’t wait

Now I’m praying for strength
To get one last try
From mercy’s cup to drink
Before it’s time to die
And all the wicked they best
Start to change their ways

Here is the video for Mark Heard‘s “Worry Too Much”  from Universal House of Prayer.

If you like country wrap this around yourself  like an old coat and, if you don’t, buy it anyway and dance to this music.  If you are a believer, take comfort from these lyrics and if you are not, find yourself in his observations on our society today.

Universal House of Prayer is Buddy Miller‘s masterpiece and one of the greatest alt-country and Christian records ever made, but his reputation was made long before 2004.  His Best the Hi-Tone Years was named one of the essential Americana records of all time. His music has been recorded by Emmy Lou Harris, The Dixie Chicks,Steve Earle, Lee Ann Womack, Brooks and Dunn, Suzy Bogguss and Garth Brooks and even jazz singer Jimmy ScottBuddy Miller is also a highly sought after producer, recording albums for Jimmie Dale Gilmore and the Vigilantes of Love.

Buddy Miller is one of the most respected writers, producers, arrangers, instrumentalists and singers in Nashville.  More than that he is a devoted believer who openly professes his faith from the stage and who is highly respected in the Nashville community as a man of character.  Forget genre labels and enjoy one of the greatest American musicians recording today.

You can find Buddy Miller’s solo work digitally on Buddy Miller

You find Buddy & Julie Miller’s work together digitally on Buddy & Julie Miller

You can also get his CDs through Amazon: Poison Love(1997 solo), Cruel Moon (1999 solo), Buddy & Julie Miller (2001 with Julie), Midnight and Lonesome (2002 solo), Love Snuck Up (2004 with Julie), Universal United House of Prayer (2004 solo), The Best of the Hightone Years (2008 solo), Written In Chalk(2009 with Julie)

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

Lost Messengers: The Outtakes

August Burns Red

Solid State Records

Metal/Hardcore

Official

Daniel Weatherspoon

Spoonfed Productions

Gospel

Small Sacrifice

Twila Paris

KOCH Records

Contemporary Christian

Voices Of The Winds

Usynlig Tumult

Bombworks Records

Metal

Music From The 3D Concert Experience

Jonas Brothers

Hollywood Records

Pop

Who Speaks For Planet Earth?

And Then There Were None

Tooth & Nail

Rock

God’s Country

Anthony Burger

EMI

Instrumental

Christian Artists To Know: Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin
Genre: Gospel
Sub-genres: Urban, Choral, Hip/Hop
Location: Dallas, Texas
Label: Fo Yo Soul/Gospo Centric/Zomba
My Space Page: http://www.kirkfranklin.com/
Christian label: yes
Category: The Spiritual whats this?

For anyone who follows Gospel or Hip/Hop, this article may seem ridiculous.  Introducing you to Kirk Franklin is like introducing you to Barrack Obama.  This article is not for you.  This article is for all of you indie hipsters, rockers and two-steppers who think Gospel is music for your grandmother. As Kirk proclaimed in the opening of his breakthrough cross over song “Stomp”:

For all of you who think Gospel music has gone too far;

You think we’ve gotten too radical with our message;

Well, I have news for you;

You ain’t heard nothing yet. And

If you don’t know, now you know,

Glory, Glory!

With “Stomp”, Kirk Franklin and God’s Property burst through to the mainstream charts. The song, featuring Cheryl “Salt” James (of Salt-N-Pepa), went heavy rotation on MTV, charted at number 1 on the R&B Singles Airplay chart for two weeks, and even made it into the Billboard’s Top 40. God’s Property from Kirk Franklin’s Nu Nation was number 1 on the R&B Albums chart for 5 weeks, number 3 on the Pop charts, and would go on to be certified triple platinum.  With 2Pac, Toni Braxton and Dru Hill topping the charts that year it is amazing that this song achieved such mainstream success.

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kC8DmUDB_HM

Combing heavy backbeats with the generous use of samples and prominent choral arrangements, Kirk Franklin brought Gospel back to the streets.  Before his arrival in 1993, contemporary gospel music leaned toward ‘positive’ messages alluding to Jesus and a righteous walk of faith set to lightly groovin’ tracks. Franklin brought choirs to the hip/hop sound, sampled familiar musical themes from all genre’s and placed Godly messages in the same heavy rotation as other urban pop music.

But “Stomp” was not a starting point for Kirk Franklin; it was just a step in one of the most successful careers we have seen in Gospel music.  This musical prodigy, who started playing piano at the age of four and was leading the Mt. Rose Baptist Church adult choir at the age of eleven, released the biggest selling debut Gospel cd of all time, Kirk Franklin & The Family, in 1993.  He has released ten other cd’s over the years and has recorded with Mary J. Blige, Bono, Crystal Lewis, Boys II Men, TobyMac, Mary Mary and many, many others.   Franklin even hosts his own Gospel, “American Idol-like” talent show, “Sunday’s Best” on BET.

As Kirk Franklin has matured in his life and his marriage, he has began exploring deeper and deeper subject matter, including his own failings.  Here in a performance of “Let It Go” he expresses the struggles men, from all walks of life, face trying to be a real man of God while holding onto hurt and pride:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSmkyLfgnOg

Kirk Franklin is the biggest selling gospel artist in Soundscan history with over 12 million albums sold and over 20 #1 singles on Gospel radio.  He is also a highly respected music artist with five Grammy Awards, an American Music Award, 34 Stellar Awards (gospel), 12 Dove Awards, 4 NAACP Awards,  two BET Music Awards, and a Soul Train Award to his credit.  Reading about Kirk Franklin’s humility and love for God, he would take no credit and give all the awards to God; and meant it.

Kirk Franklin brought God to the mainstream music charts in a very direct and open way.  He led a revolution in Gospel music. If you consider yourself well versed in Christian music, you must know Kirk Franklin.

Kirk Franklin’s music can be found digitally on Kirk Franklin

You can also buy his CDs on Amazon: Kirk Franklin and the Family (1993), Whatcha Lookin’ 4 (1996), The Nu Nation Project (1998), The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin (2002), Hero (2005), Songs for the Storm, Vol. 1 (2006), The Fight of My Life(2007)

Christian Artists To Know: Bodies Of Water

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Free MP3 Album- 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