The One21 Essential 100 Pt.5

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

Eso Charis
Eso Charis
Eso Charis

2001
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
At the turn of the century, the genre known as metalcore was trying to kind its holding in the hearts of extreme hardcore and metal fans. Like many new trends, the combination of hardcore and metal was having a hard time coming off as anything BUT a trend, and then came Eso Charis. Interesting, creative, aggressive, and passionate were words that surfaced in almost every review of the self-titled debut (and sadly final album for the band). Every track on the album plows forward in such angry progression you would swear the members of the band might reach through the speakers and pull you back with them. The two key things though that made Eso Charis so great though was the extremely unconventional song structure and the worshipful lyrics. Each song featuring a rollercoaster of starts and stops, twists and turns that didn’t lend much to the accessibility of a fan’s first listen, but allow it to stay interesting after the 20th. The lyrics cry out to God for change, and banish the devil from the band’s hearts; so it is no wonder the screams sound so painful. This album is what metalcore could achieve if the passion behind it was righteous, and Eso Charis continue to show people how it was supposed to be done.
Highlights: The Judas Swing, Processed Bodies, The Narrowing List

Kate Miner-Prodigal Martha
Prodigal Martha
Kate Miner

2005
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Simply a masterpiece, both musically and spiritually. Using a dizzying array of musical styles and instruments Kate Miner builds her case for stripping away the trappings of Christianity to truly worship Christ. Kate explained, “It starts in that really broken place. The chorus of the title track goes “Father I know it’s here. It’s been so long since I’ve sat at your feet, will you recognize me?” It’s a great journey. I think it’s quite relevant for people in the church. I believe that we all get hung up in that. We’re all doing good work. It’s not like I slipped and went into prostitution and had a heroin addiction. I just kept doing ministry things.” The Kate Miner we love is here with her declaration of Christ, “Jesus”, which opens with “Does anybody here need Jesus? I got something to say . Does anybody here need heaven? You may hot here what I have to say? The she bursts into a rocking declaration of Jesus Christ. Finally, the heart breaking “Who Will Cry” touches on our weaknesses and our sadness and how we just walk past each other.

Then there is the voice, raw, powerful with a heart wrenching tone. Kate Miner uses her voice powerfully and tenderly to touch just the right string in our soul. Finally, Prodigal Martha features maybe the best worship song of the 21st century, “Covered.” Simple piano and percussion underneath a whispering Kate singing quiet, worshipful words of submission and praise. She then let’s looses with “Covered by grace, covered by light, covered by the fullness of you.” I defy you to listen without stopping to worship.
Highlights: Covered, Come To The Water, Who Will Cry For Me?

Innocence Mission-Glow
Glow
The Innocence Mission

1995
Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Glow is a musical treasure that immediately starts with a dreamy riff, taking you by the hand for a journey of tunes and floating guitar evoking the feeling of spring fever. “Keeping Awake”, probably the most famous song on the CD, communicates peace and calm, but it’s the little details that stand out. The imagery is evocative: family members sitting under trees in a dreamed-for tomorrow; a girl dancing into her room; the sense of peace at having everyone home; and, most of all, the sense that “My room is held in someone’s arms,/my bed is held in someone’s arms.” This last little detail — God holding the speaker’s bedroom — points to the often subtle ways in which The Innocence Mission communicate their Roman Catholic faith. Glow evokes a sense of drinking cold sweet lemonade on a sun drenched porch, or driving your car with the top down on the first fresh, warm day in spring.

If you’ve never heard The Innocence Mission before you must know that they require you to listen. Sparse quiet guitars, with some piano and percussion you barely notice, The Innocence Mission delivers music in a whisper, but what a whisper. You will be blown away by Karen Paris’ vocals and poetry, think Natalie Merchant meets Bjork . The childhood memories displayed on this album are moving, and the songs paint incredible pictures with an economical use of words that hint at larger vistas. Glow can still grab you from beginning to end more than a decade after its 1995 release.
Highlights: Keeping Awake, Speak Our Minds, Brave

Brooke Waggoner-Heal For The Honey
Heal For The Honey
Brooke Waggoner

2008
Buy this album: iTunes
Heal For The Honey is what can happen when talent is expressed in its most pure form. Heal For The Honey is the creation of Brooke Waggoner, a young songwriter making her way through the underground indie scene in Nashville. With only an EP under her belt, Waggoner wrote and recorded her 2008 full length with hauntingly beautiful results. Heal For The Honey is creative, delightful, and most of all progressive. Most songs sound more like small symphonies than pop songs, combining piano, strings , and percussion in a way that both feels classic and innovative all at the same time. Earlier when I said Brooke wrote Heal For The Honey, I mean SHE WROTE everything you hear in the album; including all the string arrangements.

Heal For The Honey also puts Brooke Waggoner‘s lyrical abilities on display in full force. While most of the songs may come of as introverted, she paints such a lovely picture of the world with memories of cold winters, deep forests, and lite hearts. It will be hard to listen to Heal For The Honey and not be alble to completely fall in love with every single aspect of it.
Highlights: Beaut, Live For The Sounds, Tender Mending

Jason Upton-Faith
Faith
Jason Upton

2001
Buy this album: iTunes
When Faith came out in 2001, most people had no idea who the passionate worship leader named Jason Upton was. It also didn’t take most people very long to figure out that Jason Upton was a very special man of God. Faith is an album like no other, filled with prophetic lyrics, progressive song structures, and an air of improvisation as Jason leads a congregation in a worship service that would make the Brooklyn Tabernacle look like they conduct puppet shows for two year olds. Powerful isnt the word for this music, because that would simply put a limit on the energy behind these songs.

In many other ways, Faith is completely unique in its approach to worship, with more focus on the Holy Spirit than melody; songs like “Freedom Reigns” makes the listener yearn for as clear of an understanding into the heart of God as Upton has. These are the kind of songs that change things. They penetrate, and work their way into the heart of the listener. No matter where you are, or when you hear it, Faith has the power to stir things in your spirit you didn’t even know existed, and change the way you see worship music forever.
Highlights: Freedom Reigns, No Sacrifice, I Will Wait

Essential Songs: You Won’t Relent by Misty Edwards

misty edwards praise

Misty Edwards is a worship leader and pastor of sorts for The International House Of Prayer in Kansas City.  She has been writing and recording music for almost 10 years now, and in most circles is considered one of the best worship leaders of our generation (along side names like Jason Upton and David Crowder).  She remains humble in the midst of her success, and still manages to fly some where under the radar so she can focus more on her ministry duties for IHOPKC.

Misty Edwards has this to say about her life:
“I have a great desire to see the knowledge of God flood this generation. I mean the real knowledge of God, not the distant Sunday School version but the true encounter with the Uncreated. I have devoted my life to searching Him out through His Word, prayer and fasting, and to ask Him to reveal Himself in my day and time. There’s no other point for my existence but to touch the Transcendent. I believe that this is the generation who will usher in the Son of Man as we intercede from our highest identity as a Bride crying out, ” Come!” unsatisfied with anything less than Him. As Eternity breaks in we will awaken the Dawn with a song and the Morning Star will rise to have His inheritance on this planet! This is all I care about.”

The song “You Won’t Relent” is perfect example of her writing style. It is a crushing worship song with tons build and emotion, and is a simple acknowledgment of God’s desire to have all of us in our worship and in our lives.

The video below is taken from the opening session of the OneThing Conference in Kansas City, and there is a small bit of another one of Misty‘s songs called “All Consuming Fire” at the end of the video.

Buy this song on iTunes and Amazon MP3

Check Out Misty Edward’s One21 Artist Profile

You won’t relent
Until You have it all
My heart is Yours

I’ll set You as a seal upon my heart
As a seal upon my arm
For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love

Come be the fire inside of me
Come be the flame upon my heart
Come be the fire inside of me
Until You and I are one

New Releases Aug.4th, 2009

jason-upton-at-the-rim-of-the-visable-world
On The Rim Of The Visible World
Jason Upton

Integrity Media
Progressive Worship
Buy NOW:
available for pre-order through http://ontherimofthevisibleworld.com/

all-the-day-holiday-the-things-weve-grown-to-love
The Things We’ve Grown To Love
All The Day Holiday

LincStar
Indie Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

all-star-united-the-good-album
The Good Album
All Star United

Double Happiness
Pop Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

hillsong-united-faith-hope-love1
Faith + Hope + Love
Hillsong United

Sony BMG/Hillsong
Worship
Buy NOW:
Amazon

satellites-sirens-all-we-need-is-sound-ep
All We Need Is Sound EP
Satellites & Sirens
Word Records
Pop Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

aaron-shust-take-over
Take Over
Aaron Shust

Brash Music
Pop Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon

anchor-and-braille-felt
Felt
Anchor & Braille

Wood Water Records
Pop Folk
Buy NOW:
Amazon

phillips-craig-and-dean-fearless
Fearless
Phillips, Craig and Dean

Sony
Contemporary
Buy NOW:
Amazon

eMusic Is The Coolest

One of the biggest surprises since we have started One21music is the lack of interest our readers have shown in eMusic.
Download 25 FREE songs at eMusic.com!
This was the first ad we put on our site. We thought people would flock to get 25 free songs. No one has explored the trial subscription, so I thought I would give you a testimonial from an excited subscriber. But first let me explain eMusic.

eMusic is the #1 site for independent music, with a library of over 4,500,000 MP3s.  eMusic sets itself apart from other well-known subscription music services (such as Napster and Rhapsody) because eMusic customers truly own the music they download.  The files available for download are in the MP3 format, making them fully compatible with all digital music players, and free from digital rights management software restrictions such as expiration dates, or copying or CD burning limitations. eMusic’s MP3′s play on any portable music player (including the iPod and Zune), can be downloaded to unlimited computers as well as burned to CD.

Here is how it works.  You can subscribe to download  25 to 100 songs each month based on the subscription level you buy.  The base subscription is 25 songs ($11.99 per month), then grows in 25 song increments (50 songs for $14.99, 75 songs for 19.99, 100 songs for $24.99).  eMusic offers about 25 different plans bu these are the most popular.

I have been a subscriber for over a year and my co-founder has been a subscriber for about nine months.  We love, l-o-v-e, eMusic.  Ian maintains a list of over 100 CDs and uses up his subscription on the first day it is available.  I like to save my downloads to use over the month.  Today is May 8th and I have already downloaded 65 of my 100 songs, so I am not such a good saver.

These downloads are just like buying the CD’s or downloading songs from iTunes, except they are cheaper and you own them.  If you really like music, or if your CD store is the electronics section at WalMart or if you are just cheap; eMusic is for you.  I downloaded , on their release date, the highly acclaimed new CD from Beirut for @$2.75, the EP from Bon Iver for $1.00 and M.Ward’snew one for $3.50.  Beat those prices WalMart and iTunes.

But more than convienence and thrift, eMusic has great services to help you find music you will love.  You can browse by genre, editors’ picks, new music, free tracks, advance releases, members ratings and any combination of those categories.  eMusic has music journalists writing artist and genre features and reviews.

Finally, eMusic has an extensive collection of songs and CDs from artists we have profiled on One21music. See the list below.

I encourage you to at least give eMusic a try.
Download 25 FREE songs at eMusic.com!

By the way, eMusicalso has a similar service for ebooks if you like to listen to ebooks
Heard any good Audiobooks lately? Get one free!

One21Christian Music Artists on eMusic

Jason Upton
Danielson
August Burns
Iris Dement
The Ambassador
Josh Garrels
Thrice
Cold War Kids
Fiction Family
Enter The Worship Circle
Anathallo
Bodies of Water
Cool Hand Luke
Kirk Franklin
Brooke Waggoner
Wovenhand
Buddy Miller
Underoath
Nicole C Mullen
Pigeon John
Bosque Brown
Paper Route
The Welcome Wagon
Kate Miner
Bradley Hathaway
Jeremy Egnik
Mute Math
Bill Mallonee/Vigilantes of Love
Brooke Fraser
Kaboose
Lecrae
Rootbeer

The Many Facets Of Christian Music

Ever since we started The One21, we have been learning a lot. From the vast amount of  new talent we come across, to the trends in music and entertainment we have been able to identify, this company has allowed us to learn new things daily about the world of music we love so much.  We have tried to share those trends with you, and explore what the digital age of music has done for the underground music movement. We have attempted to expand the knowledge of the music out there being made by believers.  We have tried endlessly on this site to change the perception of what most people think when they hear the term “Christian music”, and bring you a whole new world of music that exists outside of the mainstream Christian industry.

It is in that last idea that we have run into the most trouble.  We feel that this website and the database of music we are building is our calling, our ministry to you, the person reading this.  We feel that we have a responsibility to give you as much information about the artists we talk about so that you can make the most informed decision on what music you allow in to your life and those around you. On the other hand, we also feel that we have a responsibility to artists we talk about. We don’t want to force any artist to label themselves as something they don’t want to labeled as.  The choices that an artists make in their career are their own, and it be irresponsible for us to (forcefully) change those decisions ( we REALLY want Kate Minor to come back to music, and I REALLY want Damien Rice to become a believer).  So how do we talk to people about music that is made by believers without forcing those artists to be pigeon-holed into a scene they want to exist outside of.

This struggle was put center stage recently as we attended SXSW. A band that we have featured on this site (I’m not going to tell you who it is, don’t ask), had a very strong reaction to us wanting to interview them and talk about it on the site. They told Chuck “well we are Christians, but we defiantly don’t make Christian music”, and were still debating this issue when I walked past them ten minutes later. Some of the members seemed upset that since we were a site that covered Christian music, that talking to us would change the perception of their band in the general public. However, all the research we had done on the band not only revealed that they were believers, but the majority of their lyrics centered around the dark picture the church paints of Christ versus what He truly is. We felt a little awkward because in a way we had tried to make them something they didn’t want to be, which is their call, not ours. The outcome is that they didn’t talk to us, even when Chuck attended their show a few nights later.

Later that same week, Chuck presented our pastor with a signed copy of a CD, from one of the hip-hop artists we interviewed, for his ten year old son who is really into hip-hop at the moment.  Our pastor thanked Chuck, but said that he needed to listen to it before his son could have it.  That seemed strange to me for a moment, but then he explained that another Christian hip-hop artist had frequently used the word “hell” (in the correct context by the way), a word that shocked and offended his young children who had been told NOT to say that word. It occurred to me that a lot of people can’t just listen to ANY artist who says that they are a Christian, even with ideologies that match up, subject matter is still an issue.

So on one side, we have believers who are making music, but do not want to be part of the Christian music world, and on the other side, we have people who need help with finding the right artist that helps them live their faith.  On the one hand we know of a lot of Christian artist who hardly ever talk directly about their faith in their music, and on the other we have a responsibility to present music that lines up with the ideologies that exist in Christianity. The dichotomy bothered me all week until we met with Tre9, a Houston hip-hop artist and founder of DaSouth.com, who spoke in our interview with him about hip hop artists being relevant to the audience that they are trying to reach.

79975“You’ve got to know as an artist who you are going to target your message to. Obviously if you want to disciple Christians then you need to make music relevant to them. Which would be music: quoting scriptures, having heavy spiritual content; but if you want to reach people that don’t have church knowledge and maybe don’t even read their Bible then you need to bring it down to their level. So, that may require you to do music that shares your life story more often, and maybe closes with the fact that you found fulfillment in Christ, but you’re not so heavily focused on making sure you get a scripture in there. Throw a Jesus here; throw a God, a Holy Spirit there. Throw the word redemption. You know sanctification; these words that the world doesn’t understand. You want to make music that is relevant to where they are at mentally and even spiritually.

When I say relevant, you’ve got groups like P.O.D. who are way into the world, but are making relevant music to their audience, and look at them, they are global. They have penetrated a market that they couldn’t penetrate when they were labeled a Christian artist. I think that’s good. A lot of people think they are sell outs because they don’t preach the gospel in their music, but for me I feel that this world needs Godly principles, they need the Bible interpenetrated in today’s language so that it’s relevant. So, if P.O.D. makes a song about ‘I feel so alive’, but they don’t say it’s because of Jesus; I think that person will eventually become a follower of P.O.D.; listening to their music, going to their website, researching and finding out “Hey, these guys are Christians. So that’s what they mean by ‘I feel so alive’.” So they don’t have to put it into a song for me. Now, a lot of people would disagree with that but, we need wholesome music. We need songs that deal with drugs, and the dangers of drugs; songs that deal with abstinence. These songs don’t have to say anything about God.  God is in that, God wants people to live an abstinent life, God wants people to avoid drugs. So, I’m ok with making music that is relevant to that market or that particular group of people. Going into public schools we can’t do Christian music, especially during school hours. You can’t just go in there preaching about Jesus. So, if you are going to make music relevant to a school; if it’s an elementary school, then you need to write some stuff elementary level. Junior high, High school…so that’s what I mean by relevant.”

I was blown away. This was a concept that had always been in the back of my mind, but I had never heard put into words.  I also realized that this line of thinking could be applied to all music, not just the world of hip-hop.  As I thought about it more, I became aware that this was how the whole scope of the Christian music scene fit together, even the artists that wanted to exists outside the borders of what is traditionally thought of as Christian music.  This is how we can talk about really good music that is being made by believers, but not really overtly spiritually, and then turn around and talk about worship music in the same breathe.  It is because in “Christian music” there are different forms of it, but all of them are written from a world-view of Christ.

In the end, I propose that all music, written from a foundation of hope and faith, that God can use to touch people’s hearts, can be divided into three categories:

The Spiritual- this is music that is made by believers, and is mainly intended for believers.  This music uses language and subjects that believers understand, and is made mainly for the purpose of worship, education, and encouragement. This music will use a lot of direct Biblical scripture, or discuss the literal concepts within the Bible. The gospel message is OBVIOUS to anyone. This music is meant to celebrate and discuss God and His teachings. This is were the majority of worship music will exist, as well as artist who talk about heavy Biblical truths.
Examples:
The Ambassador
Becoming The Archetype
Third Day
Derek Webb
Jason Upton
Shane and Shane
Enter The Worship Circle
Toby Mac
For Today
Dirt

The Message- the music in this category is evangelical in nature. It is made by believers for everyone. While it deals with strong Biblical truths, the music is made to appeal to both believers and non-believers alike.  The messages are meant to talk about address the need for Christ and the struggles that people go through before the come to know Him, and the relationship that exists afterward. Sometimes the message is obvious, sometimes it isn’t.  Most artists talk about their faith not only through their lyrics, but also from the stages that they play from (be it a church or a bar stage). This category is a musical response to the great commission.
Examples:
Switchfoot
Lecrae
August Burns Red
P.O.D.
SuperChick
Kaboose
A Plea For Purging
mewithoutYou
Project 86
Joy Whitlock

The Light- this is the category that collects all the Christians who are out their making music, but are not necessarily talking about anything that is directly Biblical. This is just music made by believers. Most of the time, the songs have a indirect message pertaining to the artists faith. The artists in this category are not trying to speak to their beliefs, but are simply trying to make music , and their faith shines through from time to time.  The artists in this category most times exist completely outside of the Christian music radar, some of them you will know, but most you have never heard of. What is important to note is that while the music in this category is not overtly faith-based, it is music that is written from a heart changed by Christ, and can be used as a catalyst  people’s life.
Examples:
Rootbeer
Anathallo
Brooke Waggoner
Paramore
Bob Dylan
Cold War Kids
Thrice
Danielson
Bodies Of Water
Buddy Miller

On our site, we are going to begin using these categories to define our artists better. You will begin to see them on our “Christian Artists To Know”, and as we build our database of artists, the categories will also be incorporated.

The idea behind these categories to allow all the many ways that music is made by believers to be viewed as a unified music scene. For the artists that sing honestly about thier life  and for the worship leader in the church, God uses all this music to touch people’s hearts.

Ian’s SXSW 09 Wrap-Up

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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.

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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.

Christian Artists To Know: Jason Upton

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Jason Upton
Genre: worship
Styles: eclectic, progressive, independent
Label: Key Of David
Website/myspace: Jason Upton
Christian label: yes
Category: The Spiritual whats this?

Known for his unorthodox worship songs and unwillingness to conform to any standard set forth by the Christian culture; Jason Upton is a worship leader that truly seeks God’s heart.  He has been singing in churches since he was 15, but didn’t begin to lead worship until after receiving his Masters in Divinity. During this time, Jason and his wife began to feel God giving them songs to share with the world.  Since then, Jason has devoted himself to truly seeking God through worship.  He has released over ten albums since 2000, many live, unrehearsed, and with no post-production. The experience created by the music is completely authentic, and the songs are passionate and emotional.

To say that Jason’s music is just worship really degrades the musicianship involved for his songs. Unlike a lot of worship music out there, Jason’s songs are layered, progressive, and constantly changing. He never really performs a song the same way twice, and the lyrics alter from time to time based on what God has for him to say. There is a true beauty in his songs that are not derived from guitar effects of multi-layered vocal tracks; but from a man that can truly communicate his passion through his voice, and most times his instrument of choice, his piano.  If Jason wasn’t a worship leader, he would most likely be giving the likes of Dave Matthews and Iron & Wine a run for their money.

here is Jason preforming “Lion Of Judah” :

Here he is preforming “Freedom” much earlier in his career (to a very spirited congregation):

This is truly an artist that we can’t describe the way he needs to be described. I was lucky enough to tour with Jason very briefly at the beginning stages of his career; and he changed my perception on what worship music could be. I have never met a man more willing to completely follow God in worship, nor one who at the same time could blow me away as a musician.  Jason’s lyrics are nothing short of prophetic, and his services are nothing short of life changing. It is THE only musical experience I have ever attended, worship, secular, entertainment, and so forth; where the audience refused to leave after the performer had walked off stage.  Jason Upton is truly a blessed guy.

You can find Jason Upton’s amazing music digitally on Jason Upton

You can also get his CDs on Amazon: Key Of David(2000), Faith(2001), Jacob’s Dream(2002), Dying Star(2002), Remember(2003), Trusting the Angels(2004), Great River Road(2005), Open up the Earth(2005), Beautiful People(2007), Between Earth & Sky(2007), 1200 Ft Below Sealevel(2008)