Free Download: JGivens- Run.

Simply said, JGivens is gifted.

He is a fresh face among alot of mundane, over-produced artists who are more concerned with “swagger” more than spirit. He is the perfect balance of intelligent lyrics mixed with engaging style. He is a mix between Shad, Propaganda, and Pigeon John, and then something completely on his own.

Hey Humble Beast, pay attention this guy!

check out his video for one of the songs off the album, “Free”

Listen, download and enjoy

New Releases For October 12th, 2010

New Releases For October 12th, 2010

belle and sebastian write about love
Write About Love
Belle And Sebastian

Matador Records
Indie Rock
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3

Brooke Fraser-Flags
Brooke Fraser

Wood and Bone
Buy NOW:

harp and lyre clumsy architects
Clumsy Architects EP
Harp & Lyre

Buy NOW:

jess penner growing in the cold
Growing In The Cold
Jess Penner

Position Music
Buy NOW:
Amazon MP3

newsboys christmas a newsboys holiday
Christmas! A NEWSBOYS Holiday

Inpop Records
Christmas Music
Buy NOW:

pigeon john dragon slayer
Dragon Slayer
Pigeon John

Quannum Projects
Underground Hip-Hop
Buy NOW:

state line em up ep
Line ‘Em Up EP

Indie Rock
Buy NOW:

Where The Ocean Meets The Sky

C.I. Records
Buy NOW:

The One21 Essential 100 Pt.13

essential100 copy

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

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

Check out Pt.1
Check out Pt.2
Check out Pt.3
Check out Pt.4
Check out Pt.5
Check out Pt.6
Check out Pt.7
Check out Pt.8
Check out Pt. 9
Check out Pt.10
Check out Pt.11
Check out Pt.12

pigeon john is clueless
Pigeon John Is…Clueless
Pigeon John

Buy this album: Amazon MP3, iTunes
Perhaps if you cant understand the appeal on Pigeon John Is…Clueless from the opening track, you may never get it. But that is okey, because that is whole point.

In 2002 Pigeon John broke off from his LA Symphony crew to release a collection of songs he had been recording for the past several years. The result is an album that finds a young man struggling with his own identity; not quite ready to become a full on adult, but aware of his responsibilities an emcee no longer in his teens. Pigeon John‘s world class wit is always present, but he doesn’t use it as a crutch in which his entire style is based. It is funny that his earliest work is perhaps his most complex, interesting, and deep.

On top of the content, the actual music in Pigeon John Is…Clueless is perhaps the gem here. Too many times we focus on lyrics when it comes to emcees, but Pigeon John also has a knack to find beats the suit his personality in a way that cant be explained until you hear it. Elements of Q-Tip, and his former crew are always present, but Pigeon John Is…Clueless is a bold declaration from a then up and coming emcee who refuses to follow any body else’s rules, even if it means working a 9-5 to make it happen.
Highlights: Los Angeles Rap Music, Clueless, Rap Contest

World Wide Message Tribe - Heatseeker
World Wide Message Tribe

Buy this album: Amazon
The U.K.’s World Wide Message Tribe were the holy herald in the 90’s Christian dance scene with both street-cred and Jesus testimony. World Wide Message Tribe cultivated a hybrid of house, techno, hip-hop, and rap with the idea that if the booty shakes, the soul will follow. Adding a touch of ambient along with a disco streak to its glorious mess of praise, World Wide Message Tribe took the 1999 Dove Award for Rap/Hip-Hop/Dance Album of the Year with Heatseeker.

With Heatseaker, World Wide Message Tribe delivered an album that reflected dance music trends of the late 90’s. With influences from bands like the Chemical Brothers and Prodigy, tracks like “Heatseeker,” and “Hypocrite,” were hard driving techno screams. “Messiah” and “Lift It Up” were straight up house dance tracks. In “Hypocrite” the singer talks about being himself a “Hypocrite” for not always being willing to share Christ with others, an idea taken from Paul’s letter to the Romans. Also appearing is a house version of Bob Dylan‘s “Precious Angel.” As usual, the lyrics are blatantly Christian but never formalistic.
Highlights: Hypocrite, Messiah, Lift It


Buy this album: iTunes, Amazon
What we all thought was David Eugene Edward’s solo foray while on a break from the legendary 16 Horsepower, Wovenhand ultimately killed 16 Horsepower and has surpassed that band’s shattering vision and singular presence on the Christian music scene. Mostly recorded by Edwards in his Colorado studio, the debut, Wovenhand, retains the dark vision and gothic folk elements of the previous band but softens the music with keyboards and muted percussion. The lyrics are at times David’s most spiritual and even sentimental, but what a distressing sentimentality.

The bookends of “My Russia” and “Your Russia” recount personal conviction and promise ultimate sanctification, the slip and the grip of grace, with a devastating intensity and plain sincerity that rivals anything David Eugene Edwards has ever recorded with Wovenhand or 16 Horsepower. Add to that a brooding, stomping cover of Bill Wither’s “Ain’t No sunshine” and you have a debut of devastating power and beauty.
Highlights: My Russia/Your Russia, Arrow Head, Ain’t No Sunshine

La Dispute-Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair
La Dispute

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Pure and genuine emotion and passion is so hard to find in music these days. Most times passion is mistaken for busy or loud. Emotion is mistaken for tone. It is rare you can hear either true emotion or passion partnered with true talent and ability. The moment I saw La Dispute ate Cornerstone Festival in 2007, I knew I had found a band with all four. In 2008, they released a monster of an album called Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair. I am still trying to understand it.

The band’s sound lies somewhere in the bombastic punk/rock furiousity of At The Drive-In, and the steady intelligence of mewithoutYou. The band pours into every song three times the ability of their peers, and somehow are able to focus it in a way that makes every valley feel like a warm summer day, and every explosion feel like being pushed off of a cliff.

Somewhere at the Bottom of the River Between Vega and Altair is a always attacking collection of songs that deal with thoughts of regret, questioning, hope, and anger. Every thought meticulously planned out, every time change carefully executed. For any fan of post-hardcore, progressive punk, or just really good music, this is a must have.
Highlights: Amazon, Bury Your Flame, Andria

Welcome To The Welcome Wagon
Welcome To The Welcome Wagon
The Welcome Wagon

Buy this album: Amazon, iTunes
Don’t let the release date of Welcome To The Welcome Wagon fool you, the music contained within is not of this era. Yet, it is more of the Great Depression era of gospel/folk, easily played in a church or kitchen depending on the inspiration.

You see, a few years back, The Reverend Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique started teaching themselves how to play old traditional hymns because they felt that the songs needed to be played again. After a while, one of their congregation members took notice and offered to help arrange a produce a CD for them. They said yes.

That congregation member was Sufjan Stevens, and what was created between the three members of The Welcome Wagon is at all times spiritual, joyful, fun, and reverent. These aren’t “jazzed up” versions of hymns, so hidden beneath walls of slick production that they no longer resemble their original form. These are rough, stripped down takes on traditional songs that both celebrate and rejuvenate the songs for a new generation.

It look likes that this may be the only thing we ever hear from Vito and Monquie, as they are still tending to their flock, but the joy and release you get from listening to Welcome To The Welcome Wagon may just be enough.
Highlights: Up On a Mountain, He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word, But For You Who Fear My Name

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!!

Free Download:The Joe-Cool School Geek…The Mixtape

the cool school geek rap backpack weird core the mixtape

I had to shorten the name for the title, but the name of this album is Cool School Geek-Rap Back Pack Weird-Core The Mixtape by The Joe. I bet you can already tell that this one is gonna be a little…different. You know, what more do you expect from The One21, we always try to give you different. The term Underground Hip-Hop is best embodied in the music of The Joe. Quirky, unconventional beats with tounge twisting lyrics that will make you have to go back a few times before you know what the heck he is trying to say. This aint yer daddy’s hip-hop, then again, yer dad may not listen to hip-hop. He may want to after listening to The Joe.

For fans of: John Reuben, Pigeon John, Shad, Wale , Aesop Rock

Download The Joe Cool School Geek-Rap Back Pack Weird-Core The Mixtape

Free MP3 Album Download:Davey Rockit-Broken Heart Beats


So Davey Rockit is not a guy you have heard OF, but he is a DJ you have HEARD. You see, Davey Rockit is the touring DJ for Pigeon John, and a long time collaborator.  On this little solo outing, Davey Rockit instead looks to smooth rhythms, heavy samples, and lots of surprises to create quite a cool little album.  Good party background music along with play-so-loud-in-car-cant-hear-police-pulling-you-over music. You will dig this, I promise.

For fans of: DJ Shadow, Pigeon John, Gnarles Barkley

The link below will take you to a zHARE page. Click on the DOWNLOAD NOW button in the middle of the page, wait 40 seconds, endure and click through some ads, click on the new link to begin your download, save the .ZIP file to your computer, EXTRACT ALL FILES, and get ready to get smooth with Davey Rockit.

Download Davey Rockit-Broken Heart Beats

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!
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 Hippo 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!

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
August Burns
Iris Dement
The Ambassador
Josh Garrels
Cold War Kids
Fiction Family
Enter The Worship Circle
Bodies of Water
Cool Hand Luke
Kirk Franklin
Brooke Waggoner
Buddy Miller
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

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 Winding Down

Saturday is the last real day of SXSW.  Everyone heads home tomorrow, but there are still a ton of exciting shows tonight (see SXSW Schedule for Saturday). But before we strike out on out on the Saturday night adventure, I have some final thoughts from SXSW 2009:

  • I am still buzzing about the thunderous, apocalyptic roar of Wovenhand.  I was up until 4:30 this morning writing my review of the Wovenhand show.  I assure you nothing I could have written would paint the picture of what we saw last night.  They are headed to Europe for a few weeks, so check their tour dates at the Wovenhand mySpace page.  Do not miss a chance to see this amplified roar of worship.
  • We spent the afternoon with a collection of hot rappers at the SXSW Holy Roller Rapper event in East Austin.  Tre9, Kaboose, LeCrae, Braille and the rest of the crew are  a great bunch of guys who are being belittled and marginalized for rapping their faith.  Good for you guys.  The pure at heart and brave in spirit will be persecuted.  Endure for your rewards will far surpass the indignities you encounter.
  • Best quote of the week came from Pigeon John, “If God wants to talk to you, He will make you cry.”
  • It is a jarring transition to go from the Interactive festival where everyone walks around with their laptops open, typing as they walk, to the music festival where people say to you, “Yeah dude, we will check it your website in a few days when we get on the Internet”.  People live in different worlds in this country and I am grateful for diversity.
  • We have been happily surprised by the Christian music artist’s shows at SXSW.  We thought we knew this music pretty well but Anathallo, Brooke Waggoner, Dignan, Seabird, Paper Route and certainly Wovenhand were all better shows than we could have imagined. See all of our SXSW show reviews by clicking on this link.

    Anathallo at SXSW


    Anathallo Pounding Percussion @ SXSW

  • It is encouraging to see God glorified in the midst of this worldly event.
  • It is impossible to truly capture the SXSW music festival with words.  It must be experienced.  It is a sensory overload with music everywhere.  We have done our best to capture SXSW and we have had a good time bringing it to you, but we are not finished.  We have a few hours of interview video we will edit and post over the next few weeks.  So stay tuned.
  • I am really happy to live in Austin, Texas. First, it is just a cool city.  We stumbled upon this little business pictured below while walking to the Asthmatic Kitty party on Friday. Second, Austin is in Texas and Texans are nice and polite.  The lead singer of the New Zealand based band, The Renderers told a story last night about how she had run out of minutes on her cell phone because the customer service agent at her cell phone company could not understand her when she was trying to buy more minutes.  Two people heard her dilemma as they walked by and offered to let her use their cell phones and to help her get the minutes renewed.


    East Austin Oasis

My feet hurt and I am sleepy.  With all of that, I am excited to see the four Christian music artists shows we can reach tonight.    We will put up our thoughts before we go to bed tonight, but tomorrow we will happily take a Sabbath rest.