New Releases For July 12th, and 15th, 2011

New Releases For July 12th, 2011

sons and daughters Brokenness Aside EP Vol 1
Brokenness Aside EP Vol 1
All Sons & Daughters
Integrity Records
Worship
Buy now: Amazon MP3

The Ambassador-Stop The Funeral
Stop The Funeral
The Ambassador

Xist Music
Rap
Buy now: Amazon

Dara Maclean-You Got My Attention
You Got My Attention
Dara Maclean

Fervent Records
Pop
Buy now: Amazon

debtor bloodseeds
Bloodseeds
Debtor

Blood & Ink Records
Hardcore

the great commission heavy worship
Heavy Worship
The Great Commission

ANGR
Mosh Metal
Buy now: Amazon MP3

Matt Redman-10,000 Reasons
10,000 Reasons
Matt Redman

sixsteps Records
Worship
Buy now: Amazon

Sleeping Giant-Kingdom Days In An Evil Age
Kingdom Days In An Evil Age
Sleeping Giant

ANGR
Hardcore
Buy now: Amazon

New Releases For July 15th, 2011

Love & War & The Sea In Between
Love & War & The Sea In Between
Josh Garrels

Small Voice Records
Freak Folk
Buy now: Amazon MP3

Craziness at One21-SXSW and AI

This is one of the best weeks of the year in Austin.  The world has descended on Austin for South by Southwest 2011, the largest music industry conference in the world.  More than 2,000 bands and musicians will perform more than 10,000 shows in four days.  We have found nearly 100 Christian musicians performing at SXSW 2011 and One21music will cover as many of them as we can.  We will give you a little insight into what is like on the street at the epicenter of popular music, share some photos from the shows and let you experience some of those shows through our eyes.

Christian Musicians Performing at SXSW

Eisley
The Civil Wars
O Brother
Cold War Kids
Denison Witmer
Damian Juardo
The Ambassador
Shad
Brooke Fraser
The Almost

This is only a small fraction of the shows Christian musicians will be performing. There are more than 30 gospel and hip-hop artists will be playing over three days, at a venue that neither Ian nor I will be able to get to. Tomorrow night Ian will be covering HM’s hard core showcase featuring The Famine, Before Their Was Roselyn and The Brigade

Please check out our SXSW coverage from the last two years to get ready.

You may ask, how can you cover SXSW and American Idol Season 10? Well, I have convinced wifey to offer her insight into the Top 12 performances.  So join us live tomorrow night for more musically astute and empathetic insights into American Idol Season 10.

The Ambassador Breaks His Silence

ambassador-pressphoto2

After almost a year of exile, ground-breaking gospel Hip-Hop artist, The Ambassador, posted a statement concerning his exit from the scene. The following was posted earlier this week:

Dear Friends and Supporters:

First I want to thank everyone for your understanding, mercy and grace while my family and I worked on rebuilding our marriage and reconciliation. From the very beginning, I have wanted to communicate with you. However following the advice of the church leadership, and others to whom I entrusted my restoration, I remained silent.

Back in late April 2009, the Lord exposed me and consequently delivered me from being entangled in a season of willful disobedience, deception and darkness. I was involved in a non-sexual but very inappropriate relationship with a woman other than my wife, thereby betraying my Lord, my wife, family, Epiphany Fellowship (the church I love and was instrumental in founding) my co-laborers and ministry supporters like you.

It has often been suggested that no genuine Christian can willfully sin habitually for a prolonged period (1 John 3:6). And that those who do sin cannot do so without some sense of great conviction and internal disturbance. My life is a personal witness to this statement, as I for several months battled great depression, gradual and graphic spiritual deterioration. However, it indeed was God’s mercy that exposed me, breaking sin’s enslaving grip on me. It was also His mercy which used that to lead me to experience what David did when Nathan revealed that the “gig was up” and said, “You are the man!” (2 Samuel 12:7).

Like David, I instantly knew that, “I have sinned against the Lord” (2 Samuel 12:13). I was crushed by an enormous weight of guilt, shame, fear and sorrow, and I knew that the journey back to “ground zero” would be insanely difficult. Even to this day, I wrestle with that shame from time to time, but I also know there is one place I can turn—the gospel! I have to continually contradict my feelings and believe the rest of 2 Samuel 12:13, “The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.”

After nearly a year of retreat, rehabilitation and intense family focus, God’s grace has me reset on a trajectory toward spiritual wholeness. Like Paul the great apostle I admit, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect…” “But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:12-14). God’s grace is teaching me that I am not supposed to attempt to “work” my way back to some supposed level of super-spirituality and then come out feeling “qualified.” But I am to recognize that I am never “sufficient in myself,” but “our sufficiency is from God” (2 Corinthians 3:5). As someone once said “He doesn’t call the qualified, but rather qualifies the called.” I am deeply comforted by this gospel truth and equally dependant on its reality. Without this comforting and affirming word, I might never have come back to the service of our Lord.

So I say now, what I believed then—I sinned greatly against the Lord Jesus, my wife and family, the other woman and her family, my church, and all my ministry co-laborers and supporters. I ask you to forgive me for being a prime example of the spiritual leaders I have often “put on blast” in the past, and further reinforcing the notion that the church is full of hypocrites. Forgive me for how my actions have caused many to be confused and insecure about the faith, and brought disruption to the peace of homes, churches, and ministries. May God give you the grace and the ability to forgive me, “as I have received the Lord’s forgiveness” (Colossians 3:13). By God’s grace, many that I have offended have forgiven me, most notably, my wife and kids. Pray that the Lord will continue to permit us to build on this foundation that will give the Lord Jesus Christ the greatest glory.

This has been an extremely painful time and now I accept the fact that although God’s grace is based on the merit of Christ and not my own performance, favor with man (Luke 2:52) must be gained through consistency over time. All I ask is for the opportunity to get started!

I have spent the past ten months in concentrated prayer, counseling, reading, studying, and fellowshipping with saints, and I am committed to diligently continuing on this course. Unfortunately, the sin has taken a toll and has created some unpleasant consequences. Among many, the one that particularly grieves me is the separation from my church. With regard to the Epiphany Fellowship, I will not be permitted by the leadership to continue in covenant fellowship. This decision brings me much grief. However I trust the Lord Jesus Christ to heal my heart and that of my family and the covenant community.

After all this I have so much more tenderness toward the “fallen,” and an appreciation for the glory of a gospel that is so easily preached but not as easily applied. Lord permitting, I plan to proclaim the gospel with even greater passion than ever before and herald its liberating truth wherever the Lord will allow. The plan is also to musically represent the Lord Jesus so that the “fall of Ambassador” will not end with a period, but rather, with a comma. As you may or may not know Cross Movement the group had retired but as a soloist I was planning to continue as long as the Lord Jesus would provide grace. The release of my third solo album The Chop Chop actually fulfilled my contractual obligation with Cross Movement Records, so now as The Ambassador I’m trusting the Lord for new direction and for what lies ahead.

My experiences during this time of seclusion and obscurity have indeed been very challenging. And, I’m still not clear on all the things that the Lord has been doing. But I plan to leverage every lesson learned and every insight gleaned for the glory of God and the benefit of others.

Since the very beginning, I have been under the care of a restoration team led by Pastors Byron Craig of Macedonia Baptist Church (Norristown, PA) and Zach Ritvalski of Sweet Union Baptist Church (Philadelphia, PA). They have given me the “green light” to move forward in serving the Lord Jesus Christ publically. My wife has also given her blessings and support to this decision. Therefore The UpLift! Group and I are actively seeking God’s direction for new opportunities to honor the name of Jesus Christ.

The nature of my call to be an aroma of Christ (2 Corinthians 2:15), a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18), and his ambassador (2 Corinthians 5:20), compels me to reengage my generation and “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you (me) out of darkness into his marvelous light” (1 Peter 2:9). This experience has taught me many things but one that will always stand out and I hope to become the embodiment of is God’s grace and mercy is more than sufficient.

William “The Ambassador” Branch

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.

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 Artists To Know: The Ambassador

The Ambassador
Genre: Hip-Hop
Sub-genres: Gospel, East Coast
Location: Philadelphia, PENN
Label: Cross Movement Records
Website: http://www.theambassadoronline.com/
Christian Label: Yes
Category: The Spiritual whats this?

In 1997, a group of friends with a passion for hip-hop and sharing the gospel released an album called Heaven’s Mentality. It combined the hard-hitting sound of East-Coast style hip-hop with grounded theology.  The songs were in your face, passionate, walked the hard line of true hip-hop and true evangelism. The group was called The Cross Movement, and the CD was the beginning of a career that has seen the release of seven albums for the group, and over twenty from the individual members.  They have expanded to creating a label under the same name, and Cross Movement Ministries was founded shortly after that.  At the center of this group is a talented and dedicated emcee calling himself The Ambassador.  Armed with style that could rival the word smith prowess of the likes of Eminem, The Ambassador brings a talent and creditability to the Christ-centered hip-hop scene that just hasn’t been seen before.

On his own, he has released three albums, along with the seven or so with The Cross Movement. His songs deal with modern society’s relationship to Christ, how to be relevant in a irrelevant world, and lays out the salvation story like no other through his lyrics.  He is one of those guys that when he pops up as a guest on a song, you know it within the first second he begins to lay his verse out, because know one can quite match him.  His lyrics are dense, and full intense imagery and metaphor. His style tip-tows on the sound of mainstream hip-hop, but yet still is able to not just haplessly fall into musical trend after musical trend.  He is not only a great emcee, but also a true artist, and a  man seeking God’s heart.  One minute of listening to songs like “It Was Love”, “Gimme Dat”, or “A Girl Named World”, and these atributes are very eveidant.

A few weeks ago we posted The Ambassador‘s latest video for his song called “Gimme Dat!”. Here he is preforming the same track in LA. Sorry about the quality, these guys stay pretty low budget..

Here is also an interview with the man himself, talking about some of the struggles he has gone through and how he got to this point in his life.

I have the utmost respect for this guy. He is the first Christian hip-hop I ever saw live, and I have been a bit spoiled on it ever since.  Lyrically, I just dont know many people that can stand up to him, and centainly not many guys in the game have his track record.  He has done so much with his passion it is just great to see him contnue, year after year, to produce great things in this industry.  Lately, his focus has been on his Theological degree, but he has found time to mentor up and coming Christian hip-hop superstars, such as one of ur new favorites, Lecrae. We all hope he is around for a very long time.

You can find all of The Ambassador’s incredible music digitally on The Ambassador

You can also get his CDs on Amazon: Christology In Laymen’s Terms(2000), The Thesis(2005), The Chop Chop: From Milk to Meat(2008)

Also check out The Cross Movement’s stuff on The Cross Movement

You can also get their CDs on Amazon: House Of Representatives(1999),Human Emergency(2000), Holy Culture(2003), Higher Definition(2004), Chronicles: Greatest Hits, Vol. 1(2006), History: Our Place in His Story(2007)