April 30, 2009

No I will never be the same, unlike the band of the year award

Posted in Christian, Christian Music, Reform, The Church tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 1:28 pm by Bryant

The Dove Awards were a little while ago, but count it because Casting Crowns took home Band of the Year for the 4th straight time.  I’m not surprised, also see my post entitled “Send A Message.”  That’s sort of incredible because there are quite a few bands out there and typically full length LPs aren’t released every year.  So while I do not personally like the music of Casting Crowns, I do admire their accomplishments both in music and in ministry.  A complete list of Dove 2009 winners can be found here at doveawards.com.

Brandon Heath is the latest artist to win New Artist of the Year as well as to approach the annoyance threshold that is being overplayed to an extent that their artistic ability is being overlooked.   It’s a real problem.  I would possibly like Casting Crowns and maybe even Barlow Girl if they weren’t played ad nauseum.  Heath’s “I’m Not Who I Was” is a great song that is laid back and relaxing.  It was played a lot, but not anywhere close to “Give Me Your Eyes”.  It’s to the point that when I hear the baseline start up I instantly turn it.  I actually heard this song in church and I didn’t know if I was supposed to sing along or what.  It’s a great song musically and lyrically, but that does not mean I want to hear it all the time. Heath is indeed very talented and has the promise to be at “Jeremy Camp Status” (instant hits).

Side note, have you ever sang a song at church that just didn’t seem to be in the right place?  “Give Me Your Eyes” was up there, but I remember a youth service in which the director tried to get his youth group to sing “Fields of Grace” by Big Daddy Weave.  If you have heard the song or click on the link to hear the song, try to understand why I find it humorous for a bunch of youths to sing.  Image a bunch of middle and high schoolers standing up not moving singing about “dancing with our Father God”.  And then the confusing part happens when they sing “…where religion finally dies” which is indeed a good thing… to people who understand it.  Here we had people looking at each other trying to figure out if that was a good thing or something really bad.

By the end of this weekend, I’ll get the opportunity to attend a Derek Webb House Show which are a little more personal than your typical concerts.  Derek (see my last post “I’ll say the words that rattle your nerves”)goes into smaller venues like coffee houses and plays and talks to his audience.   Take a listen to his live performance here for a dose.

A couple of weeks from now I’ll get to hear Jars of Clay play live.  That excites me because I’ve loved their music for quite a while.  I wasn’t a fan in the 1990s because for some weird reason I thought I could only like dc Talk.  Good thing I grew out of that because Jars brings us some of the most inventive and reflective music on the radio.  Who We Are Instead by Jars helped get me through some tough times in life, namely the song “Faith Enough”, and made me appreciate music on the folk level and set the stage for my enjoyment of Derek Webb.

All I need know is for Caedmon’s Call to come to town and I’ll have the three bands that I look for to bring music that actually inspires me to be a better Christian.  Not that I rely on music to do this, but Christians should inspire reform in each other, including in music.

As promised a few posts ago, today I want to introduce you to a new artist JohnMoss.  JohnMoss is from New Jersey but is gaining strength out of the state of Texas much like David Crowder Band, Chris Tomlin, and the Rocket Summer.  Some similarities found in those names occur as JohnMoss is based out of Wacco, much like David Crowder Band, and JohnMoss is an individual that plays all of the instruments in his music much like the Rocket Summer.  Concerts range from beautiful acoustic one man shows to incredible full band shows.  His first album entitled Sunsets on the Ground was recorded unsigned by any record company.  What you hear is his real voice and real musical abilities.

More along the lines of a compilation album, Sunsets… begins strong with “Introduction” which can be heard at the his MySpace.  The “Introduction” is a fast paced mostly instrumental that gets you fired up for what is to come.   And what is to come is the journey of life that a Christian embarks on: needing Christ to save you, having to rely on him, the joys of life and love, being on fire for God, wanting to see Christ come back, the valleys of life, struggling with claiming God in tough situations, and realizing the God is the only one who loves you with the purest love and will not fail you.

I’ll base the individual songs on what is on his MySpace so you can listen to the songs that I speak of.

“I’d Be Crazy” reminds me of Peter’s struggle with claiming and denying Christ during his arrest.  Musically it is rock and therefore fun.  The chorus is quite true “I’d be crazy not to claim” Christ.

“Carry Me Away” has such an awesome build up and execution.  This song speaks of the struggles of following God but wanting to do things my own way.  As a Christian, this is one of the biggest struggles, to die to one’s self yet wanting to save yourself as if you could.  This song is along the lines of Relient K’s “Be My Escape”, especially at the tail end of it.

“A Song For A Friend” is a beautiful wedding story.  This should be the next “You and Me” (the Lifehouse song… NOT THE MOVIE, repeat, not the movie).  Musically, vocally, lyrically the song is amazing.  It describes the joys of a wedding day and how each of the people is so lucky to have found each other and enjoy this union surrounded by everyone who is important to them.

“In Love With a Beautiful Savior” is almost self explanatory.  This is a powering, upbeat song that Christian radio so disparately needs right now.  The lyrics are quite wonderful and greatly compliment the music.  This is a mountain top song and the song is honest in acknowledging that with the lyrics “I’m in love with a beautiful savior and this will surely change (the feeling)… but… I will never be the same.”  We have moments when we feel the arms of God wrapped around us and we do not doubt anything and just trust him the way we should, but even Moses’s face eventually lost it’s glow from being in the presence of God.  The drums and guitars really drive this song.

“And I know That You Love Me too” examines the fear that we are not God’s.  This is a legitimate fear; after all, who among you have not doubted your salvation at some point?  The song prays that God forbids that I would ever be lost from him.  I want to love God and search for the truths that are found only in him.  And based on his truths and promises, I know that he loves me.  Lyrically, vocally, and musically, this is my favorite song on this album.  The bursts of guitars really compliment the emotion and sincerity of the song.

I’ve gotten the chance to hear some music that he is currently working on and it is pretty amazing.  That fact that JohnMoss remains unsigned right now while the abundance of terrible music on the radio increases each day astounds me.  Recently opening for names like Dave Barnes, Andy Davis, and Ben Rector, hopefully his potential will get noticed.  If his newest works in progress are any indication, Christian music needs him to get signed and on the radio as soon as possible.

Moving Forward, I hope to review Jon Foreman’s solo work, Caedmon’s Call, the new Jars of Clay album, and the Fray’s latest installment.

By the way, feel free to let me know what you think of my opinions or suggest any music you think I should write about.  My process is pretty arbitrary… I hear a song and either like it and write about it or I hear a song that is bad and gets played too much and write about it.  Not too much science to that.  You have the freedom to express your opinion just as much as I do.  I would say “I’m free to be me and you’re free to be you,” but that just reminds me of a song that I don’t like and is over played.

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3 Comments »

  1. Ralph said,

    So, why don’t you like casting crowns?

    • Ralph said,

      Ok try again

      So, why don’t you like casting crowns’ music? Is it personal taste or something else?

      • christianmusicreview said,

        I explained some of my disliking of their music in my first post “It’s All Because of Jesus…” which can be found https://christianmusicreview.wordpress.com/2009/04/01/its-all-because-of-jesus/ . While I respect a lot of their lyrics and their ministry because many have acknowledged the Gospel through their music to the glory of God, it mostly has to do with their sadder toned songs that get played way too much. All of the newer songs that get played seem to be stemming from the Pit of Despair while I know they are capable of more positive tones such as in “Life Song.” Some of their lyrics are simply great like in “As Far As The East is From the West” when it says “I’m not holding on to you, but you’re holding on to me”. The vocals kind of get on my nerves, but I can get around that. If I could get more than 2 cars rides without hearing at least one of their songs, I’d probably like them more. As I said in Let’s Dance Back and Forth (https://christianmusicreview.wordpress.com/2009/04/05/the-seen-and-heard/) and in this post… the radio simply plays artist’s music too much and turn off listeners to Christian music. Brandon Heath is now added to that list and it’s a shame because he’s really talented… too talented.


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