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Christian genre music

I've taken up Dave Paisley on his very generous offer to send up to three people a copy of Third Day's worship album Offerings.

I can't remember the last time I bought a album of Christian genre music, by which I mean not just an album made by musicians who are Christian, and whose faith comes across in their work (Switchfoot and U2 being good examples), but albums on labels that define themselves as Christians and are marketed primarily through Christian bookstores, mailings to churches, and such.

Come to think of it, I do buy just about everything I can get from Wild Goose Worship, and it's probably because when I think of Christian genre music, I think of musically bland and overwrought tunes that sound like Top 40 love songs with God-language inserted (sometimes rather awkwardly). Of the top of my head, this kind of thing is what I'm thinking of:

Jesus, my Lord, you're the most
moving deep inside me with your Holy Ghost
and my life will never be the same
'cause everything's wonderful since you came

Maybe I have a career ahead of me writing naff worship tunes.

Anyway, you get the idea.

And Dave's offer made me think that maybe I've been unfair to Christian genre musicians in assuming they're all like this. So, Christian genre music fans, other than Third Day's Offerings, what have I not been listening to in my musical snobbery that I'm really missing out on? What outstanding, musically and lyrically interesting Christian genre music is out there that doesn't treat Jesus like one more romantic attachment who magically makes my problems melt away and my life a never-ending series of ecstasies (except for the bridge, where we fight and make up as the key changes and I revert back to ecstatic adoration)?

And do you have any favorite Internet radio stations that play this kind of excellent Christian genre music?

This could be fun ... all kinds of new music to experience!

March 25, 2005 in Music | Permalink


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At the risk of hogging the conversation, I'll lob Jars of Clay into the mix. They're up to five or six studio albums now and each one has been very different. One of my favorite songs of all time is Fade to Grey from their 1997 second album, Much Afraid. The music is up-tempo and synthy and urgent.

Favorite lines:
And then I see you there
The lonely tears I cry
Wish they'd release me

It's in despair that I find faith
(that is such an amazing line...)

If ignorance is bliss won't you save me from myself

Cold is the night but colder still
Is the heart made of stone turned from clay
And if you follow me you'll see
All the black all the white fade to grey

Huh, Christian band writes lyrics about things not being black and white. Eight years ago no less. And they didn't get excommunicated, or hung, drawn and quartered. Must have been before the CCM doctinal purity police squad was formed ;)

Of course, they were the first band I can recall, in the CCM era at least, who definitely aimed outside the CCM market.

Their newer material is more rootsy, bluegrassy, but their total work to date basically defies categorization.

Posted by: dave paisley | Mar 25, 2005 1:59:17 PM

Of course, you can check out lots of clips on iTunes... the clip from Fade to Grey is pretty representative.

Posted by: dave paisley | Mar 25, 2005 4:30:06 PM

I wish I had more to offer you in terms of this conversation because I share exactly the same frustration with you.

However, based on your iTunes collection, I would STRONGLY recommed Jennifer Knapp. She's only recorded three albums, nicely represented on the "Jennifer Knapp Collection." She has this kind of Indigo Girls/Sarah McLachan vibe going, but not in an imitative sort of way.

In your other category, I love the albums "There Will Be A Light" by Ben Harper and the Blind Boys of Alabama; and "Universal United House of Prayer" by Buddy Miller (the lead guitarist in Emmylou Harris' band, and an excellent songwriter/singer/performer in his own right).

Posted by: Willie Deuel | Mar 29, 2005 12:20:57 AM

heh, well...

the last christian cd i purchased was Switchfoot's latest cd, and that was accidental...

i didnt realise that they were christian at the time, wasnt for about 4 weeks until i saw them in a christian bookstore...

i felt dirty :)

Posted by: darren | Mar 29, 2005 7:00:33 AM

Check out Nicole Nordemann. Her second album is heavily influenced by Madeleine L'Engle.

Posted by: Amy | Mar 30, 2005 5:25:48 PM

I'm with you there. I have not had a lot of luck with the Christian stuff, but have loved Wild Goose. My current worship place has been doing a lot of world music, which has been marvelous.

Posted by: PPB | Mar 30, 2005 9:58:25 PM

My musical taste is only now beginning to broaden out from the exclusively classical, largely thanks to comments from online friends...the last CD I bought was maggi's Elements, which I really enjoyed (to my huge relief...imagine if I'd hated something by such a good friend ;-) ) but I'm a real infant in these things. I was given "Waymarks" by the Northumberland Community, which worked as a sort of "crossover" album for me...but not sure it would stand alone as music to listen to outside worship...
I love Wild Goose too.

Posted by: Kathryn | Mar 31, 2005 6:35:45 AM

The David Crowder Band is one of the best Christian bands out there. They use a lot of experimental sounds and write very solid lyrics. Many mainstream acts have voiced how impressed they are with their talent. Their last full length has a number of songs produced by members of Jimmy Eat World. They also just released a cd with some fantastic remixes called: "Sunsets and Sushi: experiments in spectral deconstruction" Most of their cds can be found on itunes. I recommend checking out the song "Deliver Me".

Posted by: WolvesFan | Mar 31, 2005 10:44:49 AM

Casting Crowns is an awesome band! I love their newest CD, "Lifesong". My favorite song on that CD is definitely "Praise You in This Storm," although all of the songs are good. Oddly enough, "Lifesong" (the actual song, not the CD, lol) is probably my *least* favorite song on there.

Posted by: Ashley | Oct 15, 2005 12:28:32 AM

A few bands that you might be interested in are tobyMac, Grits, KJ-52, Relient K, Hawk Nelson, DC Talk, Superchic[k], Thousand Foot Krutch, Matthew West, Chris Rice, and a LOT more. BTW, the first few are rap artists, in case you cared. We have definitely moved on from all of the 'love' songs. I would reccomend the radio station Air1. It has stations all across America, but you can listen to them at www.air1.com, just click on listen.
Although I do find it ironic, but one of my favorite songs is 'Love Song for a Savior' by Jars of Clay, lol. However, I actually like SOME of that stuff, some being the operative word.

Posted by: Laura | Jul 30, 2006 2:37:23 PM

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