Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review Tuesday: Breakthrough Artists

There is a stigma that surrounds Christian Music Artists, and let's be honest...it's a negative one. I myself have been guilty of not giving this genre of music a chance simply because the songs I often heard were a bit dated and quite frankly, didn't excite me or stir up any kind of emotion. Music has a way of connecting people and I never really got that from any artists in this genre before. But I have to say, there are quite a few artists I have more recently discovered that have changed my attitude towards Christian music. Here are just a few that I recommend you give a listen! :)

If you heard that a small-town Texas band was chosen to open for notables like Coldplay and Snow Patrol, you’d probably expect one of two things: A) they have a great booking agent, or B) they are very talented. In Eisley’s case, they may indeed have an excellent booking agent, but it wouldn’t be very hard for anyone to sell such a musically gifted band. To say that their vocals are impressive is an understatement. Flawless harmonies are everywhere, and instrumental arrangements vary from dark and haunting to light and lively.  They are definitely a favourite!

This guy has so much talent. His lyrics, his voice, his style. The first song I heard by him was "Something's Gotta Change" and I was overwhelmed by his honesty and his lyrics really hit home for me. I started listening to more of his songs and my reaction to his music was consistent...I was an instant fan. His lyrics are so transparent and real. He puts into words what so many of us have often thought but couldn't really find the words to say. Really enjoy his stuff.

Paramore is a band made up of christian members and lead-singer, HayleyWilliams, has said that they are a "group of Christians", but they are not a Christian band. They are Christians and it does impact their music, however they do not preach on their ideals. But if you listen to specific lyrics you can find subtle hints of their religious influence. I think Hayley's voice is the groups best instrument. The girl has some lungs! I really dig their music and apparently I'm not the only one since a few of their albums have gone Platinum and many of their songs can be heard on mainstream radio. Definitely worth checking out if you haven't already.

I just love her! Her hometown personality shines when she speaks. She writes all of her own songs and it's evident they all come from the heart. I almost prefer her acoustic versions of her songs better than the original. So be sure to check those out!

This is one of Jared's favourite bands. I prefer more mellow or acoustic music and their music is more heavy rock but it works for me. Andrew Schwab is an excellent writer. His lyrics are raw and include controversial topics that many artists in this genre would be afraid to address. I think that's what I respect most about him. He is unapologetic about his stand on tough issues. Schwab has also written several great books that are worth checking out. He has a great way of balancing humor with sincerity.

I shared a video of one of his songs on my blog not long ago. If you haven't checked that out...you should! Phil shares that after feeling the need to "make his faith his own" he began leading worship for his youth group at 12 years old and began writing his own praise and worship songs. He has many great songs but my favourite by far is "True Love". The truth and power behind that song makes it hard not to be moved.

By now I would hope it is apparent that not all Christian musicians record exclusively for the Christian music industry, and as independent music continues to blur the lines between Christian and mainstream, more and more artists are able to pursue careers whether they feel called to reach the church or the culture at large. Case in point, Dave Barnes, a believer who echoes the bluesy pop of John Mayer. This guy can write a love song! His song "Nothin' Fancy" was featured at our wedding! :)

I love to listen to this band while working out! Their sound definitely has a charge behind it.

This is another band that has a large following and has performed on different late night shows that has helped them blur the lines between christian labels and mainstream music.They have a unique sound because it's not often you hear a female use her voice so aggressively like lead singer, Lacey Mosely.

When I first heard this band, I hated them. I thought they were too pop punk for my taste. But they played at a music festival I went to and I was surprised by their performance. I actually really enjoyed them live. Their sound definitely grew on me.

These are just a few of the great Christian artists out there. By breaking through social barriers they prove that being a Christian musician doesn't mean you have to be lame.

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