Hello again! It's been a busy time in Louisville for CCM music, so I want to jump right into the middle and let you know what's been going on and what to look for in November. First of all, I wanted to say a big "thank you" to all the readers that have responded to my first column – your input is invaluable! And for all of you that I haven't heard from yet, please e-mail me at vamoon01@ ulkyvm.louisville.edu and let me know what's going on – any comments, questions, and info are greatly appreciated.
One bit of exciting news I've heard recently is that Paul Turner and his wife, Leslie, have just put together a new project called Something for Everyone. The presentation and dedication of the project was on October 22 at Eastside Christian Church in Clarksville, Indiana. Tapes of this project will be available at Expressions of the Heart, a Christian bookstore in New Albany. Congratulations, Paul and Leslie!
On October 18, I had the pleasure of attending the opening of Jonah's Java Cafe, a new Christian Coffeehouse that I mentioned in last month's column. If their opening night is any indication, Jonah's is going to be around for a long time to come, and has the potential to fill the void that the demise of Jubilee Coffeehouse left. Jonah's is in the basement of Calvary Assembly of God, and the guys running it have done a great job of turning this space into a funky, atmospheric spot to hear some great music. They even go one better than Jubilee in that they offer a featured gourmet coffee every week, as well as flavored teas and hot chocolate, so this place smells as good as it sounds! The band they booked for the opening was Death Defying Leap, nee Sticks and Stones. The newly renamed band was fronted by Steve Estes, a member of long standing in the local CCM scene – fans of Dream House will remember him well. Having heard Steve several times over the past couple years, I have to say that this talented, passionate performer may well have found his niche with this band, a trio of guys who can rock a room with grunge-laden chords and raw, powerful vocals. Death Defying Leap is definitely one of the best bands in the local CCM scene and well worth checking out; in fact, their unplugged show November 8 at The Gathering Place, a coffeehouse located inside the Wellspring Christian Book Store is one of my top concert picks for this month.
Fans of such bands as Jars of Clay will be interested in a newly formed band I've just heard about called Zoe. Fronted by U of L sophomore Josh Smith, this band has much potential to go far with their music. One of their upcoming dates is at Jonah's Java this month, so catch them there on November 15 and be able to say "I knew them when..."
Stephen Curtis Chapman will be playing Louisville Gardens November 30 to support his new album Signs of Life. While I must be perfectly honest and admit I am not the world's largest Chapman fan (sorry!), I will say this concert will be worth going to if only for its opening acts – eclectic and unusual choices for the mainstream Chapman. Rap/Alternative band Audio Adrenaline is one opener, and singer/songwriter Carolyn Arends is the other – and the real reason to attend the November 30 show.
Arends represents a wonderful new trend in CCM – record labels signing strong, intelligent artists who sing about their faith in the context of the nuances of their daily life. Two of her singles "I Can Hear You" and "Altar of Ego" got some airplay not only on CCM radio station WJIE but also on the secular and independent WFPK, and her album I Can Hear You is definitely among my favorite listens this year. Do yourself a favor and check out this great new performer.
Finally, I wanted to gloat (!) a bit about some classic CCM finds I unearthed this month, and reminisce with y'all a little bit. While my husband and I were out on our Friday night "date" a couple of weeks ago, we happened to stop in at one of our favorite local haunts – Better Days, a used CD and record store on Bardstown Rd. Hidden in the depths of their dollar albums, I found Keith Green's release For Him Who Has Ears To Hear , Leslie (now Sam) Phillip's album Recollection, and a couple of oldies-but-goodies from highly underrated CCM artist Bob Bennett. It reminded me of some of the great talents we have lost from the CCM scene; in Keith's case from his death in 1982, in Phillip's case the prejudice and narrow-mindedness that unfortunately still exists in areas of CCM today. If you can get hold of any of these albums, they are more than worth a listen – not just for a stroll down memory lane but because of the solid musicianship that shone through even the earliest attempts of these artists. And make sure you check out some of our local used record stores for some of these gems – they're a great resource. Oh, and by the way – be on the lookout for a new Bob Bennett project called Small Graces that should be out sometime in 1997. Bob worked on this project with Michael Card, recording it in Card's studio, and it promises to be a fantastic album.
Well, let me wrap this up by saying I hope to see some of you at one of this month's upcoming shows – and, as always, remember to support your local music scene!