Starting this month, I have the distinct pleasure of writing a monthly column about one of my favorite subjects: contemporary Christian music, that incredibly broad category that covers inspirational, grunge, jazz, funk, alternative, mainstream, pop and rock. I hope to cover not only the new and interesting on the national market, but to offer up the latest on our local scene as well.
One of my fondest dreams is that we can get a CCM scene in Louisville that rivals Evansville, Indiana or Nashville, and I know, after listening to some of the local bands and artists and being part of this scene myself, that we've got the local talent to make that happen. The important thing is to get out there and support your favorite local band, and if you read this column every month you will have no excuses left!
To start things off, I am pleased to announce that there are some new Christian coffeehouses getting off the ground. This is especially good news since the demise of the late, great Jubilee Coffeehouse on Bardstown Road that for so long seemed the only place to go to consistently hear the best of the local and national Christian music scene. (Not to mention it was where I got my start in Christian music, and where I met my husband, and where he proposed to me . . . ah, memories . . . ) Rumor has it that Jonah's Java Cafe, touted as "A Christian Coffee House and Activities Center," will be opening its doors October 18 – in fact, according to fliers floating around UofL, they are looking for band and artist demos to help round out their lineup. You can get more info by calling 363-4434 or sending your stuff to Jonah's Java Cafe, c/o Calvary Assembly of God, 4049 S. 5th St, Louisville, KY 40214.
Nathan Quillo, who is on the staff of Youth for Christ as well as playing a major role in bringing great national acts like Black Eyed Sceva, MxPx and Plankeye to Louisville this summer, is starting up a monthly coffehouse for that under-21 crowd at the Youth for Christ Center on Crittendon Drive. Complete with lava lamps, candles, old movies and overstuffed couches, this place looks like a 60s rec room and reeks of Beatnik cool. I'll keep you posted for its upcoming times and dates . . . For all you artists and songwriters out there, the Gospel Music Association in Nashville is gearing up for its annual Academy to be held in late October. As some of you may know, the Academy also sponsors a national competition every year for Artist of the Year and Song of the Year, and in case you're wondering if winning these contests means anything to those Big Label Guys in Nashville, the 1994 Artist of the Year winner was this little, unknown band called . . . Jars of Clay.
Two local acts, songwriter Carla Decker and alternative band Fish Tales, competed in the 1995 regional competition and got to do their thing at the Academy in Detroit – this year it could be you! The deadline for getting your songs and demos in for consideration in this year's competition is October 4, so hurry up and get that stuff out there! Information about the Academy and the competition is available by contacting GMA directly. They also have a web site, if you are into the 'Net.
I want to make my own personal plug for a great new label and its great new artists. Charlie Peacock, who seems to have single-handedly brought a sense of artistry and intelligence to CCM-land, has started a label of his own, called re:think. Besides putting out Charlie's latest eclectic mix of soul-bending lyrics and great grooves, re:think has signed Sarah Masen, a wonderful singer/songwriter out of Detroit who's debut release is definitely worth picking up . . . And I never thought I'd say this, but based on the new Stephen Curtis Chapman single "Lord of the Dance," his latest release might just be worth picking up. His sound is definitely harder than usual, which makes a welcome relief from his last couple recordings . . . And finally, I wanted to mention that independent Nashville artist Jennifer
Martin has gotten some airplay on 91.9 FM here, and played out quite often in Louisville when (sniff, sniff) Jubilee Coffeehouse was around. If you get a chance, give her a listen. Fans of soulful acoustic folk will not be disappointed.
Now let me send out a heartfelt request for information on local artists to you. I'm hoping this column can be a place where readers can discover the wealth of music available locally, and use that information to support the local CCM scene, so if you have a band you want me to hear, or know of some cool national act popping in town to play at a local church or club, or even that good ol' questions-and-comments type thing, please give me a call at (502) 485-1174 or email me at email@example.com. I'll be more than happy to give you a listen.
Well, I'm off to see très cool indie band Morella's Forest at Northside Christian Church. Keep me posted and remember: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL MUSIC SCENE!!! Catch ya later . . .