Well, it's fall again and everyone is rushing back to their old routines — back to work, back to school. With the exception of school, (yes, to all who care I finally received my B.A. in English on August 15. From what my post-graduate friends say, this entitles me to a job flipping hamburgers at a fast food restaurant, but for right now I am basking in the glory of no more homework!) I, too, am fast returning to the hustle and bustle that the month of September brings. But being the good and faithful CCM columnist that I am, before I get too deeply involved in this chaos I wanted to take a few moments to pass along some interesting tidbits that have crossed my desk in the past month.
First of all, let me hop on my soap box and tell you all about a new CD I am very excited about, Demonstrations of Love, a 16-song compilation recently released for exclusive distribution with PRISM magazine. This CD is compiled by some of my favorite CCM artists and benefits one of my favorite organizations — Evangelicals for Social Action (ESA).
ESA is a non-profit organization that follows the Biblical principle found in James 1:27 — that a true religion is one that makes caring for the poor and oppressed a priority. As a result, members of the organization are heavily involved with groups like Habitat for Humanity and Compassion International and also lobby for political change in Washington. They also put out a couple of bimonthly publications, one of which is PRISM magazine. Among many other eclectic and wonderful aspects of the magazine, one of the things I like best about PRISM is their perspective on CCM music. They approach the music with the enthusiasm of a fan but at the same time demand that the music follow a higher artistic standard than so much of it presently does.
Since ESA is non-profit, it usually lacks the resources it needs and is struggling to make ends meet each month. To help out, several CCM musicians who also happen to be supporters of ESA and PRISM's work offered to donate songs for a benefit recording.
These are not your usual collection of CCM artists — this is a very exceptional and unusual group. The artists include: Ashley Cleveland, Jan Krist, Rick Elias, Nick Giaconia, Rich Mullins, Noel Paul Stookey, Vigilantes of Love and Ramona Silver. Best of all, most of the disc is previously unreleased material including an unreleased cut by the late, great Mark Heard. This CD is packed with the best music CCM has to offer and by buying it you not only have an hour's worth of great music but also help out a great and worthy cause as well. The CD is $17 and available only through PRISM. For more information, write:
ESA/PRISM 10 E. Lancaster Ave. Wynnewood, PA 19096-3495
Ahem. Okay. Stepping off my soap box now to look at some local events happening in the month of September.
On September 26, 3 Car Pileup, a fun, new alternative band on the CCM scene, will be playing at Jonah's Java. Also look for Seven Day Jesus at Northside Christian Church on September 18, and rumor has it that a show from Smalltown Poets is on its way to Louisville in the not-too-distant future (Sept. 4 at Hurstbourne Baptist Church. — Ed.) (did anyone enter Smalltown Poets' poetry contest? Check out the Wellspring Christian Book Store for details on that one). I'll keep you posted as I hear more about the show. And for all you UofL students returning to UofL or just starting at UofL, you might notice masses of neon posters plastered all over Belknap Campus. Check out what those posters are talking about once a month at the Real Life Coffeehouse held in Red Barn on campus.
The coffeehouse not only features free food and coffee (which should be more than enough to draw in the average starving, caffeine-addicted college student, but also the melodic sounds of Jael's Peg, a pop/alternative cover band formed by members of the Springdale Church in Middletown. I have been to a couple of the coffeehouses and they are very well-run and impressive — and the food's pretty darn good, too. What more could you ask for?
Okay, okay — break's over. Time to get back to work. See you soon with some more local concert listings (including one of my favorites, Caedmon's Call) and some cool new music projects just in time for October!