I did an informal survey among the three or four loyal readers of Grace Notes, asking them about their top picks for summer listening. According to those readers, here are the CCM albums you don't want to be without:
From Bill Harrity of Louisville:
A tie between Chagall Guevera, Chagall Guevera and Squint; Steve Taylor; Crimson and Blue, Phil Keaggy ("Including the supplements Blue and Revelator, of course!" - DH); Stranded in Babylon, Larry Norman ("Years ago I'd have said Only Visiting This Planet, but Charley Norman's guitar work is hypnotic on Babylon" — DH); Dry Bones Dance, Mark Heard (do my readers have good taste or what???!!! - VM) Scenic Routes, Lost Dogs.
From David Harrity of Louisville:
Our Newest Album Ever, Five Iron Frenzy, Supertones Strike Back, Orange County Supertones; Banana Man, Ghoti Hook, Rusty, Slick Shoes; and Watusi, Silage.
From Moon of Louisville (hey, what are husbands for if not to hit up for answers in surveys like this?):
Coram Deo, Various Artists; Gravity, Out of the Grey; Jesus Freak, DC Talk, Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay; Take Me To Your Leader, Newsboys.
From Eddy Morris of Louisville:
Stained Glass Windows, Clay Crosse ("What CCM is supposed to be." - EM); Invention, Phil Keaggy, Wes King and Scott Dente; Sixpence, None the Richer, Sixpence, None the Richer; The Outsyderz (independent release) Some Kind of Zombie, Audio Adrenaline.
And according to CCM Magazine's 20th anniversary poll of the top 100 Christian albums of all time, the top ten winners are:
Lead Me On, Amy Grant; Only Visiting This Planet, Larry Norman; Age To Age, Amy Grant (are you sensing a trend here?) For Him Who Has Ears To Hear, Keith Green; Jesus Freak, DC Talk; A Liturgy, A Legacy and a Ragamuffin Band, Rich Mullins; Slow Train Coming, Bob Dylan; The Turning, Leslie Phillips (finally, one of the most innovative artists CCM ever had gets her due, 10 years too late.) Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay With Footnotes, Second Chapter of Acts
With some notable exceptions such as Keith Green, Mark Heard, Larry Norman, Rich Mullins and Leslie Phillips, CCM's top 100 list basically proves that the best way to become a classic in CCM is to become a platinum seller. Oh, well?
My top 5 CCM albums of all time are:
No Compromise, Keith Green; The Turning, Leslie Phillips; Immigrant's Daughter, Margaret Becker; Never Picture Perfect, Rich Mullins; Dry Bones Dance, Mark Heard.
Say You Knew Them When?
Mike Pullig, Christian Affairs Director for radio station WMPH in Wilmington, Delaware and nationally known in CCM for creating one of the first independent booking lists for Christian acts, recently stopped in Louisville on his way back from the Cornerstone Festival. The one act he heard there and couldn't stop playing or talking about was A&M artists Burlap To Cashmere. The Brooklyn, New York band bills themselves as "Greek rock" and mix world rhythms, kickin' modern rock and Greek bazouki music to make an innovative sound that fans in both secular and Christian venues are eating up with a spoon. They currently have only one release, a live 6-song demo titled Live at the Bitter End. I can't emphasize enough how good this band is-get online at http://www.cdnow.com and search for your copy of this wonderful live disc.
Ty Tabor of King's X fame is going solo this time out with a new release from Diamante scheduled soon. Grace Notes' top ska fanatic, David Harrity, will be happy to know that California ska band Big Dog, Small Fence has signed with Eclectica/N'Soul and will have a new release out this month. One of my favorite bands, Caedmon's Call, are back in the studio working on their sophomore release.
Local favorites Hand To Hand will be performing on the following August dates:
Aug. 1, Otter Creek Park, Hardin County; Aug. 22, Holy Ground Coffeehouse, Louisville; Aug. 28, Oldham County Fair; Aug. 29, Archdiocesan Young Adult Conference, Louisville.
National acts stopping in and around Kentucky this month include:
Aug. 14:, Out of Eden, Leitchfield; Aug. 15, Big Tent Revival, Smalltown Poets and Third Day, Leitchfield; Aug. 15, Channelsurfers, Danville; Aug. 22, Michael O'Brien, Mayfield; Aug. 24, Sandi Patty, Louisville; Aug. 28, Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore, Louisville.
Remember, if you have some concert dates or band information you'd like to get out there, email me at email@example.com or call (502) 852-1101 and I'll be sure to get the info. Also, if you have some top album picks you'd like included in this column, contact me and I'll do another column featuring those picks.
Keep cool and as always-support your local music scene!