I've been having this big email discussion recently with my friend Degs, who lives in Great Britain. It started out as a discussion about Christian music on both sides of the Atlantic, and as the discussion progressed and Degs learned about some of my favorite Christian artists (such as Bruce Cockburn, Mark Heard, Sam Phillips and Pierce Pettis), he pointed out that many of my favorite Christian artists are not necessarily CCM artists per se; in fact, some of them aren't in the CCM market at all (Cockburn and Pettis being two perfect examples!).
Well, he's right (an infuriatingly common trait of Degs…). In fact, my current favorite "Christian" CD is not a mainstream CCM product at all, but a Columbia-released disc by a Canadian singer-songwriter named Chantal Kreviazuk. The CD, titledUnder These Rocks and Stones, is an album full of songs dealing with her relationships with God and other people (including other Christian people) and the resulting product is refreshingly honest, edgy, and laced with a dark sense of humor sadly lacking in mainstream CCM products. I snagged my copy of this release from Better Days Records, and I'm sure it's available at other secular record stores as well. You probably won't have much luck finding this at most Christian bookstores, but don't let that fool you — this release may be the most human, "Christian" CD of this year.
Now back to the world of straight-up CCM . . .In national news, dc Talk broke into theBillboard 200 chart at #4, which is pretty darn good by all accounts! According to that marvelously informative publication,Pure Rock Report,Supernatural has the highest opening-week Christian market sales in chart history with 106,000 units sold in the first week. Of course, Kirk Franklin isn't doing too badly, either, at #7 on the Billboard 200 chart its first week and 105,000 units sold of his newest release,Nu Nation Project.
Some of you might remember my annoyance in last month's "Grace Notes" with certain Christian bookstores' boycott of the debut release from The W's, but it seems the boys aren't affected too much by the boycott, after all! They have recently opened for Big Voodoo Daddy and Cracker and are planning to open for a large tour (unnamed as of yet!) in 1999 — more details when available.
By the release of this column, you will have missed the ultimate in Christian Halloween entertainment: Saviour Machine on October 31 in Halloween. But for all you seriously die-hard fans of this goth-industrial band, pack up the car and head down to Bartlesville, Oklahoma — they'll be playing there on November 5. From what I've heard about this band (and based on their first release, which is buried somewhere in my vast tape collection), seeing this band live could just be worth the drive.
Currently locked away in the studio brewing up some new stuff are artists Miss Angie, Spoken, KIIS and The Juliana Theory. New releases to look for in the month of November include:International Anthems for the Human Race, All Star United (release date 11/29);Starkindler, Michael Card (release date 11/3);Live and Into the Can, delirious5 (release date 11/3);Quality is Job 1, Five Iron Frenzy (release date 11/3).
Other artists releasing new material this month include Helen Baylor, Ray Boltz, Bryan Duncan, Johnny Respect and (my personal favorite) a new Veggie Tales release titledThe Return of Larry Boy. Also, look for a greatest hits collection from Out of the Grey and a 4-CD re-release of Keith Green's music. The new Keith Green compilation CD's are titledBecause of You — Songs of Testimony, Here I Am, Send Me — Songs of Evangelism, Make My Life A Prayer To You — Songs of Devotion andO Lord, You're Beautiful — Songs of Worship.
In local music news, be sure to check out my interview with the guys from Alton Weaver in this month's "Front and Center" column. Also, I would like to start highlighting a local Christian band in the "Grace Notes" column when I can, so I'll be surfing the Web and checking local publications for band information, but my best resources are the bands themselves. If your band is interested in a little publicity, please send me your band's information and a contact number to my attention at:
Louisville Music News
P.O. Box 148
Peewee Valley, KY 40056
Remember: free publicity is a good (and rare) thing!
During one of my Web surfing sessions, I discovered the website of local Christian bandWaiting For Change at http://www.waitingforchange.com/ that fans of modern alternative rock might want to check out. The band has a nice self-titled CD (reviewed in an earlier issue of LMN) and is made up of brothers Eddy and Mike Morris.
While I was (unfortunately) unable to come up with any local band's touring schedules for November, I do have the dates on a few national acts that are going to be in town, so if you're able to scratch up the cash and find the time, you might want to catch the following acts when they hit town:
Out of Eden, November 12, 8 p.m. at Louisville Gardens. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 the day of the show.
Truth, November 4, 7 p.m. at Shively Christian Church. Tickets are $5.00.
Newsboys with Third Day and The Waiting, November 20, The Louisville Palace. Tickets are $17.50 reserved, $19.50 at the door.
That's all for me this month. Have a happy Thanksgiving, remember your many blessings and I'll catch you in December!