GRACE NOTES

Greetings!

by Robert Gruber

It's a joy for me to bring you all the news that's fit to print this month. Although Victoria Moon has left a sizable pair of shoes to fill (not that she has big feet or anything!), I will do my best to maintain the high standard she has set for Grace Notes. Failing that, I'll at least try to be as informative and entertaining as possible!

To that end, I need YOU (the reader) to help me. I want to keep the main emphasis of this column on the local scene. By keeping me informed on the latest local happenings in Christian and gospel music (concerts, festivals, new releases, club and coffee house openings, etc.), I can inform others, lives will be touched, and we will all be blessed (can I get an "amen" here?!). Please e-mail any such info to me at Izzy81@aol.com and avail yourself to this forum.

Club Koinonia

My friend Greg Smith has informed me that his church, Fern Creek United Methodist Church, has started up a new Christian nightspot, Club Koinonia, which opens every Friday night from 7-11. Far from being just a place where bands play and people watch though, Club K has more of an "interactive" vibe to it, with games, concessions, aerobics and model car racing. There's also a DJ spinning plenty of cool Christian tunes, as well as live local music. A praise and worship service begins the evening at 6 p.m. Admission is $3 at the door. You can contact Greg at 491-7439, or call the church at 239-8405. Fern Creek U.M.C. is located at 6727 Bardstown Road, just off the Gene Snyder Freeway.

Summertime Fun in the Sun

The Summer Jam '99 tour makes its way into town Friday, June 25 at Louisville Gardens. Scheduled to perform are Newsong, Clay Crosse, Aaron Jeoffrey, Margaret Becker and Natalie Grant. The price for all this top drawer entertainment--5 bucks! $5 at the door, no advance tickets sold. Visit www.summerjam99.com for more info.

Also, YouthFest 99 featuring Jennifer Knapp, Buck, the Insyderz and others will take place Saturday July 17 at Water Tower Park (off Zorn Ave) For more info call (502) 291-0093 or 800-775-9395

Industry News

The big story lately has been the phenomenal success of Sixpence None the Richer. Their single, "Kiss Me," has gotten major radio play this past year, due largely to the song's inclusion in the hit movie "She's All That" and on the TV show Dawson's Creek. "Kiss Me" is currently (as of this writing) at #1 on numerous mainstream charts and has gone as high as #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart, which is spurring sales of the 1997 Squint Entertainment album, Sixpence None the Richer, from which the single is culled. Sixpence is slated to perform on "The Late Show With David Letterman" on Tuesday, July 6, and on "The Late, Late Show With Craig Kilborn" on Tuesday, July 20, so set your VCRs for those nights.

Vigilantes of Love has overcome yet another obstacle in their turbulent career. Having just signed a deal late last year with Pioneer Music Group, (after being unceremoniously dumped from Capricorn Records) VOL recorded what many are calling their best album yet. Produced by Nashville guitar ace Buddy Miller, the album, titled Audible Sigh, features back-up vocals from Emmylou Harris. Yet just before the record was set to release, Pioneer folded, leaving the band befuddled and the album in limbo. Now, VOL has secured the rights to Audible Sigh and is currently trying to figure out how they want to release it. More than likely, it will come out as an indie release, like their '98 albums To the Roof of the Sky and Live at the 40 Watt Club. VOL is also planning to put out an e.p. of mostly acoustic songs this year, which means Vigilantes fans will be doubly blessed - but the question remains, when? Wait and see . . . and keep tabs on the band at their website at www.coaster.com/VOL

The Seventy Sevens are set to release an e.p. of all new material this month. Titled E.P, the five-song disc will be sold exclusively through True Tunes, an online Christian record store/music magazine for $9.99. The supply is limited, so hurry on over to www.truetunes.com and reserve your copy today. In related news, the Lost Dogs (an alternative Christian rock "super-group" featuring Mike Roe of the 77s, Terry Taylor of DA, Derri Daugherty of the Choir and Gene Eugene from Adam Again) have inked a 3-album deal with BEC Recordings.

Guardian has called it quits - sort of. Lead singer Jamie Rowe, quoted recently in HM magazine, said "After months of debate....we have decided to discontinue Guardian as we have known it for the past decade. We still plan to do some things here and there - especially in Latin America." The melodic hard rockers are recording a new Spanish disc (their third in Español) with 10 new songs. "We may even sing them in English and release them, too," Rowe added, "We also will have a live disc shortly." So fans of the band who mourn their passing will obviously have plenty of new projects to help them cope. As for Jamie, he says, "It's scary to let something go after being a part of it for so long, but I am excited to see what God will do with all of us in the future." The band's label, Myrrh, will release a best-of, titled Smashes, sometime this year.

Sanctified Karaoke.?!!

Finally, here's a scary thought - the first Christian rock karaoke disc will be released on June 15. ForeFront Records has teamed up some of the hottest artists and hit songs of the past few years to create Seltzer Karaoke. Studio versions of each tune are included, and will feature dc Talk's "Jesus Freak," Audio Adrenaline's "Big House," The W's "The Devil Is Bad," and Jennifer Knapp's "Undo Me." My stance on karaoke remains the same - it's evil, regardless of whether the tunes are Christian or not! Leave the music biz to the professionals, folks - don't try this at home!

Next month--a look at trends in modern praise & worship music.