Grace Notes
By Victoria Moon

As I write this I am preparing to attend the 30th anniversary of the oldest Christian music festival in the country, a.k.a. Icthus. By now all you slackers out there have missed a great weekend of CCM, but I promise a little redemption in the June issue when I will be writing a feature on the festival for LMN. If you miss that, there's just no hope and I can't do any more to help you - redemption can only come if you road trip to Cornerstone in July.

Meanwhile, back in CCM industry land, a few tasty CDs have landed into my hands, most notably among the bunch the sophomore effort from Plumb, titled candycoatedwaterdrops. It's still got the techno alterna-pop thing going for it, but somehow they throw a little country in the mix and somehow it all works. Lead singer Tiffany Arbuckle sounds like she's been putting Patsy Cline's greatest hits album into heavy rotation, which is occasionally a little weird, but it's a nice weird - if you know what I mean. (By the way, did I mention these guys were at Icthus? Are you sorry you missed it yet?) Besides this new release, I've had releases from Pete Stewart and Ruby Joe cross my desk. And I'm waiting anxiously for Mezzamorphis, the newest effort from Delirious, who made such a splash with their debut King of Fools. Their newest will be released June 8. Other new releases for May include:

A Cross Between A Cross Between [Benson, May 18]

Aaron Jeoffrey Timeless (For Every Generation) [Ministry Music, May 19]

American Made Against The Flow [KMG, May 18]

Antidote Fight Of Flight [N-Soul, May 1]

Helen Baylor Helen Baylor Live (video) [Verity, May 18]

Steve Bell Beyond A Shadow [Rhythm House, May 12]

Lincoln Brewster Lincoln Brewster [Vertical Music, May 4]

Steve Brock untitled [New Haven]

Chevelle Point #1 [Squint, May 4]

Christ Fa Real untitled [Phat Boy]

Damask Rose Point Of View [Audience, May 4]

Divine Nature untitled [Trinity, May 12]

The Dixie Hummingbirds Music In The Air [House of Blues]

Bob Fitts Take My Healing To The Nations/Sacrifice [Newport, May 26]

foreverafter Foreverafter [Word, May 18]

Fraidy Cats Hoopie Rides Again [BulletProof, May 5]

Brian Free Brian Free [Daywind, May 15]

Freemans A Way With Words [Daywind, May 1]

G.O.G's Hits untitled [Phat Boy]

Gaither Vocal Band God Is Good [Spring Hill, May 18]

Georgia Mass Choir They That Wait [Savoy, May 3]

Jacob's Trouble The Best Of Troubling Times [KMG, May 18]

Susie Luchsinger untitled [New Haven]

Magdallan End Of The Ages [KMG, May 18]

Mr. Real untitled [Grapetree]

Neale & Webb untitled [Liquid Disc]

Newsboys One Night In Pennsylvania (live concert video) [Sparrow, May 18]

Marvin Sapp untitled [Myrrh Black Music, May 4]

Satellite Soul Great Big Universe [ForeFront, May 18]

Selah Be Still My Soul [Curb]

Spooky Tuesday The Trouble We Make... [Jackson Rubio, May 26]

Terry Taylor Glimpses Of Grace (greatest hits) [KMG, May 18]

Tragedy Ann One Nation Under God [Organic, May 4]

Trip Cultural Shift [N-Soul, May 26]

Virtue Get Ready [Verity, May 18]

Paul Wilbur Jerusalem Arise [Hosanna! Music, May 4]

Kim Yvette Friend In You [Born Again, May 26]

Zippy Josh Stupidville [Screaming Giant, May 19]

Darlene Zschech Shadow Of Your Wings [Hillsong Music Australia, May 18]

In other news, fans will be saddened to hear that Seven Day Jesus has announced that band members are on hiatus from the band and off in different directions to work on various other projects (Russ Fox, for example, has joined Bleach and is currently playing with them). No word has been given on when or if the band will get back together. And speaking of Bleach, I thought I would include this bit of news as well, which I received via the online 'zine Lighthouse: "Forefront Records recording artist Bleach, along with Artists Against Violence, are helping to ease the suffering of Kosovar refugees through a unique partnership with Food For the Hungry, an organization that is doing relief work with refugees in Albania and Macedonia. During their current Artists Against Violence Peacemaker Tour, Bleach is encouraging cash donations to Food for the Hungry for the relief of the thousands of Kosovar refugees displaced by the bombing and ethnic cleansing in their homeland. Artists Against Violence also provides clinical crisis counseling through a toll free hotline 800-HELP-4-ME. The campaign is targeted towards violent teens as well as those who are victims of violence at home or in their community". Kudos to the band for taking the message of Christ seriously.

Well - as the cliché goes - all good things must end, my friends. I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity I've had to establish "Grace Notes" and the experience of writing it every month, but the time has come for me to pass this column on to other, equally capable hands. Starting next month, this column will be written by Robert Gruber, a previous guest columnist of Grace Notes and LMN's Christian music reviewer-at-large. As regular readers already know, Gruber is very much in tune with the national and local music scene and I look forward to seeing him take this column to the next level.

CCM is often a hard genre to love, but I do love it. I love the fact that, when someone in the industry gets it right, CCM can bring the spiritual realm into our daily lives and make us realize that life is more than the immediate moment in front of us. I find myself returning to certain albums again and again for comfort, healing, understanding and strength. I hope that somewhere along the way I have helped someone out there find such an album for him- or herself, and I hope those who read this find their paths lit with peace and grace. I've loved every minute of writing this, and I'll miss y'all a lot.