Grace Notes
By Chris Crain

The Hawk Nelson and Mile 7 show that had been scheduled for September 5 was rescheduled to October 19. The show is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Graceland Baptist Church on Kamer Miller Road in New Albany. Tickets are available through itickets.com as well as some area Christian bookstores.

Club Oasis will be rocking loudly on Halloween night when Norma Jean brings their 'Norma Jean versus The Anti-Mother Tour' to town. I'm not a big fan of their music (although I can appreciate the screaming, shrieking vocals at times). And to be fair I haven't heard that much of their stuff, only a few songs hear and there. But I've seen them live a couple of times (years ago, when they were called Lutikriss, and then right after they changed their name to Norma Jean). If their live show is like it used to be, the band is a force to be reckoned with. When I saw them, there was so much movement on stage, I actually wondered if someone was going to get seriously hurt. If that sounds interesting to you, this show may be worth your time. Also on the bill that night will be Haste The Day, The Showdown, My Children My Bride, and Oh, Sleeper. Tickets are $17 in advance and $20 day of show. They are available through ticketweb.com and at Ear X Tacy.

At press time, tickets were still available for the much calmer Mercy Me and Bebo Norman concert coming up November 20 at Northside Christian Church in New Albany. The only way to get tickets is through itickets.com. Admission is $25.50 in advance. Service charges will apply as well. It's very possible the show is sold out by this point. You can call 800-965-9324 to find out for sure. This will mark the first time Mercy Me has played in the area since their Kentucky State Fair appearance in 2007. Bebo Norman last played here in 2006, as part of the 'Night of Compassion' tour that also featured Caedmon's Call, Aaron Shust and Geoff Moore.

Rush of Fools was in town last month for their 'CD Release Party' on September 15 at Evangel World Prayer Conference Center on Billtown Road. The event celebrated the release of the band's sophomore effort Wonder of the World. About 600 people turned out for the party. The band played for about 45 minutes and included radio hits 'Undo' (2007's most played song on Christian radio), 'When Our Hearts Sing,' 'Can't Get Away' and 'Wonder of the World.' They also held a question-and-answer session and signed autographs for everyone who asked.

New artist Joy Lippard, who shares the same management team with Rush of Fools, also sang. It was the first time I had heard her in concert, as I'm sure it was for most of the crowd as well. Those in attendance that evening gave her a very warm reception. I didn't know much about her but picked up a few things after reading her bio. She graduated high school a year early. She won first place in the pop/rock songwriting competition of the 2006 GMA Music In The Rockies event. Also, she appeared on the TV show, 'America's Most Talented Kids.' To hear her music, and learn more about her (beyond the 'resume' stuff I listed), visit joylippard.com.

Everyone who attended the 'CD Release Party' got a copy of Wonder of the World - and about 99% of the crowd stayed to get it signed by the band. That ending up being a long process, but the band seemed to enjoy talking with everyone.

The New Faces New Music Tour stopped in Louisville on September 18. It featured Britt Nicole, Above the Golden State, Josh Wilson, Sarah Reeves and Phil Danyew. The 'unplugged' show was performed for radio station contest winners, along with radio and music industry staff.

Nicole, who hails from North Carolina and reminds me of Kelly Clarkson, sang a couple of songs ('Believe,' and 'Set The World On Fire') from her 2007 debut Say It. Though she has played in Louisville before as part of 2007's 'Winter Jam' event at Broadbent Arena, this was the first time I had seen her sing live. I was impressed. Not only is she a very talented singer, again reminiscent of Kelly Clarkson, but she has humble and sweet spirit that connected with those in attendance.

Josh Wilson was up next. I had seen Josh perform earlier in the year at an industry event in Nashville, and I knew he was an outstanding guitarist. That was also evident at this show. He actually played guitar for some of the other artists as well. As far as his own material, Wilson sang the radio singles '3 Minute Song' and 'Savior, Please.'

Elkmont, Alabama's Sarah Reeves followed. Truly a brand new face, she signed with EMI CMG records in April. Her appearance reminded me of Avril Lavigne, her music of Nicole Nordeman or Norah Jones. Reeves played keyboards and sang a couple of songs from her upcoming debut (no word on when it will be released).

Phil Danyew followed with more acoustic music. He lists Bjork as an influence on his MySpace page - it will be interesting to see if somehow her very unusual musical style shows up on his. I doubt it-I don't really know how to define her musical style! But she's brilliant, so Danyew may be off to a good start. No word on when his debut will be released either. I would guess that both Reeves and Danyew's project will come out sometime in 2009.

Portland, Oregon's Above the Golden State (or Michael Watson, lead singer of Above The Golden State, to be precise) followed. The band was the only one with a current hit on the Christian music charts; 'Sound of Your Name' from the band's self-titled debut is currently in the Top 20 on the Radio and Records Christian Adult Contemporary Monitored Chart. Watson, with guitar in hand, played the song, which was well-received by the crowd. As one of the record label folks told me afterwards, 'you can really tell when a song is being played on the radio.' Watson also brought the other artists back to front to help out. During the 'oh-oh-oh' part of the chorus each artist formed an 'O' with another. This was the last stop of the tour, and they seemed to be getting a little 'slap happy.' Watson finished up with another song from the debut CD, this time playing harmonica and guitar a la Bob Dylan. All of the artists got together at that point to close out the show, with Britt Nicole on lead vocals, to sing 'The Heart of Worship,' a song that has been popular in churches for years.