Monday, April 30, 2012

Music Video Monday: Scientists in Japan are Courageous

Welcome to the latest installment of Music Video Monday, where we share the latest video releases from the best CCM artists out there. (Of course from time to time my definition of a CCM artist may differ widely from the industry.)

Since this is a recent development, I have tried to progress to a different genre each week until I am caught up to the most recent releases. It may take a while. Right now we are on the Fall 2011 Releases in the Pop Genre.

We will begin with Folk/Worship/Pop act Shane & Shane who know The One You Need. This marks the debut Music Video by the two Shanes,

I have shared this before, but it bears another listen. This is I Have A Dream [It Feels Like Home] by The City Harmonic.

Pop/Rock/Worship Supergroup Casting Crowns is next with Courageous, which is the title soundtrack for the movie of the same name.

And finally a rarity of sorts. A Music Video from Sara Groves. Sara takes us to 1950's Sci-Fi Programs in the somewhat unsettling to watch Scientists in Japan from Invisible Empires.

That concludes this weeks edition of Music Video Monday. Next week we will go to Rock (and Hard Rock) and that will conclude the Fall 2011 Releases (or at least those video's which were released by time of this post). Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Rap

We move on to Rap and Hip Hop as we continue our announcement of the best releases for the past Winter, which was the Second Quarter of the 2012 Eligibilty Year for the Platinum Vinyl Awards. As I am writing this post I am listening to a potential 5 Emerald  release in another genre. I'll only say as a teaser "her initials are L.L." On to the releases.

Rap/Hip-Hop

  • Young Chozen - Class President
  • Flame - The 6th
  • Group 1 Crew - Outta Space Love, Bigger Love Edition
  • High Society Collective - Circa MXMXI: The Collective
  • JSon - Growing Pains
  • Rapzilla - King Culture
  • RMG - Welcome To The Family
  • Scotty G - Real Life
  • Toby Mac - Dubbed and Freq'd: A Remix Project.
All were solid releases, and Toby Mac doubled up in the Dance Category as well. Not as big as some of the others, but a solid showing. Until Monday, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Pop

We continue with our announcement of those albums released in The 2nd Quarter of 2012 (Actually January-March 2012 for eligibility purposes). We move on to Pop Music. Considering the size of the genre, it isn't surprising that it is also one of the largest genres this quarter. (Modern Worship wound up the largest this quarter)

Pop Music

  • Anthem Lights - The Acoustic Sessions
  • Audrey Assad - Heart
  • Jon Bauer - Forevermore
  • Adam Cappa - The Rescue
  • Rachel Chan - Go
  • Nicole Croteau - Anchors & Silhouettes
  • Kari Jobe - Where I Found You
  • Lindsay McCaul - If it Leads Me Back
  • Jimmy Needham - Clear the Stage
  • Britt Nicole - Gold
  • Rubyz - Unchanging
  • Sixteen Cities - Love is Making A Way
  • Take 6 - One
  • Jaci Velasquez - Diamond
Of all of the eligible entrants this quarter I was most impressed with newcomer McCaul. Also I thought Jimmy Needham put out a far superior album than Nightlights. On that one I was impressed with the Radio release, but on hearing the entire album, it fell short of the wow factor. This time he took it up a notch.

The next post in the series is Hip Hop. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Alternative

We move from Gospel to Alternative. This always seems to be a well represented genre, though it also happens to have a lot of double category listings, since it is a subgenre of Rock.

Alternative

  • Todd Agnew - How to be Loved
  • Anberlin - Dancing Between the Fibers of Time
  • Matt Brouwer - Til The Sunrise
  • Eisley - Deep Space
  • For King and Country - Crave
  • The Fray - Scars and Stories
  • Jeremy Horn - Sound of the Broken
  • Kiros - Lay Your Weapons Down
  • Sarah Macintosh - Current
  • Kevin Max - The Fiefdom of Angels, Side One
  • Pioneer - Pioneer
  • Ruth - Payola
  • Sidewalk Prophets - Live Like That
  • Sons - Keep Quiet
There were a lot of good entries this quarter, and Kevin Max was one that snuck by me until the very last minute. Good thing I didn't have this post out yet. I will have to update the rewind posts though.

Next tin the Frozen Chosen is Pop, another very well represented genre. Until Next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Music Video Monday: Run Kid Run

Welcome to the latest edition of Music Video Monday. We Have moved into the Videos for albums released in the First Quarter of the 2012 Nomination Year (October - December, 2011). There were no Children's Music Entries, and While Folk had an entry, nothing on the video front so far. Last week we had Lights and Satellites and Sirens in the Electronica genre. Gospel also had nothing yet, so we move on to Alternative.

I know it's only April, but I couldn't help but think. Winter forgot us here in the Northeast (not that I'm complaining), though sometimes I think we're getting winter in the Spring. Will Summer Forget Us. This is Deas Vail and Summer Forgets Me.

John Mark McMillan has improved quite a bit since I considered The Medicine to be unlistenable back in 2010. I liked Economy, his latest release, and it is in the running for the 2012 PVA's. This is Sheet of Night from Economy

Finally we have Run Kid Run and Daylight from their album Patterns.


Next week we will move on to Pop, a very well represented genre in the First Quarter of 2012. Until the next Music Video Monday, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

It's Spelled BIRTHDAY

Today is my Birthday. I won't tell you how old I am but I will say that that Liberal Gaia Worshipping Money Grab day is younger than I. Not that money grabbing is bad, just Gaia Worship.

I will make my annual appeal, since I predate Earth Day, I hereby proclaim Earth Day to Be Birth Day and order all Environmental Organizations to Cease Celebration and Sign all proceeds over to their rightful owner. That would be me (cue crickets). Two can play at this wealth re-distribution game. I will be out grabbing all the free Birthday goodies I can, so posting may be erratic this week, but I will try.

Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Wanting to Upgrade: Thrift Store Jesus by Heath McNeese

Sometimes I guess you do get what you pay for. I have been discovering missed releases recently. It happens when you are a one person operation. One of those was way back in February. Thrift Store Jesus is the title of the latest release by Heath McNease, and it is available for free download through Noisetrade (click the title to go to the download page). I went into it fresh, as I had never heard an entire album of his, so I really didn't know what to expect.

Let me add that free doesn't mean bad. Four artists got into this years Platinum Vinyl Awards doing the free download or pay what you want route (Jehaziel, The Ember Days, Miss Angie, The Rocket Summer). Not this one, however, and it has nothing to do with it not being eligible (It would be eligible for consideration for the 2012 awards, but no on that as well. Read further for why).

I saw the album as disjointed. Some songs were rock, some folk, some rap, who knew what would be next. Now a lot of artists highlight multiple styles on a single album, but at least it all comes off as a cohesive unit. I never got that feeling here.

More disturbing to me was some of the language. There were six instances of the Christian F-bomb being used (Freaking or frigging). You're not fooling anyone. Everyone knows what the substitution is for.

On the too cute by half front, there was a song that added hisses, pops and scratches to make you think it was an old vinyl song. Everything is digital these days, so we know it's a gimmick. Perhaps in the same vein almost all of the songs used a mike trick where the vocals were "fuzzed". It was very distracting. A final criticism, or nitpick, whichever you prefer. Though I am not a musician, it appeared to me that at times the instruments were either out of tune or played in the wrong key. Don't ask me why, it just appeared that way to me.

Perhaps I was a bit harsh. It's not that it was a horrible album. No that was reserved for Andrew Greer. It's obvious that Heath McNease has talent, it is just that it is marred by intentional amateur gimmicks. I was toying with the idea of titling the post Holding Out For Wal-Mart Jesus, but thought that would be too low a blow. I am giving Thrift Store Jesus by Heath McNease 3.25 Emeralds (which is still 1 full Emerald above Angel Band). I was expecting better, but I guess I did get what I paid for. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

P.S.- The Dove Awards were Thursday Night. Due to the volume of the entrants to this years Platinum Vinyl Awards I totally missed making predicitons, so there will be no official scorekeeping this year. I will do a post with some comments in the near future. More time to get it right for the PVA's.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flashback Friday: A Real Guitar Hero

Here are some statistics for you. A career now in its sixth decade, over forty studio albums, seven live releases, and other music credits two numerous to mention in this blog post. And let's not forget the Seven Dove Awards between 1987 and 2002 (all for Instrumental Album of The Year). Is it any wonder why I called my award for the best guitarist in CCM the Keaggy Award.

Philip Tyler Keaggy (b. March 23, 1951 in Youngstown, OH), one of ten siblings. Though losing one of his fingers in a childhood accident, he took to the guitar. He started his musical career with the Squires in the 1960's, but he really came into his own as a member of Glass Harp. Here is a video of them from the 70's. Phil is the one with short hair and beard.

Glass Harp put out three albums: Glass Harp (1970), Synergy (1971) and It Makes Me Glad (1972). Keaggy left after the third album and the group never entered the studio without him. Since he accepted Christ at about the same time as he joined the band, the music of Glass Harp has been long accepted as a Christian Band of sorts, though it is officially a mainstream group.

What a Day (1973) was Phil's debut. The song is about the joy we will have in Heaven, and it is always masterful on acoustic guitar. This video is an extended acoustic version of almost eight minutes in length. Listen and watch in awe.

Three years elapsed in between Phil Keaggy's debut and his sophomore release. During that time Keith Green and Randy Stonehill wrote Your Love Broke Through, and legend has it that Green personally chose Keaggy to be the first to record the song. If that is true then he was a tremendous judge of the impact that this budding guitarist would have on the CCM community. Not surprisingly, Love Broke Thru (1976) was a breakout album. Here is Your Love Broke Through as performed by Phil.
During his forty plus album career Phil has blessed us with several instrumental masterpieces. To me, one of the most memorable of these was The Wind and The Wheat (1987). I was in college at the time and when it was time to do my senior project, I used this album as my slide presentation soundtrack. I took the easy route. I just hit record and let it play. It was a whole lot easier than trying to find the right piece. When you hear his music, can you pick a wrong piece. This is a short one from the album.

As Steve Jobs would say "One More Thing". How about a live guitar solo.

While doing research for this post I discovered an album recorded by Keaggy that will be a shoe-in for the Platinum Vinyl Awards this year. Live From Kegworth Studio. It will definitely win the Keaggy award.

I hope you enjoyed this as much as I did. Everyone acknowledges that Phil Keaggy is one of the top 10 guitarists in the world. I wonder who #2 to #10 are? As always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Gospel and Dance

Continuing our announcements, by genre, of the albums which qualified for the 2012 Platinum Vinyl Awards during the winter months. Moving on from Modern Worship we go to Gospel.

Gospel/R&B

  • Vanessa Bell Armstrong - Timeless
  • Myron Butler - Worship
  • Anthony Evans - Home
  • Kirk Franklin - The Essential Kirk Franklin
  • Fred Hammond - God, Love and Romance
  • Isaac Simpson and Divine Providence - The Process
  • Various Artists - WoW Gospel 2012
  • Youthful Praise - After This
Yes, this is short compared to Modern Worship, but that is normal. Still, my cutoff for a solo post is five and this makes it. As I was going over the genre's I saw that the Dance genre was a little short of entries to make a post of its own, so I decided to tack it on here. So without further ado.

Dance/Electronica

  • Gateway Next - Look Up
  • Rhema Soul - Red
  • Tidewater - This Beautiful Life EP
  • TobyMac - Dubbed & Freq'd: A Remix Project
That concludes this post of the best Gospel and Dance entries for this past quarter. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

THE END....Is Where We Begin

The Masquerade is Concluded. Toronto, Ontario Rockers Thousand Foot Krutch finally concluded their immensely popular "Masquerade" series, which spanned three albums and a DVD. After such a successful release, the question is usually posed, "What's Next?. Welcome to the Masquerade begs the question, since it obviously a career defining album. While not in the echelon of Evanescence Fallen, the result will be the same. Trevor McNevan and crew are now firmly etched on the Christian Rock Scene. It's sort of like Skillet after Invincible, when Korey joined and they went to Synth-Industrial and never looked back.

We finally have our answer. The End is Where We Begin comes out Today. It is straight up pure Rock and Roll goodness, with little embellishment. The first Single released was War of Change, and that was all most TFK fans needed. It hearkens back to the Rap-Core of Early Pillar, before they started Chasing Red. The title refers to the Crucifixion. The End (the Crucifixion) is where We (The Church) begin. It has a double meaning, in that it marks the end of TFK's association with Tooth and Nail Records and the beginning of their journey as an independent entity. I hope the separation was amicable. I just can't help wonder if the refrain of "I don't think I need you anymore" on Fly on The Wall refers to Tooth and Nail.

Once the album kicks off with We Are, there are very few places to take a break, and the band kicks it up a notch from time, especially with Light Up The Sky, Let The Sparks Fly and Down. There are a few pauses, most notably Be Somebody, the acoustic All I Need To Know, and Fly on The Wall. Oh, for any astute readers, So Far Gone sounds like another song I've heard. I just don't know where. Skillet? If you know, give me a comment.

I am going to give The End is Where We Begin a near perfect 4.75 Emeralds. Part of me wants just a tad more hardness. That would be perfect. It is a great "Beginning", however. Click on the link to support the night beat when you buy from Amazon. Also, for this week, you can listen to the entire album on the New Release Tuesday homepage, no registration necessary. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Music Video Monday: Siberian Frequencies

Welcome to the Patriots Day edition of Music Video Monday. If you don't know what Patriots Day is don't worry. Just say its Boston Marathon Day. Actually it's really the day that the American Revolution began, but hardly anyone knows that these days.

This week we begin sharing videos for albums which will be in the 2012 Platinum Vinyl Awards. The awarding of the 2011 Awards is just a few weeks away. Stay tuned for that.

We begin with one of my favorite new artists, Lights. This is her new video Banner, from her new release Siberia.

If you ever wondered what the life of a Techno artist was like, the video for Siberia is done as a day in the life. It looks pretty cool to me.

We move on to another electronic band. Satellites and Sirens. Every Friday they release a new video on their Youtube site. This week they did a cover of Poison and Wine by The Civil Wars, using video from the Pixar film UP. It is beautiful, and is a great Civil Wars Homage.

We'll conclude with another Cover. In honor of the much hyped novel series and movie, The Hunger Games, they did a cover of Taylor Swifts Eyes Open. Enjoy

I hope You enjoyed these videos this week. We move a few genres to Alternative next week. Not every genre is comfortable making Music Videos. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Sunday Funnies: How To Speak Northern Irish

With all apologies to my fans in the British Commonwealth, but it is amazing that they say that Americans, Canadian, Aussies, Kiwis (New Zealand) and Brits all speak the same language. Here in the states the Midwesterners who are said to have no accent are sure that us in the Northeast and in the South don't speak English.

The Modern Worship genre is dominated by the Hillsong/Maranatha consortium, and though very good, it does contribute to a sense of "Heard it already" among many albums. It is like a refreshing glass of ice water then when a group arrives that breaks the mold. That group is Rend Collective Experiment. Per my last paragraph, these guys are from Northern Ireland. Their facebook page lists about sixteen members, but I think they rotate them. In the vein of early Caedmon's Call Music, they seem to play just about anything. I still swear I can hear a Xylophone in some of their music.

Being Irish they have a good sense of humor, and nowhere is it more evident in their new Youtube series How To Speak Northern Irish. For the first episode they corralled Bart Millard of Mercy Me to say How Now Brown Cow, sort of.

Not content to rest there, they next corralled Hip Hop artist Lecrae. Lecrae got his revenge by trying to get them to "Keep It Trill" (True and Real). Personally I think this one was better.

Now Rend Collective isn't just fun and games, though it helps. This is the music video for the single off their new album Homemade Worship by Handmade People. This is Second Chance.

I hope you enjoyed the music, and had a good laugh at trying to speak Northern Irish. I know I haven't laughed so hard in a while. Until we next meet, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

High Concept

Once Upon A Time, A long long time ago (1987) in a city far far away (Lynchburg, VA), three friends started a band that took the Christian Music world by storm. Michael Tait, Kevin Max Smith and Toby McKeehan were the friends and the group was DC Talk.


DC Talk broke up in 2001, but the members have continued to make an impact on the CCM world. Michael Tait (the singer) followed up his solo act (TAIT) by becoming lead singer of Newsboys (you may have heard of them). Toby McKeehan (the rapper) dropped his Irish name and went on to Rock success as Toby Mac.


And then there was Kevin (The Poet). Even while a member of DCT he dropped the Smith and was just Kevin Max. His solo debut was Stereotype Be (2001). I guess in my own way I have stereotyped the former DC Talk Members, but that is the way that things worked out. Toby started out in the Rap/Hip Hop arena, though that has blended into Rock for most artists these days, and Michael "wanted to do the Rock thing" (one shot, Newsboys Born Again). Spoken Word poems like there is a treason at sea on Supernatural were Kevin's forte. And now, it seems, so are angels.
Fiefdom of Angels: Side One is Max's latest, and true to form it is beautiful, very middle eastern sounding, and very esoteric. This time around he is exploring the origins of angels and the devil and dragons, and has a Graphic Novel paired with the release. The graphic novel is the idea of Max along with a few collaborators, notably Mike Bullock (The Phantom), Tyler Walpole (World of Warcraft Trading Cards), Peter Mohrbacher (Kabam Games), Josh Aitken (Gladiator), and Rob Schwager. He certainly didn't skimp on the talent. Of course, from the download, it is a teaser. The story goes on only for about 5 pages or so and the rest (23 Pages) is description, maps, bio. I was somewhat disappointed on that front. I would like to have seen more on the Graphic Novel front.

I was more impressed by the EP (Side One). The EP kicks off with Send Me An Angel, which seems to be about love and dating. We don't seem to really switch to the theme of the Angel Wars until End of The Beginning. Thanks to Soundcloud I can embed the player allowing you to listen to Shadowplay and Dragon Attack, cuts three and four on the EP. Sorry, Dragon attack isn't allowed to embed, click on the link for listening on soundcloud.  

I am going to give Fiefdom of Angels: Side One a preliminary rating of 4.5 Emeralds. I don't usually promise to readjust a score, but I am going to do it in this case. I want to hold out for side two if I can. It could be equal to side one or it could be an Impostor. Who knows. It is promising, however. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Flashback Friday: Love Beyond Reason

Welcome to the latest edition of Flashback Friday, where we bring the modern music enthusiast up to speed on some of their history. After all, if you don't know where you've come from, how can you know where you're going.

Round Two of Flashback Friday centers around the Classic Christian Song Love Broke Through. There were four people involved in the song, but we are concentrating only on three of them. Two were involved in the writing, Keith Green and Randy Stonehill. One made the song famous in the singing and performance, Phil Keaggy. Last week we covered Keith Green. This week it's Uncle Randy time.

Sometimes, in the straight laced world of Christian Music, and artist emerges which most people may think is (slightly?) deranged. Of course such non-conventional behavior just assure that the kids will love him. Such is Randy Stonehill, or as he is affectionately known, Uncle Randy. Musically he is stylistically linked to James Tayor, though his fans love him because he acts like Robin Williams. Of course, while he may have a crazy manic persona, he is still relatively down to earth. I mean, to my knowledge, Uncle Randy has never donned a dress and heels for a music video or in concert (Steve Taylor, Lifeboat. But that's another post altogether.

We will begin our musical tour with a live video of Randy performing Your Love Broke Through.

This is a great video if your purpose of showing off Randy's Acoustic Guitar talent, which is beyond question. It does little to show the twisted sense of humor that he has. So from the sublime to the ridiculous, we will go to one of the DJ favorites during my college days (and the bane of the administration. He belches in the song) American Fast Food which was on Equator (1982)


A straight up Christian Song, but the Concept Video shows his sense of humor nicely. This is gods of men from Love Beyond Reason. (the video isn't great, but the song is)

One more humorous video. This is the title cut off Love Beyond Reason. I'm only disappointed that the beginning was edited. It had Randy asking to drive the tour bus ("How Hard Could It Be") and the long and winding road they took until it said, "from our Lost Somewhere in Central America Tour".

Randy Stonehill has quite a body of work. The link is just to mp3 albums alone. Discovered by the great Larry Norman, he released his debut album (and it was an album at the time), Born Twice, way back in 1971, and he is still recording. His latest is Spirit Walk, which was released last September. He's still got it. FYI, this is his 24th Studio Album. Rock On Uncle Randy.

It is probably appropriate to have a post on one of the more unbalanced fathers of Christian Rock be somewhat unbalanced itself, but I still apologize. Next weeks Flashback Friday should be a bit more even as we move on to Phil Keaggy. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Modern Worship

This has got to be the most oxymoronic title I have ever put on a post, since Modern Worship is supposed to be the answer to the Church Malady known as being "stiff" (aka Frozen Chosen) but I couldn't resist.

Modern Worship had a very good showing this quarter, with almost two dozen possible entries. Of course such a large pool means a lot of work next spring, but I would rather that than have to count the number of entrants on one hand (Do You Hear Me Children's Music?). Just as an aside, I am typing this post while listening to TFK's The End is the Beginning. I can see a very good recommendation coming for this release. It drops next Tuesday. Let's get on to the list.

Modern Worship

  • All Sons and Daughters - Season One
  • Jon Bauer - Forevermore
  • Bethel Music - The Loft Sessions
  • Andy Cherry - Nothing Left To Fear
  • Cornerstone Church Worship - The Heart Revolution
  • Gateway Next - Look Up
  • Aaron Gillespie - Echo Your Song (Live)
  • Kari Jobe - Where I Found You
  • One Sonic Society - Forever Reign
  • Parachute Band - Matins : Vespers
  • Passion 2012 - White Flag
  • Rend Collective Experiment - Homemade Worship by Handmade People
  • Sanctuary - Reveal
  • Michael W. Smith - Decades of Worship
  • Starfield - The Kingdom
  • Various Artists - Awaken My Soul: Songs of Redemption
  • Various Artists - Maranatha Music: How Great is our God
  • Various Artists - Mission Worship: Come People of the Risen King
  • Various Artists - Worship Together: 25 Favorite Worship Songs
  • Vineyard Music - I Love Your Presence: Live From Phoenix
  • Worship Central - Spirit Break Out
  • Worth Dying For - Live Riot
Whew! That was a lot. Like I said previously, too many is better than none. I will continue to dribble these out throughout the week. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A Bird in the Hand or Love on the Outside

Willet courtesy Amazon
The Willet is a large shorebird of the Sandpiper family that inhabits both coasts of the United States. He is listed as being of least concern as far as rarity. At least that was one of the first things my research turned up. That is not the subject of my post, however.

 Willet is also the name of a band founded by brothers Jeremy, Justin and Jordan Willet of Maryland. Now I just recently found out about this band, but quicker than you can say best new artist, a little research finds that this release is their sixth studio release. Maybe "best artist no one knows," but new is not an option.

Willet burst onto the scene with the unfortunately titled Sometimes a City Needs a Bomb (2007), and have quietly put out six albums or EPs.
  • Virus (2008)
  • Snow on Christmas, Volume 1 (2009)
  • Somewhere In Between (2009)
  • Teeth of a Lion, Fangs of a Lioness (2010)
And now comes the sixth Love On The Outside. It is a Rock EP with a few worship songs, and is available to download for FREE from willetonline. It's a Noisetrade download and the widget is right on the homepage. I know that FREE is a powerful pull, and I understand that completely, but I cannot help making a plug at the same time. You see, Amazon is selling the EP as well, and since The Night Beat is an affiliate, you can support us buy buying the EP through them. Clicking on the linked Blog Title will take you to the Willet Page on Amazon, where you can support us by buying any of Willets releases, so I am not holding you to buy a CD you can get for free.

On to the EP itself. It starts out with Love, Love, Love, which is actually just a redone version of the chorus of Love on the Outside, and clocks in at just over a minute in length and under a MB in size. Actually I thought my download was defective when I saw the file. What download is under 1MB these days?

Once the intro is over we start to Rock out. Disaster is the first full song, and it is anything but its title. The chorus reminds us that "Whatever disaster tries to destroy, whatever disease may come, we know that God is Love, God is Love". The title cut is next, and exhorts us
If you have a light let it shine, let it shine, until the whole world sees, the whole world sees. If you have a voice, shout it out until the whole world hears, the whole world hears.
That shouldn't be a problem for these guys. They have committed to give the CD of Love on the Outside free at all their concerts. Oh, did I mention that one of those concerts will be at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London? I guess they'll make it up on volume.

Whether you buy or get free, Love on The Outside gets a Night Beat Approved 4.5 Emeralds. Rock on guys. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.


Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Inspired Folk Children

We have reached the half-way mark for the 2012 Platinum Vinyl Awards. When you start in October, this is six months in. This was a good quarter for Modern Worship, Alternative and Rock, not so good for Children's Music or Dance.

Children's Music

  • Yancy - Little Praise Party: Happy Day Every Day

Folk/Folk Rock Music

  • All Sons and Daughters - Season One
This one needs a brief explanation. If you know anything about the duo, you are already saying "what about Reason to Sing, Vol 2". Yes, I know. I dropped it from contention. Before you go about whining, let me explain. Since Brokenness Aside, Volume 1 and Reason to Sing Volume 2 are part of Season One (a Combined New Release), it makes little sense to have them both. The Full Release is therefore the only one being considered.

Inspirational Music

  • Calvin Jones and Teresa Scanlon - Dueling Pianos: White Water Chopped Sticks - City of Peace
  • Parachute Band: Matins Vespers
  • Phillips, Craig and Dean - Breathe In
  • Michael W. Smith - Decades of Worship
  • Various Artists - Seasons of Hope
  • Various Artists - Seasons of Joy
  • Various Artists - Seasons of Reflection
That gets things started. Please feel free to comment. Good choices, you think I missed one, or someone was snubbed. All comments are welcome. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Music Video Monday: Poison and Wine

Welcome to the latest installment of Music Video Monday. We have come to the end of the first part of this column as we are approaching the end of the videos which are associated with the nominated songs, albums and artists in the 2011 Platinum Vinyl Awards. This week we are doing the Song of The Year Videos, and that will wrap it up. Next week we will move on to some newer videos.

We begin our video tour with the modern worship anthem As for Me and My House by John Waller.

We Continue with Third Day and Children of God

They say nothing in life is free, but Hyland begs to differ. They say This Love Is Free.

We return to a video that was shared earlier in the series, The City Harmonic and Manifesto.

A Rousing Gospel Song follows, Window by Canton Jones.

We move from Gospel to Dance, although this is more of a slow dance song. The next three are audio only. Sorry about that. This is Are You Ready by Beckah Shae


Another Audio only. This one is from the multi-artist masterpiece Music Inspired by The Story. This is Mark Hall and Megan Garrett from Casting Crowns as Abraham and Sarah in Who But You. .

Another orchestra laden ballad from some otherwise very Hard Rockers. This is Red and the Hymn for the Missing, one of the most haunting songs out there this year.


And we finish, as always, with the song teased in the title. This duo has grown on me since I first heard them for the first time last winter. This is The Civil Wars, and Poison and Wine..

I may have let my love for Strings overwhelm my choices, but such is the way of this blog. If you are into great ballads, then I think you will agree that all of these songs are great Song of The Year Candidates.

That completes this edition of Music Video Monday. I will return Next Monday with more great videos. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

MVM: Resurrection Sunday Edition

It's Resurrection Sunday, or to the rest of the people, Easter. I hope all of you in Night Beat land are enjoying a wonderful day. And to my Jewish readers, Happy Passover/Feast of Unleavened Bread. It actually sorta coincides this time. And it should. The Last Supper was a Passover Meal.

I thought I would do a special Music Video Monday on a Sunday. The regular Music Video Monday will come as scheduled. This is a bonus edition.

I will begin with The Easter Song, written by Annie Herring and the 2nd Chapter of Acts, and covered by Flashback Friday subject Keith Green.

Next We Go to Don Francisco and He's Alive.

And We conclude with Rise Again, by Dallas Holm.

Have A Wonderful Easter. He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lawdy, Lawdy, That's a fine looking Vespa

Actually its Vesper. Unlike the Italian scooter, The Vespers are a Folk/Bluegrass/Americana group from Tennessee. Now your intrepid blogger is not opposed to Folk, just country, and to some that is a very fine line, but I walk it.

Now some would say that I have already stumbled into country with my appreciation for The Civil Wars, but they call themselves folk and I accept it. On the other hand, the girls of Point of Grace now trigger my gag reflex, as they are full on y'all country (Christmas Music excepted for some reason). Of Course Folk Rock is always a staple of mine (Thank You J Knapp). Talent can always overcome my bias, of course. A case in point would be Dennis Agajanian. Technically he could be Country, but you've got to admire a person who can pick a guitar as fast as he can. That kind of talent transcends genre.

The Fourth Wall is the second album by the Brother-Sister Folk act. Actually two brothers Bruno and Taylor Jones, and two sisters, Callie and Phoebe Cryar (I wonder if they are related to Morgan Cryar). Oh, they write all their own songs (only Grinnin In Your Face isn't written by them).

They first single released was Better Now, which was based on the Man Born Blind. I knew right then that this was something special. Last year I locked on to The Civil Wars as a genre defining release in the Folk Category. This time I think it definitely is The Vespers. If you like Banjo Pickin, try Will You Love Me, Rock out to Got No Friends and Close My Eyes. There is something for everyone here. Even a simple piano tune like Winter. Don't take my word for it. I would like to thank Soundcloud for the opportunity to provide the music to listen to before you buy. This marks a new Era in Night Beat History.


If you have decided that you enjoy the music of The Vespers as much as I do, I would ask that you click on the links and help support The Night Beat while you do. I am giving The Fourth Wall an excellent 4.75 Emerald rating, making it the one to beat this year in Folk. Lawdy what an album. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Flashback Friday: Would You Like Fries with your Mannaburger?

We're still stuck in the Seventies here at The Night Beat, though we have finished with the Jungle Music skit. The Eighties may have been CCM's Golden Age, but it's birth came in the Seventies, give or take a few years.

Part of the fun of the early CCM era came because a few of the top acts were somewhat certifiable, or at least came with a very twisted sense of humor. Now in the eighties Steve Taylor pretty much ran away with the title of Clown Prince (or is it Clone Prince), but at the start there were two, and as good fortune would have it they are united in a group of three which we will discuss in our next series of Flashback Friday posts.

Our trio happens to be CCM Legends Keith Green, Randy Stonehill, and Phil Keaggy. They all came together through one song, Love Broke Through. The song was written by Stonehill and Green, along with another person, Todd Fishkind, and was famously recorded by Keaggy. Just to make things certain, Stonehill and Green were the demented ones, and that made them all the more loved.

We are going to start with Keith Green, if only because he is the only one of the three which is no longer with us.

Keith Green (October 21, 1953 - July 28, 1982) was a musical prodigy. According to his bio on Wikipedia he had learned the Ukulele by age 3, the guitar by 5 and the piano by 7. Don't get depressed. By the age of 11 he had already written 40 Songs and was on the verge of being signed by DECCA as a teen idol. Of Jewish Heritage and raised in a Christian Science background, Green became a Christian in 1972 and he and his wife Melody soon started a music ministry soon afterward.

Keith released Seven studio albums in his brief career. Actually, only four were released when he was alive For Him Who Has Ears To Hear (1977), No Compromise (1978), So You Wanna Go Back To Egypt (1980) and Songs For The Shepherd (1982). His wife Melody released another three albums posthumously, though these were originals and not best of's. I Only Want to See You There (1983), The Prodigal Son (1983) and Jesus Commands Us To Go (1984) rounded out the list.

I am going to give you three video treats to introduce you to this great musician, who was taken from us tragically way before his time, in a plane crash in 1982, at the tender age of 29. It's hard to believe he would only be 59 this fall. I will start with the song that united Keaggy, Stonehill and Green, Love Broke Through.

We will go next to He'll Take Care of the Rest, which shows why Keith was often compared to Elton John in style.

And finally, to confirm what I said about slightly certifiable, this is So You Wanna Go Back to Egypt.

That concludes this edition of Flashback Friday. We will return next Friday with the second artist of the triad, Randy Stonehill. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Oh, by the way. To answer the question posed in the title. For forty years the answer would have been "what else is there? It would have been the manna burger with manna fries and a manna shake. Possibly out of the great mercy of God, nobody was allowed to super-size.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

The Best Played Plans

It isn't exactly Robert Burns (Steinbeck just used a line for his novel) or even the magnitude of Ezekiel's Wheels within Wheels but Plans Within Plans, the latest release by Bremerton, Washington Punk Rockers MxPx (The name was supposed to be Magnified Plaid, but someone thought the periods on the small poster were an x So MxPx it became. Seriously, would you listen to a band named Magnified Plaid) is equally momentous. The album marks the bands return to the recording studio for an original album in five years (a Covers album On The Cover II came out in 2009).

I'm not a big punk rock fan, though I am a fan of several punk acts, most notably Bleach. Of course bleach was known for longer songs. Actually that's the biggest gripe I have with this album. It goes bye too fast. I could call it speed punk. I know that it isn't true, because the album is around 35 minutes long, but it goes by fast. Of the thirteen songs on the album, nine of them clock in at under three minutes in length and one of them, Screw Loose, clocks in at just over one minute in length.

The album opens with one of my favorite songs on the album, Playing Aces, and the line "You may have to bluff sometimes". Considering that my novel in progress has my heroine (at least one of them) as a lady gambler in the old west, I think this would be her song.

The album is a speed rush. If you are looking for a slow ballad breather, there isn't one. If you're an adrenaline junkie, this is your album.  Actually, The Times would probably be considered an MxPx slow song, but to nobody else.

The album grows on you, and the songs will get quickly stuck in your head. In a good way. The album is a memorable one in that it marks the bands Twenty Year mark. Not many CCM bands these days last twenty years, much less put out such good music after all that time. The norm is to start mailing it in and living on ones reputation. Not these guys.

I would be doing a disservice to my readers if I did not give you the opportunity to experience a bit of the band. I close my review with a live performance of Far Away, the ninth cut on the album.

I am going to give Plans Within Plans a final rating of 4.75 Emeralds this album is Pure Platinum Punk, though not Perfectly Pure, if only because it is so short. I want more MxPx. We shall see a lot more from this band as the Third Platinum Vinyl Awards takes shape. Check it out, let me know what your opinion of the band is. If you choose to buy, please do so at the link and help support The Night Beat. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Music Video Monday: Beautiful Ashes

Welcome to Music Video Monday, where we share the best Christian Music Videos on the web. Since we started this segment we have mainly centered on music which made the nominations of this years edition of the Platinum Vinyl Awards. That is slowly coming to an end, but we still have a few more posts to go.

Todays edition is a continuation of last weeks. Rock was a very big category this year and we split off the Hard Rock and Metal, but we still have a full slate for this week.

We're going to start off with a bit of Southern Rock. A little bit of Rock, A little bit spiritual, and all Third Day. It's hard to get more southern than Georgia. This is Lift up Your Voice from Move.

New Artist nominee Icon For Hire exhorts us all to get up and Make A Move. This Ariel is not your typical Disney Princess, not by a long shot.

We move on to the Ammunition Ministry and its band Worth Dying For and their post-apocalyptic concept video for Destroy from Love Riot. Personally, I consider this opening song and the next, entitled Savior, to be a single unit, thematically speaking.

We move on to Switchfoot, one of the hottest acts out there today, with a video from their latest release Vice Verses. This is Dark Horses.

And finally, if a good Christian rocker doesn't listen to Evanescence, at least they aren't forbidden from hearing her nearest imitation. This is the band named after its lead singer, Rebecca Denee Krueger. Doesn't ring a bell? I left out one part of her name. Lord of The Rings readers know it. Eowyn. This is Beautiful Ashes.

Wow, what a way to go out. I still have one more PVA related post, that of Song of The Year, and we shall see how things go with that. Until next time, as always, I am Awaiting Your Reply.