Thursday, May 31, 2012

The 2nd Annual Elpy's

The second Platinum Vinyl Awards is finally here. For the sake of my blogger friends on Triberr I have changed the award format. Instead of a blog post every fifteen minutes over one evening, as in the first awards, Triberr, and the expansion of the categories from thirteen to thirty (It would have been 32 but two were dropped for lack of entries) have necessitated a multi format award ceremony. Here are the details. I will publish a blog post today and Sunday. Most of the awards will be just listed with the category and winner. Winners will be posted on Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus. For the complete list of 2011 Platinum Vinyl Award Nominees and the complete Winners List, which lists winners for both 2010 and 2011, click on the highlighted links.

Let the ceremonies begin:
  • The Winner of Best Live Recorded Album: 15. Live by Project 86
  • The Winner of Best Children's Music Album: Groovy by Denver and The Mile High Orchestra
  • The Winner of Best Traditional Folk Album: Barton Hollow by The Civil Wars
  • The Winner of Best Folk Rock Album: Burlap to Cashmere by Burlap to Cashmere
  • The Winner of The Night Beat CROSS/Over Award given to a Christian Artist worthy of receiving widespread mainstream radio airplay: Switchfoot
  • The Winner of The Night Beat DJ's Choice Award given to a Mainstream Artist with a release worthy of widespread Christian Acceptance: The Civil Wars
  • The Winner of Best Inspirational Album: Dream With Me by Jackie Evancho
  • The Winner of the Best Modern Worship Song: How Great Thou Art from Emergency by The Ember Days
  • The Winner of Best Modern Worship Album: Emergency by The Ember Days
  • The Winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award: The Choir
  • The Winner of the Comeback of the Year: Burlap to Cashmere
  • The Winner of  Best Gospel Song: Window from Dominionaire by Canton Jones
  • The Winner of Best Gospel or R&B Album: Dominionaire by Canton Jones
  • The Winner of Best Alternative Song: Ambulance from The Valley by Eisley
  • The Winner of Best Alternative Rock Album: Vice Verses by Switchfoot
  • The Winner of Best Pop Song: My Brain Says Stop But My Heart Says Go from My Brain Says Stop But My Heart Says Go by FM Static
  • The Winner of Best Pop Album: Get In, I'm Driving by Ginny Owens
That concludes part one of my Blog Coverage of the 2nd Platinum Vinyl Awards.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Dressing Up in your Church Clothes

The Life of a Rebel (even with a cause) can sometimes land you in Rehab. For Christian Rap Superstar Lecrae, his stint in "Rehab" was very successful. Even with the Rehab stint winding up in an Overdose situation.

I think I've said enough to get my post branded as controversial. At least I hope so, because that is my purpose. In the new CCM Encyclopedia "Controversial" seems to mean rubbing me the wrong way. Well, as the saying goes, turn the cat around.

The latest "Controversial" Christian Record is Lecrae's recent mixtape Church Clothes: Volume One. According to my research, a mixtape is "a generic name given to any compilation of songs recorded onto a compact cassette, CD, music file, or any other music format". If this is an accurate definition of a mixtape, then I have plenty of experience with them. All you needed was a record player, a patch cord and a tape recorder, and some headphones to monitor the progress. And before anyone tries to fink to the RIAA on these 1980's era sharing, remember, take the beam out of your own eye.... And that beam is spelled Kazaa, Mega Upload, Original Napster, you get the idea.

Back to mixtapes. Church Clothes is only the third mixtape I have come across recently (The other two belong to Jehaziel [Still Living] and Je'Kob [Minor Setbacks for Major Comeups]). Of the three only Je'Kob (Je'Kob Washington, 1/2 of The Washington Projects) was the only one that met my additional definition "not ready for prime time".  Of the three Lecrae's is the "slickest" by far.

A collaboration between Lecrae and Don Cannon "The One Man Army", a big time Hip Hop Producer, the 18 tracks feature fellow rappers This'l, Tedashii, Swoope, Suzy Rock and No Malice among others. The title cut, which concerns Hypocrisy in The Church, contains the following lyrics.

R.I.P to Medgar Evers, R.I.P. to Dr. King. I ain't tryinga hate on my own kind but Al and Jesse don't speak for me. I'm probably gon catch some flack man, but I'm swallow this pill like pacman. Some of those folk won't tell the truth, too busy try'na get them racks man.
Just setting himself up against Messrs. Sharpton and Jackson is good enough for me, and he pulls no punches. I know why this was a mixtape. The Christian Labels would be too scared to publish it, and the mainstream labels would be too PC. I am giving Church Clothes a near perfect 4.75 Emeralds. I can't wait for Volume 2. Download it and listen. See if you think it's controversial. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

p.s.- Just going to continue at this self promotion. Don't forget to Like The Night Beat on Facebook as the Platinum Vinyl Awards are just getting underway. I am going to try to have some exclusive content there, some on the blog. It's a work in progress this year, and it is coming very, very soon.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Music Video Monday: Decoration Day Edition

Welcome to a special edition of Music Video Monday. Today is Memorial Day. I know a bunch of blogs will be celebrating the UFDOS (That's Unofficial First Day of Summer to the acronymically challenged) but not here. I will be firing up the Night Beat Time Machine, metaphorically speaking, as we celebrate Decoration Day, which, though it has many firsts, can reasonably be estimated to be started May 30, 1868, three years after the end of the American Civil War.

I will let the trio of videos stand on their own, just as I want Memorial Day to revert to a day to honor the dead that fell in the Civil War alone. While Veterans Day can stand for "All Wars", if the Civil War wasn't won by the Union, we wouldn't be "One Nation Under God, Indivisible, With Liberty and Justice For All." There wouldn't have been any other memorials, since we would no longer exist in the present form we now have. Until next time, when I will return with the best CCM Videos out there, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Flashback Friday: A Little Choir Music

Sometimes deception makes great advertising. Back in the Mid 1980's when I was a college Disc Jockey I saw an album on the shelves by Youth Choir. Now I had been exposed to youth choirs as a teen (well, on radio at least. Back to the Bible Youth Choir was the one I remember the most). The album cover showed two guys with long hair of various pastel shades. Definitely not what I would say was youth choir material. I took a risk and put it on the turntable.

Youth Choir recorded only one album before "growing up" by dropping youth from their name. As simply The Choir, the band quietly became one of the Pioneers of the emerging Christian Alternative Rock scene. Since their beginnings with Voices In Shadows in 1985, the band has quietly built a 20 album in 27 year career.

From its inception The "Choirmembers" have been Derri Daugherty, Steve Hindalong, and Tim Chandler. Chandler left the band for sixteen years and returned in 2012. How many other bands have their bass guitarists take a 16 year sabatical and then return?

Better yet, how many alternative rock bands, while remaining unknown in the general music community, write a song which becomes famous in Christian Church Worship worldwide and yet the epople who sing it are unaware who wrote it. The Song is God of Wonders. Who wrote it? I bet the most popular answer would be Paul Baloche, thanks to time life music. No, the answer is The Choir, more specifically Daugherty and Hindalong. Here are the authors doing it acoustic at Cornerstone 2010

Of course the band isn't a worship band. Far from it. Dreamy, ethereal alternative is their hallmark. It comes across even in acoustic sets. One of their "hits" is Black Cloud, which originally appeared on Diamonds and Rain, their third album (second as The Choir) back in 1986. This is the album with the Pastel Colored Hair. Though they have done mostly acoustic sets in recent years, at times they do decide to plug in and rock. This is the title cut from their Platinum Vinyl Award Winning Album Burning Like The Midnight Sun

Burning Like the Midnight Sun is currently being offered for free on Noisetrade. Yes the entire album. Get it and you also receive a bonus song from their just released album, The Loudest Sound Ever Heard. You see, we even recommend Choir Music here on The Night Beat. Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend and until our next live post, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Night Beat Rewind: April 2012

We are really behind schedule here at Night Beat HQ. It comes with the territory when you are a one man band, so to speak. With the Platinum Vinyl Awards just about to commence, the start of Festival Season (a few started already), the regular release schedule, and everyday mayhem, I am about a month behind. To paraphrase Steve Taylor "I want to have a clone".

We are almost at Memorial Day Weekend (it's this weekend) and I haven't completed my April Rewind yet. Hopefully I will be able to catch up before Summer begins.

Missing The Mark

  • Paul Baloche - The Same Love 3.75 Emeralds
  • Smokie Norful - Once In A Lifetime 3.5 Emeralds

Perfect Platinum

  • Demon Hunter - True Defiance 5 Emeralds
  • Israel & New Breed - Decade 5 Emeralds
One caveat here, with Israel Houghton having a 10 year best of album, it really doesn't count as a true 5 Emerald release. If you don't have a WOW best of album, you did a horrible job picking songs to begin with.

Semi-Precious Metal

  • Big Daddy Weave  - Love Come to Life 4.5 Emeralds
  • Steven Curtis Chapman - #1's Volume 1 4.5 Emeralds
  • Deluge - Swell 4.75 Emeralds
  • Desperation Band - Center of It All 4.50 Emeralds
  • Todd Dulaney - Pulling Me Through 4.5 Emeralds
  • Fike - The Moment We've Been Waiting For 4.50 Emeralds
  • Forever Jones - Musical Revival 4.75 Emeralds
  • Haste The Day - Best of the Best 4.75 Emeralds
  • KJ-52 - Dangerous 4.5 Emeralds
  • Trip Lee - The Good Life 4.75 Emeralds
  • Manafest - Fighter 4.75 Emeralds
  • MxPx - Plans Within Plans 4.75 Emeralds
  • Dan Macauley - From You For You 4.25 Emeralds
  • Christy Nockels - Into The Glorious 4.75 Emeralds
  • Newworldson - Rebel Transmission 4.75 Emeralds
  • Moriah Peters - I Choose Jesus 4.50 Emeralds
  • Planetshakers - Heal Our Land 4.50 Emeralds
  • Rocky Loves Emily - Secrets Don't Make Friends 4.50 Emeralds
  • Travis Ryan - Fearless 4.25 Emeralds
  • Marvin Sapp - I Win 4.75 Emeralds
  • Holly Spears - Heartache to Hope 4.50 Emeralds
  • John Tesh - Big Band 4.75 Emeralds
  • Thousand Foot Krutch - The End is Where We Begin 4.75 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Faith Hope and Lullabies: Sing Me To Sleep 4.50 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - Jesus Music Anthology: The 70's 4.5 Emeralds
  • Various Artists - X:2012 4.75 Emeralds
  • The Vespers - The Fourth Wall 4.75 Emeralds
  • War of Ages - Return to Life 4.50 Emeralds
  • Willet - Love on the Outside 4.50 Emeralds
  • Anita Wilson - Worship Soul 4.50 Emeralds
That finally concludes the April releases and my quick hit ratings. I have linked to the reviews I made of several of the releases. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Following The Beat

Time to take a little break from the music and engage in a little shameless self promotion. Without it who would know The Night Beat even exists. I know I have a lot of readers, though followers are few. Take a risk. Make it official. Follow The Night Beat.

Due to the demise of Google Friend Connect, people with Blogger Blogs have had to do a little scrambling to keep our followers. I probably have been a little slower at it than the rest, but I am getting to it. Here are a few ways that you can keep up with things.
  • Twitter: Right now @wencdj is my personal twitter account, as well as that of The Night Beat. Music, personal insights, just about anything can be found here. I may have to do a Night Beat and Personal account soon, but for now there's just one.
  • NetworkedBlogs: This is my fallback position right now for blog followers. You can follow The WENC Night Beat here. I would appreciate it greatly.
  • Facebook: I still feel like I've crossed over to the dark side with this one. Anyway, I have both a Personal Page and a Night Beat Fan Page.
  • Google+ : This one is still a work in progress. It is currently just my personal page, but I am going to be creating a Night Beat Page here as well.
That really is all I have to say for now. I intend to get a YouTube channel up one of these days, mainly because I have a stash of mp4 music videos (obtained legally, though free) that not only would I like to share with my readers, since I have an ancient computer, putting them online may be my only way to enjoy them. That is for a later time, however.

On a humorous note, I was thinking I should get on that Google+ page. The Night Beat needs something to fall back on when Facebook drops below $5 within a month and gets delisted. Everybody wondered in G+ was doomed, but they didn't remember that Google has tons of dough and makes more by the second. Facebook has users, but revenue, not so much. That ends this post of shameless self-promotion. We will return shortly to our regular music commentary. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Music Video Monday: Rebuild The Kingdom

Welcome once again to our ongoing Monday segment here at the WENC Night Beat entitled Music Video Monday, where we share the best in Music Videos. (Didn't see that one coming. No one ever said there was originality in entertainment). We have moved into the second quarter 2012 Videos that ended in March. We will begin with an extremely difficult musical composition artistically performed by two pianists. A Sort of Official Music Video from Kari Jobe is next. This is We Are from Where I Found You We have shared this one earlier, but it gets a second chance. This is second chance by the Rend Collective It's no secret that I find Worth Dying For one of the best new Rock and Worship bands out there today. To think this started as Youth Group Music. Lucky kids today. And finally we conclude with the Canadian Band Starfield. They released an album entitled The Kingdom, this is the title cut.

That concludes this edition of Music Video Monday. Next week we will have a special Memorial Day Edition. We will return with the regular Music Videos in two weeks. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Flashback Friday: Forever Friends

"...a lifetime's not to long to live as friends." The most popular song in Christian Music History probably generated enough tears to launch a small navy. I should know. While the song somehow missed my High School Graduating Class I couldn't escape it in college. My Senior Class voted it Class Song, which means we all had to sing it at graduation.

The person responsible for unleashing this song on the masses is none other than "Smitty", also known as Michael Whitaker Smith (Michael W. Smith). It first appeared on his debut release, The Michael W. Smith Project (1983). It's amazing what kind of damage a song can do after almost 30 years.

All joking aside, it is rare that a new artist gets a hit single on their debut. Even rarer still that the hit is still considered memorable three decades later, much less the artist who wrote the song. Both things apply to Smitty.
  • 24 Albums (so far, as of 2011)
  • 3 Time Grammy Award Winner, 13 Overall Grammy Nominations
  • 31 Number One Songs
  • 1 Multi-Platinum Album
  • 6 Platinum Albums
  • 16 Gold Albums
  • Over 17 Million Albums Sold
  • 36 Time Dove Award Winner
It's that last fact that gets music critics like me riled up from time to time. The Doves tend to have a "he recorded an album? let's give it to Smitty" attitude, and probably during at least one stretch of time somebody more deserving got the shaft. Maybe not, but the odds are in my favor. With that 17 Million Sold (Why do I feel like a McDonald's Sign?) it's hard to blame them too harshly. That 1 multi-platinum album puts him on par with Evanescence (actually since Fallen is over 7x Platinum on its own, perhaps they put a dent in the entire platinum stash). Here's friends. Warning, have Kleenex handy.

Are your eyes dry enough to read? Good, let's proceed. While Friends may be the #1 Recorded CCM Song of All Time as voted by CCM Magazine, but he was hardly a one hit wonder. 1990 brought Go West Young Man and "Place in this world". It rose to #6 on the Billboard Hot 100. Smitty Struck again just two short years later with I will be Here for You from Change Your World In 1999 the Columbine tragedy struck. One of the students killed in the Massacre was Cassie Bernall. She was killed especially for her faith in Christ. This is This is Your Time, written in her memory. I remember when it was performed at the Inside Out Soul Festival a few years later. It's a very moving song. Personally, it's a lot better than friends.

Though Michael went astray, musically speaking, in my opinion as he chased the pop market, he recently returned to his orchestral roots back in 2010 with Wonder. Recently, (actually 2011), he went instrumental with Glory. Smitty and Keaggy, both of them really know how to do instrumental albums. They could make it famous without uttering a word.

That concludes this edition of Flashback Friday. Next Friday we will have a bit of Choir Music for you. Calm yourself, it's not what you think. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Music Video Monday: What You Want

Welcome to the Latest Edition of Music Video Monday. Last Monday I mentioned that I had hoped to make a combined post of Hard Rock and Rock. Alas, just when I thought that there weren't enough Videos for a Hard Rock post, I find them. Not to Leave Rock Undone, It got moved back a week, as well as the beginning of the 2nd Quarter Videos.

The Big Names for this weeks videos are Chevelle and Evanescence. We begin with the former. From the album by the same name, this is Hats off to The Bull.

Seventh Day Slumber has always been good for some driving rock with an upbeat and hopeful message. And now they have a Chick bassist too. Talia Haughn. This is Wasted Life.

I think I will create an EvEm Sandwich. An Emery Video between two Amy Lee/Evanescence Gems. I will depart from my pattern of using a Title Teaser to introduce the last video. This is What You Want, the first music video off of Evanescence self titled album.

Now we have Emery looking into The Cheval Glass

And finally we come back to Evanescence and My Heart is Broken. One thing with Amy Lee, she does express sorrow and heartbreak very, very well. You really feel the hurt. It's a good thing Amy only has two videos out from the new album. I could make a post just of her stuff alone. Yes, I'm a big fan.

That concludes this weeks edition of Music Video Monday. Until next week, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Flashback Friday: Everybody Must Get Cloned

No I didn't spell the title wrong, the word is cloned. No, this isn't a Bob Dylan Post. Don't worry, things will become clearer soon. I could have used Send in The Clones or A Clone Again (Naturally).

Earlier in our Flashback Friday journey we met Randy Stonehill, someone whom, while a great musician, also had a fairly warped sense of humor, and has been the counterbalance to the often over serious CCM Universe. While Uncle Randy may have been Christian Music's Clown Prince, our latest subject excelled not in humor but in biting satire.

Roland Steven Taylor was born December 9, 1957 in Southern California, the son of a Pastor. The family soon up an moved to Denver Colorado. Maybe it was a mis-wiring of the brain, maybe it was the lack of oxygen in Denver. Whatever the reason, it is quite obvious that Steve (aren't you glad he didn't go by Roland) Taylor doesn't think like the typical Christian, and while the Industry may have rued the day he was born, Christian College Students and DJ's loved him.

One of the few Academic Elites of Christian Music (alright, alright, he was a Music Major). He started his adult career as a Youth Minister and Janitor at his father's Church. Musically he says The Clash, specifically London Calling "saved his life". While at Colorado University he recorded a few demo songs, and he went to Southern California after graduation to try to get signed by a mainstream label. He was unsuccessful, but one man, Jim Chaffee, was impressed and got him a job as assistant director of The Continentals.

Anyone who knows of Taylor's music knows he wasn't anything like the continentals. Chaffee got him another job, this time with Chuck Bolte's Jeremiah People, a Musical Comedy Troupe with heavy doses of satire. I remember them back in the 80's. They were great. Of course for pure comedy value Isaac Air Freight was superior.

Chaffee's Cheer leading finally paid off when he convinced Tayor's first boss, Cam Floria, founder of The Continentals, to give Taylor a two song slot at his Christian Artists Conference in Estes Park, Colorado. Maybe it was the home crowd, but the Crowd Acclaim convinced Billy Ray Hearn, President of Sparrow Records, to sigh Taylor as he came off the stage.

Clone Wars 

I Want To Be A Clone (1983) was a hit. The Six Song EP sold 85,000 copies, and in an industry dominated at the time by The Imperials, that was quite a showing. Christian Kids everywhere were introduced to attitude. Taylor launched his sarcastic wit directly on the Church, as Clone focused on the Christian Churches penchant for turning out cookie cutter Christians. Churchianity as it is called. Let Taylor tell you in his own way.

 Taylor's Meltdown

Meltdown (1984) was Taylor's full length debut, and anyone worried that he couldn't find enough targets to fill an album needn't have worried. The title cut focused on our celebrity obsession, and was sparked by a trip to Madame Tussuad's Wax Museum. He saw the statues and wondered "What would happen if someone turned up the heat". Kids, remember, he only THOUGHT it. Due to clone's success he decided to form a permanent touring band. He raided the studio musicians from clone to do it, and lest we forget who was the real star, he named them Some Band, as in Steve Taylor and Some Band. Meltdown was Taylor's first Music Video, and it also "starred" Lisa Welchel (The Facts of Life) in a supporting role as a TV Reporter.
Two memorable songs came out of Meltdown. While the title cut focused on our obsession with celebrity, the other song targeted bigotry in the Church, and apartheid as well. This is We Don't Need No Color Code Taylor was on a roll, and he kept up a pace of an album a year. Taylor's fertile mind, 80's Pop Culture, and the budding Televangelism Scandals, provided plenty of material for Taylor's Wit to focus on. For On The Fritz (1985) Taylor, in a most memorable "Fashion" turned his satire on the Public School system and the practice of teaching "Values Clarification". to the young skulls full of mush. For the song "Lifeboat" and its accompanying Music Video, Taylor enlisted the support of Mrs. Aryan "the world's ugliest woman". See if you agree. Even though I went to Public School, I seem to have missed out on the Lifeboat game. That's not saying I had to fight liberal indoctrination. Even though I wasn't tasked with deciding who lives and who dies, I did hear about "situational ethics". You know the drill "In certain situations Lying, Stealing, Cheating, etc is the best thing to do. People's feelings will be hurt or worse if you told them the truth. For the poster boy of the teaching, look no further than our 42nd President, William Jefferson Clinton.

1986 brought Limelight, a filler EP recorded in London during the 1985 Greenbelt Festival. 1987 Gave us "I Predict, 1990, an album which was more controversial than successful. It was attacked for its cover by some who thought that there were images of Tarot Cards on it (there weren't). Jimmy Swaggart included an entire chapter of his book Religious Rock and Roll, A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing on Taylor, and even the NOW gang was outraged when they protested against the song I Blew Up The Clinic Real Good. Considering that Taylor's forte was Satire, that meant that the NOW gang actually was protesting for bombing, since Taylor was saying it was wrong. Tayor Retired soon after I Predict, 1990, but soon resurfaced as frontman of the MCA band Chagall Guevara (don't be ashamed if you can't pronounce it). This is Violent Blue Taylor returned for one more album, Squint in 1993. This is Cash Cow.

Taylor has had a very busy retirement. He has produced 5 Newsboys albums, as well as Guardians Buzz and Bottle Rocket, among others, and his Label Squint Entertainment brought both Sixpence None The Richer and Chevelle to the limelight. That's a nice ending Cash Cow-Hat's off to the bull.

Recently Taylor has turned to the Movies. He is the Director of Blue Like Jazz, which came out this year. Of course his fans wish, even now, that he would make another album. We need his satire more today than ever. After all there is only one Steve Taylor. We can't clone him.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Dove Songs in an Open Field

I am going to try to cover both the Recorded Song of the Year and General Field Awards in a single post. It may be long, but I don't think a third post would be worthy.

Let's begin with the General Field. I think the GMA really blew it this year. Jason Crabb ARTIST OF THE YEAR!!?? With Casting Crowns, Laura Story and Lecrae in the mix. Then you let him double dip as Male Vocalist when Tomlin and SCC would have been far better choices. Not sure on Kirk Franklin for MV. Never thought the award should go to someone who can let a choir do the heavy lifting. Or a band frontman either, unless they do ALL the vocals. Female Vocalist went to Natalie Grant. No, wrong. Based on pure power I would have gone Mandisa.

New Artist went to Jamie Grace. It was a good pick though I would have went with The City Harmonic. Group of the year went to Needtobreathe. Again, a goog, but not perfect, pick. Definite would have gone Crowder Band here.

Now, to the Song Awards. Urban Song went to Kim Burrell and Sweeter from The Love Album. Personally, this should have been a no brainer. Window by Canton Jones.

When I originally looked up the nominees Rock Song looked unusually long, and it was called Rock/Contemporary. Considering they pulled two winners out of the list I think it was an error on their part. The Dove Judges went with Switchfoot and Dark Horses from Vice Verses and Slumber by Needtobreathe from The Reckoning. It's hard to argue against Switchfoot here but I will try. Just being contrary I will go with Invisible by Disciple on Power, but it's a weak argument. Excellent Choice here. On needtobreathe and the softer rock. One out of Two ain't bad. The Obvious Choice here would have been Lucy by Skillet.

Now to the rest of the awards:

The General Field Awards

  • Artist of The Year - Jason Crabb (Complete Fail)
  • New Artist - Jamie Grace (B+)
  • Male Vocalist - Jason Crabb (Complete Fail)
  • Female Vocalist - Natalie Grant (C)
  • Group of The Year - Needtobreathe (C-)

Recorded Song of The Year Awards

  • Song of The Year - Blessings, Laura Story (C)
  • Rap/ Hip Hop - Hallelujah, Lecrae (C)
  • Pop/Contemporary - Blessings, Laura Story (C)
  • Urban - Sweeter, The Love Album, Kim Burrell (C)
That concludes the Night Beat Coverage of the Dove Awards. Until the next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Music Video Monday: Heart of A Child

Welcome to the latest edition of Music Video Monday, where we at The Night Beat endeavor to bring you the best music videos from among the CCM (at least how I define it) world. We begin with a concept video by Close Your Eyes entitled Carry You off of their album Empty Hands and Heavy Hearts. It's a reminder that Love Survives All, Even Death. We move on to a Live Concert Video. Thrash Fans rejoice. This is As I Lay Dying and Paralyzed, off of their album Decas.
This one goes down as a Hybrid Live/Concept, but we keep it hard. This is Righteous Vendetta and John The Revelator off of Lawless

Back to Concert Video, though done outside, so I guess it goes as Hybrid as well. Beware the Wolves at the Gate and their Heralds. This is off We are The Ones.

We finish with a Concept Video, though I would say it is interesting. Their was an old Minolta Camera ad campaign that said "From the Mind of Minolta". Let's just leave this as "From the Mind of A Plea For Purging". This is Heart of A Child off of The Life and Death of A Plea For Purging. I had originally planned to combine Hard Rock and Rock into One Post, but as I started looking I found too many videos to make that feasible. Next Monday we will continue with Rock. Among other things, it will be Amy Lee time once again. Until then I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Rock

Well this is it. The Winter Announcement of the qualifying Platinum Vinyl Award nominees in Rock. This finishes the announcements for the Winter. There were a lot of Rock nominees this time.
  • Dave Barnes - Stories to Tell
  • Jeremy Camp - I Still Believe: #1's Collection
  • Evan Craft - Giants
  • David Crowder Band - Give Us Rest (A Requiem Mass in C) [The Happiest of All Keys]
  • Fireflight - Now
  • Hawk Nelson - The Songs You've Already Heard
  • Kiros - Lay Your Weapons Down
  • Kutless - Believer
  • Cory Lamb - Safe In Your Arms
  • Nine Lashes - World We View
  • Samestate - The Alignment
  • Sent By Ravens - Mean What You Say
  • Worth Dying For - Live Riot
  • The Wrecking - So Much For Love
That finishes it. David Crowder Band goes out with 5 Emeralds and a place in next years PVA's. It stands on its own and wont be a lifetime achievement award. I will return with another edition of Music Video Monday. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Flashback Friday: She Has Her Father's Eyes

Sometimes all you need is one name. Rihanna, Madonna, Tiffany. Christian Music doesn't traditionally have that kind of star power. Not usually.

There are a few exceptions. We have our own Tiffany, but she records under the moniker Plumb (Tiffany Arbuckle Lee). There is Smitty (Michael W. Smith), but that is a last name nickname. There is only one Eowyn, however.

Then there is Amy. Officially there is only one, but when I hear Amy my mind goes straight to Amy Lee of Evanescence, but she was kicked out of the kingdom so there is still only one.

To start things on a note of absolute Irony, Amy Lee Grant was born November 25, 1960. Do I sense a conspiracy here. Naaah. Couldn't be. A Georgia Girl who moved to Nashville at an early age, she became the first true star of Christian Music. Of course it probably isn't a surprise that a southern belle has the middle name Lee, just the last name Grant is bad enough. It could have been worse, Amy Sherman Grant would have been way worse. Any way, long before Leigh Nash took the music world by storm by asking for a kiss or even before an Australian teen screamed "It's God" there was Amy hoping "She has her Father's eyes".

Amy Grant to most people is Christian Music personified, and who can argue. 6 Grammy Awards and 25 Dove Awards kind of solidify that. Age to Age was the first Christian album to be certified platinum, and Heart in motion went 5x platinum. Of course the other Amy Lee took her debut to over 7x platinum, but we won't talk about Fallen, will we.

Her first album, which was self titled, was released back in 1977. My Father's Eyes was released two years later. 1982 brought us Age to Age, and with it the timeless song El Shaddai. This video of a live performance of El Shaddai and Thy Word, another Grant Classic from 1984's Straight ahead, has accompaniment by fellow music legend Michael W. Smith.

The nineties brought Amy to the Big Time, as far as crossover potential at least. She was a Superstar in the Christian Music world already. Heart in Motion was released in 1991 and with it the Radio Hit "Baby Baby". The Official Music Video for Baby Baby Follows.

With Success came controversy. Never mind Baby, Baby. Crossover appeal started with the Peter Cetera/Grant duet "Next Time I fall in Love". Amy sings a duet with someone other than her husband Gary Chapman. It was a kerfuffle. Never mind she had never done a duet with Chapman. It was a beautiful song nonetheless.

Of course when Chapman and Grant Divorced in 1999 they knew the seeds were started here, even though Grant would later marry Vince Gill, not Peter Cetera.

Amy Grant was the first Christian Artist to deeply bond with her audience. She will always be "Our Amy", just like she was a member of our extended family. Rebecca St James has come close, but not to the level that Amy Grant ever did.

That concludes the Night Beat look into the life of Amy Grant. It also, for the most part, concludes our look into the 70's. I will begin the 80's next Friday. I don't think I will start with Smitty, but you never know. Until then, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

On The Wings of a Dove

Treasure that title, SG fans, it's as much as you're ever going to get from The Night Beat.

The Dove Awards have been long ago handed out, the TV show is over, and we at The Night Beat missed it. Since I never made a prediction post in time I declare that no picks were wrong. I do reserve the right to comment on the GMA picks, however.

Album of The Year Awards

One of the best evidences that there is in fact a God is that Martha Munizzi was shut out of both AOY genres that she was nominated in. From my perspective, the album started out Gospel but then ran out of gas midway through and sounded like a tame modern worship project. The powers that be at the GMA nominated each half. Contemporary Gospel and Praise and Worship Album of The Year. More sensible heads prevailed and Chris Tomlin got the MW nod and the Contemporary Gospel went to Kirk Franklin. Now while the PVA's were not impressed with Mr Franklin's work this time around we'll say it was a better pick than Munizzi would have been. , and none of the other nominees made our list either. As to Tomlin I will only say that he is a PVA contender this year, so good choice bt the GMA here.

If there ever was a no brainer it was Children's Music. Denver and the Mile High Orchestra made a Children's Music Album that will have parents grooving to as well. Will they bring home an Elpy as well? Time will tell.

Finally we will comment on Rock Album. The Dove went to Switchfoot for Vice Verses. I think it was a tossup beyween them and Red, and right now I'll say Switchfoot deserved it. Tomorrow I may say Red was robbed. One thing is certain, they may both win an Elpy because they are nominated in different genres. Here's to both.

The rest of the AOY winners, with just a little comment
  • Rap/ Hip Hop: Rehab: The Overdose - Lecrae (A+)
  • Pop/ Contemporary: Blessings - Laura Story (B-) Would have went with Francesca or Mandisa, but that's just me.
  • Rock/ Contemporary: The Reckoning - Needtobreathe (C). Would have went with Hawk Nelson here.
  • Inspirational: Hope for the Broken World - Selah (B+) Really the best of the available picks, but a pretty weak field overall.
  • Urban: Church on the Moon - Deitrick Haddon (A+)
  • Traditional Gospel: Promises - Richard Smallwood (C) Due to the fractured Gospel listings in the Doves I didn't have any of the albums in this category nominated for a PVA.
By no way a full list of winners, I am only going with the categories which closely resemble my own. They had a country and bluegrass category. I don't. Nor do I have Southern Gospel, so I left a bunch out. They did a much better job here than last year. Things may be improving.

I will try to get both the General Field and Song of the Year done in a single post. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Frozen Chosen: Cold Steel

This quarter was a good one for Heavy Metal, and especially 80's Metal fans. Sure there were only seven qualifying releases this time around, but one of them was Feel The Power by Montreal Based Blessed By a Broken Heart. A Perfect Metal Album. Hair Metal is back, and none too soon.

Hard Rock and Heavy Metal

  • Advocate - Trial and Error
  • Before Their Eyes - Redemption
  • Beware the Neverending - The Next Level
  • Blessed By A Broken Heart - Feel The Power
  • I The Breather - Truth and Purpose
  • Impending Doom - Baptized in Filth
  • My Children, My Bride - My Children, My Bride
Just one more post to the wrap-up. Rock is Next, and it is a huge one. Fourteen made the cut this quarter. Maybe I have to raise the bar. We'll leave that to the judging rounds next spring. Until next time, I am Awaiting Your Reply.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Voice: Overcome by Lara Landon

NBC recently came out with an American Idol like reality show called "The Voice". They need to rename the show before the subject of this review asks for her royalties. At the risk of ticking of the NAACP, she has Overcome.

Overcome is the Second release by one of the greatest voices in the Christian Music Community today, Lara Landon, and probably most of you have never heard of her before today. After Today you will not be able to forget her.

I was one of the fortunate to discover her from the start. Beloved was released in 2009 with little fanfare. Besides the gorgeous green eyed brunette on the cover, the voice was what you will remember. Closer was the radio single, and it included one of those parts which I absolutely love in a female vocalists. You know what I'm talking about, that "Crank up the music all you want boys, this voice will not be drowned out." Plumb has it, Amy Lee has it, and Lara has it in spades.

Brian Hill should be a lock for producer of the year. The album has literally been designed around her vocals. As such the instrumentation is simple. Stings, acoustic guitar, drums. It could be acapella and you would still be entranced. There is nothing to distract from The Voice. It is a work of genius.

The hardest song on the album "I See God In You" was the first music video from the new album. The Photo Collection Project is real Christian Music sites around the web are making the song The River available for free. This is the music video for that song.

This is one of those albums you put on auto repeat. My favorite, or at least my favoritist favorite, is the Middle Eastern Look East, though if Falling doesn't send chills up and down your spine, nothing will. And, even though the implied subject of The Storm is God, it's really not hard to accept an offer of shelter from Lara's lips as she says "Come to my door, you know I'll let you in". It makes the offer very inviting. I know, Get a room already. Thanks to Sound Cloud, I say in reply, listen to the album, then see if you disagree. She has already been compared to Adele. If you agree with me that this is definitely a 5 Emerald release, then I encourage you to click on the highlighted links and purchase Overcome through my site and help support The Night Beat at the same time. If you've ever wondered about what I mean by the "Wow Factor", just listen. I dare you to disagree. I am Awaiting Your Reply.