New Music Alert: All Things New-‘New Man’

Not surprisingly, I spend a lot of time listening to the radio.

I like to keep an ear out for what’s new, what’s not, and perhaps be inspired to write when an old favorite comes on.

Also not surprisingly, I am usually not surprised by what I hear on the radio.  Given that I write a Christian Music Blog and follow, well, Christian Music, I normally know when to expect to hear new singles on the radio and what’s racing up (or down) the charts on any given day.

Tonight, I was driving home from the pharmacy after picking up some OTC stuff to try and fend off this awful flu pandemic that is sweeping thru my family and friends.  The weather, according to the cheerful voice on the radio, “is what we here in Indiana like to call Arctically Chilly.”  (Is ‘arctically’ even a real word?)

Personally, I don’t think anybody in Indiana ever likes to describe the weather as remotely arctic.

So, I’m driving along feeling pretty miserable and out of the blue this song comes on the radio that I’ve never heard before.  In fact, I didn’t even recognize the song’s singer.  This was strange, considering no one will play me in Contemporary Christian music in SongPop anymore because I totally decimate my opponents.

I found that I was deeply moved by the song’s lyrics unlike I have been by any other song recently.  (In fact, I was so intent on this song, and yelling at my in-screen dash to tell me the who/what/where/when/why of this song, that I may or may not have blown thru a yield sign.)  In the name of safety, I eventually pulled over and started furiously writing down lyrics so that thru the power of Google I could hopefully find out more about this mystery song & artist when I arrived home.

The song is called ‘New Man’ by the up and coming new band, All Things New.

While this song isn’t necessarily my own experience as I have been truly blessed by the constant and loving presence in my life of both my father and mother, I truly felt this song with my heart.  I think everyone, regardless of their past experiences or current situation, will be able to relate to the major themes of this song, the least of which being that we all have a Father in heaven who loves us perfectly and will go to any length to restore and renew our relationship with Him, thus making us new.

Now, you need to go and watch the lyric video for this song on YouTube RIGHT NOW!  The song isn’t available on iTunes or Spotify until February 12th, 2013 so if you want to experience this song, this is probably going to be your best bet unless you call your local radio station like I did and demand they put this song in regular rotation 🙂  The band’s debut album is set to be released on April 9th, 2013.

I’m not sure that I have ever been this excited about a song after hearing it on the radio one time, and I just know you are going to love it, too!  Watch the video and leave me a comment to let me know what you think!

Sidewalk Prophets Release Road Life Ep. 7

Today (January 30th, 2013) the Sidewalk Prophets released Episode 7 in their somewhat regular video series, “Road Life.”  This particular episode is entitled “The Enduring Determination”, which focuses on the amazing and inspirational story of the group’s co-founder, rhythm guitarist, and song co-writer Ben McDonald.  In the video, Ben shares how he lost an astonishing 125 pounds not by following any magic weight loss plan, but through discipline and by making the right choices for himself.   Most importantly, he learned how to love himself in the process, and the end result was God being able to use his story to inspire and encourage others, too.

At the end of video, Ben’s friend and the other co-founder of the Sidewalk Prophets, Dave Frey, makes a comment about how Ben’s story is so much bigger than just being a weight loss story.  (Typing that out, I realized that the use of ‘bigger’ in this context is somewhat ironic, but whatever!)  No matter what troubles may be knocking at our door, from issues of self-esteem to addictions, eating disorders, cutting, depression, or  family problems, our God is bigger yet.  We can all consciously chose to make better choices, put forth a little discipline , and allow God to help us in our desire to transform our lives.

As was the case in Ben’s story, transformation begins working from the inside out.  What do you need to transform in your life?  Watch Ben’s story, and begin thinking about how this might be the awesome beginning to your own personal story of transformation!

New Music Pick of the Week–Rend Collective Experiment’s Campfire

rce

So, I’m sitting in my office this morning sipping on a bottle of SmartWater when I decided to turn on my as yet unlistened to copy of the Rend Collective Experiment’s latest project, Campfire.  For those of you who may not be familiar with the Rend Collective Experiment, this is a dynamite band from the Emerald Isle (otherwise known as Ireland).

As my close friends and family know, I kind of have a penchant for Irish folk/rock/pop music.  To make a short list of it, I cried a few tears when The Coors went on hiatus in 1996, and I have a serious thing for Glen Hansard’s music.

Needless to say, I have really liked the Rend Collective Experiment’s prior projects, Organic Family Hymnal and Homemade Worship by Handmade People.  If I were to guess, I’d say they are probably best known here in the US for their single, “Second Chances,” or perhaps for some of the touring they have done with Tenth Avenue North (The Struggle) and The Rock & Worship Road Show (2012).

Anyways, this morning I was hanging out in my office at church jamming to “Come on My Soul” and one of the young teachers that works in the daycare popped her head in my door.  “What are you listening to?” she asked with a smile.

“Rend Collective Experiment’s new album, Campfire,” I said.  “It’s good, isn’t it?” I asked.

“Is this really church music?”  she asked with a tone of disbelief tinging her voice.

It was my turn to smile.  “It is,” I replied.

“Wow, if my church had music like this I’d go every week!”  she said.  “Do you mind if I bring the two year olds over for tumbling and they can listen to this too?”

Since I kind of love watching the two year olds tumble around in the foyer outside my office on colorful mats, I cranked up the tunes and warmly welcomed the temporary diversion from the work at hand.

In what seemed like a matter of minutes, 5 of the cutest kids you could care to meet were frolicking in the foyer to the music of the Rend Collective Experiment.

A chubby-cheeked little girl with blonde pigtails and the biggest blue eyes I’ve ever seen, who was wearing a neon pink tutu and Hello Kitty rain boots, attempted to do somersaults on the tumbling mat, while an adorable shaggy blonde haired boy with big blue eyes held the hands of little brown haired girl and together they danced in a circle, laughing and stomping their feet to the beat of You Are My Vision.

At the rousing conclusion of You Are My Vision, the little girl in the neon pink tutu threw her hands up in the air and shouted, “Yay, Jesus!”

I smiled and thought to myself, “Yay Jesus, indeed!”

As I watched the kids thoroughly enjoy physically expressing themselves to the music, the words of their teacher from earlier began rattling around in my mind:  “Wow, if my church had music like this I’d go every week!”

Then, I remembered reading for prior research on the Rend Collective Experiment that one of the things that originally led them to make music was that they saw the  hostility that some people have towards church and/or Christians, and they wanted to create music to draw these people into worship.

From my experiences this morning, I think it is clear that the Rend Collective Experiment is quite adept at doing just that.

For that reason, Campfire is my official New Music Pick of the Week for 1/28/2013.  You should absolutely hightail it over to iTunes and pick yourself up a copy right now!  (To preview Campfire on Spotify, click on the link below.)

(Side note—Neon pink tutus and Hello Kitty rain boots are not required dress code while listening to Campfire  although, come to think of it, that would be completely awesome!   However, if I had a neon pink tutu and Hello Kitty rain boots, I’d probably never wear anything else!)

Big Daddy Weave ‘Redeemed’ Tour News!

(Side Note–I’m sharing because Fort Wayne is on the list of tour stops!  Woot!  I was starting to think Big Daddy Weave had an aversion to Fort Wayne or something because it has been awhile since they’ve been here; also of special note, Chris August will be coming along for the ride.  In case you are a devoted blog follower, yes, I plan to have my friend Jill on tight leash at the show, that is if I even consent to going with her at all.  She’s Family Force 5 cray-button crazy about Chris August!)

From Press Release:

NASHVILLE, TN (January 29, 2013) – Dove Award-winning group Big Daddy Weave is set to depart on the second leg of their highly-successful “The Redeemed Tour” February 1 in Wausau, WI. The tour, featuring chart-topping artist Chris August and special guest Citizen Way, is scheduled to stop in over 38 cities from February through May. This launch comes on the heels of the band’s hit No. 1 single, “Redeemed,” which spent eight weeks at No. 1 on the NCA (National Christian Audience Chart) and nine weeks at No. 1 on the AC Monitored Chart. The video for the hit song has also proven to be a hit as it has amassed close to two million views on YouTube.

“What happens every night on ‘The Redeemed Tour’ is the most special thing we’ve ever been a part of, and it just keeps growing,” says Big Daddy Weave’s lead singer Mike Weaver. “We’re excited to play and be with the wonderful people that we meet in every town.  We’re also big fans of everybody playing on the tour, so we couldn’t ask for anything more!  We can’t wait to see what God does next with all of this.”

Label mate and three-time Dove Award-winner Chris August will also be joining Big Daddy Weave on this leg of “The Redeemed Tour. This past summer, August released his sophomore album, The Upside of Down, and collaborated with Group 1 Crew on their No. 1 hit, “He Said.” Fans can expect to hear his next single, “Restore,” when it hits radio February 1.

 

Citizen Way has made a big impression fast with their first single “Should’ve Been Me” reaching the radio chart’s top 10.  The Elgin, IL band’s appearance on Big Daddy Weave’s “The Redeemed Tour” marks their debut on a nationwide tour.

 

“The Redeemed Tour” is scheduled to hit the following cities:

 

Feb. 1              The Grand Theater – Wausau, WI

Feb. 2              Community Church – Oshkosh, WI

Feb. 7              Eagle Heights Church – Somerset, KY

Feb. 8              BC Lloyd Building – Paragould, AR

Feb. 9              Christ Fellowship – McKinney, TX

Feb. 10            MK Brown Civic Auditorium –  Pampa, TX

Feb. 12            Clovis Civic Center – Clovis, NM

Feb. 13            RN Tydings Auditorium – Hobbs, NM

Feb. 14            St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church – Tucson, AZ

Feb. 15            Trinity Life Center – Las Vegas, NV

Feb. 16            Reno Christian Fellowship – Reno, NV

Feb. 17            Faith Community Church – Acampo, CA

Feb. 21            Marshfield High School – Coos Bay, OR

Feb. 23            Dayspring Fellowship – Keizer, OR

Feb. 24            Everett Theatre – Everett, WA

Feb. 26            The House of Faith – Lewiston, ID

Feb. 27            Idaho Falls Civic Auditorium – Idaho Falls, ID

Feb. 28            Cheyenne Civic Center – Cheyenne, WY

March 1           Restoration Church – Casper, WY

March 2           Helena Community Facilities Center – Helena, MT

March 3           Faith Evangelical Church – Billings, MT

March 8           Rodger’s Theatre, Poplar Bluff, MO

March 9           Cornerstone Christian Academy – Shelbyville, KY

March 10         Dublin Jerome High School Center for Performing Arts – Dublin, OH

March 14         Memorial Stadium – Waycross, GA

March 15         Westover Church – Greensboro, NC

March 16         Charleston Southern University – Charleston, SC

March 21         Christ Community Chapel – Hudson, OH

March 22         Blackhawk Ministries – Fort Wayne, IN

March 23         Cornerstone Church – West Chester, OH

March 24         Trinity Evangelical – Upper Sandusky, OH

April 5              Cross Creek Community Church – Trucksville, PA

April 6              Wyoming United Methodist Church – Dover, DE

April 13            Davis and Elkins College Auditorium – Elkins, WV

April 14            Walker Center – Wilkesboro, NC

April 20            Plant City Stadium – Plant City, FL

April 21            Truett-McConnell College – Cleveland, GA

April 26            Concordia University Wisconsin – Mequon, WI

May 4              Wild Adventures Theme Park – Valdosta, GA

 

About Big Daddy Weave: 

Big Daddy Weave formed when Mike Weaver, Jay Weaver, Jeremy Redmon, Jeff Jones and Joe Shirk got together at the University of Mobile. They stepped into the spotlight in 2002 with the release of their second album One and Only, which debuted in SoundScan’s Christian Top 5 and saw the group nominated as Dove Awards New Artist of the Year. Their 2010 album Christ Has Come won a Dove for Christmas Album of the Year, and they recently released their first greatest hits compilation, The Ultimate Collection. They have been honored at ASCAP’s Christian Music Awards, were chosen for the WOW Hits compilations in five of the last six years, and are one of the 10 most played artists at Christian radio over the past decade.

Free Download: ‘In Crowd’ by Rapture Ruckus

rapture ruckus 1

Hands down, my favorite band from Wellington, New Zealand is Rapture Ruckus. I’ve seen Rapture Ruckus in concert a couple of times, and even gone to one of lead singer Brad Dring’s dance parties (and while I’m sure it has a different name other than ‘Dance Party’, I couldn’t tell you what that would be at this moment). My good friend Stacy and I had a blast meeting the Rapture Ruckus guys and getting to know them a little bit last summer at Fandana Fest at Huntington University.

Needless to say, I’ve been anxious to hear some new stuff from Rapture Ruckus. Today was the day I’ve been waiting for! If you go to www.RaptureRuckus.com, you can download their latest song ‘In Crowd’ that was recorded at the famed Parachute Music Festival in New Zealand.

I really, really, really, really, really like this song.  A lot.  As in, I don’t think 5 reallys are enough to do how much I like this song justice.

Go check out the ‘In Crowd’ at www.RaptureRuckus.com; and if you aren’t familiar with Rapture Ruckus, check out some of their other music at the Spotify link below!

Sanctus Real Reveals Exclusive Preview of ‘Run’

The band Sanctus Real revealed an exclusive preview of their brand new album, ‘Run’, today on YouTube. ‘Run’, the band’s sixth studio album, will be available everywhere a week from today–Tuesday, February 5th, 2013. The 12 new tracks feature the one of a kind voice of lead singer Matt Hammitt and the alternately edgy/eclectic rock stylings of the other four band members: Chris Rohman on guitar, Pete Prevost on guitar, banjo, and piano, Dan Gartley on bass guitar and bells, and Mark Graalman on drums.

I have to say, I had almost forgotten how much I love Sanctus Real until five minutes ago when I listened to the preview for ‘Run.’ This may be the group’s sixth album, but from what I’m hearing on this preview the music of Sanctus Real sounds just as fresh and modern as their 2nd album, ‘Fight The Tide’, did almost ten years ago.

Let’s just say I’m super excited for next Tuesday, as ‘Run’ promises to be a continuing revelation of the musically talented Sanctus Real.

Winter Jam Tour: Sidewalk Prophets Review

So here on Spin: The Blog it is not a very well-kept secret that I am a mega-fan of the Sidewalk Prophets.  It is sort of a joke (but not seriously) that when the Sidewalk Prophets come to New Haven in June for Canal Days to play at our Faith & Family Night that the biggest threat to security will be me, and I’m the one who signed the contract for them to come and is in charge of the entire festival’s entertainment stage.  (I promise to be on my best, most professional behavior on June 8th, Girl Scout’s honor; and if not, I’m sure the police will have their tasers charged up and ready to go!)

Anyhow, my BFF Sarah and I were excited to see the Sidewalk Prophets at Winter Jam, and we were curious to see how they would adapt the longer show we are used to seeing to a shorter format.  (Sarah and I were guessing they would have maybe 15-20 minutes on stage.)  The Sidewalk Prophets pretty much stuck to a montage of crowd-pleasing favorites:  my all-time favorite song of favorite songs, You Love Me Anyway, The Words I Would Say, and Live Like That.  In a surprising twist, they bypassed completely their newest single, Help Me Find It, and instead closed out the show with the rollicking good Love Love Love that is accompanied by an appropriately awesome Lego-esque video.

Honestly, I thought that was a pretty sound move; I really like the song Help Me Find It and thought it was a good choice for the follow-up single to Live Like That.  In concert, however, Help Me Find It is one of the longer songs because of the way they work the intro to give lead singer Dave Frey the opportunity to showcase some of his vocal chops.  Winter Jam isn’t really the format for that kind of thing, though; it’s more like speed dating, where you’ve got the equivalent of 30 seconds to bring out your razzle dazzle before moving along to make room for the next big thing.  With that being said, you probably can’t go wrong with a song that features a Legos video and lyrics that incorporate Chuck Norris and Star Wars.  Everybody likes Legos, Chuck Norris, and Star Wars; plus, it’s decidedly unique for a video/song lyric combo.

Enough about that, though.  I’m going to tell you the most important point that I want to make in this review, and I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, even before Winter Jam when Sarah and I were discussing how we thought the Sidewalk Prophets would adjust their show to fit in the allotted time.  At some point last year, when I was in the midst of attending the 100+ concerts I saw in 2012, it occurred to me that only one group/band/artist/whatever you want to call it always made a point of always physically bringing the word of God out onto the stage in the middle of a concert.

Only one group.  Always.  Every time.

If you guessed that group was the Sidewalk Prophets, you would be correct.

I found that I really looked forward to that portion of a Sidewalk Prophets concert, and that it really added something special and meaningful to each and every show.

I can’t begin to tell you all how glad I was at Winter Jam when Dave brought the trusty old Bible out and started in with the words that are now almost familiar to me.  That part of the concert could have very easily been scrapped to squeeze in another song, but instead it almost felt like the whole show was revamped to be built around that moment with the Bible.

Really, isn’t the truths contained in the Bible what Winter Jam’s ultimately all about anyway?

I’m pretty sure it is, which is why I think this alone speaks very highly of the integrity and genuineness of the Sidewalk Prophets.

Of course, I should probably confess that as soon as I saw the Bible start to come out, I looked at Sarah and said, “Told you so!”  Perhaps that wasn’t one of my finer moments, but who doesn’t like to be proven right every once in a while?  Okay, so maybe just me.  My bad.

It certainly goes without saying that the quality of the Sidewalk Prophets musicianship at Winter Jam was stellar (as usual!), so I won’t drag this review on for any longer than necessary.  This is how I see it:  Royal Tailor may have more flair in the fashion department, TobyMac may well be kind of an icon, and Red quite literally set the stage on fire, but my favorite performance of the night by a considerable margin was the Sidewalk Prophets.  I think you’ll agree with me that once you’ve seen them in concert, there is something very special about this group of guys.  If you haven’t seen them in concert and don’t have either of their CD’s, then I have to ask…what are you waiting for?!  Christmas was last month!  (Preview their latest album, Live Like That, below on Spotify!)

Winter Jam Tour–Jamie Grace Review

 

I think Jamie Grace deserves major props for being the lone female artist representing at Winter Jam. For only being 21, she really went out there and killed it with the poise and grace of someone 10 years her senior. My BFF Sarah and I agreed that she really deserved something special for this review, and Sarah jokingly said (at least I’m pretty sure she was joking) that I should write an ‘ode’ to Jamie Grace. Traditionally, I think an ode was either a poem or a song, and believe me, Jamie Grace (along with the rest of the free world) does not want me writing or singing a song; a poem, however, I thought I could do.

So, for this review of Jamie Grace’s Winter Jam performance I have written the first ever (and only one I ever intend to write) acrostic poem for Spin: The Blog. It’s pretty bad, but that should in no way reflect poorly on Jamie Grace; I thought she was really great at Winter Jam! Maybe I should have tried writing a limerick instead…

J-is for Jazzy, so lively and bright
A-is for Artistic, with natural skill
M-is for Music, her gift to the world
I-is for Irresistible, her music, that is
E-is for Effervescent, so bubbly and sweet

G-is for God’s Girl, from the top of her head to the soles of her feet
R-is for Radiant, God’s light shining in her
A-is for Awesome; need I say more?
C-is for Christian, the heart of who she is
E-is for Eclectic, a fun mix of randomness

And there you have it: What is most likely the world’s worst acrostic poem ever! At least I took a few good pictures…enjoy them!

Winter Jam Tour–Newsong Review

Prior to Winter Jam, I was talking to my Mom and telling her that I had a writing assignment and would be going to the show.  Being a Mom, she wanted to know who all was going to be there.  I started down the list, “TobyMac, Sidewalk Prophets, Matthew West, Jamie Grace, Red, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro, Newsong…”

“Newsong?”  My Mom perked up.  “I don’t know any of those other groups, but I know Newsong.  Russ Lee, that’s one man that can really sing!” said my Mom.

Now, I’m not entirely sure because I’ve never seen this happen before, but I think in that moment my mother may have swooned an eensy little bit.

I wasn’t sure which to be more embarrassed by:  the fact that my mother may have just swooned, or the fact that my mother doesn’t know who TobyMac is.

With my mother’s endorsement of Newsong ringing in my ears, my BFF Sarah and I headed off to Winter Jam the next day.  I may have suffered some emotional regression during this time, because I sort of felt like a teenager who couldn’t possibly like the same music as her mother.   I’m going to be completely honest here:  I planned to take a concession stand/potty break during the Newsong portion of the concert because, and I’m being real here, if my Mom doesn’t even know who any of my favorite bands are, how reliable of a judge can she really be about who’s a good singer anyways?

Well, the time came for Newsong to play and wouldn’t you know that just as I was about to duck out, something of a technological nature went awry on stage.  After attending many a concert in my lifetime, let me let you in on a little secret:  it’s very revealing to watch what happens when things breakdown on stage during a performance.  Very revealing.  As a writer and avid people watcher, I can’t possibly walk away from the potential reality stage drama that could ensue during a meltdown of this magnitude.

Alas, the Newsong guys proved to be real pros, and whatever the problem was it only took 10 minutes or so to fix.  By then, I was into taking some pictures with the neat lighting they had going on up on the stage.

Keep in mind, at this point I still knew nothing about Newsong other than my Mom’s glowing words of praise.  I had to admit that they had a rich, robust sound and vibrant harmonies.  The first soloist to step out on the stage extension I mistakenly assumed was the guy my Mom had referred to as Russ Lee, because, well, he too could sing.  He was also easy on the camera lens, and I could see why my Mom would swoon over those cheekbones and shaggy blonde hair.  (I still have no idea what this guy’s name is, but Sarah informed me he was not Russ Lee.  Apparently, Russ Lee was the emcee of the Q&A session at the beginning of the afternoon, but that somehow managed to slip past me.  It would seem a lot was slipping past me during Winter Jam on January 20th.)

Then, Russ Lee took to the stage extension, and I have to admit, for once my Mom was right.  The man can sing!  (I won’t mention that he looks like a younger version of my Dad, because he did, and that in itself was kind of weird.  I guess we all know what my Mom’s type is now!)

You know, I really wasn’t expecting much from Newsong simply because of my Mom, so I ended up being very pleasantly surprised.  I totally loved the rousing Gospel trio sing along that I’m surprised didn’t blow the roof off the Coliseum during Newsong’s performance.  It was wicked good in a religious sort of way; and, for the record, I was raised in a Lutheran church so Gospel music is the equivalent of the German language to me.  I don’t understand very much of it, but when it’s done right, I can feel the emotion of it all the way down to my bones.  I also liked the new music they played so much so that I pre-ordered two of their new album, Swallow the Ocean, one for me and one for Mom.  (I’m not a pre-orderer, so this is kind of a big deal for me.)

So kids, the moral of this story is, if your parents happen to tell you before you go to Winter Jam that they love Newsong, don’t let that mislead you.  You have my completely honest and unbiased opinion that Newsong is very awesome and very cool so even though our parents may like them too, so save your trip to the concession stand/potty for the intermission  (there is an intermission…I forget when exactly, but I do remember there is one!)

Winter Jam Tour–Royal Tailor Review

If a was a gambler, one of the groups I would have bet the house on to put on a dazzling, crowd-pleasing, high energy show at Winter Jam that would not be soon forgotten was the band Royal Tailor.  I’ve seen Royal Tailor twice before, and I have a sneaking suspicion that when TobyMac wrote the song “Steal My Show” he was really talking about the guys from Royal Tailor because they definitely have some show stealing worthy talent.  (Just kidding about the TobyMac thing—I actually love the true meaning behind tobyMac’s Steal My Show!)

If I had gambled my house on Royal Tailor’s Fort Wayne Winter Jam performance on January 20th, I would have won it back—and then some.  Royal Tailor, which is made up of lead vocalist Tauren Wells, DJ Cox on guitar and backing vocals, Blake Hubbard on bass guitar and backing vocals, and Jarrod Ingram on drums, put on a spectacular performance at Winter Jam.  Soaring, and at time dueling, guitar solos compliments of DJ and Blake, combined with Tauren’s fiery lead vocals and a-m-a-z-i-n-g dance moves and Jarrod’s solid work on the drums drove the crowd to near insanity levels.

It was super fun!

Red may have brought real fire, but Royal Tailor quite literally lit the place up with their raw musical talent and emotionally provoking, inspired song lyrics.  I also have to give Royal Tailor kudos for being, at least in my humble opinion, the best dressed bunch of the night.

Seriously, folks, these guys have not just style, but flair.

Anyways, I think I took a bazillion pictures of Royal Tailor during their performance and they pretty much all turned out awesome.  Enjoy!  (And by all means, if you ever get the chance to go see Royal Tailor in concert anywhere, GO!!!)