Finding Favour’s Debut Good Enough to Steal (Three Times Over)

I love getting packages in the mail.  Not bills, but actual packages—especially ones that have new music tucked neatly inside.

Last week, I was super excited when one of my favorite cyber pen pals, Sarah from Tennessee, e-mailed me asking for my mail mail address.  Her cryptic message said something about sending me some new music that she new I would love.  Since I am almost certainly convinced that Sarah may very well have the best job in the world, I was undeniably excited about what the mailman would be bringing me.

Sarah knows infinitely more cool people than I do, which is (and isn’t) saying something.  At the top of that list (in Alex’s mind) is Luke and Joel of for King & Country fame.

Finally, my special delivery arrived and it was almost like Christmas.  I quickly read the enclosed note, which was quite delightful and made me laugh (and was added to my scrapbook, by the way).

Then, I pulled out the shrink wrapped CD containing the self-titled debut EP of the new group, Finding Favour.

The first thing that came to my mind was, “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

Seriously, that is what I thought.

You see, the self-titled debut EP by Finding Favour and I already have a long and somewhat sordid history even though it has only been available since March.

Back in March, I had an advanced review copy of the Finding Favour EP on my iShuffle to listen to while my friend Jill and I were on a road trip.

Jill liked what she heard so much, she stole my iShuffle; still have yet to get that back.  (Hint, hint, Jill, if you are reading this—I’d really like my iShuffle back.)

Jill’s full review of the Finding Favour EP?  The following are direct quotes: “This CD is the BEST EVER!” and “I may like Finding Favour almost as much as I like Chris August!”  If you knew my friend Jill, you would know that she is a veritable nutcase about Chris August; she frequently refers to him as the ‘Justin Timberlake of Christian Music.’  She doesn’t throw around comparisons to how much she likes Chris August lightly, that’s for sure.

The second copy I had of Finding Favour’s EP my 7 year old niece stole from me in April.  Well, technically, she didn’t steal it…she just gave me the big, brown doe eyed look and asked me “Please, pretty please, can I have this?”  I mean, really, what I am supposed to say to my favorite niece in the whole wide world?  “No, you can’t have it.  Auntie B needs it for her blog.”  I don’t think so.  She’s 7, and doesn’t really care all that much about my blog unless she is prominently featured in it or it directly leads to the two of us having an all expenses paid spa day.

So, I gave it to her; and by gave it to her, I mean I gave her my entire iTouch.

Of the EP, my niece has said in her official review, “Its way better than Justin Bieber.  Can you get me a t-shirt?”

At the time I received my special delivery from my cyber pal Sarah, I had yet to hear more than the first two tracks of the Finding Favour EP, Shake the World and Love Stepped In.  I can wholeheartedly say after listening to the first two tracks that Finding Favour is way better than Justin Bieber.

I must say, however, I was feeling some very undeserved animosity towards Finding Favour.  How dare they record a project that is so good that both one of my dearest friends and beloved niece would steal from me?!  I mean, the nerve!

After the 2nd theft of a Finding Favour EP in my possession, I had given up on ever listening to the whole thing; yet, last Saturday I found myself in possession of another copy, a hard copy, of the CD.

I put the CD in at home, and Alex and I listened to the first few tracks while puttering around the house.  Without hesitation, Alex gave it a thumbs up, although he did have one question:  “Do these guys know how to hula hoop on stage while they play the guitar?”  (Alex is currently obsessed with the Bossy Frog Band.  Their guitar player hula hoops while performing.)

Honestly, I was surprised Alex even gave Finding Favour the time of day; he is devout in his loyalty to for King & Country.  If Luke and Joel start hula hooping and sport a giant frog costume while in concert, I have no doubt that Alex would forget all about the Bossy Frog Band.  So, for Finding Favour, to garner a thumbs up from Alex is roughly equivalent to winning a Grammy.

Seriously.

So, while the third track on Finding Favour’s debut project played, a song called Slip On By that I hear on the radio all the time and LOVE, I headed to the other end of the house to run the vacuum.

When I came back to the living room, the music had stopped playing.

“Alex, what happened to the music?” I asked.

“Daddy took it,” Alex replied.

Sure enough, the CD was gone.

So was Jon.

Long gone.

I’m pretty sure I’ll never see that CD again.

So, I did what any rational person would do:  I went on iTunes and bought my own copy, another copy, and made sure I have a copy stored on the Cloud for future use.

I have listened to the entire Finding Favour EP at this point, and I have to say, I can’t blame my friends and family for stealing the prior copies from me.

This CD is that good.

You don’t have to take my word for it, though; feel free to ask Jill, or Alyssa, or Alex, or Jon.

Disclaimer:  If anyone steals my current copy of Finding Favour’s EP that is downloaded on my iPhone, I may have to hold the band responsible because I can’t afford to replace another Apple product.

Just sayin’.

 

Help Rapture Ruckus Fund the Video for ‘In Crowd’!

My favorite Christian group from New Zealand, Rapture Ruckus, has a neat opportunity for their fans and supporters to help fund a video for their latest project, In Crowd.  Check out all the details in the e-mail I received earlier today below:

“To all our Ruckus family,

We have just launched our very first fan funded project.  We’re going to partner with you guys to make an amazing music video for our new song IN CROWD.

It’s been incredible seeing the response to this song.  All the #NeverGonnaBeInTheInCrowd photos you’ve been posting on our Facebook & Twitter and the messages you have sent us – so cool.  If you haven’t seen it already go to http://facebook.com/raptureruckus and scroll down the page to see all the photos.

We’ve been so inspired and would love to make the best, most impacting music video we’ve ever released.

We believe more than ever that the world needs to hear this message.  IN CROWD is all about standing up for the outcasts, the bullied, anyone who has ever felt like they don’t fit in.  And it’s about celebrating the different… and occasionally humorous… things that make us unique.

So we need YOU!  We need you guys to help us raise $15,000.  It’s not a huge budget in the world of making music videos but we have found a really supportive film production company in LA to help make it happen.   

There are a bunch of “perks” for everyone that contributes… try your hand as Band Stylist; or bring a Ruckus House Party to your place; or get some friends together and encourage one of your mates by giving them a day On Tour with us!

Here is the IN CROWD video project page: http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/rapture-ruckus-in-crowd-music-video 

Much love and respect,

Brad & the Ruckus crew”

Here’s a short little video of Brad from Rapture Ruckus talking about the In Crowd project:

Okay, its me (Beth) again…I’ve been a fan of the ‘In Crowd’ song/movement since day 1, and I’m happy to share this info with y’all in hopes that you’ll consider getting behind this much needed project.  I put my wallet where my mouth is, too…and made a donation to get the party started!  I’ve seen Rapture Ruckus twice in concert and they put on a great, high energy show…one of my favorites (just watch out for the Super Soaker!)  I haven’t seen ‘In Crowd’ in person yet–hopefully soon!

Check out an official Rapture Ruckus lyric video below:

PS $15,000 is cheap for a music video!

Allan Scott to Release ‘God in Me’

Here’s a little preview of great things to come: I recently had the opportunity to listen to a preview of Allan Scott’s forthcoming single, “God in Me”, and I can honestly say I’ve never been more excited for all of you to hear a new song than this one. I was utterly blessed to my core by this song yesterday, and I suspect people are going to respond to both this song and Allan Scott’s story in a really big way. For full details, check out the Press Release below (and mark your calendars for the iTunes release date! May 4th!)

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________
From Press Release…

ALLAN SCOTT RELEASES “GOD IN ME” MAY 4 AT ITUNES

Drug Addict, Dropout, Thief Turned Singer, Songwriter, Worship Leader –
Scott Declares Prayer Of His Life In New Song Hitting Radio May 27

Scott Takes Hopeful, Restoring Message on Radio Tour with
Jason Crabb Beginning May 26

Former drug addict, dropout, thief and loser Allan Scott found hope in his jail cell, calling on God to heal the broken pieces of his life. Twelve years later, this redeemed singer, songwriter and worship leader shares his experience in song, declaring the prayer of his life in the redemptive, hopeful “God In Me” single releasing May 4 at iTunes® and other digital retail outlets.

 

Produced by hit maker Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, TobyMac, Nichole Nordeman), the compelling new anthem from Scott is meant to lift his struggling brothers and sisters; an encouragement to hold on in the midst of troubling circumstances. Having known the pain of multiple divorces, substance abuse, homelessness and loss of personal freedom through incarceration, Scott found that the goodness of God can restore all from hopelessness.  

 

“He can and will do exceedingly above all we can ask, think or imagine,” shares Scott.  “He picked me out of the gutter and gave me a new life. It was because of His goodness and His faithfulness!  My situation seemed impossible. In my own life I have learned that God is faithful and completely able to save and restore those who come to Him! This is a powerful message for the ones who have walked away from God or for those who have never known Him. Come to Him. He is faithful. 2 Tim 2:13 states, ‘if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself.’  He is certainly able to save you and redeem the pieces of your broken life.”

 

When I was lost / In the ocean of my sin

You were faithful to me then / Now I am found

Favored and made clean / You will not fail in me

(From “God In Me”)

 

Based in State College, PA and taking his life story and music to churches, colleges, youth groups, festivals, conferences and retreats throughout the Northeast and beyond since 2003, Scott will embark on a six-day, 20-station promotional radio tour beginning May 26.  The tour, which also features Jason Crabb, starts on the Florida coast and works its way across the gulf to Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. With an add date of May 27 for “God In Me,” radio programmers are already sharing their enthusiasm for the new song. 

 

“This song was a true blessing to me, and I’m sure it will be to the RevFM listeners, too!” says Erik Lane, WRXV 90.5 RevFM (State College, PA).

The new single follows Scott’s 2012 Blameless and Free EP that was written by Allan Scott, co-written and produced by award winning music producer/songwriter Scott Davis (Kutless, Rush of Fools), and mixed by Allen Salmon (Building 429, Starfield).  Characterized by lyrical depth, the project resounds with the message of God’s redemption and grace.  In support of the recording, Scott went on a 15-city radio tour with Paul Baloche and Travis Ryan, as well as shared the stage with artists like Big Daddy Weave, Anthem Lights and Abandon. In October 2012 he also led a campus wide worship event at Andrew Wommack Ministries International/Charis Bible College in Colorado Springs, CO.

 

For all the latest Allan Scott news, including tour dates and his recent mission trip to Myanmar (Burma), etc., go to www.allanscottmusic.com.  Scott also shares his amazing testimony during a CBN The 700 Club interview at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYAGU7yGBvg.

 

https://www.facebook.com/allanscottmusic   @AllanScottMusic     http://www.youtube.com/allanscottmusic

Former Delirious? frontman, Martin Smith, to Release First Solo Album

I’m super excited to share this press release with my readers!  I am a long time super fan of Delirious?, particularly of the voice and lyrical stylings of Martin Smith.  Mark my words, this album is going to be spectacular!  Stupendous!  Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!  (I think you get the picture!)

 

FROM PRESS RELEASE–

FORMER DELIRIOUS? FRONTMAN MARTIN SMITH RELEASES FIRST

SOLO ALBUM, GOD’S GREAT DANCE FLOOR, STEP 01, APRIL 23

 

Album Marks Musical Rebirth For Singer / Songwriter Often Credited With

Founding The Modern Worship Movement

 

 

Set for release April 23, Martin Smith’s first full-length solo debut, God’s Great Dance Floor, Step 01, is a 12-song collection of personal revival songs born out of a reinvigorated season of living in community with everyday believers.  A welcoming invitation to prodigals and faithful alike, God’s Great Dance Floor, Step 01 (and Step 02, slated to release October 2013) is a reminder that God’s grace is for everyone. From the opening strains of “Awake My Soul,” longtime Delirious? fans will hear the clarion call of Martin’s voice, strong as ever, declaring a resurrection of his soul.

 

For frontman, co-founder and primary songwriter Martin, a 20-something kid at the start and now a husband and father of six children, Delirious? was a big door to close. Martin and Anna, his wife of 18 years, packed up their family and moved to Brighton, a coastal town south of London, submerging themselves once again in worship ministry alongside Matt Redman and others at St. Peter’s, a Holy Trinity Brompton church plant. Getting back to a normal life after decades spent on stages around the world took some getting used to.

 

“When you enter a transition period, there’s a lot of uncertainty. You’re letting go of a lot of things, bit by bit—the microphone, your finances, even some sense of your identity—but as you find yourself more dependent on God, you begin to really experience his kindness. You see him show up in incredible ways, you see his provision, discover new opportunities and favor. Things you thought were lost start to reappear. Three years on, God has given me some new things to say, and I’m so incredibly grateful…”

 

With many of the songs written in collaboration with young worship leaders and novice musicians at St. Peter’s, God’s Great Dance Floor, Step 01 is a joyful labor of love for this seasoned songwriter/worship leader. “I see my role as different now,” he says, “I want to invest in the next generation coming through, reminding everyone of what it really is to worship with our lives, serving, keeping your hands clean—I feel the responsibility of those things more and more.”

 

“Back to the Start,” co-written by Martin and 2013 GRAMMY winner Jonas Myrin (“10,000 Reasons (Bless The Lord)”), sets the tone for the record, building from a hard reality to a full-on pop dance celebration, complete with brass horns. “It’s a prodigal song about finding my way back to everything that matters most; finding God in it all again,” Martin says. His very personal story is beautifully portrayed in the song’s new concept video to release soon and featuring Martin’s teenage daughter, Elle, in the lead role.  Every nuance of the video is intentional as it unfolds Martin’s story.

 

The album also features the modern rock anthem “Fire Never Sleeps,” which opens the recent, critically acclaimed Jesus Culture With Martin Smith:  Live From New York album, the contemplative ballad “Catch Every Teardrop,” which was inspired by Psalm 52 and the near fatal car crash that almost claimed Martin’s life — a pivotal event that led to the formation of Delirious? back in 1997, and “You Carry Me,” a song of comfort for a friend whose husband recently died.  Martin also co-wrote four songs with Chris Tomlin, including “Waiting Here For You” with its message of the fragility of our humanity and how waiting is perhaps the most difficult act of worship.

 

When Martin Smith and his band Delirious? emerged in the U.S. back in 1997, having already impacted a generation of UK youth with its passionate call for revival, most agree that the modern worship movement officially began. The hope of that movement and the music that came out of it—“I Could Sing of Your Love Forever,” “Deeper,” “Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble?,” “Shout To The North” and a string of other modern worship standards—has irrevocably changed the landscape of Christian music in the U.S. and around the world. Long before 2009’s farewell concert, RIAA certified Gold-selling and GRAMMY nominated band Delirious? had become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Like their song “History Maker” that landed on 1998’s King of Fools, the band became ‘history makers’ themselves.

 

“I don’t think God is worried about the platform he’s given me in the past,” Martin says of this new season of personal revival feeding into ministry. “He’s worried most about my heart. If that’s in a good place, he’ll use it… at church, in stadiums, wherever he will. All you want to do is be someone of influence, but it doesn’t have to be on a global stage. It never did. Having said that, it’s part of my life, to have that voice. And my prayer is that God will use this new music to remind people of his grace, to remind them of his heart for the poor and broken and of his Kingdom coming on Earth.” 

 

Still making relevant music, Martin’s God’s Great Dance Floor, Step 01 springs from a man refreshed, revived and reconnected with Jesus and with his Church.  Excited to play a lead role in the ongoing call to worship, he is a passionate model for young worship leaders of today.

 

2013 Juno Award Nominees for Christian/Gospel Album of the Year

I have something totally embarrassing to admit as a precursor to this blog.

Why the heck didn’t I know Justin Bieber is Canadian?

I guess the saying “You learn something new every day” is true.

Anyways, as I was doing some research on the Juno Awards and nominees for 2013, I came upon this startling revelation about Justin Bieber.  Truth be told, I actually kind of like him more now that I know he’s Canadian.  (I like Canada, and Canadians, a lot.  It’s a long and somewhat boring story so I won’t bother you with it here.) 

I’m also way more confused than ever after reading the list of Juno Award nominees.  First, I discovered that to be nominated in most categories for a Juno, you have to actually be Canadian.  That’s kind of neat…I guess.  (Another shocker:  both Carly Rae Jepsen and Nickelback are Canadian.  In the case of Nickelback, I guess this goes to show that even a fantastic place like Canada can produce  a dud every now and again.)  I also learned that one of the nomination categories is for something called a ‘Francophone Album of the Year’, which even after Googling what that would be left me more confused than I was to begin with.  (A not so shocking fact:  Celine Dion is Canadian.  I think she was nominated in every category except for “Best Aboriginal Recording”, which leads me to more questions…what is an aboriginal recording anyway, and aren’t aboriginal people technically from Australia?  So how can they be nominated for a Juno if they aren’t Canadian?  I’m super confused.  My uncultured American-ness is showing, I guess.)

So, since I am way confused about many things related to the Juno Awards, I will stick to what I know best:  Christian/Gospel music.  With that in mind, a big huge congratulations to the nominees for Christian/Gospel Album of the Year:  Colin Bernard for ‘Hold On’, Manafest for ‘Fighter’, Newworldson for ‘Rebel Transmission’,  The City Harmonic for ‘I Have a Dream (Feels Like Home)’, and Thousand Foot Krutch for ‘The End is Where We Begin’.

Seriously , with the exception of Colin Bernard who I do not know much about, this is a tight group of nominees.  Of course, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time you know that The City Harmonic are my boys.  I love them!  I also am a fan of Thousand Foot Krutch and Newworldson, and just recently was introduced to the music and story of Manafest, who I’ve written about on the blog.  He’s really big both in Canada and internationally.

I seriously would not want to be the Canadians in charge of picking the winners in this category!

In case you aren’t familiar with any of these uber talented Canadians, check out the YouTube footage below and see who you think will win the Juno for this category.  (Personally, I think they are already all winners just because they are Canadian!)

(FYI–some of these videos may be from prior projects…I’m just picking my favorites, people!)

Colin Bernard:  Hold On

Manafest, “Fighter”

Newworldson, Rebel Transmission

The City Harmonic, I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home)

Thousand Foot Krutch, War of Change

Mandisa News!

One of my favorite ladies, Mandisa, has a busy day in store tomorrow, February 20th, 2013! First up, the multi-Grammy nominated sweetheart will be performing her hit song, ‘Stronger’ on Good Morning America in celebration of Robin Roberts triumphant return to the show after a near death battle with cancer. GMA had previously used ‘Stronger’ as an anthem of sorts during updates about Roberts’ progress following her bone marrow transplant treatment in 2012. This will not be Mandisa’s first time on GMA; in August 2012, Mandisa performed a rollicking rendition of the song ‘Good Morning’ from her latest album, ‘What If We Were Real’, along with Mr. tobyMac. Mandisa is set to sing ‘Stronger’ tomorrow during the 8 o’clock hour on Good Morning America (ABC).

Following her performance on GMA, Mandisa will head over to the popular daytime TV show, The Doctors, to discuss her weight loss journey with Dr. Travis Stork. (Anyone remember him from The Bachelor? I do!) According to my Mother, who unbeknownst to me until today is an AVID fan of The Doctors, the show is on NBC here in Fort Wayne at 9 am and 11 am.  Apparently, it is such a popular show here in Northeast Indiana that they need to air it twice daily.  If you aren’t fortunate enough to live in Indiana, you can find out where to tune in in your neck of the woods at The Doctors official website, http://www.thedoctorstv.com.

After her TV appearances, Mandisa will be jetting off on a 23 city 3 in 1 tour along with Brandon Heath and Laura Story.  I’m taking my sister and 7 year old niece to go see the show on April 12th in Indianapolis and can’t wait! (Side Note to my sister, Stacy–if you are reading this, you best act real surprised when you open the tickets for your birthday!)

If you want to practice singing along to ‘Stronger’ so you’ll be ready for both Mandisa’s appearance on GMA and her upcoming tour, check out the video below of her performing ‘Stronger’ live in studio.  (Okay, I have to write one more side note:  I love Mandisa SO much that I have even been known to sing AND dance along with her at her concerts.  I NEVER do that, which is a testament to the lovely and talented Mandisa’s spirited performances.  She’s a true Jesus loving gem!  Definitely check out her TV appearances tomorrow, and if you get the chance, go see her on tour this spring!)

Harlem Shake (Winter Jam Edition)

The lovely folks over at Winter Jam recently shared the following video of the tour’s 2013 bands and staff doing the Harlem Shake.  Since I am currently obsessed with the Harlem Shake and thought this particular video was pretty hilarious (and I’ve watched A LOT of Harlem Shake videos on YouTube lately, which I probably shouldn’t admit but oh well…) I thought I would share here with you.

My only critique of the video is that it looks like the Winter Jammers are having so much fun on tour that it may in fact be illegal in some parts of the country; hence, the reason why they are selling out show after show all over the country.  Love it!  (And if you have the chance to go check out Winter Jam 2013, go and get there early so you don’t become a Winter Jam Reject 🙂 )

The City Harmonic News!

Instagram photo of Eric Fusilier's triumphant return to the stage with The City Harmonic after beating cancer

Instagram photo of Eric Fusilier’s triumphant return to the stage with The City Harmonic after beating cancer

Yesterday was a super big day for music news!  It was both Grammy Weekend and the opening weekend for the Rock & Worship Roadshow, to name but a few things that were happening in the world of Christian Music.  Even with these two huge events happening, however, these weren’t the stories that caught my attention this morning when I looked over my social media feeds.

Nope, it was a single, inauspicious tweet and instagram photo that caught from The City Harmonic that caught my attention.

Now, if you aren’t familiar with The City Harmonic, you should be!  This band of Canadian rockers has one of if not the very best live performances around, not to mention the fact that their critically acclaimed debut release, I Have a Dream (It Feels Like Home) is the bomb.

Yet, just a year ago in January of 2012 the band’s world was seemingly rocked when bassist Eric Fusilier was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Leukemia known as ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia).  In a letter posted on The City Harmonic’s website on January 12th, 2012, the band wrote:  “It is with a heavy and yet hopeful heart that we ask your help in prayer. A few nights ago, our brother-in-Christ and bandmate Eric Fusilier was feeling weak and unable to move. As such, he and his wife visited the doctor and underwent a series of tests. Within a matter of hours they received a phone call urging them to hurry him to a hospital for further tests and to treat some serious concerns.  Thankfully, this is a treatable and potentially curable cancer, however it will be a challenging road ahead for Eric and Laura’s families as well as their friend and family. For now, we simply ask that you join with us in prayer for the Eric, Laura, and all those touched by him. Please pray for his health and well-being, and thank God for his courage and continued good-spirits in this difficult time.”

After a brief remission of the disease in March, the band reported that Eric had suffered a heartbreaking relapse on Easter in April of 2012.  As Eric faced additional treatments and a difficult stem cell transplant, the band wrote the following on their website:  “Yet again we are asking for your support and prayer through this difficult time, specifically for Eric’s health as well as the emotional and mental well-being of those around him and close to him. We are trusting this Easter weekend that just as Christ rose from the grave and defeated death, that we live for the God who is capable of defeating death and all of his agents, including Leukemia.”

So, you’re probably wondering about that tweet that caught my attention this morning.

It simply said, “For the first time in over a year (and since beating cancer) we were joined onstage tonight by the one and only Eric Fusilier!”

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

I’m so happy for Eric and his family and friends on his triumphant return to the stage with The City Harmonic!  Truly, these are some of the nicest guys you could ever care to meet.  Check out the band’s official video for “Mountaintop” below, which features an especially poignant appearance by Eric that was filmed in the midst of his treatments.  I think the lyrics “We’ve been to the mountaintop. We’ve seen the glory of our God.  He is here in the valley low, He’s here I feel it in my bones, Our God, here and now We are the body of our God…What happens to me now I know for sure that we’ve been changed somehow and we’ll be the glory of our King In His kingdom come” are especially meaningful considering Eric’s journey back to health, supported by his bandmates, family and friends in prayer.

 

Side Note:  I’m really looking forward to seeing Eric play with The City Harmonic when they come to South Bend for the World Pulse Festival in August!

2013 Grammy Winners!

February 10th, 2013 was a big night at the Grammy’s for Christian Music!  Here’s a quick run down of the winners:

Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance–Matt Redman. Such a well-deserved win! I also love Matt Redman’s response to his win on Twitter. He said, “We wrote this song for the glory of God, so He gets all the glory today, too.” Beautiful!

The category for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song of the year was a tough one. So many great songs to choose from in this category! Nominees included 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Mark Hall and Matthew West, Your Presence is Heaven by Israel Houghton and Michah Massey, When Mercy Found Me by Jeff Pardo and Rhett Walker, and White Flag by Jason Ingram, Matt Maher, Matt Redman, and Chris Tomlin. (Side note: I wonder how Matt Redman must have felt to be competing against himself for this category? That’s awesome!) I have to admit, I was kind of pulling for my home boy Rhett Walker’s When Mercy Found Me, but the award was given jointly to 10,000 Reasons and Your Presence is Heaven. Both are truly great songs, and very well deserved wins for the songwriters. If you aren’t familiar with Your Presence is Heaven (To Me), check out the lyric video below on YouTube:

The winner for Best Gospel Album this year was Gravity by Lecrae. If I’m being very candid, of all the well deserved awards given out last night this one is probably tops. I’m not typically a big fan of rap music, but for a solid couple of months last summer I was completely hooked on Gravity. Couldn’t get enough of it! Lecrae is an amazing man of God, and you can check out his inspiring testimony below:

Another tough category at the Grammy’s was the Best Contemporary Christian Album. Nominated for the award was Eye On It by tobyMac, Come to the Well by the Casting Crowns, Where I Find You by Kari Jobe, Gold by Britt Nicole, and Into the Light by Matthew West. All of the nominees in this category had stellar projects and stellar years last year, but my one of my own favorites, tobyMac, walked away the big winner. Congratulations to Mr. Mac on the win and to the nominees! (As Matthew West said on Twitter, “I’m getting pretty good at saying ‘It’s just an honor to be nominated.’ Ha! Congrats to @therealtobymac on a well-deserved Grammy!”) You can check out tobyMac’s video for Eye On It featuring fellow nominee Britt Nicole below:

Breaking Jars of Clay News!

Hot off of Facebook & Twitter, Jars of Clay just officially announced the following:

“As of an hour ago, our record is mixed!  We are super excited, and working on the best means with which to get it to you a little later this year.”

That’s all, as I’m going to go jump up and down in excitement and perhaps listen to Revolution (one of my favorite Jars of Clay song) a few (hundred) times.

If you want, though, you can hang out here and watch the classic JOC video for Flood(You’re welcome!)

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!