Caught Dreaming–Andy Mineo featuring for King & Country

So, I recently sort of discovered a new (to me) artist that I really kind of like by the name of Andy Mineo. According to the essential reference guide known as Wikipedia, Mineo is a Christian hip hop artist, producer, minister, actor, and music video and TV director from New York City. He is signed to Reach Records, and his first mixtape was released in 2009 and has what I’m thinking is the best title EVER…Sin is Wack (vol. 1).  Mineo has sang background vocals for Lecrae and collaborated with both Tedashii on his album Blacklight and Lecrae on his award winning album Gravity.  His first full length release, Heroes For Sale, with Reach Records hit stores on April 16th, 2013.

One of my favorite songs on the album is the song Caught Dreaming, which features my favorite Australian born dynamic duo, for King & Country’s Luke & Joel. You can check out the YouTube video for the song below, and the entire album is for sale on iTunes (and for previewing on Spotify!) Check it out and let me know what you think!

 

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’.

 

The Great Debate: Is Christian music as good musically as other genres?

If someone said to you, “I just don’t think Christian music is good music. The lyrics are great, but it’s just not as good, musically” – what would you say?

Who’s music would you play for them or give to them, to try to convince them otherwise?

This topic is a frequent source of conversation among me, my family and friends.  I personally like to recommend tobyMac, for King & Country and The City Harmonic to naysayers of Christian music to prove my point.  

What do you think?  Who would you recommend?

Leave a comment below, or shoot me an e-mail to let me know which Christian performers/bands debunk the myth that Christian music isn’t as good musically as other styles of music. 

Cute Baby Alert!

Luke, 1/2 of for King & Country fame, today posted a new pic of his adorable 3 month old son, Jude, on Twitter.  Baby Jude is super cute and sporting some mega chunky baby cheeks and a sweet little smile in the picture!  To see the picture of Jude on his Dad & Uncle Joel’s Twitter feed, click here.

There are certainly some cute little Christian Music baby boys making their debuts lately, from Jude of fK&C to Meredith Andrew’s Remington and Rapture Ruckus’ cutie-pie, Roman Dring (son of lead singer Brad Dring).

Maybe Britt Nicole and Group 1 Crew’s Bianca will have girls later this year to even out the crowd?

For King & Country’s New Single, Middle of Your Heart!

My favorite percussion wielding, Jay Leno guest appearing, brotherly dynamic duo have a brand new single out off of their super fierce debut album, Crave.  

The song?

Middle of Your Heart.

I’m thinking the song gets its title because once you listen to it, the lyrics will go straight to the middle of your heart.  Here’s a brief sampling of what I mean:

This is where it begins
This is where all the worry ends
This is where I say I don’t need to have control

This is where I admit
I don’t know how to handle it
Life in all of this chaos
You’re my only hope
And all that I have to offer
Is the white flag of surrender

So take me to the middle of Your heart
Lead me to wherever Your love starts
To a new day dawning
To the place You are
And if You want to take me over the edge
I’ll let you cause Your love is where I’ll land
Wanna be right where You are,
In the middle of Your heart

As you might expect, my 6 year old Alex (one of the world’s biggest For King & Country fans) loves this song.

A lot.

As a matter of fact, so do I; so we highly suggest you take a listen to it, then call everyone you know and tell them to  listen to it, and then call every radio station that you know and ask them to play it…

Well, I think you get the general idea.

Just go listen to it!

http://www.wfrnfriendfest.com/

The complete line up for the WFRN Friend Fest was announced this morning and it’s spectacular!  I didn’t think WFRN could top last year, and I for sure didn’t think the line-up could possibly get much better after hearing the line-up of stellar headliners planned.  I love it when I’m wrong!  Here’s a complete breakdown of who’s coming…I think you’ll see many of my favorites on this list!

  1. TobyMac
  2. Matthew West
  3. Building 429
  4. Peter Furler
  5. Big Daddy Weave
  6. Kari Jobe
  7. Jamie Grace
  8. for King & Country (YESSS!!!)
  9. Rhett Walker Band
  10. Moriah Peters
  11. Finding Favour
  12. Hyland (Yay!)
  13. The Neverclaim
  14. Mosteller

Seriously, the WFRN Fest was my favorite festival I went to last year for a lot of reasons.  Amish Acres is beautiful, the whole thing was incredibly well-run, and the food and beverages were the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere.  (Need I mention they had David Crowder, Casting Crowns, Tenth Avenue North, Sanctus Real, and the Sidewalk Prophets in the line-up?)

I’ve already put in on my calendar for 2013 and bought my $29 two-day pass…you should too!

Why Alex Won’t Go To Bed; And Once Again, for King & Country is Kind of To Blame

Alex viewing his video from Joel & Luke of for King & Country for the first time

Crave–for King & Country

I have eluded many times in the past that my son may in fact be one of the biggest little for King & Country fans on the planet.

For sure, he is the biggest little for King & Country fan in Indiana and most likely the entire midwestern region.  His fandom was no doubt cemented last week when I received a very special little video mail for Alex from the for King & Country guys, Joel and Luke, that their very kind publicist, Sarah, made for him after reading my blog.  (To view the video that sent Alex into giddy spasms of joy, click here.)

Of course, Joel & Luke’s tidbit of video advice happened to coincide with an epic implosion of my iPhone and dinosaur desktop computer the other day that I store all of my purchased music on.  When I connected my iPhone to my computer, everything, and I mean everything, crashed and burned.  Bye bye, for King & Country and every other CD I’ve imported to my iTunes collection.

At first, I didn’t realize exactly how dire this situation was until Alex’s bedtime rolled around.

Precisely at 8:30 pm, Alex appeared next to my chair in the front room, freshly bathed and in his pajamas with his hand extended. Without thinking, I handed over my iPhone, knowing that was what he wanted…his bedtime music.  He gave me a hug and kiss and I heard his footsteps as they padded down the hallway towards his bedroom and up the ladder into his fire truck bunk bed.

Moments later, I heard what I can only describe as a shriek from Alex’s bedroom. “Mo-om!!!! I can’t find for King & Country on here!”

Uh oh.

I got up from my chair and made my way to Alex’s room.  He was perched on the edge of his bed, his gangly six-year-old boy legs hanging over the edge as he frantically poked and swiped at my iPhone in desperation.

“Sweetheart, remember Mommy’s computer and phone crashed?  I’m going to have to find the for King & Country CD and re-import it on my laptop before I can put it back on my phone.  It’s probably going to take a few days,” I said slowly, calmly, like I was trying to talk down a jumper off of a ledge.

Let me tell you, at the moment Alex looked like a jumper on a ledge.

“WHAT?!?”  Alex retorted with vehemence.  “Tell me, Mom,  how I am supposed to get any sleep around here?  You know I have to listen to for King & Country to help me relax!”

Keep in mind, my son is 6.  Apparently, when you’re 6 years old and your mother still pretty much does everything for you, relaxation is hard to come by.

“Well, you could listen to Owl City.  You like Owl City!”  I suggest.

“Not at bedtime, Mom.  Owls freak me out at night.”

“You do realize that owls aren’t really in Owl City, right?” I ask.

Alex just glares at me.

“Okay, what about Toby Mac?  You love ‘Me Without You’!”  I’m thinking this is a good suggestion.  He really does like Toby Mac.

“Do you want me to go to sleep or do you want me to dance, Mom?  You decide.”

I begin to think Alex may have a career as a lawyer when he grows up.

“Alright, what about the Sidewalk Prophets?  Remember how much you used to love ‘Love Love Love’ and ‘Wrecking Ball’?  I could even go get your autographed t-shirt to wear!”

Alex looked at me like I was some kind of deranged lunatic.  “Mom, that’s so lame.  I was, like, 5 then.  I want for King & Country!”

I sighed and sat down on the little wooden desk chair in Alex’s room.  I felt like I was negotiating with a terrorist, and as such, I felt compelled not to give in to his demands even though in the back of my mind I knew for King & Country’s album “Crave” was just a click away on iTunes for $7.99.

From across the room, my eyes met Alex’s and we were engaged in a fierce stare down to see who would look away first.

I was just about to win when Alex said with his big, baby blue eyes that I adore more than anything in the whole wide world, “Momma, what does it mean to hound someone?”

Puzzled by where this was going to go, I responded “It means to bug someone until you get either the answer you want or you get what you want.  Why do you ask  that?”

“Because Luke and Joel told me in that video they sent me to keep hounding you and to keep listening to my for King & Country CD.  Don’t you remember, Mom?”

To summarize, the final score from last night’s debate:

Alex: 1, Me: 0, iTunes: $7.99

(On a humorous side note, after Alex viewed the video mail from for King & Country for the first time, he asked me, “Mom, what language are they speaking?”  I explained that they speak English, like we do, but they are from Australia, so it sounds a little different to him.  Alex’s new ambition in life is to learn to speak ‘Australian’.  He also made his own didgeridoo, which is an aboriginal Australian instrument that we read about in a book, out of a paper towel tube.  I don’t have the heart to tell him that’s not one of the instruments in for King & Country’s band.  I don’t want to be a dream killer!)

Tuesday Tunes: New Christmas Music From For King & Country and Sidewalk Prophets!

Here’s a little known fact about me: I love Christmas music.

In fact, I love Christmas music so much that I have been known to listen to it in February, as well as the middle of summer, and sometimes even during post-season baseball games. (Yes, Michael Buble, I’m talking about you.)

I love Christmas music so much that I keep running categories of my favorite songs in my mind.  First, there’s Christmas music that’s actually about the true meaning of Christmas.  These songs can all be found in a church hymnal somewhere.  Then, in a separate category there are songs about Santa Claus and his associates, such as Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer and Frosty the Snowman.  In yet another category are the romantical Christmas songs by perennial favorites like Karen Carpenter, Mariah Carey, and of course, Barry Manilow. (Is romantical even a word?  If not, I think it should be!) Finally, there’s a category of “Just Because” Christmas songs…”Just Because” I like them, that is.  Think ‘Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer’ and ‘I Want a Hippopotamus For Christmas’.   (Although come to think of it, technically both of those could be considered songs about Santa Claus.  I guess since they aren’t very flattering towards the big man in red, I felt the need to put them in a separate category).

For today’s Tuesday’s Tunes Playlist, I thought I would write about the freshly released Christmas tunes from two of my top three current favorite Christian music groups:  For King & Country and the Sidewalk Prophets. For King & Country’s new song is called ‘Baby Boy’ and the Sidewalk Prophet’s song is called ‘Because It’s Christmas’. Both songs were released today, Tuesday, October 16th, 2012 on iTunes as part of the “Very Special Christmas: Bringing Peace on Earth” project to benefit the Special Olympics.

First up, let’s talk about For King & Country’s ‘Baby Boy’.  There’s not much to say, except that I love it!  It has all of the elements of a classic Christmas song:  lyrics with vivid imagery, sweeping vocals, and of course, sleigh bells.  I never would have guessed a song titled as unassumingly and, quite frankly, kind of as boring as, ‘Baby Boy’ would be so good.  That’s one of the reasons I think For King & Country is so fantastic: you can always expect the unexpectedly good from them!  I’ve added the official lyric video for ‘Baby Boy’ to my official Tuesday Tunes Pinterest Board, and you can view it by clicking here(The video is, as you might expect, pretty awesome!)  You can also listen to ‘Baby Boy’ on Spotify by clicking below:

for King & Country – Baby Boy

Moving on to the Sidewalk Prophets and their song, ‘Because It’s Christmas’.  I think it’s only fair to say I love this song, too!  I really like how this song seems to cut to the heart of what’s really important about Christmas, and it’s not pumpkin pie, standing in long lines at Toys R Us, or any of the other assorted holiday stressors that accompany the end of the year.  ‘Because It’s Christmas’ is positive, it’s encouraging, and it’s consistent in directing all attention heavenwards.  In other words, it’s trademark Sidewalk Prophets, and that’s a very, very good thing.

Sidewalk Prophets Christmas

(Side Note:  I feel compelled to mention for any other Christmas music aficionados out there that may love the song ‘O Holy Night’ as much as I do…if you visit the Sidewalk Prophets iTunes page, for $2.99 you can purchase the ‘Because It’s Christmas’ EP that includes, of course, ‘Because It’s Christmas’, the previously released and totally awesome ‘Hope Was Born This Night’, and ‘O Holy Night’.   ‘O Holy Night’ has been one of my favorite Christmas songs since I first heard it during the movie Home Alone in 1990. As such, you can only imagine my giddiness when I saw it listed as a track on the ‘Because It’s Christmas’ EP.  I wasn’t disappointed, either; quite frankly, it may have been the best use of $2.99 EVER!)

So, there you have it!  Tuesday’s Tunes for the Week of 10/16/2012.  I’m sure I will get several e-mails from those of you who are not happy that I’ve chosen to write about Christmas music prior to Halloween, but in my defense, Kohl’s department stores have had Christmas decorations up for 2 weeks now so I feel justified in writing one little blog post about Christmas music.  I promise to hold off writing about Mandisa’s new Christmas album, and Josh Wilson’s new Christmas album, and….well, I’ll try to wait at least until after Halloween, but no promises!

Tuesday Tunes Playlist

Dear Readers:
I’ve received quite a few e-mails lately asking me about what my music playlist sounds like lately. Yes, I’m aware that I have been somewhat negligent in writing about music lately, and I do apologize for that.  So for fun today I thought I would post a Tuesday Tunes Playlist of what I have been listening to lately and what has been speaking to my heart. Enjoy!
#15—The Words I Would Say (Sidewalk Prophets)—Yep, I realize that this is kind of classic.  It’s by far the oldest song on this list. Lately, this song has been popping up in my life in weird places when I need a boost.  For instance, I was in a real foul mood at Gordon Food Service shopping for a picnic at church last weekend, and sandwiched in between songs by The Cure and Bon Jovi was ‘The Words I Would Say’.  Very strange, but in a good way.  It definitely brought a smile to my face and turned my attitude around in record time.
#14—Obsolete (Sara Groves)—I really like Sara Groves.  She has a haunting quality to her voice and the lyrics to her songs are just flat out brilliant.  This song just kind of hits my feelings on the head lately, and in a way that I don’t think even I could describe as well as Sara does in this song.  Highly recommended listening, along with the rest of the her album ‘Invisible Empires’.
#13—Redeemed (Big Daddy Weave)—This song just touches my heart every time I hear it, which fortunately is quite frequently as it’s getting a lot of radio play these days in my neck of the woods.  I think this may be my all-time favorite BDW song!
#12—Higher (Lecrae featuring Tenth Avenue North)—I have to admit, when I first saw this song listed on Lecrae’s newest album, Gravity, I did a double take.  Lecrae…and Tenth Avenue North?  How exactly would something like that work, anyway?  Well, let me say for the record it works quite beautifully.  Great song, I totally love it.  Further proof (at least to me) that Tenth Avenue North makes everything better!
#11—Gold (Britt Nicole)—There are a lot of really good songs on Britt Nicole’s latest project.  If I had to pick one, I’d say ‘Gold’ is one of my favorites.  Without fail, it brightens my day and gets me going no matter what else might be going on.
#10—Pushing on a Pull Door (For King & Country)—Yes, for those of you in the know, this is my theme song.  I have written an entire short story based upon inspiration derived from this song. Luckily, I haven’t actually been hanging upside down lately like I was in the story I shared, but I’ve definitely been pushing on some pull doors lately. 
#9—Good Morning (Mandisa featuring TobyMac)—Here’s a no fail recipe for a song that I will love:  Have Mandisa sing something positive and upbeat, and toss in some TobyMac for good measure.  Seriously, that’s a no fail recipe for a great song.  These two together are like peanut butter and jelly (well, that might not be the best example since I’m allergic to peanut butter). Anyway, I think you get the picture.
#8—For the First Time Again (Jason Gray)—I’ve just recently discovered Jason Gray, and I’m quickly becoming a fan.  This song really hit me the other day while I was driving along in my car, as it very accurately described a place in my life I’ve been feeling lately.  I’ve listened to it a lot in the time since then.  If you are feeling a little run down, I would recommend listening to this song for sure!
#7—Opposite Way (Leeland)—I had a strange experience with this song over the weekend.  Honestly, if I’ve listened to this song once, I’ve listened to it a hundred times  as I love the CD Opposite Way.  Yet, as I was driving along the highway on interstate I-469 on Sunday, Opposite Way came on the radio and it was as if I heard it for the first time.  I was struck by the lyrics, and I swear it was like I never really heard what was being said in this song before.  I would encourage you if you don’t have this CD to get it, or at the very least look up the lyrics to this song.   Beautiful, poignant, touching.  Definitely go check it out!
#6—All I see is You (Trevor Morgan)—I really like Trevor Morgan’s CD, The Blessed and the Broken. If you don’t have it, you should. It’s really, really good.  I’ve been listening to All I See Is You a lot lately, and it has become the prayerof my heart these last few weeks. Another highly recommended song, and CD.
#5—Angel By Your Side (Francesca Battistelli)—Her name maybe difficult to spell and kind of hard to say, but definitely worth the effort.  I love this song, as it has been both an encouragement and comfort to me lately. 
#4—Even If (Kutless)—I’m a longtime fan of Kutless, and as such I have to admit that their latest project “Believer” is one of my favorites.  What I like about Kutless is that they sing the truth.  They aren’t compelled to make everything tidy and neat, and they tend to cut straight to the heart of what really matters.  I really admire them for that.  Even If is one of those songs that is a brilliant amalgamation of hard truths amidst a unifying hope in the Lord.  For sure, if you haven’t yet, you’ll want to give this song a listen.
#3—Center of It (Chris August)—I posted a review on my blog awhile back about Chris August’s new CD, The Upside of Down.  It’s been in a continual state of replay since I got it back in August.  It was hard to pick just one song off of the album to include on this playlist, but I decided to go with Center of It because of the reminder it provides me that no matter what is going on in my life, God is in the center of it all.  Worth a listen (or a hundred!)
#2—Never (Hyland)—Okay, here’s my rant for today.  I think Hyland is one of most underrated groups in Christian music today.  They have some really great songs and I so enjoy listening to their CD, Weights and Measures.  They also have a single out called “Beauty in the Broken,” which I think is spectacular.   Their song, Never, is also a standout in my book.   The lyrics are so relatable and heartfelt that I find myself coming back to listen to this song over and over. 
#1—Banner of Love (Luminate)—This is such an awesome song it should be mandatory listening for everyone.  If everyone listened to this song, and then attempted to live by the lyrics, the world would no doubt be a more beautiful place.  Truthfully, if you haven’t heard this song yet, you need to listen to it and you’ll see why it’s my #1 pick on my playlist this week! 
And there you have it!  You can view pins of all of these videos on my Pinterest Board, Tuesday Tunes Playlist!
Much Love,
Beth