180 Records in association with Authentic Media are proud to present ‘A Voice for Stella”, a compilation album supporting the work of the anti trafficking charity, Stella’s Voice. The album features some of the best Christian artists in the UK today, such as: Philippa Hanna, Guvna B, and Daughters of Davis, and also showcases new artists such as White Goose Posse and Royal Foundlings. http://www.stellasvoice.tublr.com
Christian Musician Summit Nashville enjoyed a second successful year for its two-day educational event that attracted attendees from seven states and the United Kingdom for workshops and performances featuring some of Christian music’s top musicians and industry professionals, including Brenton Brown, One Sonic Society (featuring Jason Ingram, Stu G & Paul Mabury), Phillip LaRue, Sarah Macintosh, Dave Cleveland, Ian Eskelin, Don Poythress, Adam Nutti and many others. CMS Nashville was held recently at Belmont Church on Music Row. “We love bringing the Christian Musician Summit to Nashville,” says Bruce Adolph, co-founder of the Christian Music Summit conferences and president of the Adolph Agency, Inc. “This year was especially exciting with our move to Music Row. Many thanks to the amazing musicians and industry leaders who led workshops and performed at the event.” Attendees participated in two days of workshops taught by Nashville musicians and industry professionals. Friday’s sessions included intensives (a.k.a. boot camps) for songwriters, vocals, guitar, bass, drums, keys, audio, and choir. Saturday featured a variety of workshops on these, and other topics, including leadership and indie artists. For more information, visit www.christianmusiciansummit.com
Twelve-year-old YouTube sensation CHRISTOPHER DUFFLEY, who is blind and has autism, has released his debut CD, Eyes of My Heart. The 11-song collection features inspirational and patriotic songs, including “Amazing Grace,” “Lean On Me,” “God Bless the USA,” and “Open The Eyes of My Heart,” the song from which the CD title was taken.
SPRING HARVEST : The Source. (Elevation : ELE1830D)
As we leave summer festival season behind so we move into the inevitable plethora of follow up cds and songbooks of which this is one. Indeed, should you feel so inclined you can buy a 2013 Spring Harvest Praise songbook to go along with this. You may feel that this writer does not feel too excited about the prospect and you would be right. I was, and have in the past welcomed the opportunity to be reminded of what is happening in the Christian Worship scene but this cd has reminded me that it isn’t always good. Let’s start with some positives. You get two cds, one featuring full band arrangements, the “electric” disc if you like, the other featuring a more acoustic and stripped back feel. That makes it good value and creates two different ambiences and feels. On the bad side, the electric disc is generally poor with little to offer in the way of genuinely inspiring new material. It may sound harsh but after listening once I did not feel it warranted a second listen. It’s good “musak” but that’s about it. The second, acoustic disc, is much better with some songs that are least memorable. “Faith is Rising” has a fresh chord sequence and movement to it even if it starts to get little bogged down melody wise in the chorus. Graham Kendrick’s “Oh The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” is the strongest and stand out track of the whole two cd collection and it kind of feels like the old experienced head is showing everyone else how it is done. This CD uses the tagline “Bottled at the source”. The problem with using a water cycle analogy is that it is just that – a cycle. And just as a spring source provides and recycles water that once fell as rain, so this cd presents and recycles songs that once rained down on our worship. As the writer of Ecclesiastes wrote, “there is nothing new under the sun.” Shame, because their needs to be. 5/10 Robin Thompson.
FINDING FAVOUR : Finding Favour. (Gottee : 669447004417)
Blake Nee Smith (lead singer,vocals), Dustin Daniels (bass,guitar,vocals), Josh Duckworth (drums) and Allen Dukes (guitar,vocals), make up this South Gerogia based band. The first song, ‘Shake the World’ has a good singalong chorus, which tells us how we should all sing and march for Jesus instead of conforming to the secular world. It’s a good opening song, and probably the best of this 6 song album. ‘Love Stepped In’ tells of how God can change your life. It’s slightly slower in tempo, and seemed to remind me of another song, although I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. The overall sound of the group is quite pop orientated and I thought, at times ,Finding Favour sounded like Philips, Craig & Dean, from a few years back. ‘Hallelujah We Shall Rise’ tells of the day we will meet Jesus face to face, while the case is put forward for Jesus to be our ‘Hero’ on the following number. I found the album to be a bit bland with it’s sound. Smith’s vocals are quite good, but the MOR songs left me a little disappointed. 5/10.
DAUGHTERS OF DAVIS : To the Water. (www.daughtersofdavis.co.uk)
Described by many as a folk/soul duo, sisters Adrienne and Fern Davis have released their debut album, with the help of Sheffield’s Resound Media. Relying on harmonies in most of the songs, the vocals do, sometimes, get a little lost within each other, making it difficult to understand the lyrics. For me, it took a few listens before I really became attuned to the overall sound as, at first, it left me totally cold. However, once I did become acclimatized, tracks like ‘Promise Me’ and ‘When I Wait on You’ raised my feelings towards the sound. ‘Heart Locked Up’ gets a rocky feeling, while ‘Lucky One’ bears more than a passing resemblance to the Beautiful South’s ‘Rotterdam’. One annoying factor on this album is the sound of the drums. They sound flat, as if they were possibly recorded in a live setting rather than a studio. I may be quite wrong there, but they did stick out like a sore thumb. As for the girls themselves, they get a lot of good press for their concerts and, perhaps, that’s were their immediate future lies. On this outing, this recording doesn’t do that good press any favours. 4/10.
MATT MAHER : All the People Said Amen. (Essential : 0830610982)
This is a compilation of Matt’s best known songs, plus four brand new tracks. Some of the songs have been recorded live, but this isn’t always a good thing. The closing ‘It Is Good’ is so annoying. Full of ad-libs and contrived Jewish “Hava Nagila’ style speed, it’s simply awful. However, at the other end of the spectrum comes the opening title track. A great sound and a really good song. Of the new songs, ‘Lord, I Need You’ is a classic for the future. Sounding like a great Wesleyan hymn, put to a modern setting, it is stunning. I couldn’t get Bruce Springstein out of my head when listening to good, solid songs like ‘Great Things’ and Turn Around’. Super guitar driven songs, that need turning up loud to appreciate it fully. ‘Hold Us Together’ sounds like it’s been recorded in a downtown bar somewhere and, if I’m honest, it should have stayed there. The songs all tell of the need for Godin our lives, and what a fortress He is. I’ve no argument with the sentiments, and Matt gets them over well. For new Matt Maher fans, take a listen. 7/10.