We don't review many hits discs or live compilations here. Cranking a review a week, it usually seems best to focus on the new albums from individual artists with tunes that may someday end up on hits or live discs. But there is something about the Passion albums, including the latest, God of this City, that merits mentioning.
The Passion CDs have been around for a while, piecing together some of the best musical moments of the annual college-geared Passion conferences around the world. Mainstays of the project include Chris Tomlin and the David Crowder Band, and these CDs showcase what their music was intended for and how it is best heard: in group worship. Yes, many of the tunes such as Crowder's update of O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing sound great on studio CDs. But hearing the break in his voice as he gives the tune to the crowd and they lift the new chorus, "There is one great love," is to really experience the song. Tomlin kicks the disc into high gear by opening with Let God Arise, and there are other rousing group moments such as his Sing, Sing, Sing -- not the Benny Goodman tune. But even when it is not a big group participatory number, you can hear the energy, like in Christy Nockles' Hosanna. (And as a quick aside, thank God the demise of Watermark has not silenced Christy, who has one of the most gorgeous instruments in Christian music.)
The Passion albums really serve as a great record of where modern worship is at, and God of this City is no exception. Even if you have most of these tunes on other albums, this one is worth the investment.
~ If you're inclined to go to the Dove Awards, or if you are going to watch it live on the Gospel Music Channel at 8 p.m. April 23, you'll get to see a lineup of performers including Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, Switchfoot, Marvin Sapp, Steven Curtis Chapman, David Crowder Band and Third Day's Mac Powell with the Charlie Daniels Band.
~ A few weeks ago we mentioned Lexington's own Kahle Reardon appeared in Fireflight's Unbreakable video. We finally have a link to the video -- caution, it takes a minute or two to load, and I have cable broadband at home. According to the Kahle's mom, she appears about half way through the clip, after the, "bald woman."
~ Toby McKeehan's Gotee Records has bought back its minority stake from EMI Christian Music Group, making it a fully independent label. This is mostly record industry inside baseball, but it is interesting that the label that has brought us acts such as Relient K has been successful enough to part from one of the major majors in the Christian music world and go its own way. The language of the press release puts an emphasis on digital content and, apparently, a steadier stream of new music from label artists. Upcoming projects this year include new albums from Family Force 5 and Ayiesha Woods.