It's Tuesday, and usually I run a CD review here. But I'm not quite ready to scribble on any new saucers this week, so let's do a little musing.
My absolute favorite televised venue from music is the long-running PBS series Austin City Limits. It's a a show that has seen most everyone who's anyone in contemporary music from country to world music to rock and a lot of genres that fall in between. Though I have a TiVo season pass for it, I often will stay up Saturday to catch the show, even if I am due at church early the next morning.
Every once and a while, I contemplate what Christian artists would be a good fit for this great music showcase. I don't have a detailed list of who all has been on the show, and there have been recent performances of acts that have ties to the faith-based market such as Robert Randolph and Sufjan Stevens. ACL was the first time I encountered Stevens and his band/orchestra in their butterfly wings. That's one of the great things about ACL: because you trust it to deliver great music, you tune in regardless of whose on and make discoveries. So, a few of the acts Austin City Limits could introduce to its audience include:
~ Phil Keaggy: One thing about the ACL audience is they love great musicianship, so they would love Keaggy, arguably the greatest musician in Christian pop. The intimate setting of the show would also suit him well.
~ How about a couple of Texans, like Derek Webb and the David Crowder Band? Webb is one of the most engaging songwriters in the faith market today, and while DCB is labeled a worship artist, that worship comes with a lot of exploration and adventure the ACL crowd would love.
~ ACL is also into showcasing well-seasoned established artists such as R.E.M. last weekend or Elvis Costello last season. From the Christian market, who could be better for this showcase than Jars of Clay and Switchfoot? The men of Jars have the kind of musical diversity that would play well on the show, and Jon Foreman's thoughtful songwriting for 'foot would have a better showcase in this forum than on some of the massive concert stages we're used to seeing the band on. Foreman the solo artist, by the way, would also be great on ACL.
This is just a short list, but man, it would be great to tune is one Saturday night and see one of these acts performing before the Texas Capitol backdrop.
New 'chick: We don't have any marquee releases today, according to the Gospel Music Association. But peering through the binoculars, we can see a new Superchick release coming up this time next month. Rock What You Got will be the band's first new release in three years, and promises to have some of the same cross cultural appeal of 2005's Beauty from Pain that featured everything from the bittersweet title track to the first pumping, girl-power Anthem. The band is offering a RWYG sampler with three tracks available today at digital outlets such as iTunes and Napster. I'm downloading as I write.
Condolences: As most of you probably already have heard, Stephen Curtis Chapman lost his adopted daughter Maria to a tragic accident last week. A reminder, if you would like to make a gesture of condolence to the family, they are requesting donations be made to Shaohannah's Hope, the Chapman's charity to support and facilitate overseas adoptions.You can leave notes at the Chapman's blog.
In addition to Ichthus: So, we always write extensively about the Ichthus Festival here. That makes sense. It's just a few dozen miles down the road from Lexington in Wilmore, it is the original Christian pop music festival and what else in Central Kentucky, except the UK basketball team, brings 20,000 people together at one time.
But it is not the only big Christian music festival in the Bluegrass State. While fest season starts at Ichthus June 12-14, it winds down with the NewSong Festival in Leitchfield, Aug. 8-10. This year's event features several of the same acts that will hit Ichthus, including Jeremy Camp, Skillet and TobyMac, and some that won't be at Ichthus such as Sanctus Real and Derek Webb.