Though Dave Barnes is a somewhat atypical artist in the Christian market, he initially seems easy to categorize. You think of him in that Mat Kearney, Matt Wertz -- maybe he should be a Matt Barnes? -- group of singer-songwriters with a faith base and a mainstream audience, particularly in the college market.
Two successful independent releases have yielded a national label recording contract with Razor & Tie for Barnes. And with that national debut, You + Me + The World, he lays out a saucer of a dozen tunes that show him to be much more than a Christian John Mayer.
But that personality takes us in a number of different directions and addresses global concerns is songs such as Good World Gone Bad as well as personal, committed love in Since You Said I Do. Barnes is an artist who will frustrate some listeners who believe faith-based musicians should have more explicit, sustained Christian messages in their music. But others will find the mix of faith and temporal topics refreshing, particularly knowing they come from a faith perspective.
Regardless of the message, the music is consistently engaging, maybe drawing the best comparisons to Jonny Lang's 2006 hit Turn Around, as this also makes confident swings through gospel, soul, country and a variety of rhythms and textures, expertly guided by producer and sideman Ed Cash.
Really, the best category for this Dave Barnes album would be good music.
t-mac at the movies: If you're in Central Kentucky and you JUST CAN'T WAIT to see Tobymac play Ichthus on June 13, you can head over to Louisville Monday night and see Tobymac: Alive and Transported at the Showcase Stonybrook. The concert film, a la, a lot of concert films we're seeing lately is showing across the nation Monday night, and the reigning Dove Award winner for artist of the year is the first Christian market act I can recall doing this.
Speaking of Louisville: Southeast Christian Church, the mothership at Exit 17 off I-64, has a release on the new Great Worship Songs label from Brentwood-Benson Publishing, which has the largest Christian music publishing catalog in the world. Holy is the Lord, which drops July 1, will be the third disc on the label, and the first to focus on a specific church. The album features the Louisville church's band and choir presenting songs written in the Southeast Community. Chords and lead sheets of the songs will be available at the Great Worship Songs website.
Where was this?: Yes, we know we have regular visitors to the Christian music update on Tuesday and we were a tad late this week. For the duration of the summer, at least, this post is going to move back to Mondays, because this blog has a few other seasonal staples that make Tuesday a little crowded. And hey, if we preview an album you really like, that gives you time to go home and smash your piggy bank to go get it -- that's if you are still into buying tangible, physical, oh-so-20th Century CDs.
But Saturday, Copious Notes will flip a switch and go all-Ichthus -- with a couple of exceptions -- through the festival. We'll start by chatting with new Gotee artist Stephanie Smith, who will play several times during the fest and also get her hands dirty with some festival goers.