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Aaron Greer Band
- Agents of Change
Since 2005, Aaron Greer Band has been sharing the Gospel through shows that combine music with technology and other forms of media. In conjunction with the concerts and tour, Agents of Change is the second album that this band has recorded. The CD gives listeners a rare taste of melodic guitar rock mixed with clean lyrics and electronic background sounds. Though Aaron Greer’s timeless message and clear vocals are solid, some may find the album to be too old-fashioned sounding. With simple guitar licks, some vocal echoing, and synthesizer noises, the result mostly sounds like something from the 90s. Album Highlights: “May Your Glory Move” and “I Want My Life to Speak.” – amy nickerson
- Don't Wait
Benjamin Gate fans looking for a reunion album on Adie’s new Don’t Wait shouldn’t hold their collective breath. Adie’s done with the hard rock. Now she features a softer side on her first solo album. Leaning more towards adult contemporary rock, she exercises pianos and acoustic guitars this time around. Her husband, Jeremy Camp, who’s now the edgier one of the two, shares some songwriting and playing credits on such songs as “When It’s Over” and “If I’ll Ever.” The ballads (i.e., “What Have I Done” and “Time”) are tender, and if you get over the fact that she can wail on the microphone a lot harder than this, they’re actually kind of pleasant. You’ll recognize her cover of the Byrds’ “Turn, Turn, Turn;” it rocks a little but doesn’t lift off the ground high enough. Overall, take a look at this album with fresh eyes and ears, and you just might enjoy it. Album Highlights: “Overwhelm Me” and “Don’t Wait (Lazy Day)” - jennifer e. jones
- Shari Addison
Shari Addison was crowned runner up to winner Crystal Aikin on BET's "Sunday Best," a singing competition. While not the winner of the competition, Crystal did not give up but rather kept running, and her hard work is paying off. Addison released her debut album in January. The CD is a mix of traditional and contemporary Gospel music, and is sure to be loved by those who favor the type of music. Addison provides a variety of tunes from slow to upbeat tempos with lyrics that worship Christ and others that seek Him. Shari Addison is a pretty good album to be Addison's first, and I look forward to seeing what comes from her in the future. Album Highlights: "Whateva," "No Battle, No Blessing," and "Please Make Me Better" - kimberly a. lilly
- Never Going Back to OK
“Beautiful Love” fans can jump off the edge of their seats because the long-awaited follow-up album to I Wish We All Could Win is here. The former coffee shop guys now known as The Afters are at their rock/pop best with 12 cross-over-ready tracks on Never Going Back to OK. The ballads show more depth than they have before, and you get that when you really listen to “Ocean Wide” and “Beautiful Worlds”. As cheesy as it sounds, “Myspace Girl” is surprisingly cute and catchy, and “Falling Into Place” has multiple layers lyrically and musically. The Afters continue to explore the bounds of earthly and heavenly relationships. And they get a little better with every step. Album Highlights: “Falling Into Place” and “Myspace Girl"
- jennifer e. jones
- I Wish We All Could Win
This debut by The Afters is a rock’n’roll wave of honest lyrics that show the reality of our often bumpy journey of faith. Read the full review...
- Better Questions
The ghost of Johnny Cash has been haunting Todd Agnew. At least, that’s the impression I got hearing the depth of Agnew’s soul in the first notes of “Still Has a Hold”. He truly shed the boy-next-door worship leader image he had on Grace Like Rain and exchanged it for that of a rugged spiritual outlaw. “Why can’t you see me as one of the least of these?” is just one of the "better questions" he asks on this country/rock-filled road. He shows his frailty and strength in every lyric and guitar stroke. His take on “Our Great God” is a powerful yet gentle giant. Better Questions tops off at sixteen songs, and Agnew satisfies even the most critical ear . Album Highlights: “Our Great God”, “On a Corner in Memphis” and “Least of These”- jennifer e. jones
- Do You See What I See?
Todd Agnew’s powerful style, and storytelling lyrics share new perspectives of the Christmas story in his third and latest project, Do You See What I See?. Each original song is written from the point of view of different eyewitnesses of Christ’s birth. Everyone’s life was changed. Personal dreams were replaced with God’s plans. But then again, He sees our future more than we can, so put your trust in Him. Other Christian music artists joined Agnew on this CD, including Vince Lichlyter from Jonah33, Mike Weaver of Big Daddy Weave, Anthony Evans, and more. Grab a copy of this uplifting album and another one to give to a friend. Album Highlights: “Did You Know?”, “He is Called Jesus,” and “In the First Light” - hannah goodwyn
- Reflection of Something
Zealous worship leader Todd Agnew shares his passionate songs with music fans once again. Straight-forward lyrics question and humble as each song will open your eyes to see God's breathtaking wonder and glory. Agnew changes it up from his first CD by adding blues and southern gospel tones to his powerful rock style. Expect great things from this one. Album Highlights: "My Jesus," "In the Middle of Me," "Where Were You" and the 10 other songs - hannah goodwyn
- Crystal Aikin
BET's "Sunday Best" winner and former ER room nurse, Crystal Aikin, released her first album in January 2009 and it is Awesome--with a capital "A"! Aikin's new found fame is very much deserved, as her journey to present day was not an easy one. Before becoming the winner of "Sunday's Best," Aikins saw many doors closed in other competitions, before seeing an open one. And, she even witnessed her father pass away from a sudden heart attack. But everything happens for a reason, and surely there is a time and season for everything. And God's timing, it's perfect. Based on the lyrics, arrangements, tunes, etc. heard on Crystal Aikin, every closed door and tough experience has only brought Miss Aikin closer to God. Because of her experiences, through her music you will be drawn closer to Him too. This CD has music to worship to, dance to, cry to, and even laugh too, but more importantly it is an album that will help you seek, worship, and praise Jesus Christ. It is definitely a must have. Album Highlights: The entire album! - kimberly a. lilly
All Star United
- Love & Radiation
Let the lineup change as it may, All Star United still rocks. Love and Radiation is pure Christian pop rock like newsboys or Audio A. The title track kicks things off with very descriptive visions of God (”You’re the virus that’s running through my veins / You’re a danger like love and radiation / Seeping into my brain”). Although it’s one “yeah, yeah” too many, the perkiness of “You You You Yeah Yeah Yeah” is infectious. The musically predictable “We Could Be Brilliant” is one I could do without, however the audacity to fly in the face of popular Christian music on “Song of the Year” is remarkable. Irreverent and holy at the same time, ASU reigns supreme. Album Highlights: “Song of the Year” and “Love and Radiation” - jennifer e. jones
Anberlin is one of the most unique voices in Christian rock today, and their new album, Cities, only solidifies their title. Frontman Stephen Christian’s emo-ridden vocals sing with more conviction than some worship songs. They are still challenging the lost souls with lyrics such as, “There’s more to living than being alive” from “Reclusion”. And the driving beats and synthesized keys made famous from their first hit “Ready Fuels" continue on tracks “Godspeed” and “A Whisper and a Clamor”. Yet, with all the “clamor” and hype, they slow it down for “The Unwinding Cable Car” and “Inevitable”. The best Anberlin album is here. The only thing sweeter will be hearing these new songs live in concert. Album Highlights: “Dismantle.Repair” and ”Godspeed” - jennifer e. jones
- Where Faith Comes From
Some may know Jared Anderson from his active involvement with Colorado’s Desperation Band. Other fans might remember his first solo effort, Where To Begin, released in 2006. Now, the artist is back with an all-new album entitled, Where Faith Comes From. The solid lyrics take an honest look at exactly that as the CD explores the beauty of Christ, the trials of this world, and the act of finding Him within this life. Nonetheless, fans of Desperation could find this album disappointing. A few tracks stay true to the genuine, energetic sound of the worship band. However, others fall a bit flat, dragging down the momentum of the CD instead of pushing it onward. Album Highlights: “All I Want,” “Glorified”
- amy nickerson
- The Catalyst
The Catalyst is the sophomore project from Nigel Anderson, better known as Legin. The catchy beats of these tracks are what initially draw you into this Gospel Rap album, but it is Legin’s powerful lyrics that leave a lasting impression. His love for Christ and people shine through in every song. In “Seek the Lord,” he encourages listeners to press into God and spend time seeking His face. In “Believe Thee” he expresses a burden to reach unbelievers. He writes, “Sometimes it gets hard, and then it gets easy, You say you won't forsake, no, You won't leave me. Every night I pray, Lord, that you keep me. What is it gonna take for this world to believe Thee?” It is the heart-felt passion on this track and others that brings depth to the album. Album Highlights: “Seek the Lord,” “Move,” “Believe Thee,” and “God is an Artist.” - belinda elliott
- The Invitation
The Invitation is the title of the latest album from Meredith Andrews. With this album, the talented musician invites listeners to experience God’s grace. Songs such as, “You Are Not Alone” and “You Invite Me In,” remind listeners of God’s promise to never leave them, nor forsake them. Another song on the album entitled, “Show Me What It Means” share Andrews’ desire to know more about God and his will for her life. Other songs on the album simply take the time to honor God with praise and worship. Over all, the entire album invokes listeners to reflect on who God is and to accept his invitation of love unconditional. Album Highlights: "You Invite Me In," "Draw Me Nearer," and "Deeper."
- kimberly ann lilly
- Ashmont Hill
The self-titled debut album by Ashmont Hill has developed out of four relatives from a community near Boston who have led music in their church for years. Most of the songs included on the CD are originals written by Phil Thompson, though listeners will recognize a few Matt Redmond tracks, “Gifted Response” and “Blessed Be Your Name.” With tight harmony and calming melodies, Ashmont Hill will catch the interest of fans of classic gospel music. However, even with the worshipful lyrics and smooth vocals, this album is not for everyone. Album Highlights: “You Proved Your Love” and “Gifted Response”
- amy nickerson
- Until My Heart Caves In
It is hard to imagine a band like Audio Adrenaline recording an album that drips with love and emotion. But that is exactly what they have done with their ninth studio release, albeit in their own raucous way. From Mark Stuart’s trademark growl to Ben Cissell’s thundering sledgehammer drumming on the opening track “Clap Your Hands,” it is clear Audio A’s intention is to recapture the classic rock sound. The power groove continues on the title track but eventually settles into comfortable pop rock territory, definitely not their strength. Not to be confused, this is a very likable album. It just lacks the lyrical creativity that fueled previous Audio A standards. Album Highlights: Clap Your Hands" and "Light of the Sun" - chris carpenter
- On The Blue
In his solo debut, Joel Auge brings his original worship music and folk-rock style to Christian homes and radio stations. With 12 tracks that blend strong vocals (including some nice falsetto) with acoustic melodies and truth-filled lyrics, On The Blue offers something for everyone. Auge says that he hopes that his songs “will stretch people’s hearts and minds while they’re worshipping Jesus.” Singing biblically sound lyrics that focus on God and invite everyone to give Christ the glory instead of themselves (even stating this outwardly in “Glory Glory”), Auge should be proud to have fulfilled his goal. Album Highlights: “Even The Rocks” and “Singing Hallelujah.” - amy nickerson
- Faith: A Collection of Hymns
The only real downfall of Avalon’s Faith: A Hymns Collection has nothing to do with its content but rather its timeliness. After hearing every pop Christian act (from Jars of Clay to Out of Eden) record a hymns project last year, fans of the genre may be a bit weary of “How Great Thou Art” covers. Nevertheless, the members of Avalon sing their hearts out as they do best. They don’t do anything revolutionary to the songs but the perfect harmony in which Jody, Greg, Melissa, and Janna sing shines a new light all their own. The war-like drums on “It Is Well” is a new take on the classic. A folk version of “Jesus Loves Me/’Tis So Sweet” is precious. Also, it was fairly ambitious of them to tackle “Total Praise,” a song mostly done by choirs 10 times their size. Avalon fans will delight in this addition to their collection, as might fans of hymns. Album Highlights: “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” and “Total Praise” - jennifer e. jones
Few groups sound just as strong together as they do individually and Avalon stands above the crowd. Those who love their signature vocal harmonies will dig their latest release, Stand. While their lyrics couldn’t get more simplistic at points (“Love won’t leave you empty-handed” from “Love Won’t Leave You”), their strong suite remains their ballads. “Orphans of God” is a sweet but strong reassurance of the Lord’s love, and the title track is also a powerful call for the faithful. They get out of their element with the funky intro on “I Survive” and make it work with heavy guitars in the chorus. Over all there aren’t easily recognizable hits like “You Were There” or “Adonai” but Avalon still sings as good as they ever have. Album Highlights: “We Will Stand” and “I Survive” - jennifer e. jones
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5 Spins - Buy two copies (you'll wear out one within a month)
4 Spins - Should be a favorite
3 Spins - Skip to the good tracks
2 Spins - May collect dust
1 Spin - Leave it in shrink-wrap
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