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LA Symphony

  • Disappear Here  
    LA Symphony has gone through the ringer, and it shows. The tragedies that surrounded this band in 2004 fueled the fire on Disappear Here. It’s 14 tracks of thought-conscious hip-hop that offer a little bit of hope to anyone who’s in the fire. Now, I’ve heard tighter rhymes and better beats than these before but there is an undeniable heart behind Disappear Here. For example, “C’est La Vie” gives a firm but sympathetic apology to the bandmates’ families: “I know the passenger seat of your car is mad cold / When I’m out on the road being alone is mad old / … But you know what I’m out here doing / Tryin’ to blow up the spot.” Over all, LA Symphony has what it takes to deliver urban inspiration. Highlights: “Dance Like,” “Give,” and “C’est La Vie” - jennifer e. jones

Lang, Jonny

  • Turn Around  
    Since the age of 13, Jonny Lang has shared the stage with Patti Labelle, B.B. King, U2, Stevie Wonder, and many more greats. Lang’s talent is even more evident in his new album, Turn Around. It’s blues fused with a rock style that is refreshingly different from the overdone pop/rock regulars on Christian radio stations today. The CD features a duet with the legendary Michael McDonald (“Thankful”), and “My Love Remains,” a song co-written with Steven Curtis Chapman. This new project is sure to be a worthwhile addition to your collection. One complaint though – the lyrics occasionally take away from Lang’s beautiful, soulful voice and amazing guitar riffs. Album highlights: “Thankful,” “Bump In the Road,” and “On My Feet Again.” - hannah goodwyn

Lawrence, Donald

  • The Law of Confession 
    Donald Lawrence's music will bless your soul!  Somehow he manages to take the word of God and make it into incredible, ear-pleasing songs. The Law of Confession is simply the Word of God in song, and it is good--really good. The new album, which is Lawrence's second one, is inspired by the forthcoming book, The Law of Confession by Bill Winston. According to Lawrence the album revolves around the Biblical tenet, "A  law is simply a principle, based on the predictable consequence of an act." Continuing, Lawrence tells that, "Confession in the Greek language is "homo-logeo," which means to say what has been said. Simply put, Lawrence says "there is a spiritual law for confession: just say what God has already said--speak the Word." Speaking the Word is exactly what he does from track 1 through track 13, and in between some tracks he even teaches the Word. The Law of Confession is for everyone, and it's definitely for praise and worship lovers. Undoubtedly, you can expect to sing-a-along to many of the songs on this CD in a place of worship near you soon. Album Highlights: "The Word of the Lord" and "Let the Word Do the Work" - kimberly a. lilly


  • Love is on the Move
    Centering on a theme of physical and spiritual poverty in the world around us, Grammy nominated Leeland has crafted a series of vertically inspiring songs on their third release, Love is on the Move. Based on the maturity of the music, it is hard to believe there is no member of the band over the age of 25 years old. While not quite possessing the energetic pep of 2008's Opposite Way nor the stylishly refreshing Sounds of Melodies from 2006, Love is on the Move carefully blends the two styles together. The end result is a satisfying mix that showcases the bands intense spiritual focus. - chris carpenter

Album Highlights: "Pure Bride" (a song about Jesus' atoning sacrifice), "Lift Your Eyes Up" (their most musically diverse track complete with a string arrangement), "Follow You" (a rock fueled duet featuring Brandon Heath)

  • Opposite Way  
    Last year Leeland’s debut album raised the bar for Christian rock. This year’s sophomore project, Opposite Way, sets that bar even higher. Kicking off the album is “Count Me In,” a high-energy song about not just accepting, but getting excited about God’s plans. This theme of spiritual zeal continues throughout the album with songs such as “Don’t Go Away” and “Wake Up”—the latter proclaiming, “We need to wake up, wake up / Live like God / Pour out love.”  Mixed in with the excitement are songs for which the band slows down in awe-filled worship. The songs “Enter This Temple” and “Brighter Days” ask for God’s presence on earth, and “Thief in the Night” is the deep longing of a servant waiting to go home. All in all, Opposite Way is an album of passion and honor for a mighty King—and you want to be counted in. Highlights: “Count Me In,” “Brighter Days,” and “Thief in the Night.” – bethany duval
  • Sound of Melodies  
    Newcomers Leeland offer Sound of Melodies but some of these tunes are awfully familiar. Many songs, including the title track, have those rising piano/guitar crescendos that sound like everything the Goo Goo Dolls have done in the last five years. Fetching? Yes. Catchy? Absolutely. Original? Hardly. I feel like I’ve heard some of these songs before. For example, “Yes You Have” could have been done by any of the hundreds of worship bands saturating the market today. All is not lost on Melodies. Lyrically, I like what they did with “Tears of the Saints.” They jumped out of line and reached out to those who have fallen through the cracks of religion (“There are schools full of hatred / Even churches have forsaken / … This is a state of emergency”). The cheerful “Hey” and “Can’t Stop” have a lot of pep. Overall, they’ve got what it takes but Leeland needs to find something unique to latch on to lest they fade into CCM obscurity. Album Highlights: “Tears of the Saints” and “Can’t Stop” - jennifer e. jones


  • 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

Lippard, Joy

  • Joy Lippard 
    At eighteen years old, Joy Lippard released her self titled album this month. While Lippard has been described as one with a "knack for songwriting," that knack is not present on the 10 songs on the album that were either written or co-written by her. I found many of the lyrics to be very empty and many times confusing. Even more, many of the songs seem to be based more around a dating relationship gone wrong, than anything that concerns Christ. With that said, this album is not for those seeking worship music, or good music for that. Truthfully, I'm not sure who this album is for. - kimberly a. lilly

Littrell, Brian

  • Welcome Home  
    As a Backstreet Boy, Brian Littrell knows a lot about making catchy pop songs, but his gospel release Welcome Home is his farewell to being a boy bandmate who sings in space suits for screaming girls. Littrell has a clean, mature and pitch-perfect voice that finally has a chance to shine unopposed. He co-wrote many of the songs while also employing the songwriting talents of Joy Williams, Mark Harris (4Him) and Ian Eskelin. “Wish” is a sweet vision of desire as he wishes he could have seen Christ when He walked the earth. Littrell is still ever the swooning pop star on the piano-driven “You Keep Givin’ Me.” Lovers of the Backstreet Boys may take a while to come around but Littrell is more than welcomed into the church. Album Highlights: “Grace of My Life” and “Angels and Heroes”- jennifer e. jones
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