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Parachute Band

  • Technicolor  
    In the first 30 seconds of Technicolor, I had to check the CD cover to see if I was really listening to the Parachute Band. "Come to the River" has a peppy, Fall-Out-Boy sound to it that is nothing less than infectious, and I was dancing in my seat in time. Unfortunately, the album slips into the comforts of fairly typical corporate worship. Tracks like "Living Rain", "Come Before" and "Grace" (while beautiful) cause the album to lag in the middle, and musically Technicolor never fully recovers until the upbeat "No Eye Has Seen". Despite inconsistencies, the push towards heaven is undeniable throughout the entire album. This is vertical adoration that is excited about the greatness of God. Worship leaders and those who love bands like Hillsong United should embrace this rainbow of praises. Album Highlights: "Come to the River" and "Shout It Out" – jennifer e. jones


  • Everything Glorious  
    Just short of hearing the angels sing, the Passion worship band is the closest thing a worshipper can get to heaven. Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band, Matt Redman, Charlie Hall and others headline this live performance CD and throw up praise to God with 13 tracks of rock. With the roar of the crowd behind them, Tomlin kicks off this album with the energetic “Awesome is the Lord Most High,” and then he kicks it into high gear with “Party” (which sounds like something out of a college frat house). The title track belongs to David Crowder who asks the pertinent question: “You make everything glorious / And I am yours / What does that make me?” An album worthy of ushering in the presence of God. Serious worshippers need only apply. Album Highlights: “We Are Yours” by Charlie Hall, “Jesus Paid It All” by Kristian Stanfill, and “You Are My Joy” by David Crowder Band - jennifer e. jones

Patty, Sandi

  • Songs For The Journey 
    Songs For The Journey is the latest album by Gospel Music legend Sandi Patty. With this album, Patty confirms her ability to be versatile with the different genres of music while sharing her personal life experiences. Without a doubt, Patty’s God given gift to skillfully sing pop, gospel, hymns, and opera is clearly evident on this album. Each track gives listeners a little bit of everything—music for worshipping, relaxing, or simply soaking in the presence of God. Album High Lights: Through It All, Operator, and Were It Not For Grace. - kimberly ann lilly

Payne, Kendall

  • Grown  
    Where have you been, Kendall Payne? It has been six long years since her debut album, Jordan’s Sister, won a Dove award for Best Alternative Rock Album but Payne is finally back with her long anticipated follow-up, Grown. A winning combination of guitar and verse this mostly acoustic collection falls somewhere between Sixpence None the Richer and Patty Griffin musically. Emotionally charged with highly vulnerable lyrics, Payne explores many of life’s lingering mysteries including the aging process (“Scratch”), the unpredictability of life (“Rollercoaster”) and following your convictions in the face of fear (“Stand”). Grown is not unlike a meandering afternoon spent in a small out of the way café; transparent, sometimes boisterous, a bit tender, and always sparse. Album highlights: “Scratch,” “Rollercoaster,” “The Moon,” and “Stand” - chris carpenter

Peterson, Andrew

  • Resurrection Letters: Vol II  
    Andrew Peterson is a thinking man's singer/songwriter. So I was concerned when the first two tracks of Resurrection Letters sounded too much like Steven-Curtis-Chapman-esque contemporary Christian music. However, by the clever wordplay in "All You'll Ever Need", Peterson slips back into his comfortable stride with a slide guitar gently guiding the way. Fans of his powerful storytelling through song will sink into the incredible depth of Resurrection Letters. The wisdom in "Hosea" unfolds in layers as Peterson looks at the redemptive relationship between the prophet and Gomer. Peterson is painstakingly honest with his own flaws on "I've Got News" and "Don't Give Up on Me". He continues to give us anything but ordinary, and this new collection of gems is no exception. Album Highlights: "Hosea" and "Love Is a Good Thing" – jennifer e. jones
  • The Far Country  
    You can always turn to Andrew Peterson for child-like faith in a complicated world. His latest offering, The Far Country, is no exception. His signature sound of quiet folk has barely changed a note, which works for Peterson because it allows his stellar lyric-writing skills to shine. He paints beautiful pictures with his words in songs like “All Shall Be Well” and gives us such heart-breaking lines like “Why hast thou accepted me / When all my love was vinegar / To a thirsty King” in the song “Mystery of Mercy.” While his tempo may be too slow for some, Peterson fans will enjoy exploring The Far Country. Album Highlights: “For the Love of God,” “All Shall Be Well,” and “Mountains on the Ocean Floor” - jennifer e. jones

Phelps, David

  • Life is a Church  
    When it comes to male singers, I dare you to find anyone in the adult contemporary music world who can hold a candle to David Phelps. The former Gaither Vocal Band member offers us more of his vocal strength in Life is a Church. While it starts off a little too similar to other CCM bands with “With His Love (Sing Holy),” he revs it back up with “Something’s Gotta Change” and then again with the album’s strong suite in the title track. Phelps is singing at the top of his game in “Behold the Lamb” and attempts a little spoken word with “Long Time Coming.” If you love adult contemporary groups like Casting Crowns or you’re a Phelps fan, then you’ll enjoy this record. Album Highlights: “Life is a Church” and “Behold the Lamb”- jennifer e. jones

Phillips, Craig & Dean

  • Fearless
    If worship was a vitamin, Phillips, Craig, and Dean (PCD) offer a popular and nutrient rich diet with their new CCM rock release, Fearless. Their version of "Revelation Song" spent 15 weeks atop the Christian AC charts. "From the Inside Out" and "Counting On God" will probably follow. After the first three cover tunes though, the catchy hit-status worship disappears from the building like an Elvis impersonator. "Nothing to Prove" claims two roles on the album: the guaranteed country radio remake and the only other noteworthy song. PCD made a valiant attempt to branch out, but fearless? That's a stretch. - rob vischer

Album Highlights: "Revelation Song" and "Nothing to Prove"

  • Top of My Lungs  
    This could possibly be the best album from Phillips, Craig & Dean yet. They modernized their sound just enough to keep up with the times; however, their signature harmony and passion for Christ thankfully hasn’t changed a note. On their 11th studio project, these pastors sing the songs that will soon become essentials in your worship service. “Amazed” is simple and beautiful and ushers in the gentle presence of God, while “Top of My Lungs” is a joyous praise song done only as PCD could do. There’s a pleasant treat at the end of the album where the men sing with their kids on “’Tis So Sweet.” With Top of My Lungs, Phillips, Craig & Dean pull ahead as one of CCM’s best vocal bands. Album Highlights: “Top of My Lungs” and “’Tis So Sweet” - jennifer e. jones


  • Confessions
    If mosh-pits and radio play measure success, Pillar's sixth album, Confessions, will be quite smashing. Unfortunately, after the fist-pumping melodies end and the driving guitarmonies fade, there's not much there. Unwrapping this album is like going on a blind date with a gorgeous airhead. Looks good. Seems fun. But not very clever. The last two tracks glimmer in honest mediocrity, and sadly, the best song "Shine" is a Collective Soul cover. Though they may not be wordsmiths, every track on Pillar's latest release sounds radio-worthy. Their producer, Rob Graves, performed a miracle. He made music speak when the lyrics couldn't. Album Highlights: "Lose It All", "You Are Not the End" - rob vischer
  • The Reckoning  
    Less Rap Metal. More Rock. That seems to be the vibe Pillar is sticking with on their fourth full-length album, The Reckoning. It falls right in line with their previous efforts that mix heavy rhythms with the pondering of man's selfish nature. Rob Beckley lets his voice scream and rip through tracks like “Tragedy” and “Crossfire,” but he can get low and melodic on “Angel in Disguise.” You see how they wanted Reckoning to be more than just a scream fest. Kalel, Lester, and Noah shine on the all-instrumental “Elysian,” and special kudos to Noah on the relentless opening riff on “Resolution.” It’s hard to see any rock anthems like we saw in “Fireproof,” but there is a enough good stuff to keep Pillar fans banging their heads. Highlights: “Awake” and “Tragedy” - jennifer e. jones


  • Blink
    When you listen to this record, you’ll feel like you stepped into a lullaby land. And that was on purpose. Relatively new mommy and vocal artist Tiffany Lee’s talent for writing incredibly moving lyrics is present on this new album, which she’s dedicated to her sons. The one draw back is that a few of the songs sound too much like the next. Besides that, Blink is a treat that any sacrificing parent will treasure. Album Highlights: “In My Arms,” “God Will Take Care of You,” and “Me” - hannah goodwyn


  • When Angels and Serpents Dance
    After guitarist Marcos Curiel’s four-year hiatus from the band, P.O.D. is back together and rockin’ out new songs fans will love. In true P.O.D. fashion, this album features the band’s signature sound of electrifying guitar riffs, pounding bass, and lead singer Sonny Sandoval’s unmistakable scream. But, the CD also offers a mesh of tunes that has a mainstream appeal, specifically with their pop-ish song "Shine With Me" and the blues rock, soon-to-be hit "It Can’t Rain Everyday." Album highlights: "It Can’t Rain Everyday," "Addicted," and "When Angels and Serpents Dance." – hannah goodwyn
  • Testify  
    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. And that’s exactly what P.O.D. has done on their latest album Testify. That hardcore California rock/rap sound that put them on MTV is in every pulsating beat. While there’s nothing that differs greatly from the previous Satellite or Payable on Death, P.O.D. still rocks out with plenty of guest appearances – including the buzz-worthy messianic Jewish reggae rapper Matisyahu on “Roots In Stereo” and “Strength of My Life.” They even sample that West Coast rap flava’ in “On the Grind” with Boo-Yaa Tribe. Longtime fans and newbies should devour Testify. Album Highlights: “Sounds Life War” and “Goodbye For Now” - jennifer e. jones

Pocket Full of Rocks

  • Song to the King  
    Pocket Full of Rocks is similar to what Casting Crowns would sound like if they did strictly worship music. While they strive to touch the Father’s heart, the six-person band carves a place for themselves amongst ragamuffin worshippers like Rich Mullins and Jason Upton. Michael Farren’s vocals show a selfless devotion to God that runs deep like a river in his words. It is paired perfectly with fresh, original worship songs – something lacking after the recent pop praise trend. It is fully described in “Falling” where they boldly proclaim: “My heart sings a song that even angels cannot sing.” A solid praise and worship debut. The Album Highlights: “Song to the King” and “Falling” - jennifer e. jones

Point of Grace

  • How You Live
    Point of Grace carved a niche within the easy listening side of the Christian market, so it’s difficult to expect them to do anything different on their 12th release. How You Live brings together all of the treasures that Point of Grace fans hold dear: strong vocal harmony and syrupy sweet lyrics – good but entirely too predictable. Every song could fit on any one of their other albums. Now, Heather Payne is admittedly powerful on the title track, a ballad that reminds us to cherish the simple miracles of family and laughter. The mix of “It is Well” in "You Are Good" gives the song an extra boost. In truth, the ladies of Grace are still masters on stage and in the studio; however, this reviewer would have liked to see them go a little further into the deep end this time and take a risk or two. Album Highlights: “How You Live”- jennifer e. jones
  • Winter Wonderland  
    Strong harmonies are always a highlight listeners can enjoy from any Point of Grace album. This new project brings together both traditional carols and popular Christmas songs, such as “Jingle Bells” and “It’s The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Point of Grace puts a flavorful change on each song, but the abrupt movement from serious to overdone songs weighs its likeability down. This CD’s hidden gift is a beautiful, original song, “Let There Be Light.” Album Highlights: “In the First Light,”“Let There Be Light,” and “Breath of Heaven”- hannah goodwyn

Press Play

  • Life is Beautiful  
    It’s hard to believe this is a debut album. As soon as I “pressed play” on my iPod to listen to Press Play’s debut album Life is Beautiful, I was hit with a sudden burst of energy! With combinations of grunge, rock, and groove, this new album will definitely keep your head boppin’. "I Love Who You Are", "Unashamed" and "Fill This Place" (featuring Darlene Zschech) will be instant favorites. "Angels Sing" vibes with a little bit of Hillsongs United flavor, but is sure to usher you into the presence of the Lord. This debut album is a “must have.” Album Highlights: "Unashamed", "Angels Sing", and "Fill This Place" - terri l. simmons


  • Here We Go Again
    Carolyne, Jordan, and Caroline are the members that make up the band PureNRG. The three young servants of God are on a mission to entertain, educate, and promote Christian values for young people through music. After listening to there latest CD, Here We Go Again, it appears PureNRG has successfully accomplished their mission. The album has many up tempo songs that have catchy tunes and are sure to have listeners singing along. Even more, every song on the album is either uplifting, shares the love of God, or encouraging. Here We Go Again is an album that parents can buy for there kids with peace knowing that all its content is clean. It is also an album that can compete with any Disney tune heard on the Disney channel, or on Radio Disney. Album Highlights: "Like," "Call On Jesus," and "Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.”  - kimberly a. lilly


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