christian/gospel music genre - recommendations
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metalgear

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OK, lets start by saying that this is not a religious post. With that out of the way, I listen to alot of gospel/christian music and didn't find a lot of really good CD pressings. So I wanted to start a thread to share what I thank is a rare occurrence within this genre.

My contribution:

INTIMATE WORSHIP, Songs of intimate worship by RENEWAL MUSIC
Produced and arranged by Blair Masters
Exec Producers - Don Moen and Chris Thomason
 
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Zanth

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Jars of Clay are likely my favourite "Christian" group though U2 is my overall favourite and they are heavily influenced by Christ.

I also like the recent Casting Crowns album, particularly the single Lifesong.
 
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yellafella321

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Kutless, Kutless, and more Kutless. They are by FAR my favorite Christian band, i love all of their stuff. All the words is an incredible song.
 
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steaxauce

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My friends listen to a lot of Christian contemporary, but I find that there unfortunately just isn't much good music in the genre.
 
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Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by steaxauce
My friends listen to a lot of Christian contemporary, but I find that there unfortunately just isn't much good music in the genre.


That has been my experience as well. The audience tends to be so small (at least in relative terms) that most of the contemporary Christian music I've heard to date has been terribly underproduced, and often rather sophomoric in terms of the depth of the stuctures that it's being built on.

More often than not, the focus is primarily on the "feel good" messages that they're trying to portray with the lyrics. Although this is great in and of itself, it leaves the listener wanting for more, musically speaking. Dare I say that the other problem that I see is that it's hard to get good recomendations for contemporary Christian music because most of the listeners are likewise more focused on the message than the music (and the vast majority are not typically 'audiophiles' by any stretch of the imagination).

Sadly, this means that I've been disappointed on a number of occasions when buying CD's based on recommendations I've received here at Head-Fi (there have been a number of similar threads in the past) and elsewhere on the net. I'd really like to find some real gems in this genre that I can listen to more than once before filing them! About the best I've come across are the (rather bland) "Wow!" series. If nothing else, they do present a nice cross section, and the cleaning lady sure likes them when she's here... seems to know every word to every song, and as awful as her squeeky voice is, I get a kick out of listening to her try to sing, often skipping over a few words here and there, struggling to remember all of the lyrics and slapping herself in the head for any mistakes she makes, only to recover with a smile as she gets the next verse right.
 
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Zanth

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I tend to agree. Most Christian music I have been introduced to and or suggested that I try out has been utterly disappointing. I find that Jars of Clay are very fine musicians and after half a dozen albums or so, have the staying power to really keep going. They don't stick to the happy happy genre and have even been able to oscillate between the rock charts and the christian music charts.
 
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Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zanth
I tend to agree. Most Christian music I have been introduced to and or suggested that I try out has been utterly disappointing. I find that Jars of Clay are very fine musicians and after half a dozen albums or so, have the staying power to really keep going. They don't stick to the happy happy genre and have even been able to oscillate between the rock charts and the christian music charts.


Sounds great, Jason. Anything in particular from them to check out first? I'm hoping yourmusic.com will have some of their stuff on the cheap.

Edit: Hey, jackpot! Looks like they've got them all. That, and Jars of Clay songs have appeared in countless compilations and such.
 
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Zanth

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Their first album, self-titled, may be there best, it is certainly their best selling. I would recommend checking it out first. The song Flood is one you have likely heard before, without realizing it is JOC. If you go to www.jarsofclay.com you can sample some tracks, or head over to www.pandora.com and you can listen to music by them and other similar artists.

A good quote:
"A lot of Christians probably wish we had a greater agenda than we do," Haseltine says, but adds that he feels that they "don't need to prove the validity of what [they] believe."

Basically, they write music and it happens to be Christian themed, particularly regarding redemption which is likely why they do well enough with those not overly interested in Christian rock at all.
 
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Wmcmanus

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Zanth
Their first album, self-titled, may be there best, it is certainly their best selling. I would recommend checking it out first. The song Flood is one you have likely heard before, without realizing it is JOC. If you go to www.jarsofclay.com you can sample some tracks, or head over to www.pandora.com and you can listen to music by them and other similar artists.


Thank you, sir! I'll check out those links and in the meantime order their debut albulm for a whopping $5.99 shipped. Gotta love yourmusic.com

Edit: I also grabbed a more recent (2003) 2 disc release called, "Furthermore - From the Studio: From the Stage" which got a nice review. I like the concept, and it should give me a glimpse at how the band has evolved over the years (since their debut albulm). Oops, maybe "evolved" isn't the right word? Maybe I should have said "progressed"! Don't want to offend anyone.
 
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Sixteen Horsepower "Folklore", Woven Hand "Mosaic", both very nice. But I've probably said more than enough already here about David Eugene Edwards and his past and present bands, so do a search if you want more info. Powerful, passionate music, but probably not for Sunday school.

The new one by Howe Gelb features members of a gospel choir and is somewhat spiritual and upbeat, but it is Howe Gelb, so still sounds like Giant Sand. Really nice sound too.

I've mentioned the Hector Zazou "Lights In The Dark" album around here a couple times. Really incredible music and sound, featuring ancient Celtic songs in a modern setting, with three outstanding ladies supplying the vocals.

Come to think of it, I really got nothing
 
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I'd add Pedro the Lion...some nice song-writing, quirky folky-stuff. Also, some of the funk-gospel stuff such as the Staple Singers, Rance Allen Group,and some others on the Stax and Truth! labels...older stuff but nicely recorded and some truly triumphant playing. I'd say Pops Staples is a very underated guitar player and has a sweet sweet voice to boot. Most of this I only have on vinyl so I don't know about sound/availability on cd.
 
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Hmm some of my fav's are Third Day, Barlowgirl, Gretchen, Inhabited, FFH, Casting Crowns, David Crowder Band, Jeremy Camp, Pillar, Trading Yesterday, and Big Dismal. There are many more that I enjoy but give these a try.
 
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Like many people that have responded in this thread, I am not a big fan of contemporary Christian music. I am, however, very much in love with bluegrass gospel/some southern gospel. I'm not much for the southern gospel vocal quartets and such, but if it has any bluegrass flavor I'm bound to love it.

I also like Bart Millard's (of Mercyme) Hymned. That's about as close as I get to liking contemp. Christian.

**edit** I've just listened to some JOC which I've ignorantly ignored for several years. I really, really wish I would have caught this boat sooner. dang.
 
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I haven't worked at a record store in several years, but as race was often the defining characteristic if a Pop CD ended up in the Rock or R&B sections, quality (and sometimes race) seemed to be the separation for Gospel and Christian Contemporary.

Gospel = Good
Christian Contemporary = Bad

I know lots of good Gospel, but unfortunately none of it on audiophile recordings. The only good recent recordings I've heard that had Christian themes at its core is that of Sufjan Stevens. Check out Seven Swans or several other tracks across albums like the great Casimir Pulaski Day off of Illinoise.
 
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