Tag Archives: Contemporary Christian Music

Death Bed – Relient K

For Those who have ears to hear, Relient K is an American rock band formed in Canton, Ohio in 1998 by Matt Thiessen on vocals, guitar and piano, Brian Pittman on bass, and Matt Hoopes on guitar between the band’s junior year in high school and their time at Malone College in Canton, Ohio.  The band is named after guitarist Matt HoopesPlymouth Reliant K car, with the spelling intentionally altered to avoid trademark infringement over the Reliant name.

The group is associated with the Contemporary Christian Music culture, most notably the Christian rock and Christian punk scene.   Despite being a Christian band the group has performed alongside secular artists, and has had critical success with mainstream pop punk and alternative rock.   Since its formation, Relient K has released five studio albums, seven EPs, two Christmas albums, and one collection of rarities.   The band has received numerous awards including a Grammy Award nomination in 2003 for Best Rock Gospel Album and two Dove Awards.

Relient K is best known commercially for their two studio albums which peaked in the top 15 of the US Billboard 200 chart.   After signing with Capitol Records, they broke into the mainstream in 2004 with the release of Mmhmm, which debuted at #15 on the Billboard 200.   In 2007, their fifth album brought the most success for Relient K, Five Score and Seven Years Ago debuted at #6 on the US Billboard 200 and sold 60,000 records in its debut week.

From this album, Five Score and Seven Years Ago, comes my favorite song from them.  DeathBed is a song about life, loss, failure and and ultimately salvation.  It is worthy to be a part of this site.    Enjoy the message it brings…

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So Long Self – MercyMe

MercyMe is a Grammy Award-nominated and Dove Award-winning American contemporary Christian band, originally formed in Greenville, Texas in 1994.

The result of a praise and worship band experience, MercyMe was formed in 1994 by Bart Millard, Jim Bryson, and Mike Scheuchzer.   Millard and Bryson met while working on a missions project overseas.   The two agreed to start a new band in Oklahoma City with Scheuchzer, whom Millard already knew.   It didn’t take long for the band to build a solid fan base and they soon found themselves opening up for bands such as Audio Adrenaline.

Following a move to Nashville, Tennessee and then back to Millard’s hometown in Texas, the band added bassist Nathan Cochran and percussionist Robby Shaffer to the roster.   The band signed with INO Records in 2001 and released their first album, Almost There, which propelled them into the mainstream spotlight with the smash hit “I Can Only Imagine. The album went on to sell more than 2 million records in only three years and earned the band an American Music Award nomination.

In 2002, the band released their popular second album, Spoken For, which produced two more Top 10 hits.   The combined success of the band’s first two albums garnered a nomination for the Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist at the American Music Awards.

In 2004, MercyMe released Undone which produced two Top 10 hits: “Here With Me” which also hit Billboard’s Top 100 chart that same year, and “In the Blink of an Eye” which, as of the end of 2005, was at #5 on R&R’s top Christian hits.   This album also features the song “Homesick”, which also received notice by Christian and mainstream stations. This song was written in dedication to loved ones that the band had lost that year.

In 2006, MercyMe released Coming Up To Breathe.   While this album kept to the same style and appeal of its predecessors, Bart Millard wrote that the band was not seeking to meet its previous popularity, but rather a more personal album that was written for God.   Despite this conviction, MercyMe’s eleventh album has hit no. 13 on the Billboard charts and features the hits “So Long Self“, “Coming Up To Breathe”, and “Hold Fast”.

On November 20, 2007, MercyMe released their newest studio project titled All That Is Within Me.   The CD includes the hits “God With Us“, “You Reign”, and “Finally Home”.

In April 2009, MercyMe is due to release their first greatest hits compilation, 10 (the title refers to the decade since “I Can Only Imagine” was written).   The package includes a CD with 11 hits and 3 new recordings (including a new version of “I Can Only Imagine” recorded with the London Symphony Orchestra), and a DVD with 11 music videos and two short documentary segments.

It is with great pleasure I present a track from their 2006 album,Coming Up To Breathe .  So ‘for those who have ears to hear”…I give you, “So Long Self“,   by MercyMe.

Let You Know – Chris Sligh

It is hard to believe but I have to admit that my favorite album I have listened to in 2009 comes from an American Idol alumnus from Season 6.

Chris Sligh is a genuine original, blessed with a golden voice, a style of songwriting that communicates even as it defies the commercial “rules,” and a world view that encompasses edgy humor, rebelliousness, and rocksolid faith.

All these elements breathe life into every moment of his new album, Running Back to You.  From the soaring resonance of “In a Moment” to the sly rhyming of “Love is Raining Down,” his music is rich in character; his character overflows with music.

From the beginning, Chris Sligh’s story didn’t conform to the norm.  He was born into a musical but conservative family. His father was a gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter who nonetheless banned non-classical music from his household.  At night he would play recordings of works by Mozart or Beethoven as bedtime music; Chris, at age four or five, would listen, picking out and singing along with individual parts of the composition – maybe the second violin or lead viola – until finally falling asleep.  Growing up in Germany, where his father worked as a chaplain among American troops, Chris was in his own words a “typical jock.”  His enthusiasm for sports mirrored that of millions of guys his age back in the States – yet being far from home, he also developed a complex way of looking at life, in which elements of skepticism and worldliness tempered his church-based upbringing.

Beginning his college study in pre-law at Pensacola Christian College in Florida, Sligh transferred in his sophomore year to Bob Jones University in Greenville, South Carolina, an equally fundamentalist institution but one that also offered more advanced opportunities for achieving his goals. “I wanted to major in music,” he says. “This freaked my parents out, because music is the most unmarketable degree there is. But I told them, ‘I don’t need jobs. I’m going to be a singer!’ And of course, that freaked them out royally.”

All these efforts came to a sudden end in December of his senior year, when Sligh was expelled for attending a Christian rock (4HIM) concert, apparently as great a transgression at Bob Jones as joining a coven.  Looking back, though, he believes now that it was the best thing that could have happened to him: “Probably a year before that, I’d realized that I’d wanted to leave,” Sligh says. “So getting kicked out was a blessing in disguise.  And four months later, I recorded my first album.”  That debut, Vessel, was a solo acoustic project, self-produced and self-released.  Touring at first on his own, building a following through coffeehouse gigs and word of mouth, he stretched his musical and lyrical range.

In 2006, Sligh auditioned for American Idol, more or less on a whim.  To his surprise, his performance swept him onto a fast track to the final rounds.  His willingness to take chances, his ironic wit, and his startlingly powerful vocals embedded him into the popular imagination.  And his distinctive blend of talent, humor, confidence, and unpredictability led to an exchange with Simon Cowell that astonished and delighted the other judges, host Ryan Seacrest, and much of America.

Though he didn’t win, Sligh did captivate and stir discussion among the millions of American Idol viewers.  He also demonstrated that he knew how to do whatever needed to be done to turn a performance, whether through singing or spoken words, into a home run.  “With a song, you have three minutes to cram in as much information as possible,” he observes.  Sligh’s willingness to challenge convention and to take creative risks is evident throughout Running Back to You.  Produced by Brown Bannister (Amy Grant, MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman, The Afters), with guest coproduction from renowned musicians Will Owsley and Stephen Leiweke the project will evoke other artists of passion and commitment, from Switchfoot to the Killers.  In the end, though, the lesson is reaffirmed – namely, that Chris Sligh simultaneously touches the heart and rocks the house.

And so it is…another great artist and song …”For those who have ears to hear”

Deep Enough to Dream – Chris Rice

Deep Enough to Dream – Chris Rice

Chris Rice is an American songwriter who works in the contemporary Christian music, contemporary folk, and adult contemporary genres with a style similar to David Wilcox and James Taylor. He became a recording artist as well in 1996 after signing a contract with Michael W. Smith‘s record label and releasing his debut album, Deep Enough to Dream.