As the summer CD release schedule starts to sizzle, we at gmcTV decided this was the perfect time to amass a brand-new round-up of the titles we’re truly excited about. One trend we found in compiling this installment was a pretty even 50/50 split between already famous faces and newcomers hoping to make their mark in today’s listening circles. Either way, there’s plenty of uplifting choices this season, from P.O.D.’s comeback CD to a pair of remastered Petra projects and a new studio disc from its long time leader John Schlitt, plus introductions to hip-hop up and comer KB, southern rockers Rhett Walker Band and Jesus Music revivalists The Sunrise.
The Act: P.O.D.
The Album: Murdered Love (Razor & Tie)
The Sound: Hard Rock
The Scoop: These reggae-infused heavy favorites may be best known for dominating the nu-metal scene of the '90s and causing a major crossover splash on MTV, though P.O.D. continues to make equally bold musical statements throughout this aggression-doused collection. Besides reuniting all four original members (frontman Sonny Sandoval, drummer Wuv Bernardo, guitarist Marcos Curiel and bassist Traa Daniels), Murdered Love also marks the return of Satellite producer Howard Benson, which is sure to catapult the players right back into the spotlight.
Best Download: “Higher”
The Act: Petra
The Album: This Means War!: 25th Anniversary Edition and More Power to Ya: 30th Anniversary Edition (Star Song Music)
The Sound: Classic Rock
The Scoop: As remastered CDs become increasingly common, it’s only fitting to find Christian rock game changers Petra scoring two commemorative reissues. The stadium shaking action starts with This Means War!: 25th Anniversary Edition, known for the assertive title track, “Don’t Let Your Heart Be Hardened” and “Get On Your Knees and Fight Like a Man,” all of which sound even stronger than they did back in the day thanks to this fresh coat of studio paint. Considering its five years older, More Power to Ya: 30th Anniversary Edition comes across even more luminous thanks to the remastering process, allowing enduring cuts like “Rose Colored Stained Glass Windows” and “Second Wind” to reach a new generation, while live bonus tracks “Stand Up” and “Judas’ Kiss” are sure to be devoured by die-hards.
Best Downloads: “This Means War!”/ “Judas’ Kiss”
The Act: John Schlitt
The Album: The Greater Cause (4K Records)
The Sound: Rock
The Scoop: Speaking of Petra, its longtime singer and established solo artist John Schlitt is nothing short of legendary, but he refuses to rest on his laurels throughout The Greater Cause. While his blend of melodic and hard rock remains, linking up with producer Dan Needham (Garth Brooks, Amy Grant, Chris Tomlin) helps steer the 11 tracks towards the especially fresh and fierce. Vocally, the high-pitched powerhouse is in ultra-fine form as his no-holds-barred evangelism shines through the full-throttled “Faith & Freedom” and “Hope That Saves the World,” alongside the emotive ballad “The Cross Remains.”
Best Download: “Take Me Home”
The Act: Natalie LaRue
The Album: Even Now (self-released)
The Sound: Pop
The Scoop: The one-time member of brother/sister pop duo LaRue has been strangely silent from recording throughout the past 10 years, but the now 28-year-old singer/songwriter/piano player (plus wife and mother of three) certainly has plenty of tales to tell. Bathed in the organic production of Waterdeep’s Don Chaffer, Even Now is deeply personal, poignant and prayerful.
Best Download: “Back to You”
The Act: KB
The Album: Weight & Glory (Reach Records)
The Sound: Hip-hop
The Scoop: Reach Records is certainly one of the most relevant labels in Christian hip-hop right now thanks to a roster that includes Lecrae, Trip Lee and Tedashii. All three of those familiar voices pop up on KB’s debut disc Weight & Glory, which overflows with street savvy hip-hop and rhythmic rhyme schemes that are instantly contagious.
Best Download: “Anomaly”
The Act: Cheri Keaggy
The Album: So I Can Tell (self-released)
The Sound: Contemporary Christian/Pop
The Scoop: Believe it or not, it’s been five years since Dove Award-winning troubadour Cheri Keaggy hit the studio, though So I Can Tell was well worth the wait. Besides being a musically ambitious affair thanks to a little help from guitar guru Phil Keaggy (her uncle through marriage), plus production from Scott Dente and Ken Lewis, the collection is surely her most vulnerable thus far, addressing the initial despair that came from a divorce, but ultimately relying in the Lord for hope and strength.
Best Download: “When You Were Jesus to Me”
The Act: Rhett Walker Band
The Album: Come to the River (Essential)
The Sound: Southern Rock
The Scoop: In keeping with the southern spun tradition of Third Day, DecembeRadio or Todd Agnew, the Rhett Walker Band loads its label debut with plenty of dusty vocals and growling guitars. Add in a testimony that speaks of the frontman’s troubled teenage years (including school expulsion and premarital pregnancy) and it’s a seeker-friendly, roots rockin’ record.
Best Download: “Gonna Be Alright”
The Act: The Sunrise
The Album: We Have Not Heard (The Winchester Records)
The Sound: Jesus Music/Psychedlic
The Scoop: In keeping with the Jesus Music tradition of Keith Green, 2nd Chapter of Acts and Love Song, crossed with the mainstream likes of Todd Rundgren and Wilco, The Sunrise is certainly in a class of its own. Adding authenticity to the duo’s sound are era luminaries like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young drummer Joe Vitale and Phil Keaggy.
Best Download: “I Can Be Free”
The Act: Myesha Cheney
The Album: Take Him to the World (Kingdomanity)
The Sound: R&B/Gospel
The Scoop: With musical influences as diverse as Shirley Caesar, Yolanda Adams, Whitney Houston and Brandy, Myesha Chaney combines the best of urban gospel with R&B throughout her debut disc Take Him to the World. As that title implies, the singer/part time songwriter’s goal with this collection is to “take Jesus into the world by any means necessary,” and given her attending-commanding pipes, she’s bound to be heard loud and clear.
Best Download: “I Came to Lift Him”
The Act: Beautiful Eulogy
The Album: Satellite Kite (Humble Beast)
The Sound: Alternative Rap
The Scoop: MCs Braille and Odd Thomas, along with beat maker Courtland Urbano, take time out from solo careers to unite under the inventive umbrella Beautiful Eulogy. Throughout Satellite Kite, the group forgoes typical top 40 sounds for a more atmospheric and electronically-centered brand of rap and hip-hop, though the group’s reflective lyrics never get lost in the elaborate shuffle.
Best Download: “Take It Easy”
Copyright 2012, watchgmctv.com. For permission to repost or reprint, click here.
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
News You May Also Like
For those keeping tabs on gmc as of late, “Uplifting Entertainment” is more than just a colorful catchphrase, it’s a programming philosophy. From family-friendly movies like “That Thing You Do,” “Doc Hollywood,” and the gmc world premiere original “...
Ever been to a wedding that was downright gorgeous but the music was all wrong? Like most people, I’ve been to my fair share of summer weddings, and I can’t even tell you how many times U2’s “One” has figured prominently into the service. To the...
Ignite Chicago returns!Greater Chicago's premiere Christian music festival is back where it belongs in Schaumburg at Boomer Stadium. There is plenty of room to spread out in a beautiful outdoor setting so bring a blanket and kick back in the outfield while the kids enjoy the inflatable...