Summer Brings Hot New Releases

By Jenny Bennett | managing editor,
Posted: Tue, 06/17/2008 - 16:17

album promo image for Summer Brings Hot New Releases

By Jenny Bennett, Digital Content Coordinator

With an iPod full of great releases this summer in Gospel & Christian music, we've selected just a few to whet your appetite for the coming weeks.

Lead Me On: 20th Anniversary Edition,
Amy Grant

June 24 | Sparrow

One of the most groundbreaking albums in Christian music history, Lead Me On has the chance to stand the test of time. The two-CD set includes the re-mastered original album, four live songs pulled off taped performances from the 1989 tour, and three newly recorded acoustic versions, including a duet with Michael W. Smith on "Faithless Heart." "I thought it was pretty neat seeing how those songs held up in a very bare-bones setting after 20 years," says Grant in her video blog on the project, where you can also listen to the "Lead Me On" acoustic version. Amy has a way of making her audience feel like they're sitting in a cozy den with an old friend, so the 20 minutes of interview on the final four tracks will have you feeling like you're home again.

To Know That You're Alive, Kutless

June 24 | BEC Recordings

Kutless came out with radio-ready Hearts of the Innocent in 2006 and an album of mostly praise & worship covers, Strong Tower, in 2007. Good, but not great. Strong Tower was suitable enough for a praise & worship setting, but didn't explore fully what they're capable of. This year they're back and at least a few of the tracks boast a more raw, authentic sound. Even though about half the album is more of the same, songs like "The Feeling," "Loud" and the title track, "To Know That You're Alive," may have just enough edge to bring a few of the harder rock lovers over, but not so much so that it will alienate their more moderate listeners.

Rock What You Got, Superchic[k]

June 24 | Inpop

The chick-fronted rockers made their debut in 2001 with Karaoke Superstar. Seven years later they're still going strong with their usual dose of self-esteem-building, synthesized brand of punky pop-rock. But the band again delivers a couple of surprises, including some impressive guitar riffs. Lending some contrast, their Imogen Heap knock-off "Breathe" is quite lovely, if unoriginal. The classical sound of "Crawl (Carry Me Through)" and a symphonic version of "Stand in the Rain" (which first appeared on their 2005 album Beauty from Pain) provide quieter moments.

On The Blue, Joel Auge

July 1 | Integrity Music

If you've got a craving for an authentically melodic and imaginative acoustic album, worship leader Joel Auge's (pronounced 'o-zschay') debut is for you. You may have to stop and catch your breath when you hear his smooth vocals and honest lyrics that pierce straight to the heart. Most of the songs on the project, including standout tracks "On the Blue" and "Singing Hallelujah" are strong enough to work anywhere from a large worship setting to a small club. But the album still offers a few easy-to-learn worship songs like "Every Heart" and "Even the Rocks." Without sacrificing country music's "three chords and the truth" rule, these tracks are still more interesting than much of the repertoire currently in contemporary worship rotation. Definitely worth a listen.

Check back in August for more previews of anticipated projects like Bart Millard's (MercyMe) solo debut Hymned Again featuring a duet with Vince Gill, DecembeRadio, Brandon Heath, and Anberlin, to Mary Mary's The Sound, GRITS' Reiterate, and releases from John P. Kee, Dave Hollister, Deitrick Haddon, and other great artists.

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