For some, the mention of Christian music may evoke the sounds of
worship songs laced with cheesy synthesizers and over-polished
guitar solos. For others, ancient hymns sung from the pews of a
giant stone church with stained glass windows may come to mind.
Still, what most followers of the music world may or may not
realize is that for the past few years, a movement has been brewing
underground. Christian artists have been breaking through the
stereotypes of religious music and boiling over into the secular
world and mainstream success, all without compromising their values
or their faith.
What began in 1995 with the success of Jars of Clay and punk
rockers MxPx, (both groups received heavy play on mainstream radio
and MTV), has culminated in recent years with the emergence of
groups such as P.O.D. and Evanescence. The movement, however, does
not stop there. While the argument can be made that any Christian
song can be turned into a love song by substituting the word baby
for the word Jesus, here are several groups that are rising in the
ranks of the musical world simply because they rock.
For All The Drifters
Hailing from Nashville, Tenn., this group plays rock music that
mixes the melodic styling of Incubus with a sound all their own.
Shortly after forming at Greenville College, For All The Drifters
captured the attention of the flourishing Midwest music scene with
their passionate live performances and the release of its first LP
in 2001. The band entered the studio in September to record its
second EP, which will be released independently.
“We have a very strong vision of what For All The Drifters is,”
said Chad Howat on the band’s Web Site. “Until we find a record
company that has the ability to cultivate that with us, we will
continue to do so on our own. The integrity of our art is very
important to us.”
While the band is in the studio, free song downloads are
available on MP3.com.
For years, underground hip-hop has been the place to go for the
best beats and dopest MCs.
With the release of his second solo album “Pigeon John is Dating
Your Sister” and the hit single “Life Goes On,” featuring
underground legend Abstract Rude, Pigeon John has garnered praise
from “Spin” magazine and is climbing the college hip-hop charts
according to “CMJ Magazine,” sitting comfortably at number 28.
After the release of “Pigeon John is Dating Your Sister” in
August to mom and pop stores around the country, Sony picked up the
album and will release it to major chains nationwide on Oct. 21.
Pigeon John will also be hitting the road this fall with the
CaliComm tour featuring The Grouch and Eligh, Lyrics Born, Abstract
Rude and Ugly Duckling. The tour will make a stop at the Aggie
Theater on Nov. 19. He’s just tryin’ to excel while driving his
Robert Randolph and the Family Band
After exploding from the churches of New Jersey and onto the
jam-band scene two years ago, steel guitar prodigy Robert Randolph
and his Family Band have caused crowds across the country to groove
uncontrollably with a blend of old gospel tunes and funky
The band’s list of appearances includes stints at both Bonnaroo
festivals, opening slots for The Dave Matthews Band and Ben Harper,
a place in the line up of this past summer’s Sprite Liquid Mix Tour
along the sides of The Roots and O.A.R., not to mention a stop this
summer at Fort Collins’ own Mishawaka Amphitheater.
With the release of their first studio album, “Unclassified,”
the diverse musical influences from the church and musical peers
(Randolph was part of super group The Word), shine through.
Randolph wants to speak to people through music. He wants to tell
them to love each other and always give words of encouragement.
“I try to show a positive lifestyle to people that don’t know
anything about Christianity,” said Randolph in an interview with
“Grassroots Music Magazine.” “I try and show them through songs
that are soul refreshing.”
The San Diego based pop-punkers have had a steady rise to fame
over the past seven years, receiving a Grammy nomination, winning
several Dove awards, and being featured in the New Faces section of
the latest issue of “Rolling Stone.”
The band’s rise to fame has been largely due to the fact that it
was never interested in straight up preaching the Gospel through
its music, but simply combining old-fashioned rock star appeal with
their spiritual side, and seeing what happens.
What happened was a rise to the top, heavy rotation of their hit
single “Meant To Live” on radio stations across the country, and a
sold-out tour following the release of their fourth album “The
“That song and this album are about the few things in life I can
really trust,” said lead singer and guitarist Jon Foreman in an
interview with “Rolling Stone.” “Everything eventually fails me,
but when I look at the sunset or the stars, I’m reminded what it’s
like to be alive.”
Switchfoot have hit the road once again and will be stopping in
Colorado Springs on Nov. 3 for a show at 32 Bleu. Check out
www.switchfoot.com for more details.