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We're very happy here at cMusicWeb for Stacie Orrico, Switchfoot, MercyMe and (despite what you may have read from me in the past) even P.O.D. for their success in the "big leagues" of mainstream music. But it also occurs to us that there's a lot in the CCM world that mainstream America may be missing out on. Here are my picks for the bands that aren't in rotation on MTV now…but should be.

Thousand Foot Krutch

Thousand Foot Krutch
I have a soft place in my heart for these guys—they, like me are Canadian, and I was one of those who followed them before they signed a major-label deal. Formerly a rap/rock outfit in the vein of Rage Against the Machine, TFK has abandoned that format for more straight-ahead mod-rock and nu-metal, but their Tooth and Nail debut is easily one of the best rock albums I heard in 2003.

Suggested tracks: Not the singles floating around in Christian radio, or the stuff from the comp albums that has been circulating. "Step to Me," "This is a Call" and "Faith Love and Happiness" are much better ambassadors of this album.
Jars of Clay

Jars of Clay
They had their turn with "Flood," and as far as MTV is aware, they're a one-hit-wonder. I know. But their musical maturity over the past few years has been phenomenal, culminating in their late 2003 release Who We Are Instead, which is crazy good. The chances that the forces that be at MTV would ever play selections from a folk album infused with country and southern gospel is low, but there must be some mainstream radio stations willing to play them. Possible solution: make Clay Aiken truly "Invisible" to clear room for Earthen Vessels.

Suggested tracks: "Trouble Is"
12 Stones

12 Stones
Technically, one quarter of this band was heard in the mainstream more than almost anyone else in 2003 (lead singer Paul McCoy was the guy yelling "Wake me up... I can't wake up... Save me…" and so on in the radio version of Evanesence's "Bring Me to Life"), but they deserve much more. Their debut, which created considerable buzz in the Christian market two years ago, was good enough to be considered one of the more solid freshman efforts of 2002, but seemed escape the consciousness of most of the nation. The fact that they're backed by indie giant Wind-Up Records is definitely in their favor, and having an extra 14 months or so to mature has me expecting huge things from this group whenever they get around to releasing another record.

Suggested tracks: "Broken," "Crash," "The Way I Feel"
Cross Movement

Cross Movement
The first track from their latest, Holy Culture, is truly awful. But the rest of the album more than makes up for it, with the standout track "Cry No More" icing the cake. It is, as they say (or used to say) in the hip-hop world, off the hook. This pick isn't about injecting positivity into the hedonistic world of mainstream rap (although it would be a nice side effect). It's simply because of the fact that "Cry No More" is much better than the stuff from Ludacris, Chingy and Murphy Lee that has been circulating lately.

Suggested tracks: Take a guess.
Out of Eden

Out of Eden
This is one group that has been around for a while, making truly infectious and deeply affecting music without much (if anything) in the way of mainstream success. But if there's any other R&B group in the CCM world more deserving of it, I'm not aware of them. They might lose credibility for sounding just a little like Destiny's Child ...but they're distinct enough to make it as a group in their own right. And let's be honest: almost every R&B group in the past few years has resembled DC in some way.

Suggested tracks: "I Know" from the album Love Peace & Happiness

- Ben Forrest
January 2004
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