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Josh Kemble (vocals)
Rob "Destro" Hann (bass)
Daniel Montoya (guitars, vocals)
Corbin King (drums)

April 23, 2005 - GMC Announces "Dream"s During GMA Week
"Gospel Dream 2005," the Christian version of FOX's "American Idol," will hold auditions in July with hopes to air on the "Gospel Music Channel" in September.

Announced at a press conference during Gospel Music Association week in Nashville, "Dream 2005" will hold auditions in 10 cities in July with a two-part finale to be held in Atlanta. Then 10 one-hour episodes will be aired beginning in September.The season finale will be aired in December.

Performers on the show will compete for chance to be signed by a major record label. It was not specified on whether or not this would be a Christian music record label.

The GMC also announced its “Gospel Music Channel Sessions” program, which will feature performances and conversations with Christian artists recorded in front of a live audience. The program will debut on June 5 at 8 p.m. EST featuring MercyMe.

In addition, “Gospel Music Channel News,” will air a series of original news features taking a look into Christian music industry events and concerts as well as looks behind-the scenes.

Source: Billboard
- Josh 

April 18, 2005 - Pigeon John...Now Has a Single Online
Check this link if you're at all interested in hearing former L.A. Symph emcee Pigeon John's latest. The song you'll hear is the single from PJ's current EP Pigeon John Sings the Blues, released last month by Basement Records. The album features eight new songs, three new remixes, two bonus songs and two PJ videos, according to pigeonjohn.com. The website also features a merch section where you can order a book of PJ poetry, South Bay Blues. You'll get a pared down version of ...Sings the Blues with the book--it has no remixes, videos or bonus songs.
- Ben 

April 14, 2005 - The Chemistry Comes Alive
The Chemistry, a southern California band, released their self-titled debut album on Razor & Tie Records in March and have been gaining notoriety since.

Inspired by MxPx and Green Day, this Christian band is not hiding their faith even though they are signed to a mainstream label. On April 14 the band will begin a major U.S. tour with Anberlin, and in the May they will be featured on UK mainstream magazine Rock Sound.

Source: ChristianityToday.com, CrossRhythms.co.uk
- Josh 

April 5, 2005 - Welcoming Real Diversity
Marrakech, Morocco's Wali (Governor) Mohamed Hassad extended an invitation last year to bring a contemporary Christian music festival to the country, which is 99 percent Muslim. Friendship Fest took on the invitation and plans to hold a festival May 6-8 in Marrakech.

The festival will be a musical celebration featuring contemporary Christian artists Jeremy Camp, Delirious, Newsboys, Joy Williams, Phil Keaggy, Out of Eden, and Rock N’ Roll Worship Circus, as well as contemporary and traditional Moroccan music.

“Exciting projects such as the Friendship Festival in Marrakech will serve to reinforce good will and understanding between our two peoples," Aziz Mekouar, Moroccan Ambassador to the U.S. said. "As Rick said to Captain Renault at the end of the film Casablanca, 'I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.' ”

Friendship Fest hopes to set a positive example of religious tolerance by sharing the love of God through songs and testimonies. They estimate the free event will draw more than 100,000 people a day from all across the world.

For more information please visit Friendship Fest.
- Josh 

April 2, 2005 - Download Site To Launch During GMA Week
A Christian music download site, SongTouch.com, will launch on April 12 during the Gospel Music Awards week in Nashville.

Howard Rachinski, founder of Christian Copyright Licensing International, hopes to host the largest library of family friendly and Christian music available on the Internet.

“We started CCLI to give church leaders a legal, convenient and affordable tool for accessing uplifting and inspirational music,” Rachinski said. “At the time, churches needed to be able to copy music to distribute to their congregations. SongTouch is the same concept but for today's time."

Rachinski said SongTouch will allow users to access positive music in a "safe environment from a trusted source."

But for those of you Mac-users out there don't jump out of your seats. The "Digital Music With a Difference" campaign is affiliated with PassAlong Networks, an Internet music portal that bars access from Apple Computers. No additional word has been provided on whether or not Mac-users will receive access to the site upon its launch.

Source: Billboard Radio Monitor, SongTouch.com
- Josh 

March 24, 2005 - Older, out of print songs now available online
Forefront Records reports today that EMI-Christian Music Group will be releasing nearly 3,900 previously unavailable songs to "Major Digital Music Service Providers."

Over 310 EMI-CMG albums will be made available, including "older and out-of-print titles" from the likes of Bleach, E.T.W., Grammatrain, Geoff Moore and the Distance, Pete Stewart and The Normals, among others.

Catalogue titles from Steven Curtis Chapman, Rebecca St. James, newsboys, Audio Adrenaline and Chris Tomlin are also now available.

- Ben 

March 24, 2005 - Rap legend KRS-One's debut with Tunnel Rats completed
Rumours reported here and elsewhere regarding rap legend KRS-One's debut with Tunnel Rats Music are apparently not unfounded.

Rosario Ortega of the TRz crew, better known by his stage name "Macho," told this website recently that One's album is "completely done and almost finally mixed." The Tunnel Rats "did 90 % of the beats," he said, "and a few of our [emcees] are featured on it." No release date has been confirmed as yet.

KRS was a member of Boogie Down Productions, a popular hard-core outfit which was most popular in the 1980s. His first gospel rap album, Spiritual Minded, featured a guest spot from Christian rapper T-Bone, who at one time was feuding with Tunnel Rats Dax and Jurny Big, who comprised the now-defunct duo LPG.

- Ben 

March 23, 2005 - R&B the LPG way
Before he became a rapper - an industry legend, no less - Dax Reynosa of the Tunnel Rats crew and now-defunct duo LPG, he was a singer. He's not bad either. Check this link, go to the "Audio/Visual" section and tell us we're lying.
- Ben 

March 21, 2005 - Newsboys sign with Inpop Records
According to information unearthed by cMW writer Kim Flanders and a press release received by this website, industry favorite The Newsboys have signed to Inpop Records.

Inpop was co-founded by Newsboys frontman Peter Furler and has an artist roster that includes Paul Colman, Superchic[k], Tree63, Ian Eskelin and Christian rock pioneers Petra.

In October, the 'boys will release their inaugural effort with the label, simultaneously releasing a rock album and a worship album in a two-disc set. Their previous worship album, Adoration, was one of five Newsboys albums to sell over 100,000 copies.

There is no mention in the press release as to whether this move will end the band's long long-time relationship with Sparrow Records.
- Ben 

March 16, 2005 - The Elms Set Out To Burn The Fields
Burn The Fields DVD - Click to view!Today marks the release of Burn The Fields: The Elms Live in Indiana. Last summer the Seymour, Indiana-based rock band recorded a live concert near their hometown and caught all of it on video. The 90-minute live feature contains 14 songs, including three previously unreleased songs as well as covers of The Monkees and The Who.

The band has been working for months to deliver a truly high-quality product in this DVD, and it shows. Included as a bonus feature is a 45-minute behind-the-scenes documentary on putting on the concert directed by frontman Owen Thomas. Owen also lended his hand for hand-drawn packaging and DVD menus. The disc also includes 30 minutes of interviews with the four members of the band and even a hidden easter egg of a couple classic songs. The DVD is available exclusively at shows and through the band's website, theElms.net.

For the past six months The Elms have been recording their long-awaited follow-up to Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll. Although no release date has been set, the band hopes to have the music available soon. A couple weeks ago they performed showcases for label personnel in L.A., and possibly a yet-unnamed record deal has matured from those meetings. The Elms continue to tour often around the country although no official national tour has been announced for some time now.
- Dan 

March 13, 2005 - Word Records Brings Ringtones to "Ringtown"
Word Records announced the launch of the first Christian label online ringtone store, "Word Records Ringtown" on March 3.

Supporting AT&T Wireless, Cingular, Sprint PCS and T-Mobile, the store carries more than 80 ringtones of artist such as Nicole C. Mullen, Building 429, Jaci Velasquez and Mute Math.

"The success Warner Music Group is experiencing has allowed us to develop relationships with virtually every major wireless provider," Dawn Gates, Manager of New Media for Word Records said. "The response has been overwhelming and we've really just begun to scratch the surface.

Word will also provide artists with their own ringtone stores. The company announced it will increase compatible phone models and stores during the rest of this year. Word was the first record company to launch widespread Christian ringtones with last summer's release of Building 429's "Space in Between Us" along with a five-digit code to download "Glory Defined" via text messaging.

Gates said there are also plans to launch the first widespread Christian artist wallpapers this month.

Word Record's Sr. Vice President Of Marketing, Rod Riley said the ringtone and cellular market represent a rapidly growing segment.

Said Riley: "We will continue to develop a marketing mix that embraces cutting-edge technology as a viable outlet to market our artists and their music."
- Josh 

March 12, 2005 - Preview Redemption Songs @ jarsofclay.com
Jars of Clay is offering previews of three songs from their upcoming album Redemption Songs on their official website. As various other media outlets have noted also, the band is also releasing a four-song digital EP, available from iTunes and Real Rhapsody for about $4. Redemption Songs releases on March 22.
- Ben 

March 7, 2005 - The Passion Rises Again With 'Recut'
Mel Gibson and New Market Films have announced March 11 as the U.S. opening date for "The Passion Recut," a re-release of "The Passion of the Christ" without as much gore.

"By softening some of its more wrenching aspects, I hope to make my film and its message of love available to a wider audience," Gibson said.

The film has again been given an R rating, but Gibson said he may consider running it as Not Rated (NR). The new film can be previewed at the "Recut" Web site which promotes the movie as "A new version for new audiences to discover and everyone to be inspired by."

The original film released in February 2004 grossed more than $600 million globally making it one of the top ten top box office hits in the United States.

The new film will not include any new scenes, but rather new camera angles to reduce the more "violent aspects of the film," according to Bruce Davey, Gibson's partner at Icon Productions. He also said the scourging scene "has been substantially adjusted."

Source: thepassionrecut.com
- Josh 

March 4, 2005 - Welch Planning Solo Career, Skate Parks, And Reality TV
According to MTV News, Brian "Head" Welch, former Korn guitarist, plans to embark on a solo caree, use money he makes off of songs to build skate parks for kids and possibly star in a reality TV show based on his life.

"I want to make music that will help people. I want to use every dime of the money I make off the songs to build skate parks for kids," Welch said. "My life now is about helping kids."

Welch recently announced he was leaving Korn after rededicating his life to Christianity. He plans to continue as a musician, but said his songs will reflect a more positive attitude.

"My music is going to have a Christian, spiritual edge to it, for sure," Welch said. I have a song called 'Kry,' which I feel is like God talking to me. It's just a reflection of how I feel now. It's about life experiences."

Welch said he does not want to 'preach' to people, but he does want to reach out to those who are in the same spot that he was in four months ago—depressed, addicted, even suicidal.

"I had nothing to lose," Welch said. "I remember lying in bed, thinking, 'Take me home, Lord.' But he helped me through it. He made me the happiest man alive," Welch said.

While currently writing songs on a tour of Israel with fellow church members, Welch said he is hoping to prove to the world he is a serious Christian by taking his story to reality television.

"I want to do a reality show on my life change," Welch said. "So many people just don't want to try (Christianity), and I want to reach out to them."
- Josh 

March 3, 2005 - Casting Crowns Continuing Success Run
Sixteen months after its 2003 debut, Casting Crowns’ self-titled album received RIAA Platinum certification.

The certification is reserved for albums sales of more than one million. The honor also makes Casting Crowns one of the fasting selling debut artist in Christian music history.

The group’s latest single, “Voice of Truth,” is at NO. 1 for the 13th consecutive week on of R & R’s Christian AC Monitored Chart. Lead singer Mark Hall said the group's success has been a definite blessing.

“A year and a half ago, we were amazed that God was taking our ministry in a new direction while still leaving us planted in the church," Hall said. "By faith, we dove in with no script of predictions on how this was all going to work. And now God is using songs we thought were written for our students as a ministry tool for the church worldwide."

Hall said they have seen Christ at work through radio, retail and churches. He also said this had led the group to be more passionate about the ministry through Casting Crowns.

“It’s difficult to find new ways of acknowledging the success of Casting Crowns and this album," Hall said.

Provident Music Group President and CEO Terry Hemmings said the words 'thankful' and 'grateful' come into mind when considering Casting Crowns success.

“Provident is so thankful to be a part of this music and to know the members of this group," Hemmings said. "We are also grateful for the support we have received from radio, retail and the consumers of contemporary Christian music. Retailers and programmers recognized early on that this band was special and provided them an opportunity to be heard.”

Casting Crowns is currently on the second leg of the “All Things New” Tour with headliner Steven Curtis Chapman and Chris Tomlin.

Source: The Christian Post
- Josh 

February 23, 2005 - Guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch Choose Jesus Over Korn
Yahoo! News—Korn announced Tuesday that founding guitarist Brian "Head" Welch has officially left the band after 13 years.

A statement issued by the group read, "Korn has parted ways with guitarist Brian 'Head' Welch, who has chosen the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior, and will be dedicating his musical pursuits to that end. Korn respects Brian's wishes, and hopes he finds the happiness he's searching for."

Rumors had been circulating for weeks that Welch was unhappy with the direction of the band and had written a letter of resignation on February 8, according to MTV.com. Welch allegedly listed a number of reasons for his departure, including "moral objections" to the band's music and videos.

"I love those guys, they love me, they're very happy for me," Welch said. "Korn is where I came from."

Welch said a lot of Korn's songs are about anger, but he believes there is more to life than that.

"I think if kids, if they want to go and listen to Korn and stuff, then good," Welch said. "But there's happiness too, you know, after the anger. There's happiness, and I'm going to show through my actions how much I love my fans."

Welch will discuss his reasons for leaving and future plans on Feb. 27 when he addresses the congregation at the Valley Bible Fellowship in Bakersfield, California. He plans to leave for Israel the following day.

Korn's guitarist James "Munky" Shaffer said last year that Welch was an inspiration to him as a musician.

"He's really a genius," Shaffer said. "When we start to write, I still am really inspired by him and his songwriting. I've always looked up to him, even when I went over to his house, you know, and I started watching him play guitar, I was like, 'Wow, this guy's amazing,' and I still do that even today."
- Josh 

February 18, 2005 - Manafest joins the Nail?
It appears as though Canadian indie rapper Manafest, profiled by us last summer, has joined the Tooth and Nail family.

The rapper (whose real name is Chris Greenwood) told us in July that he was in the process of signing with the Brandon Ebel-headed label but the deal hadn't yet been finalized. His name and picture is now featured in the "Artists" section of the website of BEC Recordings, a Tooth and Nail imprint.

There is no mention on the BEC site that the Nail will be re-releasing his independent album My Own Thing, as Greenwood told us they might. He will apparently release a new album on the 19th of July, however, titled Epiphany.
- Ben 

January 31, 2005 - Smith, Chapman, Others Aid Tsunami Victims
(AP)—A benefit concert by country, gospel and contemporary Christian artists to help victims of the Asian tsunami raised more than $50,000.

Christian pop star Michael W. Smith and country singer Kathy Mattea hosted Wednesday's event, "An Evening for Restoration: Music City Comes Together for Tsunami Relief," at Belmont University in Nashville.

Performers included Steven Curtis Chapman, Marty Roe of Diamond Rio, CeCe Winans, Ricky Skaggs & Kentucky Thunder, Steve Cropper, the Oak Ridge Boys, Kirk Whalum, tobyMac, Crystal Gayle, MercyMe, Lee Greenwood, The Whites, Raul Malo, The Crabb Family, Dr. Bobby Jones, Michael Martin Murphey, the Nashville Chamber Orchestra and several Grand Ole Opry stars.

Proceeds went to the international relief agency World Vision, which is working in the stricken southern Asian region, concert organizers said.
- Josh 

January 25, 2005 - Mat Kearney Gets His Big Break
A couple days ago Mat Kearney hit the jackpot. The artist who amazingly fuses hip-hop, acoustic folk, and pop announced a record deal with Aware Records, a subsidiary of Columbia. The label is a launchpad for new artists and in the past coupld years they have introduced the world to Train, John Mayer, and Five For Fighting, among others.

Although it is unclear, it looks as if a new album from Kearney will release on Aware/Columbia later this year. However, there is no indication to whether the album will be all-new music from Mat Kearney or just a few new songs. His debut album, Bullet, is available through Inpop Records and receiving lots of critical acclaim. Look for a cMusicWeb.com review in the near future.
- Dan 

January 20, 2005 - Todd Agnew sells 150,000 copies of debut disc
Ardent Records reports that Todd Agnew's 2003 release Grace Like Rain (click here for our review) has recently reached the 150,000 sales mark.

Agnew was nominated for four Dove Awards last year, and the album has spawned two #1 singles—"This Fragile Breath (The Thunder Song)," and “Grace Like Rain." He recently headlined World Vision's "In the Name of Love Tour" and was a special guest on the Newsboys/Rebecca St. James "Adoration Tour." On February 3 he will hit the road with Big Daddy Weave and Exit East on the "Absolute Modern Worship Tour," according to his label.

The label also reports that Agnew's sophomore effort will be released sometime this spring.

Source: Ardent Records press release
- Ben 

January 13, 2005 - And he don’t stop...
Prolific rap artist KJ-52, most recently spotted on his Soul Purpose side project with respected producer Todd Collins, is set to release another solo album, according to ccmmagazine.com.

The album, a follow-up to 2003's It's Pronounced "Five-Two", is titled Behind the Musik and will hit stores on the first of February. Kutless frontman Jon-Micah Sumrall appears on the lead single, "Are U Real," according to the aforementioned report.

- Ben 

January 13, 2005 - Relient K to launch February headlining tour
Relient K, quite possibly the hottest Christian band on the planet right now, will soon embark on their first headlining tour in support of their current Capitol/Gotee release, mmhmm.

The "Be My Valentour," will also feature Mae of Tooth and Nail Records and Name Taken of Fiddler Records, according to the band's newsletter.

Fifteen dates are scheduled and, as you might guess, all of them take place in February. Says lead singer Matthew Thiessen via relientk.com, "This should be a good one. I'm probably going to go to every show."
- Ben 

January 12, 2005 - U2 Tour Possibly Postponed
No official dates have been confirmed for the upcoming U2 world tour, despite rumors of openings posted across the internet. However, concerns about the health of a member of Edge's family has brought hesitation from the band's manager Paul McGuinness. McGuiness released a statement saying the routing for the tour is still being worked on, but the family illness is the underlying reason for the delay.

"When a member of the family is facing a serious illness, it's just not possible to embark on a world tour of the kind that U2 do so everything is on hold," a Hotpress.com source said. "The hope is that the delay won't be too protracted, but nobody knows because the situation is serious."

The band was scheduled to begin practicing for their tour this month in France. Undercover reports the tour will open in Florida before embarking on the first leg of their tour in the United States. The tour will officially be posted on U2's website and on ETS when all dates are confirmed.
- Josh 

January 11, 2005 - Toby, Mike and...
A dc Talk reunion? Not quite. But this year's Winter Jam tour might be the next best thing.

TobyMac and Michael Tait will be performing separately with their respective solo vehicles on the tour but will also join together to play some of dc Talk's biggest hits. There is no mention of Kevin Max, however.

Winter Jam 2005 is hosted by pop group NewSong and will also include the likes of Rachael Lampa, Matthew West and Building 429. The tour will kick off this Friday in Canton, OH and conclude on March 5 in Tyler, TX.

Sources: dctalksolo.com, newsongonline.com.
- Ben 

December 14, 2004 - Long-Delayed Awards Broadcast Set To Air This Month
Finally. More than eight months after the Gospel Music Association's 35th Annual Music Awards PAX TV is set to air a "special holiday broadcast" Monday Dec. 27 at 8 p.m. CST.

Hosted by gospel singer Yolanda Adams and retired-turned-active NFL star Deion Sanders, the GMA Music Awards, or Dove Awards, were presented to a soldout audience in Nashville.

The awards show is Christian music’s biggest night of the year, according to the GMA, bringing together artists from all styles of gospel music. It involves a night of music and celebration as the GMA bestows its self-proclaimed highest Christian music honor, the Dove Award, on worthy artists.

“The GMA Music Awards does what no other awards show does," GMA president John W. Styll said. "It celebrates a tapestry of artists and music that share one common thread—hope. Whether rock or urban, country or traditional gospel, the music showcased by artist performances and honored with Doves is entertaining and inspiring.”

The broadcast features many Christian artists as well as actor Stephen Baldwin, teen shark-attack victim Bethany Hamilton, U2's Bono, Tennessee Titan Derrick Mason, and former American Idol finalist R.J. Helton.

“We are thrilled PAX will broadcast the GMA Music Awards during the Christmas season," Styll said. "(It's) a perfect time for this show to be seen by a national audience."

Reasons for the broadcast being delayed more than eight months are unclear. Christian music industry leaders have long asked for a change in the format of the awards and this has further heighten their desires. For cMusicWeb's own reaction, check out our advice to the GMA.
- Josh 

December 3, 2004 - Christian Music To Receive Network Attention
CBS will broadcast Correspondent Bob Simon's report on how "evangelical Christian music is flowing into mainstream media" on 60 Minutes Dec. 8 at 7 p.m. CST.

Simon interviews Christian rock groups Third Day and POD., along with mainstream rapper Kanye West whose controversial hit "Jesus Walks" has garnered national attention.

Simon's report will look at Christian entertainment's $4 billion a year industry and how America's 100-million evangelical Christians are behind a "seismic shift in American culture."

It is doubtful Simon will see this shift as getting back to America's core foundational roots.
- Josh 

December 3, 2004 - Smith Hopes Success Continues
Michael W. Smith is relishing success once again with his release of pop album "Healing Rain" in November, but he hopes his success does not end there.

Smith has been working on his acting debut in an independent film titled "The Second Chance" set for a Fall 2005 release. Smith plays a suburban minister sent to save an inner-city ministry that deals with former prostitutes and drug dealers.

Smith got an acting coach for the role and had help from James Caviezel, who played Jesus in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ."

"I really picked his brain a lot," Smith says. "I'd asked him a question and get a 15-minute response every time."

Smith says the film may be the start of a whole new career, considering he's been recording music for more than 20 years. He and son Ryan, 21, have also started a film company called Seabourne Pictures.

Source: Agape Press
- Josh 

November 25, 2004 - KMax signs with Northern Records
According to acaza.com, Kevin Max has found a new label home.

The website reports that Max has signed with California-based Northern Records, home to The Violet Burning, The Billions and Cush, and will release a full length album in 2005 titled Put On the Masquerade. He recently released an EP titled Between the Fence and the Universe, available only via his website and Family Christian Stores. Click here for our take on it.

- Ben 

November 25, 2004 - Supertones Announce 2005 Departure
The O.C. Supertones announced this week that 2005 would be their final year together.

“There were several reasons that factored into our decision," a letter posted on the band's Web site stated. "Rest assured, however, that after much discussion and lots of prayer, we know this is right. Our end date is yet to be determined, but 2005 will be the Supertones’ last year together.”

After a decade together including almost 20 concert tours and seven albums, appearances at Billy Graham Crusades, World Youth Day with the Pope, MTV's "120 Minutes," and even CNN's "Headline News," the band members are encouraging fans to come out and say goodbye.

“It’s both difficult and sad to say goodbye to something you have been a part of since you were fifteen," band co-founder Matt Morginsky said. "I hope that this band leaves behind more than what numbers can indicate. Our goal was and still is to glorify God and to edify His people.”

Despite the sadness, however, Supertones and company are looking forward to their final run.

"This is going to be a great year for the Supertones," booking agent Mark Guynn said. "Bittersweet, yes, but we’re going to have a lot of fun too!”
- Josh 

November 19, 2004 - UPDATED: Evanescence Rocks On To Narnia
UPDATE: The production team of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe have denied Evanescence's involvement in the film. Evanescence may still be writing music based on Narnia, but it has no official connection to the film or its soundtrack. - Dan

"It still sounds like the Evanescence everybody knows, but at the same time it's going in a new direction, and I love that direction."

Those were the words of Evanescence's Amy Lee as she spoke on their upcoming DVD/CD package, "Anywhere But Home," set to be released Tuesday. Besides onstage and backstage footage, the set also includes concert bloopers just to show that the band isn't perfect.

Evanescence has been enjoying their time on the road since the departure of Ben Moody in October 2003. Lee says now she isn't worried about going pop—the route Moody has taken in his songwriting for Avril Lavigne and Kelly Clarkson.

"Most people assume just from looking at us and our music that Ben is responsible for all the rock music, and all the sappy stuff comes from me," Lee said. "That just isn't true. Ben's the one who wrote 'My Immortal.' "

Lee said Moody was focused more on being commercial and selling albums.

"He's more about the pop influence," Lee said. "That's the part that we also disagreed on. I want to do the more artistic, weird thing, and he would want to do the thing that people would want to hear."

Lee has also been working on music for the upcoming film "The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe," inspired by the children's series book by C.S. Lewis. The book was a childhood favorite of Lee's.

"I love the kind of stranger children's stuff," she said. "I think that's very much what our music is inspired by. Not only death and the morbid stuff, but that it comes from the perspective of a child and things relating to childhood, because that's what I went through."

Lee was offered a small role in the film, currently in production in New Zealand, but considering the role she requested, the film's producers may have been too freaked out to give her a part.

Said Lee: "They were like, 'Do you want to do a cameo?' And I was like, '---- yeah! Let me die. I want to be somebody who gets murdered.' So I don't think that's going to happen."

Source: MTV News
- Josh 

November 7, 2004 - Marines Find Inspiration Before Battle
Near Fallujah, Iraq, Nov 6 (AFP)—With US forces massing outside Fallujah, 35 marines swayed to Christian rock music and asked Jesus Christ to protect them in what could be the biggest battle since American troops invaded Iraq last year.

Men with buzzcuts and clad in their camouflage waved their hands in the air, M-16 assault rifles laying beside them, and chanted heavy metal-flavoured lyrics in praise of Christ late Friday in a yellow-brick chapel.

"You are the sovereign. You're name is holy. You are the pure spotless lamb," a female voice cried out on the loudspeakers as the marines clapped their hands and closed their eyes, reflecting on what lay ahead for them.

"Sometimes, all you've got is God," First Sergeant Miles Thatford said.

Between the service's electric guitar religious tunes, marines stepped up on the chapel's small stage and recited a verse of scripture, meant to fortify them for war. Their chaplain told worshippers they were stationed outside Fallujah to bring the Iraqis "freedom from oppression, rape, torture and murder ... We ask you God to bless us in that effort."

The crowd then followed him outside their small auditorium for a baptism of about a half-dozen marines who had just found Christ. Three marines laid down in a rubber dinghy filled with water and the chaplain's assistant plunged their heads beneath the surface to baptise them.

Said a dripping wet Corporal Keith Arguelles after his baptism: "I just wanted to make sure I did this before I headed into the fight."
- Josh 

November 6, 2004 - Josh Turner Hosts, Wins During CCMA Event
NASHVILLE (Reuters/Billboard)—Josh Turner was the big winner at the 10th annual Christian Country Music Awards, held Thursday night (Nov. 4) at Nashville's Ryman Auditorium.

Turner, who co-hosted the event with Lisa Ryan, won honors for song and video of the year for "Long Black Train." He was also named songwriter of the year.

"Long Black Train" peaked at No. 13 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart in February. The song served as the breakthrough hit in the country format for the young MCA Nashville artist and earned him a fan base in Christian Country circles.

Country veterans the Oak Ridge Boys were named mainstream artist of the year. The group performed "Someplace Green," from its current Spring Hill album, "The Journey," at the event.

The awards were broadcast live on the Great American Country cable network for the second year in a row. For a complete list of winners, visit the Christan Country Music Association.
- Josh 

November 3, 2004 - "Audio A" Auction Success
Audio Adrenaline and Flicker Record's Hands & Feet Project raised $34,552.43 in 10 days in auctions held on eBay.

Bidders won a personal concert, an autographed Underdog electric guitar, a band member's Converse Shoes worn on stage and more. The money was raised in support of Hands and Feet Project Children's Village consisting of a campus and homes for orphans in Haiti.

”The success of this auction is awesome,” says Mark Stuart, AA frontman. “We did not have any idea how much would be raised, but God had it under control. The money will help pay for the land and houses that make up the campus.”

Stuart's father, Rev. Drexel Stuart, has been stationed in Haiti since early summer and will use the funds to help lead construction of the children's village. Drexel Stuart said in an interview before he left that he hopes short-term youth group mission projects will volunteer to help construct the homes.

And not to be left out, the winners had something to say along with a cause of their own.

“We saw this as a great way to support building the orphanage in Haiti for the children, while at the same time, it is an opportunity to bring great Christian music from (Audio Adrenaline) to Connecticut," said anonymous person concert winner. "We hope this helps lead to a Christian radio station in the area some day.”

To learn more about the Hands & Feet Project, visit www.handsandfeetproject.org.
- Josh 

November 2, 2004 - Redeeming the Voters
Redeem the Vote, the evangelical Christian equivalent of MTV’s Rock the Vote registered 100,000 new voters for this year’s election.

Spokesperson Bob Angelotti told the Baptist Press last week that Redeem the Vote sought out young Christian’s that had not registered to vote yet.

"We formed Redeem the Vote with an idea to be venue-specific, meaning we wanted to reach young people of faith at the places they were going to be — Christian colleges, Christian festivals, radio stations, e-mail, that type of thing," Angelotti said.

Angelotti considered the 100,000 mark a success as the exact number of new registrants has yet to be determined. Rock the vote had 50,000 new registrants in its first year.

Angelotti said Redeem the Vote was organized this year because of the lack of young Christian voters in the 2000 presidential election.

"What we heard from Christians is the reason they didn't vote (in 2000) is just being a young person, your life is kind of all over the place,” Angelotti said. “An overall lack of education in the political process also led to their not voting.”

Angelotti said Redeem the Vote made registering easy because people could go to redeemthevote.com, click on their state, fill in basic information, print out both the completed form and an envelope, and mail it in.

Said Angelotti: “I believe that if people are passionate about their lifestyle and about their faith in God, they'll respond.”
- Josh 

October 24, 2004 - Third Day and Baseball
Fans and followers of Third Day have no doubt read about the myriad of activities that keep the group busy outside of regular touring. A special Live DVD taping in Louisville, KY (with a November 23rd release date), performances at the Republican National Convention and on NBC’s “The Tonight Show With Jay Leno,” and continued hands on involvement with World Vision and Habitat for Humanity are just small part of Third Day’s schedule this year.

So when we met up with them at one of the "Live Wire" tour stops the other night, we decided to ask them about something completely different – What is your prediction for the World Series?

Mac Powell was the first reply. After explaining that he feels the Red Sox have a chance to win, he admitted that he is a Cardinals fan and declared that they would win in seven games. David Carr followed, quickly picking the Red Sox in five games. Brad Avery declined a prediction. Hesitant to answer at first, Tai Anderson and Mark Lee requested to hear the answers from the first three before replying with the Red Sox in seven games and the Cardinals in six games, respectively.

Hopefully the guys will be able to catch some of the World Series in between shows!

- Kim 

October 15, 2004 - Report: KRS-ONE signs with Tunnel Rats Music
You'd wonder why, and we wonder if it's true, but that's what a website called Hip Hop For the Soul is reporting. The site reports that ONE, a legend in the business who made a gospel rap album a few years ago, will release a project titled Live This with Tunnel Rats Music/Antagonist. No release date is given.

KRS, whose real name is Kris Parker, was once a member of the influential hardcore group Boogie Down Productions, and is known for his old school, socially conscious hip-hop.

We'll keep you posted as more details become available.

Additional sources used for this story: All Music Guide.

- Ben 

October 13, 2004 - Jason Ingram Leads Worship, Helps Colman
Nashville-based singer/songwriter Jason Ingram was back on stage Oct. 7-9 leading worship for the 2004 Baptist Press Student Journalism Conference.

Ingram, was spotlighted in 2002 with the release of his self-titled solo compilation. But he may be most notable for his contributions to Sonicflood's song, Resonate.

Ingram said he had a great time leading the conference, but prefers to stick to songwriting.

"I toured the country for about eight years, but my passion is songwriting." Ingram said.

Ingram also said he did not like to travel as much as he had to while on tour. Now the Nashville-based songwriter is working with Paul Colman and others for Colman's first solo release expected in February 2005.
- Josh 

October 13, 2004 - Sixpence Gives Fans Us
Sixpence None the Richer has released a single exclusively on Apple Computer's iTunes Music Store. The single, Us, will appear on their up and coming album titled, "The Best of Sixpence None the Richer." The single has already risen to the No. 1 downloaded Sixpence NTR song on the music store.
- Josh 

September 27, 2004 - Switchfoot keeps fans up late
While no specific information was found on the CBS website as of the posting of this news, Jerome Fontamillas of the band Switchfoot told us recently that they are scheduled to appear on the Late Show with David Letterman on Wednesday September 29th. In a little over a year, Switchfoot has made the rounds over to most of the late night and late late night shows, including appearances with Jay Leno and Carson Daly.

In other Switchfoot happenings, after playing summer radio festivals and state fairs all over the USA, the San Diego, CA based band spent much of September in Europe and Australia, selling out many venues as they travelled. In October, they will embark on a club tour this fall as the headliner, opened by The Format and The Honorary Title. Surf Switchfoot.com for more information on tour dates and locations.

We understand they will be taking a break from their tireless touring schedule next Spring to focus on the May 2005 release of the next album. If you catch them on tour this fall, you are bound to hear some of their new material.
- Kim 

September 27, 2004 - The MP Network To Launch In October
The MP, a new music video channel based in Charlotte, N.C. plans to launch in October. The MP hopes to bring innovative programming to an audience that has a tremendous appetite for it. They plan to offer a diverse entertainment choice for fans of Christian rock, contemporary gospel, inspirational and other music genres.

“The closest parallel to what we are trying to accomplish is the way ESPN has grown,” president and chief executive officer of The MP Network Corporation Larry Moore said. “Just as ESPN is widely regarded as the ‘worldwide leader in sports’, we want to become the recognized leader in providing entertainment from diverse musical genres that have an inspirational bent.”

The MP’s initial programming will consist largely of music videos. Plans are underway to add artist interviews, profiles, Christian music industry news and other related entertainment shows.

“Our concept is straightforward,” said Moore. “We want to take existing content and develop new, exciting programming, which can be used on our various formats."

Moore said The MP Tour, scheduled to begin Spring 2005 and include top Christian artists, will have footage broadcast on the video music channel and streamed over the web on The MP Network. Also in the planned MP debut is the MPZ, a music and entertainment magazine. Moore said writers for MPZ will have special access to the stars and the performances so that they can develop exclusive pieces for the monthly.

Vice president of tour operations Bruce Irvine said the tour will help bring artists, fans and sponsors together.

Said Irvine: “One of the most important things we want to accomplish is to help build a sense of community for the millions of fans of (Christian) music."
- Josh 

September 25, 2004 - "American Music Awards" nominees announced
The 32nd Annual "American Music Awards" nominees were announced Sept. 14. The show will air live on Nov. 14 on ABC.

Steven Curtis Chapman, MercyMe and Third Day were nominated for Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist for the second straight year.

"We're thrilled to be nominated for an American Music Award," MercyMe's Mike Scheuchzer said in an interview. "It's such an honor not only to be grouped with so many other amazing musicians, but to know that these nominations come directly from the fans is incredibly humbling. We're just thrilled above all else that God is continuing to use us."

Chapman, nominated for the third time to this category, was the winner last year. “It was a great honor to receive the American Music Award last year and I'm very grateful to be nominated again this year, along with my friends Third Day and Mercy Me," Chapman said.

Chapman and Third Day said they were thrilled to have the Christian genre recognized by the AMA. This is only the fourth year the category has existed though. Yolanda Adams was the first recipient followed by Avalon.
- Josh 

September 13, 2004 - Point of Grace works to "redeem the vote"
Point of Grace will release "I Choose You” in over a month, but for now band members are giving the title an early introduction.

“We are trying to tie that in to the election,” Payne said.

Point of Grace joined the Redeem the Vote organization effort by over 40 Christian artists and groups to encourage voter registration. The nonpartisan effort aims to “educate young people on why it’s important to vote and what the issues are,” Payne said.

At their concerts and other events, artists such as Casting Crowns, Pillar, Steven Curtis Chapman and others mention the importance of voting and provide opportunities to register.

“I would say that most of the mainstream efforts are not quite as nonpartisan,” Payne said. “We’re given a platform for a reason … We can say you’re vote counts.”

While a nonpartisan organization, Christian acts involved with Redeem the Vote are showing their support for President Bush. Third Day and Jaci Velasquez performed at the Republican convention and Point of Grace sang at a Bush rally in Iowa on Aug. 31.

Despite that, Payne believes that no voter should let someone else dictate whom they should vote for. “Don’t just take it from a movie star or actress — or even a Christian music star — but look at the issues,” Payne said.

Sources: Stars and Stripes, Redeem the Vote
- Josh 

September 11, 2004 - Kendall Payne Returns!
In a shocking revelation from cmcentral.com, we were surprised to find that Kendall Payne is back with a brand new album. The artist, who was long missing in action, was touted as one of the hottest new artists in the late 90's. Her debut on Capitol Records, Jordan's Sister, sold about 100,000 copies and was later distributed by Christian label Sparrow Records. However, in 2002 she was lost in changes at Capitol, then shortly dropped by the Christian music world. Thoughout a couple years of working odd jobs to make money, Kendall would continue to write songs in her free time, born out of the soul-searching and pain of not being an accepted musician. Through the good will of some friends, she was able to record her sophomore album independently. As the newly-updated KendallPayne.com shows, her new CD, entitled Grown is now available.
- Dan 

September 4, 2004 - The Passion Continues
The Passion of the Christ continued its cultural barrier breakdown after it sold 4.1 million DVD copies Sept. 1.

Despite the high numbers, it still was not enough to enter the record books. "Finding Nemo" holds the top spot for one-day DVD sales with 8 million copies sold and for a live-action movie, Spider-Man holds the one-day record with 7 million.

In terms of one-day sales, Fox Home Entertainment said The Passion is the best-selling R-rated film of all time and best-selling non-English language film of all time.

The DVD version is on track to sell as well as Hollywood blockbusters Spider-Man and The Lord of the Rings which sold 15-18 million DVD's.

The Passion earned over $370 million in theaters nationwide, making it the year's second-most popular movie behind Shrek 2.
- Josh 

July 20, 2004 - Don’t squelch the creative juices while tobyMac mixes
With a 3 week deadline looming for tobyMac http://www.tobymac.com/ to complete his upcoming album, “Welcome to Diverse City” which hits retail outlets on October 5th, we could observe the creative juices flowing as he spoke to the media at Creation East last month. Read more about that here http://www.cmusicweb.com/features/creation2004/index.shtml. We realize it is hard to pin Toby down to focus on the new music. One may recall that the announcement at last year's Creation East festival was for an upcoming fall 2003 release of an album titled “Phenomenon.” It would not surprise us to read of another title change, but fans may be breaking down the doors of the stores if the album is not released in the fall of 2004!
- Kim 

July 20, 2004 - Paul Colman solo going double?
Paul Colman, by himself and having recently inked a new deal with Inpop records, told us at Creation East some more information about what we overheard in Nashville at GMA week this past April. He hopes to place both a Christian and General market release on the retail shelves. Paul explained that his songs are between two markets here in the US; whereas the same songs could be placed on one album in his homeland of Australia. On the Christian side, the songs will be more about a relationship with God, while the mainstream disc will focus on life issues such as his wife and children, or political issues. The secular album is to be imprinted by Inpop, but Paul will lay out the cash for it himself. Word is out that the first album is expected in February of 2005.
- Kim 

July 19, 2004 - GRITS Deliver Even More In 2004
It just was not enough that GRITS just released an album, Dichotamy A. And even with the second half, Dichotamy B hitting stores this November, that still is not enough. Gotee.com and their online store are touting a new disc entitled The Art of Transformation. Although we have found very little information about it, it seems to be a remix of the entire Art of Translation album by a variety of remix artists. The disc listing touts remixes by DJ Form and Pettidee plus a "mega mix" track by Jay Mumbles. Currently it is only available from AudioGoat.com, another Gotee online store. So far, there is little info on this release, but we will try to keep you updated with any new information.
- Dan 

July 17, 2004 - Not the 400 meter relay race for Kutless
During GMA week in April, we first heard about the plan for Kutless to play in Athens at this year’s 2004 summer Olympics at the steps of the Acropolis. Apparently, as they told the press at Creation, their publicist had some contacts with people who worked for the Olympics and one day the guys learned of their pending overseas trip by phone one day, “Guess what? You are going to Athens.” Race over to http://www.kutless.com/news.asp for more details.
- Kim 

July 17, 2004 - Relief work spearheaded by the artists
At the Creation East festival last month, Audio Adrenaline shared with the press about the plans to place an eBay auction in August for an Audio Adrenaline concert to help support the Hands and Feet project. Plans are underway to build an orphanage in the southern coast of Haiti through the efforts of youth group work projects. Learn more at http://www.handsandfeet.org. Jars of Clay has their heart set on Africa these days, in particular the idea of getting clean water to the people. Beginning in the spring of 2005, the band members hope to initiate a project to install 1,000 wells in about 1,000 hours. Keep watching http://www.bloodwatermission.org/ for more details.
- Kim 

July 14, 2004 - The Worship Circus Goes Indie, Releases EP
Less than a year after their second major-label release and only months after their surprising radio hit "Gift Of Cool," The Rock 'n' Roll Worship Circus are going indie. Earlier this week they released The Listening EP to their official site, WorshipCircus.com, and it will also be available at their shows. cMusicWeb.com has also just confirmed that the Worship Circus are no longer signed to INO Records, which has also been distributing discs in the mainstream through Epic Records. Despite the label setback, fans of the Worship Circus are calling their new EP their best music yet. The Circus are touring the UK this fall opening for delirious?, and with them still at the top of their game, it looks that the should be around a bit longer.
- Dan 

June 11, 2004 - America Says Goodbye To Soul Legend
"The Father of Soul," Ray Charles died at 73 Thursday following a long battle with liver disease.

Charles overcame poverty, blindness, and a heroin addiction en route to becoming one of the most legendary entertainers of our time. He made his last public appearance on April 30 after 58 years in the spotlight.

Charles signed with Atlantic Records in the early 1950s and recorded the "first true soul record ever made" entitle I Got a Woman.

"He is one of the most important artists of the last century," Ahmet Ertegun, who signed Charles to his Atlantic Records label 52 years ago, said to Reuters. "The only artist that had a greater influence was Louis Armstrong."

Collecting 13 GRAMMY Awards, Charles also received a lifetime achievement honor in 1987. He played his 10,000th concert last May in Los Angeles and in 2002 celebrated the 40th anniversary of his first hit on the country music charts, "I Can't Stop Loving You."

Charles continued his popularity with his famous Diet Coke commercials and even released an album in 2002. Since then, however, his health has kept him out of much of the spotlight.

"Mr. Charles was conscious and engaged almost to the end," Joe Adams, his longtime manager, said. " (He) wanted the world to know that he will miss the chance to entertain his many family and friends, as he had done, up until last summer, for the past 58 years."
- Josh 

June 7, 2004 - The Return Of Luna Halo
They were never really gone, they just went underground. After Sparrow Records dropped the band after their debut, the band has been touring, writing, and looking for another label. Their website, LunaHalo.com has been just about the only source of info for them, and even there the info is a bit cryptic. When we looked a year or so ago, they were promising a second independent EP which never came.

Today the website is totally revamped and all mentions of older CDs have disappeared. Their management recently told cMusicWeb.com, however, that the band is about to resurface. The band has dropped all mention of their debut and their first EP, due to what their management cites as a "glorious moment" when their style changed drastically. Avid fans probably noticed the release of the New Drug EP over in the UK, which we are told was good for the fans yet very non-produced with rough mixes.

Their website announced the Wasting Away EP is now available only from their website or at shows. They are currently touring clubs across the U.S. and Europe and have signed a contract with DreamWorks Records and are currently working on their long-awaited second album. Fans may be hearing them on mainstream radio soon, so look out for the return of Luna Halo.
- Dan 

May 16, 2004 - Rebecca St. James Relates Sadness For Britney Spears
Rebecca St. James made headlines Sunday after sharing her opinions on Britney Spears' belief that sex is not a big deal.

James said in an interview with Reuters Saturday, "The biggest thing I feel for Britney is I feel sad for her."

James who has been a strong promoter of abstinence until marriage said she was sad because Spears once vowed to stay a virgin until her wedding night, but broke that promise. James said she is disappointed that role models like Spears and much of the entertainment spectrum spill the message of "anything goes, if it feels good do it."

James said she is also sad for the nine and 10-year-olds who "see her dressing in a very promiscuous fashion, almost asking for people to treat her as a sex object." James said they will eventually begin dressing like Spears.

James is beginning a "whirlwind European tour" where she hopes to further strengthen her message of abstinence among teens in an area where sexually transmitted diseases are increasing rapidly.

James said the five single men in her band are committed to abstinence before marriage, and she too stays away from sexual temptation.

Said James: "I'm a virgin. I'm 26, and going to stay that way until after I'm married."
- Josh 

May 5, 2004 - Elms Back With Live DVD
All fans of The Elms know that their live show is not to be missed. And for the fans who are not fortunate enough to experience the tour de force of good ol' rock 'n' roll, the band has decided to release a live DVD.

This, their first independent offering, features hits such as "Speaking In Tongues" and "Hey, Hey" as well as three brand new songs and covers of tracks by The Who and The Monkees. Filmed just a couple days ago on May 2nd, it was filmed at a small club in Muncie, IN with a crowd of several hundred fans.

After the show was over, Owen and Thom came back onstage and performed a couple songs solo, including the early Elms track "Goodnight, Rosa." Longtime fans, like me, for sure will want to see that on the DVD, and I hope it makes the cut. Release date and title have yet to be determined, but expect to rock your home theater system sometime mid-summer.
- Dan 

May 4, 2004 - 4th Avenune Jones' Signs With Gotee
The word on the street corner is that our hip hop pick for this month, 4th Avenue Jones' has signed with Gotee Records. 4th Ave. Jones' was signed with Interscope for the first couple years of the 21st Century but was dumped before their full-length album was released. Their independent discs, No Plan B and the independent Hiprocksoul are available on their official site, Hiprocksoul.com. Thanks for Sphere of Hip Hop Forums and Pigeon John's e-mail list for giving us the news. Here's to hoping that Gotee treats 4th Ave. well!
- Dan 

April 30, 2004 - Tait to Join Santana
Several media outlets are reporting that Michael Tait, former dc Talk member and current lead singer of the U2-ish band that bears his surname, has been asked to tour with guitar legend Carlos Santana.

Santana, whose music has been known for its spiritually (though not explicitly Christian) slant, will tour several European countries beginning on July 2, with Michael Tait along for the ride. A press release posted on CM Central, Grassroots Music and elsewhere suggests that Michael will also be invited to add vocals to Santana's next studio album, which is due later this year.

Michael insists that he will continue to tour and record with his band Tait, but is very cognizant of the opportunity before him. Said the singer, "To even be asked to join with one of the greatest artists in the history of rock and roll is humbling to say the least."

Incidentally, Tait (the band)'s official website is reporting that their latest album, Lose This Life has been given the Dove Award for Rock Album of the Year.

Additional source: ForefrontRecords.com.
- Ben 

April 27, 2004 - Christian Music Industry Unsure How To Handle Piracy
The Dallas Morning News reported April 17 that a study by the Gospel Music Association said Christian teens are pirating music at "nearly the same rate as secular music is being pirated by non-Christians."

The Christian music industry is now caught in a battle between the need to condemn these teens and the Biblical truth Jesus taught: "Turn the other cheek."

"We can't be like Christina Aguilera and get all attitudy," said Christian music artist, Jaci Velasquez. "We're supposed to be like Christ and turn the other cheek."

Skillet band member, John Cooper said a fan told him how Skillet's music had changed his life and then asked him to sign some of his CDs. "They were all burned from a computer," Cooper said. "I always sign because I don't want to be rude. But sometimes I'm tempted to say, 'Man, you've got to buy it.' "

John Styll, president of the GMA, said the Christian music industry believes piracy is a moral issue. He said the industry is still trying to find ways to discourage piracy.

"We're not going to sue people," Styll said. "It just doesn't seem right. And nobody really has the will to do it."

The News reported a "do unto others" strategy has begun in light of the piracy problems. Warnings detailing copyright laws are now displayed on some Christian CDs, but "research shows the task of changing minds, much less hearts, is Herculean."

Styll said he is surprised and disappointed there is not more of a gap between Christian and non-Christian teen piracy.

Said Styll on the piracy issue: "A lot of these people don't see it as any more wrong than speeding. I would say to you that speeding is wrong. But I would also admit that I have probably violated that law today."
- Josh 

April 22, 2004 - Two CDs, Half the Calories and YOURS For Only One Easy Payment of $17.98!!!
The Phantom Tollbooth reported recently that George Foreman, an ordained minister and grill salesman best known for his accomplishments as a boxer (he was twice the heavyweight champion of the world) is releasing…a gospel album.

Titled Inspirations, the album will be released sometime early this year, and features inspirational spoken word messages conceptualized, written and performed by Foreman himself. The album's official website confirms that the CD will also offer music arranged and conducted by Roland Baumgartner, perhaps as background for George's sermons.

A second CD will feature eleven songs performed by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Sandi Patti, Yolanda Adams and Donnie McClurkin.

Given Foreman's track record (he has about three dozen kids, each of which is named after him) we're just glad he didn't call it "George."

- Ben 

April 13, 2004 - First Ever Christian Concerts Coming To Morocco
"We have stereotypes of Muslims, and they certainly do of conservative Christians. They're both caricatures we need to dispense with."

This quote by Rev. Richard Cizik, vice president for government affairs at the Washington-based National Association of Evangelicals, highlights the growing consensus of the American public, and especially Christians and traditional Muslims.

According to the Washington Post, evangelical leaders announced the beginning of their efforts to "moderate their rhetoric toward Islam and begin a more respectful, positive dialogue with Muslims around the world."

The announcment contained plans for a Christian music festival, humanitarian relief projects, and a theological conference all coming to Morocco, a country that is 98.7 percent Muslim and only 1.1 percent Christian (cia.gov).

Cizik said Moroccan officials agreed to these rare events because the "government wants to combat rising anti-American sentiment among young people."

Rev. Harry L. Thomas, co-founder of Creation Festivals said, "We don't want the whole Islamic world to think that a couple of spokesmen, though well-intentioned perhaps, speak for everyone."

Thomas said the bands will be asked to play without pay so people can view the festival for free.

Said Thomas: "We're taught to love people. I don't know anyone who has been won over by hate talk. We prefer to reach out and build some bridges."
- Josh 

April 12, 2004 - The Passion Strikes Gold
MOBILE, Ala. -- Integrity Media, Inc., announced Monday The Passion of The Christ was certified gold by the Recording Industry Association of America.

A gold certification is awarded when at least 500,000 copies of a CD have been sold. Commenting on the certification, Jerry Weimer, President of the Integrity Music, a subsidiary of Integrity Media, said, “The gold certification comes after only a month of release, and the soundtrack is already on its way to platinum certification."

Weimer congratulated composer John Debney and Passion director Mel Gibson, who co-produced the sountrack with Debney, on the news. He said Integrity Music was honored to take part in the Passion experience.

The soundtrack features vocals and chants from Shannon Kingsbury, Shankar and Gingger, the Transylvania State Philharmonic Choir, The London Voices and Mel Gibson.

Source: Integrity Media
- Josh 

April 10, 2004 - St. Paul Goes Hip
St. Paul Baptist Church in Oakland, Ca. is putting a twist on contemporary Christian music with its influence of Hip-Hop Sunday worship.

According to the Oakland Tribune, the church will host a Hip-Hop Sunday service on Easter Sunday. It will be held at a nearby convention center to house an estimated 1,800 people.

Deemed "Holy hip-hop, or so-called gospel rap," the Tribune said youth are flocking to church pews as a result of this "emerging new and spiritual genre sweeping the nation."

Derrick Mann, CEO and president of Flock Entertainment Complex and also a minister, said "You have a lot of young people who are also getting to know Jesus Christ through rap music, and that's positive."

Rev. Joseph Simmons of St. Paul Baptist said more people are getting involved and supporting his church and ministry.

Simmons said the church is trying to send the message that God looks at the heart and not the outside. He said he wants kids to come to church and be able to wear their favorite hip-hop clothes.

Said Simmons: "...we want to embrace the youth and help them become people who love God, love themselves and love their community."
- Josh 

April 8, 2004 - !Hero Postponed
By Becca Tuttle

The Spring Tour of Eddie DeGarmo's !HERO – The Rock Opera, has been postponed indefinitely. Says DeGarmo, "with the tremendous success of the Passion of the Christ in theaters, combined with the hectic schedule around the Easter season, we made a decision to postpone the run to a later date." The show will still be presented on April 27 as a part of Gospel Music Week.

On a brighter note, !Hero is now appearing nationwide in a one-hour
TV documentary. Titled "!HERO – The Rock Opera, Behind The Curtain," this teaser features a backstage look at production as well as interviews with the cast and creators. Complete details can be found at the !Hero website.
- Ben 

April 8, 2004 - Deion Sanders, Yolanda Adams to Host Dove Awards
The Gospel Music Association (GMA) announced today that "Primetime" Deion Sanders, a former star NFL cornerback and nominal Major League outfielder, will co-host the 35th edition of the Dove Awards with revered gospel singer Yolanda Adams. The awards will take place on April 28th as a part of the GMA's annual Gospel Music Week, and will be broadcast on UPN one month later (8:00 EST). Interested parties in select cities can also view the ceremony live on April 28th at Regal Cinemas, United Artists Theatres, and Edwards Theatres. According to a press release published at ccmmagazine.com, this will be "the first time a live awards show has been simulcast in movie theatres nationwide."

Says John Styll in the aforementioned press release, "We’re thrilled to have Deion and Yolanda as our hosts for this year’s show. Both are great entertainers in their own right….They have achieved the highest honors in their fields and are respected for their professional accomplishments and personal integrity."

Tickets to the simulcast can be purchased for $10 at participating cinemas, or online at RegalCM.com.

Source: ccmmagazine.com.
- Ben 

April 6, 2004 - Osenga Joins Caedmon's
CMCentral and Caedmon's Call's official website are both reporting today that Andrew Osenga, late of The Normals, has been officially added to CC's lineup, filling the void left in the band caused by Derek Webb's departure of last year. Osenga's official site contains a similar report.

According to the CMCentral story, Osenga has been touring with Caedmon's, and will be "expected to continue to play guitar, sing [background] vocals, and contribute to the group's songwriting." This news coincides with the recent release of Chronicles, a Caedmon's retrospective collection commemorating the band's progress thus far and released this past Tuesday.

Caedmon's is readying a new album, tentatively titled Third World Symphony, which is due out this fall. In the meantime, fans can enjoy Chronicles, which contains a studio version of the crowd favourite "Bus Driver," recorded with Webb in a sort of mini-reunion.

Note: Additional information for this story was provided by newreleasetuesday.com
- Ben 

April 5, 2004 - Camp Worship Album Hits #1
BEC Recordings rocker Jeremy Camp, whom we
interviewed and profiled
last year, has topped the Billboard "Heatseeksers" chart.

Camp's latest disc, Carried Me: The Worship Project sits ahead of Canadian rockers Finger Eleven and (to be honest) a lot of no-name bands I've never heard of on the April 10 version of the chart. Incidentally, R.J. Helton, a Christian and former American Idol contestant, sits at #19.

Carried Me is the follow-up to 2002's Stay, which helped earned Camp four Dove Award nominations this year. Watch for our review of Carried Me soon.

Sources: Rockrebel.com, Billboard.com, CMCentral
- Ben 

March 29, 2004 - Kevin Max Speaks
Former dc Talk member Kevin Max has finally broken his silence.

In an interview with ccmbuzz.com, Max reveals that he's in the process of signing with a new label that will help him distribute his second album as a solo artist, the follow-up to 2001's Stereotype Be. Says Max, "I am very wary of labels in general. They treat the artists like foster children and never let them have creative opinions or control. I have been looking for a home like that and may have found it."

Max also reveals that he has left Nashville for Los Angeles in order to nurture his evolution as an artist. "I felt that Nashville was sucking at the very marrow of my bones," he says. "[In L.A.] I am not under the constant microscope and butcher's knife. L.A. has provided a way for me to start over in some respects. I have built a whole new live audience, as well as a band, and have been able to meet people in the industry who do not know as much about the whole CCM world and its applications."

Asked about the future of his old band, Max stated that he has no clue what the future holds, then later added, "It seems like neither Toby nor Tait are interested in dc Talk at this point. I haven't heard from either of them in a long time."

The full interview can be read here.

Also of note: dctalksolo.com is reporting that Max and his wife Alayna have split up. In a statement apparently pulled from the message boards on Max's official website, Max said "We both made the decision after much counseling by pastor's and spiritual guidance counselor's. We have been divorced for awhile now but did not feel the need to expose it to the public. We are still friends and constantly praying for God's direction in both of our lives. The decision was mutual and was also made out of love and not hate, we continue to keep in touch and invite your prayers for the both of us. ... I am in a better place lately and I believe that I have been healing, I am constantly surrounded by people who care and have a vested interest in my life. I constantly am in awe at the grace and mercy that the Lord shows us."
- Ben 

March 27, 2004 - Report: Stereo Motion Disbands
CM Central reported yesterday that Stereo Motion, the Flicker Records band formerly known as Phat Chance, has decided to call it quits.

The band released only two albums—a sugar-pop collection in 2001 called Without You under the former moniker, which had them compared to Hanson and the Backstreet Boys, and a more matured, Zeppelin-esque debut last year as SM. The later album was generally well-received (even by us, who generally hate boy bands), but members Brent Lain, Bryan Nance, Dallas Morgan and Justin Morgan have apparently decided to pursue other interests.

The CM Central article quotes former editor Robin Parrish as saying, "[Justin has] moved to Nashville and plans to be a roadie working on various tours. I think Dallas is planning to go to college, Bryan wants to be a youth pastor, and I think he said Brent is getting married."

We had the opportunity to interview Bryan and Justin last October. You can read what they had to say here for old time's sake.
- Ben 

March 27, 2004 - Skillet Collides With The Mainstream
The Paul Ebersold-produced Collide will get another chance to impact audiences this Spring. Lava Records, home to Kid Rock, Simple Plan and Smile Empty Soul has agreed to pick up Skillet's latest to sell and promote it in the mainstream. We talked with Skillet last night on their Minnesota stop of the See Spot Rock tour. Although they did not play any new songs, the band announced that there would be two new songs, one of which would be the first mainstream single. The new version of Collide will hit stores on May 25th, so give your old copy to a friend and go buy it.

UPDATE 4/2/2004 - "Savior" will be the first single, with the new track possibly being a second song for radio play. The first single is already doing well on college radio, so start requesting "Savior".
- Dan 

March 15, 2004 - Pillar's Flow In and Out of the Mainstream
At the March 25th Philadelphia stop of the See Spot Rock 2003 tour, some may have noticed people at the show that did not fit the description of typical audience attendee. A couple of days later, Kim Flanders, cMW staff, realized that the people she spotted were MCA record company reps from New York City. Then on June 10, 2003, Pillar's Fireproof album originally released on Flicker Records, was remixed and repackaged for MCA records.

Only a few months later, as Pillar was planning their next album release, MCA was purchased by Geffen Records. When the dust settled, Pillar was left with no record label deal. Flicker Records picked them up again, and their new album, aptly titled Where Do We Go from Here, is scheduled for release on June 15, 2004.

Now touring with See Spot Rock 2004, Kim Flanders caught up with Noah, Pillar's guitarist, at the Philadelphia show on March 13th. Noah said that it's all up to God, but they are open to another mainstream deal. This time, however, the album would be distibuted by both Flicker Records and the mainstream label. After the show, Noah told Kim that there was a rep from Columbia Records at the show.

If the new songs that were performed at the show are any example of the upcoming release, Kim reports that this one is going to rock even harder. We wish you the best, guys!

- Ben 

March 9, 2004 - Children Share Their Dreams With E.R.A.C.E.
"Our desire is to help promote racial reconciliation on a local, state and national level by increasing awareness of other cultures; increasing awareness of the problem of racial discrimination; and increasing awareness to the potential solutions" - the E.R.A.C.E. foundation

The Eliminating Racism and Creating Equality Foundation has produced a 2004/2005 calendar called "Dream Kids." E.R.A.C.E. is an organization co-founded by TobyMac that promotes reconciliation and unity among all races.

TobyMac and Kirk Franklin's "I Have a Dream" tour was the inspiration for the calendar's theme. The calendar features drawings by children around the country, portraying their dreams and aspirations. The calendar also includes organizations that help educate and mentor children.

TobyMac has announced "for a limited time only, included with the calendar are a tobyMac 8x10 photo and "I Have a Dream" tour sticker."

To purchase a calendar and support E.R.A.C.E., send a check or money order made out to E.R.A.C.E. for $7.00 to:
227 3rd Ave. N
Franklin, TN 37054

Sources: tobymac.com, E.R.A.C.E.
- Josh 

February 24, 2004 - The Passion Is Alive
I had to make this movie. I couldn't not make it.- Mel Gibson on The Passion of the Christ.

Unless you have been visiting other planets for the last several months, you have heard the hype surrounding Mel Gibson's, The Passion of the Christ. Dubbed "a lifetime of sermons in one movie," by the Rev. Billy Graham, The Passion is being recognized by critics and scholars wide and far, and is believed to be one of the most controversial movie ever made.

The Passion opens Wednesday Feb. 25 in theater's around the world, but some areas of the country will be conducting midnight showings Tuesday. Churches have scrambled to buy out showings so they can hold invitations at the end of the movie for anyone to accept Christ or rededicate their lives.

Mel Gibson said the R-rating of the movie is to show the humanity and reality of what Jesus went through on this earth. He said he hopes people will be uncomfortable watching it, because he believes everyone is responsible for Christ's death.

Dr. James Dobson agreed with this in a radio interview with Gibson on Monday. Dr. Dobson said after watching the movie he believed it was the most "heart-wrenching, powerful portrayal of Christ's suffering" ever seen. He said he was moved by the brutality Jesus went through on our behalf.

Critics and the media have spurred controversy around The Passion, but Gibson shuns off all comments.

Said Gibson: "I'm not a preacher, and I'm not a pastor... The Holy Ghost was working through me on this film, and I was just directing traffic."

Sources: Focus on the Family, Reuters(yahoo.com)
- Josh 

February 23, 2004 - Stacie Orrico Distances Herself From Spears, Aguilera
It's old news now, but the newspapers across the country are continuing their flock to print the comments Stacie Orrico made Feb. 14 at the MTV Asia Awards.

Orrico said clothing similar to that worn by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera is degrading and makes them poor role models for girls.

Orrico said she does not dress like Spears and Aguilera because she wants to be an example for young girls. She said girls from seven or eight years of age are taught that they are only beautiful through their sexuality. Orrico said that she believs this is wrong and she does not approve the image projected by the pop superstars.

"I don't think that's sexy. I think it's degrading," the 17-year old from Nashville, Tenn. said. "I think that a truly sexy woman comes from being confident and being classy, respectable and mature."

Orrico performed at the awards with Too Phat and Urban Xchange with their rendition of Orrico’s "More To Life" and "Stuck."

Sources: eMedia, New Straits Times
- Josh 

February 22, 2004 - Jars of Clay Launches "Ambitious" Tour
Jars of Clay is set to launch an "ambitious" tour beginning in Fletcher, N.C., on Feb. 23 and 24 next week.

Jars' latest album, "Who We Are Instead," will be the focus of the tour.

Singer Dan Haseltine said in a statement that Jars was excited to "re-embrace the simple acoustic process that got us started." Jars also received multiple nominations for the Dove Awards held in April by the Gosepl Music Association.

Source: Live Daily
- Josh 

February 18, 2004 - CMW Writer Makes Good. Imagine That
Well, usually our writers quit between sobs and tears after too many cracks of the whip (heh heh…just kidding), but sometimes they leave because they plan to go on to bigger and better things. Jeff Odom is one such man.

"Did you ever get so many irons in the fire that a few of the rods just seem to burn up?" Jeff asked in an e-mail to us recently. "That's where I am right now."

"The good news is, my dream of a ministry is coming true. I have a single that is being released to national Christian radio in March and a CD that is scheduled for released around June."

The single is titled "Laugh a Little," and you can hear it in MP3 form at his website, jeffreyodom.com. Think Steven Curtis Chapman tinged with bluegrass and you'll have a vague idea for how it sounds. It's only a demo version, though—according to Jeff, they track you'll hear on radio has been re-recorded, and the difference between the old version and the new is "like comparing an 8-track to a CD."

The album is being released through an independent label and is titled Make This Real. Keep an eye out for it.
- Ben 

February 9, 2004 - Get Your GRITS For Under $10
GRITS has announced they will release two albums this year, commemorating their 10th year anniversary with Gotee Records.

GRITS recorded 20 songs for their upcoming album and decided all their songs were album-worthy. Now they are turning the 20 songs into two albums scheduled for release on June 29 and Nov. 16. They will be sold at a suggested retail price of less than $10.

As of now the albums are not titled. In March, GRITS will kick off a promotional tour.

Source: Gotee Records
- Josh 

February 8, 2004 - 2004 Grammy Winners Announced
Despite the heavy Rap and R&B influence on the GRAMMY awards this year,
the Best Rock Gospel Album goes to Audio Adrenaline's Worldwide. Meanwhile, Third Day failed to win consecutive GRAMMY's as the Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album was awarded to Michael W. Smith with Worship Again. Here is a complete list of Gospel winners:
Best Rock Gospel Album
Audio Adrenaline

Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album
Worship Again
Michael W. Smith

Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album
Rise And Shine
Randy Travis

Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album
Go Tell It On The Mountain
The Blind Boys Of Alabama

Best Contemporary Soul Gospel Album
Donnie McClurkin

Best Gospel Choir Or Chorus Album
A Wing And A Prayer
Bishop T.D. Jakes, choir director; The Potter's House Mass Choir

- Josh 

February 5, 2004 - Carman Defrauded, Sued; Pleads for Help
Well, we've dogged him because of his music in the past (nothing personal, of course…we're just not all fans of what he puts out) but it seems as though Carman is in serious trouble.

Christrock.com recently published a statement from the man himself, revealing that Carman Ministries—the evangelistic organization headed up by its namesake, has been bilked out of hundreds of thousands of dollars by past employees, and is in danger of going under.

The statement says Carman, known for his diverse approach to gospel-infused music that ranges from praise and worship to hip-hop, recently uncovered a "serious plot to defraud the ministry for $750,000." The ministry is also being sued for $200, 000 by a former manager, and, says Carman, they "don’t have the finances necessary to defend [themeselves] and win the lost too."

Carman has apparently emptied his savings account, his retirement fund, and sold his house to keep the organization running, but is now in need of about $100, 000 for both operating costs and legal fees.

Prayer and donations are being asked for, of course. Those interested in helping out can contact Carman Ministries at:

PO Box 5093
Brentwood, TN 37024
Phone: (615) 771-2711
Fax: (615) 771-2722.
- Ben 

February 4, 2004 - Side Walk Slam and Hawk Nelson Held Up At Waffle House
HILLSBORO, N.C. -- Side Walk Slam and Hawk Nelson were victims in an armed robbery Tuesday, Feb. 2, at a Waffle House in Hillsboro, N.C.

Lead singer and bassist, Josiah, was talking on his cell phone when two guys in the restaurant pulled out guns and demanded cash from the cashier. One of the robbers stuck his gun in Josiah's back and forced him off the phone. The second robber ordered all band members and a few other customers to hand over their wallets.

Police arrived on the scene after the robbers fled and said the two had probably been the same ones that held up a Blockbuster Video a few blocks away earlier that night.

Source: - Josh 

February 3, 2004 - Apple, Pepsi Bring New Twist To Music Downloading
A few months ago it would have been hard to convince someone that pepsi and apple could be mentioned as a good combination for anything. As of Feb. 1, however, this combination is not one in a million, but one in three.

Apple Computer has teamed up with Pepsi in a double-marketing effort to bring music lovers 100 million songs for free download at Apple's iTunes Music Store. The songs can be downloaded by entering a code which appears on the cap of 1 in 3 bottles of Pepsi, Diet, Pepsi and Sierra Mist (20-oz. and 1-liter).

The 500,000+ songs available cover all major genres of music. They only be downloaded from Apple's iTunes Music Store and are only playable with...you guessed it, iTunes. Only computers that have Mac OS X 10.1.5 or later and Windows users running Windows 2000 or XP can download iTunes.

The contest ends March 31 and songs must be redeemed by April 30 of this year.
- Josh 

February 1, 2004 - It's Official: PC3 is No More...For Now
The exclusive news story cMusicWeb brought you last Monday has been confirmed. The Paul Colman Trio is no more. In their Internet newsletter, the band wrote, "as of Feb 21st 2003, pc3 will be taking a break as a recording/performing band. We've had a great time, but primarily due to financial and family considerations we cannot continue working together—at least at this stage." According to the newsletter, bassist Grant Norsworthy "will be staying in Nashville pursuing songwriting and bass playing opportunities," while drummer Phil Gaudion has returned to the band's native Australia to work as a producer and engineer. Frontman and namesake Paul Colman has plans to continue on as a solo artist.

You can read the official announcement at paulcolmantrio.com.
- Ben 

January 26, 2004 - Matt Redman... Live In Atlanta
Just in case Tree63's official website does not post enough news about themselves, they are now feeding us news about other artists too! It seems that Tree63's lead singer/guitarist, John Ellis, is helping out his friend Matt Redman with a gig.

This coming weekend, January 28-30th, Matt Redman and Passion founder Louie Giglio will be hosting the Facedown Conference in Atlanta. Our sources at Tree63 say we should expect a live CD and possibly a DVD from the Facedown event to hit stores in June, and possibly even a live "best-of" disc from Matt Redman.
- Dan 

January 26, 2004 - Paul Colman Solo…again?
Paul Colman may be returning to his solo roots this year despite recent interviews of Paul Coleman Trio’s success on IndependentBands.com and Christianity Today.

Searches on iTickets reveal that all Paul Colman Trio headliners when clicked display only…Paul Colman. Do not let the picture of the trio fool you, however, because sources close to the band have revealed to cMusicWeb that Paul intends to go it alone.

Also in the shakeup is news from Talan Management actually posted in November of 2003, welcoming Paul Coleman aboard. Meanwhile, former management company Alabaster Arts has now dropped the Trio from their Artist list. The Trio is currently in their homeland of Australia and have not made news of any intentions to disband.

After obtaining the coveted "New Artist of the Year" Dove Award in April, pc3 released their sophomore album with Essential Records in September of last year. While One received disappointing sales and mediocre reviews, the album has been entered in the Rock/Contemporary Album of the Year category for Round 1 of the voting for this year’s Dove Awards.

The Trio’s single, "I'll Be with You" is listed under Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year, and "Solution" for Rock/Contemporary Recorded Song of the Year.

Dove Awards Voting List
PC3's Website
- Josh 

January 26, 2004 - Christian Videos With SPIRIT
March will bring a new music video channel to the Christian music world, most immediately to SkyAngel, the only satellite network that delivers entirely Christian programming. The channel is going to be called SPIRIT, and is advertised as "adult. contemporary. music."

SkyAngel is happy to have a channel that plays music similar to Praise TV, which ceased operation this past October. "There is a large audience of 'thirty-somethings' that have no video channel playing their music," says John Owens, operations manager for SPIRIT. He promises the music programming will be "something fresh that won't be too hard or to soft but a great mix of music videos." We are told by another staff member of Spirit Communications that such alternative acts as Eisley will be featured on SPIRIT, which sounds slightly different than the programming of Praise TV.

SPIRIT is being developed by Spirit Communications of Columbus, Ohio, best known for TVU Music Television and The RadioU Network, video and radio networks that reach teens with a mix of hip-hop, alternative, and rock music.

Operations manager John Owens has yet to return our inquiry into more detail on the programming or if there will be a web broadcast of the channel on their website, Spirit-Television.com, a feature that all of Spirit Communications' other channels use heavily.
- Dan 

January 26, 2004 - Tree63 Exposed In New Disc
If there is any doubt that Tree63 is Christian, the band wants to clear it up once and for all. Part of doing that is releasing a new album, entitled The Answer To The Question which will be in stores on March 9th.

After Darryl Swart left the band (amicably) in July 2003, they found Theunis Odendaal, a South African living in Tennessee (how odd!). As lead singer/guitarist John Ellis now proclaims, "Tree63 is a whole new band."

For those unfamiliar with the band's history, Tree63 is from South Africa. In their home country, every single they release goes to the Top 5 on mainstream radio. Therefore, telling people flat out that you're a Christian band is not necessarily a good idea.

Nevertheless, in John Ellis' latest journal entry on Tree63.com, he openly proclaims that the band is Christian and is trying to bring the Gospel to their fans. He goes on to say that the title track of the new disc, now on Rock radio, is "a Tree63 version of Matt Redman's 'Blessed Be Your Name.'" How is that for a change?
- Dan 

December 12, 2003 - Bachelor Bob Inks Record Deal
With signings like Creed, 12 Stones and Evanesence, indie label Wind-Up Records seemed to be on the way up. Their roster is now 15 deep and features some of the top spiritually-inspired rock bands in the business. But things may be taking a turn for the worse. The latest singer to don the distinctive Wind-Up sound is...Bob Guiney (better known as "Bachelor Bob," the guy from the most recent star of the ABC reality series "The Bachelor"). Bob's new album, 3 Sides, is in stores now and will debut at #1 on Billboard's "New Artist" chart next week.

Turns out Bob is actually a legitimate musician, whose college band, Fat Amy, was once signed to MCA. And surprisingly, the clips we've heard from the album...aren't as bad as you'd think they'd be. Check out the e-card at Wind-Up's home page.

Sources: winduprecords.com, bobguiney.com, primetimetv.about.com
- Ben 

December 11, 2003 - New Christian Jazz Label Hopes To Find Success
Arguably the only indigenous American art form—and a true product of the United States—Jazz is making its way into the Christian music industry with the help of a new record label.

Jazz was first introduced to the music scene in 1917 by the Original Dixieland Jass Band, according to the Thelonious Monk Institute of Jazz. From there it flourished into an American music trademark. Grabbing large roots in New Orleans it spread throughout the country and eventually the world as it grew in popularity.

Spirit Jazz Records is trying to break the mold of traditional Christian music by giving “Christian Jazz artists an outlet for their music.” They plan to release about 10 new titles over the next six months.

A creation of ICM Group’s CEO, Dudley Smith, the label is currently searching for Christian Jazz artists to produce and promote. They hope to “feature 20 great Christian Jazz artist(s) on the label, and flood the market with music that is not only entertaining, but inspirational as well.”

Sources: eMediaWire, SJR, TMIJ
- Josh 

December 8, 2003 - P.O.D. Asks "Will You" Sell Me
P.O.D. is back in the spotlight this week, but this time they are shrouded in controversy.

MTV News reported today that 85 percent of Christian bookstores have refused to carry P.O.D.’s latest album, Payable on Death, because of the cover’s artwork. P.O.D.’s website confirms this, saying 85 percent banned the album before its scheduled release.

The artwork, created by Daniel Martin Diaz, portrays a naked woman with butterfly wings. She has her arms crossed over her breasts with a banner that covers her lower region. The banner reads “Sanctus.” Sanctus is a Latin word which can mean “holy” or “a hymn of praise that is the last item of mass,” according to The American Heritage Dictionary.

The stores refusing to carry the album argued that the woman’s pubic bone was shown and they were upset that the artwork used a sacred word in a sexual manner.

“This is sad, not because P.O.D. needs to be carried in those stores, but because for thousands of years the church led the world in great art and music,” the band’s website said.

Christian music stores accounted for much of P.O.D.’s early success. But whether the band needs them or not, the controversial album Payable On Death is expected to be RIAA Certified Gold today.
- Josh 

December 4, 2003 - Nominees For The 46th Annual GRAMMY Awards Have Been Announced
The 46th Annual GRAMMY Awards nominees were revealed today.

Evanescence received 5 nominations including Album of the Year and Best New Artist. U2 also managed to squeeze into the nominations with one for “The Hands that Built America,” a part of the soundtrack for Gangs of New York.

Randy Travis received two nominations. One for Best Southern, Country, or Bluegrass Gospel Album, and another for Best Male Country Vocal Performance with his hit song, “Three Wooden Crosses.”

The gospel nominations are alive with familiar names, but despite Steven Curtis Chapman’s appearance and success at the American Music Awards he did not receive a nomination. Bishop T.D. Jakes received the most nominations with…two.

Other nominees include: Audio Adrenaline, Jars of Clay, Newsboys, Stacie Orrico, Michael W. Smith, Third Day, and Relient K.

For the entire list of gospel categories and nominations check out the Gospel List. For the entire list go to the Final Nominations List.

The GRAMMY’s will air on CBS at 8p.m. on Feb. 8, 2004.
- Josh 

December 2, 2003 - The Day That (MP3.com) Music Died
MP3.com officially died today, well, at least temporarily. The site has now been replaced by a message from Vince Broady, senior vice president of CNET Networks, Entertainment.

Bought out by CNET, MP3.com will soon be home to a “next generation digital music information service,” according to the message. It plans to “make it easier than ever to find music online, discover new bands, and keep up with all your favorite artists,” and you can stay up-to-date on the launch here.

Artists who have used MP3.com, and new ones, will find a new free service at music.download.com to promote their music. CNET says this site “will offer artists free file hosting and a presence on the Web, and will give music fans free access to a universe of downloadable songs.“

Lastly, for all the bonds “built through many years of shared experience,” there have been new message boards set up to “maintain that connection, and to provide a forum for feedback and comments” on the new MP3.com.
- Josh 

November 30, 2003 - A Road Experience
Andrew Osenga, former frontman of The Normals, recently announced (via his website) that he is recording his second solo release while on the road with Caedmon's Call as their lead guitarist/back-up vocalist. "I thought it would be a cool idea to chronicle this tour by writing and recording songs in different cities," says Andrew, "and I think this should be a cool little companion to my Photographs record."

Besides its being written and recorded on the road, this album is special because it is reported to feature members from the bands involved on the tour (Caedmon's and Jars of Clay). When we talked to Andy a couple weeks ago at a concert in Bellingham, WA, Andy told us that he had just recorded Steven Delopoulos (the tour's opener). No official word yet on who exactly is going to be playing on the album, but with the amount of talent on that tour, it is hard not to be excited about this project.
- Jason 

November 30, 2003 - Eb+Flo Expands Artist Roster
Folk artist Jeremy Casella recently announced on his official site that he has signed a recording deal with Eb+Flo Records (a division of Universal South founded by acclaimed producer Monroe Jones). He's also been putting the finishing touches for his first release on Eb+Flo which has not yet been titled. Rumor has it that it's his best record yet, and we have also heard a rumor that the Blind Boys of Alabama guest on this upcoming record. Full details should be available soon; the record is scheduled to release sometime in Spring 2004.
- Jason 

November 26, 2003 - Stacie Orrico Is Coming To Your Living Room
Stacie Orrico will have a full schedule this Thanksgiving Day and that does not include roasting a turkey.

Orrico will be performing her hit song, “More to Life,” at the 77th Annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade will be shown on NBC from 9 a.m. to 12 noon EST. It will also feature American Idols Clay Aiken and Ruben Studdard, Hilary Duff and the New York City Ballet.

Orrico is scheduled to come back to New York on Dec. 3 to perform at one of the most popular Christmas traditions—the Annual Christmas Tree Lighting in Rockefeller Center.

Orrico’s current single, “More to Life” has been the iron of her success, leading her to appearances on CNN, Extra, Access Hollywood, The Wayne Brady Show, CBS Weekend New York, Nickelodeon and more.

Be sure to tune in to her performance Thanksgiving Day.

Source: Manhunt News
- Josh 

November 25, 2003 - BestBuy.com Offering Special Promotion
Whether you are a college student scraping Ramen noodle crumbs off your floor for a snack or a grandmother of five, BestBuy.com has something special for you, given you like hard banging music or know someone who does.

From now until Dec. 13 BestBuy.com is featuring 40 Tooth & Nail and Solid State albums for $7.99 on its Entertainment Spotlight. They also feature free shipping for the holidays.

Check the promotion out from BestBuy.com's music page and go to the bottom.

Source: Tooth & Nail News
- Josh 

November 22, 2003 - LifeWay Stores Launch New Music Download Service
LifeWay Christian Stores launched its own effort to curb illegal music downloads this week with its Digital Music Download service.

The service, made possible by Liquid Digital Media, is an online-only service that offers songs for $0.99 and albums for $10 to $12. There are no catches such as software downloads or monthly fee subscriptions, but the songs are only offered in Windows Media Format (.wma).

The download service is also being promoted with a “30 for 30” campaign which began on Nov. 18. This campaign is sponsored by the Chordant Distribution Group and features one free-music-download a day at LifeWaystores.com. LifeWay will also feature upcoming promotions by Provident Music Distribution.

Music downloading services have been springing up like wildfire since the Apple’s iTunes Music Store. The “99¢ Solution” recently won Time’s Invention of the Year award.

LifeWay’s Digital Music Download service is not the first Christian-only service, however. Rocketown Records launched their own Music Download Service in October that features all songs in their catalog for yep, you guessed it—$0.99.

Sources: LifeWay Newsroom, CCMBUZZ Archives
- Josh 

November 21, 2003 - Rev. Al Green Returns To His Roots
Rev. Al Green was recently featured in USATODAY’s Life section.

Green, one of R&B’s biggest stars, returned to the recording studios with legendary producer, Willie Mitchell, after nearly 20 years since working together.

Mitchell regards Green with reverence, letting no other singer touch his microphone he last used in 1985. Despite his regards, he still knows how to make a quality production and what ideas are good (and bad).

Green came to him with the idea of updating past songs, but Mitchell would not hear of it. “It's got to come from in here,” Mitchell said hitting his chest.”It’s got to be born today."

In five days, they had written 15 songs and managed to get several musicians that played along with them on past hits. Green loved every moment and said he hopes to do more recording with Mitchell.

"There are a lot of people who can cut good records," Green said. "But see, old Willie Mitchell grins, sits back in his chair and says, 'Y'all can't cut Al Green.' He knows the way things are supposed to sound."

Green said his return to secular music was blessed by the congregations of the Full Gospel Tabernacle Church in Memphis, Tenn., which he founded and began preaching at 26 years ago.
- Josh 

November 19, 2003 - Ben Moody Turns His Back On Evanescence
Ben Moody of Evanescence has lived up to his name again, leaving the band the morning before a show in Berlin on Oct. 24 with no explanation.

Lead singer Amy Lee told British magazine Rock Sound, "You don't do that to your band. You wouldn't do that to your friends or your family. You don't do that to anyone."

Lee and Moody founded the band in Little Rock, Ark. in the late ‘90s as a Christian Rock band. Both stayed with it as it grew in popularity and hit mainstream. However, Lee recently told MTV News that the band is much happier now that Moody is gone. She also said she has not had any contact with him since his departure.

Ben Moody has been just that in the last few years of the band’s existence. He said in a 2000 issue of Stranger Things, "The message we as a band want to convey more than anything is simple—God is love."

However after releasing Fallen in 2003, Moody’s mindset towards his message had also “fallen.” In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Moody uttered several vulgarities and used God’s name in vain, apparently trying to distance the band from the Christian genre because it was “limiting,” despite its accounting for much of their success.

On the group’s website Moody attempts to explain some the band’s songs instead of letting listeners interpret them. He is quoted saying their lyrics are positive and should let people know others go through the same things. Moody also said he was sincere in what he does.

Sincere as defined in Merriam-Webster’s Pocket Dictionary: genuine. You be the judge.
- Josh 

November 17, 2003 - Steven Curtis Chapman Wins First AMA
Steven Curtis Chapman won Favorite Artist in Contemporary Inspirational Music at the American Music Awards Sunday, Nov. 16.

This was Chapman’s first AMA win and only his second time nominated for this genre of three years. Backstage, Chapman said he felt it was a group win for Christian music, along with nominees Third Day and MercyMe, and “a wonderful way to represent Christian music."

Chapman has been awarded four consecutive GRAMMY Awards and 47 Dove Awards in his 16-year career. He has also sold over nine million records—two RIAA certified platinum and seven certified gold.

Sources: SCChapman.com, LifeWay Christian Resources
- Josh 

November 14, 2003 - The Day The (Free, Legal) Music Dies
In a recent announcment, CNET Networks, Inc. has purchased MP3.com from the struggling entertainment house Vivendi Universal. As of December 2, MP3.com as we know it will be gone forever.

It seems that the demise of MP3.com had been coming for a while, some say even soon after they were acquired by Vivendi Universal in mid-2001. For the last year they have been cutting back on services and content, including some parts of the site which obviously needed updates.

MP3.com, which has been allowing artists to upload their music for free distribution on their servers since the early days of the internet, has been hailed as the place where people go to listen to music. Their free services that accepted all artists' music helped many independents gain national and international recognition, despite the lack of promotion budgets like the major-label artists. In the past years when illegally copied mp3s roamed the internet, MP3.com was the only major source for legal mp3 downloads.

Although details are sketchy, on Dec 2, 2003, CNET plans on taking control of the mp3.com domain, at which time the MP3.com as we know it will be offline. CNET plans on transforming mp3.com into a new music download service, similar to Apple's iTunes Music Store.

This move is especially hurtful to independent artists and especially artists with a loyal fan base but no way to widely distribute their music. For example, over the past 3 years that Fono has not had a record label, they have used MP3.com to b-sides, demos, and song samples out to their fans. Instead of publishing radio singles in the UK, rock/worship band delirious? has been publishing new songs in anticipation of their new album, World Service, on MP3.com for the fans to download and distribute to friends.

So, in the meantime, comb the MP3.com servers for all the music you want, and mark Dec. 2 as a historic day on the Internet.
- Dan 

November 12, 2003 - Stereo Motion Escapes Injury In Road Accident
Stereo Motion was involved in a road accident in Wyoming Wednesday, according to an e-mail to fans. After hitting a patch of ice, their equipment trailer jackknifed and their van flipped, causing another car to swerve and flip. No one was seriously injured, but the band suffered a huge financial loss.

Stereo Motion was traveling to the next stop on The Beautiful Glow Tour when the accident occurred. The band asks for your prayers and support.

Any financial contributions can be sent to:
Stereo Motion
PO Box 5168
High Point, NC 27262

- Josh 

November 7, 2003 - Coming In 2004: The Real "Barlow Girls"
BarlowGirl signed with Fervent Records in October and expect to release their debut album in Feb. 2004, according to a press release on the band's website. The group is a sister trio featuring, Alyssa, Lauren and Rebecca Barlow.

BarlowGirl received national recognition after Superchic[k] produced the hit single, “Barlow Girls.” Superchic[k]’s song was written after the group met the sisters at LifeFest Christian music festival in Wisconsin. They learned about the sisters’ stance on modesty, purity and not dating, and were immediately inspired.

Superchic[k]’s song is widely known and even inspired BarlowGirl.net for other “Barlow Girls.” It has also become the most requested song in their concerts.

“We were honored that Superchic[k] found our story relevant to their music, and we are humbled that so many young women and men have chosen to place God as a priority in their lives as a result of hearing that song.” BarlowGirl member Rebecca said. “We hope that our music will encourage even more young girls and guys as we have been blessed with a bigger platform as a band,

BarlowGirl member Alyssa said, “BarlowGirl has a passion to write songs about the journey that God has taken us on in our lives, and to share with kids of our generation the power of trusting God in everything rather than just accepting and going along with what the world has to offer.”

BarlowGirl released their first single entitled, “Harder Than The First Time,” to CHR and Rock formats two weeks ago. They have also been invited to play on the “Ready to Fly Tour” featuring FFH and Big Daddy Weave.
- Josh 

November 7, 2003 - MercyMe’s Spoken For Reaches The Gold
The success of MercyMe’s Spoken For continues with its recent RIAA Gold certification.

Released in fall 2002, Spoken For has been in the top 20 of the Contemporary Christian Charts for a full year and now stands at No. 9. Featuring several No. 1 songs, this album’s success is following the trail of Almost There which is No. 69 on Billboard’s Top 200 Chart after 84 weeks. Almost There has been as high as 37.

MercyMe was recently featured on CNN Headline News’ Entertainment segment. The interview can be viewed here. They are also on the Celebration Tour with Michael W. Smith and between tour dates work on their projected April 2004 album.
- Josh 

November 3, 2003 - !Hero-The Rock Opera Tour Sells Out Despite Protest Threats
!Hero-The Rock Opera Tour sold-out its opening show in Wabash, Tenn. amid protest threats stemming from Michael Tait, an African American, playing the role of Jesus. The show opened without incident, but city and county officers were present inside and outside the theater.

"Seeing Michael Tait as Jesus was exciting,” An African American twenty-something said, according to CMCentral. “Not that Jesus is black or white, but it is the first time I've seen something like this, and it was refreshing."

!Hero-The Rock Opera Tour is a musical featuring Michael Tait, Rebecca St. James, Mark Stuart of Audio Adrenaline, and T-Bone.

Youth groups and senior citizens alike found the opera appealing. Said a senior citizen attendee: "At first I thought it was pretty loud, but when I listened, I caught on to the story and it was great."

A youth group attending said, "We are going to tell our friends and try to go to another show."

!Hero creator, Eddie DeGarmo was excited about the success experienced on opening night.

“After ten years’ planning, writing, and developing !Hero, watching it take life in Wabash was overwhelming,” DeGarmo said. "People wept at the scene of the crucifixion, and they screamed praises when !Hero (Jesus) is seen alive. It was quite emotional, not only for the audience, but for me. The people were talking…about Jesus. That was my dream."

The theater’s management told CMCentral that the show was the fastest selling since Weird Al Yankovich and it received a standing ovation at the end. "People here don't stand,” a management official said. “I was blown away!"

Dates and locations for other !Hero performances can be found here.
- Josh 

November 3, 2003 - The Rise of Modern Simulation
Fans of Earthsuit will be happy to know that they are now taking orders for their final disc, The Rise of Modern Simulation.

Fans of the eclectic rap-rock group heard over the last couple months that the band had decided to take their talents in different directions. Although they split into the Math production company and the band Macrosick, the boys decided to give the SuitCases (their rabid fans) a collection of rarities and never-before-released songs to enjoy.

Fans can purchase the new disc on MathMusic.com only, which also has links to the goings on of the other portions of the now defunct Earthsuit crew.
- Dan 

October 31, 2003 - New Release Expected for Sixpence None The Richer's Mark and Leigh Nash
Leigh Nash of - Josh 

October 31, 2003 - The Elms To Go Into Studio In 2004
"There are too many albums and not enough live bands," says Keith Miller, bassist for The Elms. "There's so much music out there, but they cannot do it live. We play it live."

Playing over 200 dates per year, The Elms are a rock 'n' roll powerhouse. But some fans are looking for some new music, and while talking to the band last night we found out about a new album.

Some new songs have been played at shows recently, including "The Workingman" and "Eye On The Setting Sun." The guys also revealed that they are currently demoing songs for a new disc and are probably going into the studio after the new year.

So expect a new disc from The Elms in 2004, and expect it to rock.
- Dan 

October 30, 2003 - In The Name of Love: Artists United for Africa Coming In January 2004
In The Name of Love: Artists United for Africa is set to be released by Sparrow Records on Jan. 27, 2004. This is a benefit album to answer a call to action on the African AIDS crisis made by U2’s Bono in December of 2002.

The album features artists such as Audio Adrenaline, tobyMac, Jars of Clay, Sixpence None the Richer, and more. For a complete artist list click here.

The project began in December of 2002 when Bono met with Christian artists and industry leaders in Nashville. He asked them for help in bringing awareness to the African AIDS and poverty crisis.

"The goal of this album is to inform the Christian community about the crisis in Africa," Peter York, president of Sparrow Records said. "Bono has been a powerful voice in raising awareness with this issue and it’s important for the Christian community to come alongside and help support this cause."

A portion of all proceeds from the album will be donated to help fight the African crisis. The albums first single, “Beautiful Day,” from Sanctus Real is set to be available on Oct. 31st.

You can join fight to help the African AIDS and poverty crisis by visiting DATA.
- Josh 

October 29, 2003 - Sanctus Real Discusses Sophomore Project
For those Sanctus Real fans who obtained the Sverigeeep 5 song EP and were left hungering for more, we have some good news. We bumped into the band at festivals and concerts this past summer. Each time we eagerly inquired, "What can you tell us about your next album?" and each time the answer was the same. Basically, songs were being written and Sparrow Records had desired a release date at the end of Spring/Early Summer of 2004. Then finally during the Festival Con Dios tour last month, Matt Hammitt, lead singer, gave us some more news. Sanctus Real has studio time set for January. While we eagerly await more definitive information, we also agree that a band should not rush the production and release of a sophomore album. In the meantime, fans can catch Matt's voice on the !Hero soundtrack. The !Hero Rock Opera is set to play to local audiences across the US beginning in early November.
- Kim 

October 28, 2003 - Fono Loses It All In California Fires
Fono recently told their fans that they will be disappearing for a while. The last couple years Fono has been working on their follow-up to 1999's goesaroundcomesaround without label support but with their friends in the Goo Goo Dolls. Today they disclosed that the studio they were working in, which had all their equipment and masters for the new album, was burned to the ground in the recent California fires. Although no one was hurt, the band is devastated and "will be disappering for while to regroup." Please keep the band as well as everyone who has been affected by these massive fires in your prayers.
- Dan 

October 17, 2003 - Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand This Christmas
Yeah, we know, you already have a copy of Two Lefts Don't Make A Right... But Three Do sitting on your CD rack. Well, if you do or if you don't, I'm guessing you are going to buy it... again. That's right, Relient K fans, November 4th marks the re-release of their third album. The days of four limited-edition covers will be over, and the final cover will be revealed. Of course, that's not all, for there will be another track on the final edition of Two Lefts. But what about Christmas? Relient K hit the studio earlier this summer and created Deck the Halls, Bruise Your Hand, at 10-song Christmas disc that will be offered this Christmas season. Ths Christmas disc will only be packaged with copies of Two Lefts starting Nov. 4th and only during the Christams season. So rock out this Christmas with Relient K and give your old copy of Two Lefts as a stocking stuffer! Listen to a couple songs with their fancy e-card; it will get you in the Christmas spirit. Also, check them out on the Everybody Wants to Rule the World Tour with Anberlin, which will be traveling across the states this fall.
- Dan 

August 13, 2003 - You Choose Knappster's Hits
Gotee Records is giving their fans a rare chance to be a part of Jennifer Knapp's discography. Despite Knapp being on a sabbatical of undetermined length, November 4th will find A Diamond In The Rough: The Jennifer Knapp Collection hitting the shelves. But first, the fans get to contribute to the release. A number of tracks will be determined by the fans via online voting, as well as some fans' comments on songs will be included in the disc's liner notes. So all Jennifer Knapp fans head over to Gotee's voting site and contribute your votes and comments. But what is there for the hardcore fans? The second disc of A Diamond In The Rough will be full of rare recordings, including songs from compilation albums, demos, and some "out-takes," whatever those are. Here's hoping that this signals the return of Jennifer Knapp.
- Dan 

July 9, 2003 - Phil Keaggy Jams With P.O.D.
Recently, legendary Christian guitarist Phil Keaggy was asked to join hard rockers P.O.D. in the studio. According to the official fanclub site, WarriorKlan, Phil was invited by the new guitarist for P.O.D., Jason Truby (formerly of Living Sacrifice), who is also a big fan of Keaggy's music. November 4th is the slated release date for their upcoming CD, Payable On Death, where we may find a bit different sound to P.O.D. since the departure of Marcos Curiel.
- Dan 

June 15, 2003 - Third Day, Chevy Ink New Deal
Those who believe premiere Christian rockers Third Day have sold out in recent years have more fodder. CCMplanet.com reported recently that for at least a year, Chevrolet will become the "Official Vehicle of Third Day." A CCMPlanet news article states that the band has signed a deal with Chevrolet that will include "several marketing and promotional components to continue to build the affinity between Third Day fans and Chevrolet products. Third Day bassist Tai Anderson is quoted as saying, "We look forward to the growth of this relationship over the coming year. The synergy between our teams is amazing and we anticipate a positive result in our endeavors together."
- Ben 

May 22, 2003 - KJ-52 Hits TRL
Viewers of MTV's TRL may have noticed a clip of Christian rapper KJ-52's video "Dear Slim." Though the show apparently tagged the song as an Eminem dis (KJ says they're wrong), the video's appearance has generated a strong response. According to KJ's label, Uprok Records, one viewer named Trevor e-mailed the rapper, saying: "After the show I went over to my computer and downloaded your song. After I listened to it, I realized that your message was different. You weren't rapping about sex, drugs, and killing. You weren’t dissin' Em. I also realized that the music I listen to just desensitizes me to all of these things. I never thought religious music could be just as good as the music that I listen to on the radio. I think it was really brave of you to stand up to the big bad wolf, what a better way to promote your teachings. The song was a reality check. If slim fights back with a dis song he is making a big mistake. I admire your dedication. You could be making millions but you'd rather be teaching millions. That is what touched me. Thanks."

Says KJ himself, "I really wish they would've played the whole song and not just the first verse and chorus. It really gave it a one sided representation of the song and of myself as an artist and the intentions behind the track. My original intentions were to simply address some of the issues of me being compared with him and to share what God has done in my life. It was definitely not a dis song and was not to make a name for myself."
- Ben 

May 21, 2003 - Benjamin Gate Closing in November
Via their official e-mail list, The Benjamin Gate have announced that the band will be calling it quits in November. The main reason cited was because lead singer Adrienne is engaged to BEC recording artist Jeremy Camp. Those who believe their time was too short and that it's a tragedy should find some consolation in the next six months, though. This summer will find TBG at many festivals, releasing a "Collector's Series" DVD, and also touring non-stop until their end date of November 2nd. So, most Americans should get a chance to say goodbye to one of Christian music's most popular rock bands.
- Dan 

May 12, 2003 - Weaver Comments on Dismissal From Petra
Louie Weaver, a long-time member of the Christian rock group Petra who was
recently dismissed, issued a statement on his website recently. The statement says that Weaver was "shocked," and that the decision that he should leave was made by "current band leader John Schlitt and Schlitt's personal manager, Wayne Seboa." Says Weaver, "Although I am saddened by this decision, I know the Lord is already opening doors that I never dreamed of. For a long time I’ve felt God has given me a vision for ministry, especially ministry in music and praise to Him. Petra was part of my life for 22 years. It was a wonderful blessing to me and my family, but sometimes the Lord brings circumstances into your life where choices will be made for you, so you go forward with a new calling that He brings into your life." Weaver had played with Petra for 22 consecutive years.

Our thanks to cMusicWeb reader Josh Renaud, who tipped us off.
- Ben 

May 9, 2003 - The Knappster's Status Report
In a recent chat with the people at Gotee Records, we were able to find that Jennifer Knapp is currently on a sabbatical from music making until an unknown time. In light of that, Gotee was albe to confirm that she is still signed to Gotee and that we can expect more from her in the future. At cMusicWeb.com we wish her the best during her rest from the hectic world of touring and are looking forward to future releases.
- Dan 

May 7, 2003 - Fans Will Have to Wait for New dc Talk Album
According to a report on gospelsite.net, the next dc Talk album may not arrive for awhile. The article cites band member tobyMac as saying, back stage at the Dove Awards, "We're not gonna do another dc Talk record until we're dying to." Mac says he converses regularly with fellow band mates Kevin Max and Michael Tait, and is on good terms with both. A statement on kevinmax.com related that Max was in the studio in February completing demos for the follow-up to his first solo album, Stereotype Be, though he hadn't found a producer or label home for the album at that point. Michael Tait, who fronts a modern rock band that bears his surname, is taking time of to play the Jesus figure in the rock opera !Hero.
- Ben 

May 6, 2003 - Legit Remixes Headed to Sparrow
Drawing on a concept popularized in the underground and distributed via file sharing programs, Sparrow Records will release Smash-Ups on May 20. The formula is simple: take the instrumentals from one hit song, add the vocals from another and a "Smash-Up" is born. According to a story on ccmmagazine.com, the disc will feature dc Talk's "Colored People" mixed with the Newsboys' "Entertaining Angels;" "Switchfoot's "You Already Take Me There" with Grits' "Tennessee Bwoys;" and Rebecca St. James' "God" with Earthsuit's "One Time," among others. To view a full track list click

May 5, 2003 - Louie Weaver Leaves Petra
CMCentral reports today that drummer Louie Weaver has left pioneering rock group Petra. The CMCentral article refers to a statement on the band's official website by manager Wayne Seboa. That statement reads: "Louie Weaver has been a faithful member of Petra for many
Years. Unfortunately the band and Louie have come to an impasse and he will not be performing with us any longer. We have all sought the Lord for a long time in prayer and council and feel that this is the Lord's will for this situation." Seboa went on to say that the band holds no ill feelings toward Weaver, and that the band is in the studio with Newsboys frontman Peter Furler. A new album is due out in August.
- Ben 

April 14, 2003 - Adrienne and Jeremy Engaged!
Although Jeremy Camp's official website has not confirmed it, the official site of The Benjamin Gate has announced that Adrienne Liesching, lead singer for the South African rock band, and Jeremy Camp, solo rock artist on BEC, are now engaged! Rumors have been flying around on the internet for months that Adrienne and Jeremy have been going out, but the rumors have now been confirmed.
- Dan 

April 14, 2003 - delirious? Record U2 Cover
British quintet delirious?, according to their official website, is currently working on their next full-length album amidst doing some small tour dates around the world. However, this week, they worked on a cover of a U2 song for an upcoming compilation of covers from the legendary band. Their cover of "Pride (In the Name of Love)" is the first cover the band has ever recorded in the studio. It is fitting, though, because delirious? has been compared to U2 many times through the years. The only other thing confirmed about the disc is that P.O.D.'s cover of "Bullet the Blue Sky" will also be included.
- Dan 

April 9, 2003 - Gotee Signs Mars Ill
Today we have a special scoop directly from GMA Week. While listening to a radio station live from Christian Music's biggest week, we found probably the biggest announcement of the week directly from the group themselves. Mars Ill announced that they are signed to Gotee Records and have their first disc for Gotee coming out early August. We're really excited to see a new project from Mars Ill, so expect the beats to be really good, and hopefully we'll see many more high-caliber signees to Gotee in the future.
- Dan 

February 28, 2003 - Teen Pop Update
Christian pop princess Stacie Orrico seems to be poised for a big impact on the secular marketplace. "Stuck," the debut single from her upcoming self-titled album, has been making a splash on mainstream radio, and will debut on MTV's TRL on Wednesday. You can view the video in advance here.

In other teen pop news, CMCentral is reporting that True Vibe has broken up. Shame.
- Ben 

February 20, 2003 - Marcos Speaks Out
The P.O.D. soap opera continues. Departed guitarist Marcos Curiel spoke to MTV.com recently about his split from the band, saying that the surviving members took issue with his many side projects, and had other differences.

Said Curiel, "I was hoping I could do what Maynard [Keenan] does. He's in Tool and A Perfect Circle. That's obviously not the case here. It got pretty sticky at the end about 'You need to prioritize where you're at with your music and where you're at with your walk with God.' I'm like, 'You guys are tripping, dude. I just want to be an artist, and if I can't have that freedom, I just want to fly.' If someone asks me to play with them, if someone asks me to write a song, I just want to be able to do that."

The entire article can be read here.
- Ben 

February 20, 2003 - Marcos Leaves P.O.D.
Marcos Curiel, who was a key part of nu-metal group P.O.D. since its inception, has left the band. Lead singer Sonny Sandoval made the announcement recently via the group's e-mail newsletter.

Said Sandoval, "Never have we imagined P.O.D. without him, but we now know this vision is bigger than the four of us. I feel that there are still so many good things in store for those of us who have put our lives on the line for what we believe in."

Curiel will be replaced by Jason Truby, a long-time friend of the band, who Sandoval promises, "brings an excitement and a fire to the table that will take P.O.D. to the next level." P.O.D. is nominated for two Grammy awards, was recently named "2003 International Group of the Year" at Germany's Echo Awards, and is currently working on what will become the lead single for the soundtrack to The Matrix Reloaded.
- Ben 

February 8, 2003 - Derek Webb Goes Solo, Leaves Caedmon's.
Most people have known that Derek Webb has his solo album coming out shortly. But, just recently announced is the departure of Webb from the band he has been working with for the last ten years, Caedmon's Call. Although no official press release has been sent out, sources at the fan site CaedmonsCall.net are very sure it is true.
- Dan 

January 28, 2003 - Relient K Available Via Internet
The folks at Gotee Records are now selling Relient K as "the next dc Talk." Whether the hype is deserved, of course, is for you to decide. And it just so happens that you can. Go to relientk.com to listen to the group's upcoming album in its entirety. There is a "low" bandwidth option, but you'll likely need a broadband connection for the best quality.

By the way, if you haven't read our interview with the band from last summer's Purple Door Festival, you need to.
- Ben 

January 17, 2003 - New Glisten Album Coming
Indie group Glisten reports via its internet newsletter that its forthcoming album, the distance between is slated for a March release. The album is "in the mixdown stage," says the newsletter, and the band has released the single "joy and strength" to a Dallas-based Christian radio station, 89.7 Power FM. Watch for the single to appear throughout "the entire universe" soon.

In other band news, lead singer/guitarist Jason Pettit is selling his 1997 Chevy van. The sticker price is $9,000. Interested parties can contact Pettit at jason@glisten.org. More news as it becomes available.
- Ben 

January 7, 2003 - Earthsuit Phones Home
For those who thought Earthsuit fell off the face of the earth, do not worry. They are still around, just a bit hard to find these days. However, over Christmas vacation, they did finally update the official website, earthsuit.com for all their fans, which is a relief. The bad news is that the guys are currently without a label. However, that means the good news is that we may find an exciting new independent project from the boys soon. Also, find more, including a new track on mp3, in their retro styled website, mentioned above.
- Dan 

December 19, 2002 - Help Fight AIDS
Essential Records sent the following message today via e-mail. Please take time to consider its content.

Today we have a historic opportunity to beat the global AIDS epidemic. Here's the deal. PRESIDENT BUSH WILL TRAVEL TO AFRICA JANUARY 10, which means that HE IS CONSIDERING A HISTORIC AIDS INITIATIVE RIGHT NOW. We need you to JOIN WITH THOUSANDS ACROSS THE U.S. IN CALLING THE WHITE HOUSE COMMENT LINE TODAY - December 19 TO URGE HIM TO GO TO AFRICA WITH A SERIOUS PLAN TO FIGHT THE EPIDEMIC. Without it, 2.5 million people will die from AIDS in Africa next year. Your call to the President can make the difference. Please do this out of compassion for the 13 million children already orphaned by this disease.


We urge you to please call the White House at (202) 456-1111 today Thursday the 19th. Please follow the prompts until you get an operator who will take your message. If you are calling from a touch tone phone press 1 and then, when asked, press 1 again to leave a message. The operator will ask for your home state and message. You can also email the President at president@whitehouse.gov or send a fax to 202-456-2461.

Also please also call your local Senator and Representative and to encourage them to express support for a historic AIDS initiative. The Capitol Hill switchboard number is (202) 225-3121. Your representative is listed at www.senate.gov and www.house.gov.


"I am calling to wish the President a joyful Christmas and urge him to offer a historic AIDS initiative on his trip to Africa. The President has the chance to offer hope to the 2.5 million people who die each year of AIDS in Africa. If the President will commit between $2.5 billion and $3 billion each year, we can save millions of lives."

You can also add other key background facts: 6,500 people die each day of AIDS in Africa, and 9,500 each day are newly infected each day. There will be 25 million orphans in Africa by 2010 unless we act now. For only a dollar we can prevent newborn babies from contracting AIDS.

Thank you for your support in fighting this epidemic,

Your Friends At Essential Records

- Ben 

December 17, 2002 - Five Iron Frenzy to Disband
JesusFreakHideout.com reported recently that Christian ska group Five Iron Frenzy has decided to call it quits.

A story on that aforementioned site quotes the band as saying, "Every year we sit down with our pastor to pray about what the Lord would like us to do for the next year. We have done this since the beginning of the band and have always said that we would do what ever we think God wants us to do, even if that means stopping the band. After meeting with our pastor this year and spending several days in prayer and meetings, we have decided that it is time for us to move on."

The group will tour extensively in 2003, and will release two studio albums—a B-side album tentatively titled Cheeses of Nazareth, and another, more conventional album. Stay tuned here for more info.
- Ben 

December 16, 2002 - Remy Zero, Sixpence Contribute to Children's Music Album
Fans wondering what Remy Zero and Sixpence None the Richer have been up to since the release of their latest albums should check out the "Children's" section of a local music store. Both bands have contributed tracks to a compilation entitled For the Kids, a benefit project intended to support North American music programs. Remy Zero covers the moody Art Garfunkel hit, "Bright Eyes," while Sixpence contributes their own version of "Good Night Children Everywhere."

According to their new website, Remy Zero is currently in the studio recording new songs for their follow-up to 2001's hit album, The Golden Hum. Sixpence None the Richer recently released their latest masterpiece, Divine Discontent earlier this year and are now on tour supporting the album.
- Rick 

December 16, 2002 - And Furthermore...
Multi-platinum and multiple-GRAMMY winning rock band Jars of Clay readies for the release of their fifth album on Essential/Silvertone Records. The two-disc set titled Furthermore - From The Studio: From The Stage features an acoustic disc with 11 songs - eight new arrangements of Jars of Clay favorites, plus three new songs recorded in the band’s own Sputnik Studio. The second disc, recorded on “The Eleventh Hour Tour,” offers 10 cuts recorded in a live setting. Furthermore - From The Studio: From The Stage will release through Provident/BMG Feb. 4, 2003.

In addition to the release of Furthermore - From The Studio: From The Stage, Jars of Clay continues to write for their next studio album slated for release in Fall of 2003.
- Rick 

December 15, 2002 - Enthralla in Tiruvalla
According to sources, Christian rock veterans Petra played a well-received concert in Tiruvalla, India on December 12. Prabhu Barrow of thepetrazone.com reports that between 13, 000 and 15, 000 people took in the concert, with some watching from rooftops outside the concert venue. Barrow says Petra played classics like "Judas Kiss," "Beyond Belief" and "Praying Man," along with worship songs and tunes from their recent album Revival.

Says Jason Jacob, who attended the concert, "It was splendid. I was really touched by the way the Petra team was worshipping the Lord amidst the excellent songs they were singing." Jacob also shares that the music played that night was not the only way God used Petra to reach the crowd. "I was also touched by the words that [lead singer] John Schlitt used to talk about the love of Christ," says Jacob.

- Ben 

December 13, 2002 - Our Friends Who Play Guitar
Interested in reading how an album is recorded and produced? Tooth and Nail band Starflyer 59 give you that option as they work on recording their new album (to be released sometime 2003).

Thanks to technology and the diligence of Jeff Cloud, Starflyer bassist, you can follow Jeff, Jason Martin (lead vocals, guitar), and new drummer Frank Lenz as they lay down the tracks and prepare what is sure to be a treat for the rest of us. We're also treated to some good advice (apparently, cold scrambled eggs are quite revolting).

And where can you read this journal? The official website, of course.
- Jason 

December 6, 2002 - Crows Cover "Big Yellow Taxi"
The Counting Crows have recorded a cover version of Joni Mitchell's classic "Big Yellow Taxi" with singer Vanessa Carlton. The song will appear in the upcoming film Two Weeks Notice with Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant, and on future copies of Hard Candy, the Crows' most recent studio release.

Carlton's role in the song is similar to that of Sheryl Crow in the album's first single, "American Girls." It isn't large. You can hear the entire song by visiting countingcrows.com.

In other band news, long-time drummer Ben Mize has decided to leave the band to spend more time with his family and "pursue other interests." You can read his farewell letter here.

Source: countingcrows.com.
- Ben 

December 5, 2002 - Picture This
Andrew Osenga, frontman for The Normals, is releasing his first solo album, titled Photographs. It is currently being pressed at the factory and should be available later in the month. For the time being, the album will be available only via the net and shows.

For more info, check out his website.
- Jason 

December 4, 2002 - M. Williams + GRITS = Tantalizing Possibilities
Gotee Records reported recently that Michelle Williams, one third of Destiny's Child and current gospel artist, gave an on-air endorsement of Christian hip-hop group GRITS. According to the label, Williams appeared on BET's "Rap City" program and was asked if she might collaborate with a Christian group like GRITS. She said something to the tune of, "Yeah…they are hot! GRITS, if you are watching, you need to holla." The program aired over Thanksgiving weekend.

- Ben 

November 22, 2002 - WebRock.net Shuts Down Operations
After only two days of asking for listener funds, Chrstian Music's most successuful independent online radio station has shut down. With no funds to continue its operation, founder Scott Hawk announced, "It’s been an incredible two-plus-years and it’s with great sadness that we’ve decided to shut down the station,"

A victim of the falling economy and licensing fees recently imposed by the U.S. Congress, WebRock.net was, even just a couple months ago, one of the most popular online-only radio stations in the world, and was also featured on Internet Radio network iM Radio and the Mobile Broadcast Network, a network that serviced radio stations to cell phones. And so goes a sad day in Internet radio.
- Dan 

November 21, 2002 - WebRock.net Goes to the Listeners
Months ago, the world of Internet Radio was going strong. WebRock.net was positioned as one of the best in the industry, being a highly successful online station with many advertisers and listeners. Sadly, times have changed. Advertisers cannot put out as much because of the falling economy and Congress is pushing for Internet Radio stations to pay thousands in royalty fees.

In a drastic move, WebRock.net just days ago asked for the listeners' help in supporting their online station. The next day they began a pledge drive to keep the station going, or else they will be shut down by the end of the year. On the first day, they only accumulated a $20 monthly pledge and $150 one-time, a far cry from what even the poorest of Christian on-air stations can get in a day.

As to what will happen to the station (and its parent, Scott Hawk Media) only time and their listeners will tell.
- Dan 

November 14, 2002 - A John Tesh Christmas
Hindsight is 20/20, but you have to wonder what John Tesh was thinking. A plush job on one of the most popular entertainment television shows in existence, an anchor desk to share with Mary Hart, and Tesh gave it all up. To become a Christian musician.

Tesh is now hawking his wares on the internet, and is offering two Christmas albums—Christmas Worship and Grand Piano Christmas via tesh.com. The latter has not yet been released to stores, and can be had in conjunction with the former for $19.98. If you wait a week or two, though, you can probably find them for ninety-nine cents in a bargain bin somewhere.
- Ben 

November 7, 2002 - ABC's "Alias" features DJ Andy Hunterº
This Sunday, UK DJ Andy Hunterº will be featured on ABC TV's hit action show, "Alias." One of the first Christian dance/trance artists to find lots of acclaim in a while, Andy Hunterº's unique blend of music is turning heads everywhere, from TV shows to Rolling Stone. His debut, Exodus, opens with the action-packed "Go," the track that is going to be on "Alias" this weekend. The track was also featured on recent box-office loser Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever, an action movie featuring Antonia Banderas and Lucy Liu. Reportedly, both shows had the track behind action-packed sequences. Of course, they couldn't play the whole disc on video, because it is over 70 minutes of non-stop dance music to the Father.
- Dan 

November 4, 2002 - Worship Again Debuts at #14
Smitty came late to the worship craze, but his impact was huge. His first effort in the genre, recorded live at Carpenter's Home Church in Florida, sold more than 1 million copies in less than 14 months, and currently sits at #100 on the Billboard albums chart. The sequel, also a live album (with three studio tracks, according to CMBlast), debuted last week at #14 on the Billboard 200, Smith's highest debut ever. Naturally, he is also #1 on SoundScan's Christian Sales Chart.

Sources: CMBlast, michaelwsmith.com
- Ben 

November 1, 2002 - Straight Out the Ghetto: Act III
Okay, so splitting our KJ-52 feature into three parts was dumb. Thanks for staying with it this long (if you haven't, you can read parts one and two here). Send hate mail to Ben Forrest by clicking on his name below.

J's most memorable moment from his soon-to-end Scream Fest tour with Grits involved a heckler at an outdoor show. "I had a drunk guy yell off the wall random things at me during one show that was outdoors at a park," he says, before adding, "and Coffee [from Grits] got hit on by a 40 year old drunk lady while he was performing, which was pretty funny."

Fade to black.
- Ben 

October 29, 2002 - pc3 Touring the New Map of the World, Make New Album
In the afternoon just before their last show with Third Day on the extended Come Together Fall tour on October 27th in Philadelphia, we sat down with Paul, Grant and Phil who make up the Paul Colman Trio to discuss their future plans. After describing themselves as "adults in a pram" (baby stroller for those who only know American english), ready to start running on their own, Paul Colman shared the excitement of plans to travel by themselves for a handful of shows in the states in November, then to Switzerland, Holland and Germany in late November/early December. Next in the schedule is a plan to travel to Australia to begin tracking the next record, with some shows in both New Zealand and Australia on their own and also with Rebecca St. James, Audio Adrenaline and Out of Eden. In the Spring of 2003 they hope to do the "New Map of the World Tour" on their own in between the final tracking of the new record scheduled for a fall release. Grant chimed in to indicate that cMW may have been the first to hear about their plans for this Spring tour. Stay tuned to cMusicWeb.com for more news and insights from pc3, including some information on what makes it difficult for Christian musicians to remain in Australia.
- Dan 

October 21, 2002 - Sonicflood Working on New Album
CMCentral reports today that Sonicflood is in studio working on the follow-up to their unfortunate 2001 effort, Resonate. The group has employed Marc Byrd, co-producer of City on a Hill, and will release a new album on March 11.

The group reportedly plans to tour extensively in the new year, with about 150 dates booked. Their entire schedule can be viewed here.
- Ben 

October 21, 2002 - Chevelle to Host MTV2 Show
Sony/Epic recording artists Chevelle will host MTV2's "The Rock Show every day this week. According to the band's website, "The band will be introducing [videos], telling tales from the road, and spinning your favorite rock songs all week long." The one-hour show airs at 6:00 P.M. EST.

- Ben 

October 14, 2002 - Grits #32 On Heatseekers Chart
Gotee Records announced recently via e-mail news of continued success for their premier hip-hop outfit, Grits. The group recently performed at an invite-only function for representatives from MTV, The Source, Rolling Stone, Vibe and more. Said Gotee representative Jay Swartzendruber, "GRITS' performance was off the proverbial hook." But then again, he's a publicist. He's paid to say things like that.

Gotee also announced that the video for "Here We Go," the first single from the group's current release, The Art of Translation, has been added to MTV JAMZ. The Art of Translation also jumped to #32 on the Billboard Heatseekers Chart. Nichole Nordeman, 12 Stones and Dashboard Confessional, however, finished much higher, landing on #3, #15 and #17, respectively.
- Ben 

October 13, 2002 - Kevin Max Movie Resurrected, New Album on the Way
Soupernatural, an independent film starring Kevin Max has apparently not been abandoned. According to Max's official site, the film has received the funding it was seeking and has been re-written and will begin filming again soon.

The site also reports that Max (nee Smith) is back in the studio, working on his next solo effort.
- Ben 

October 13, 2002 - MxPx Enters Studio
Toothandnail.com reported recently that punk outfit MxPx, fresh off the Warped Tour, has entered the studio to work on their eleventh album. It will be their third for A&M/Interscope, and will be produced by Dave Jerden(Alice in Chains, Anthrax. The band is currently working their way through 46 new songs that have been written in the past eight months. Sounds like a lot. But who can't write a punk song?

The album should be ready for consumption by early 2003.

- Ben 

October 13, 2002 - Sixpence Hits T.V.
Sixpence None the Richer will perform on The Wayne Brady Show and NBC's The Tonight Show in order to promote their new album, Divine Discontent. Both episodes featuring the band will air on November 7. Questions remain, however. First, who decided to give Wayne Brady another T.V. show? And why would Sixpence want to perform on it?

Divine Discontent hits stores on October 29.

- Ben 

October 9, 2002 - Bono Named "Person of the Year"
Getting sick of U2 yet? You might be after reading this.

After winning four Grammies in 2001 and countless lesser awards for their multi-platinum uberhit All That You Can't Leave Behind, lead singer Bono has been named the 2003 MusiCares Person of the Year. According to Billboard.com (the site from which this story was taken), "MusiCares works to focus the resources and attention of the music industry on human service issues that directly impact the health and welfare of the music community." Past recipients include Billy Joel, Elton John, Paul Simon and
Stevie Wonder.

Things could be worse, I guess. Elvis and the Dixie Chicks could have the top two albums on the Billboard charts. Hey, wait...
- Ben 

October 9, 2002 - Superchic[k] Releases New Album, Will Tour With Newsboys
The folks from Superchic[k] released their sophomore album (the follow-up to last year's Karaoke Superstars) yesterday. Lead singer Tricia (if we find out what her last name is, we'll let you know) said recently via the group's internet newsletter, "This album [Last One Picked] really feels like us grown-up, us having been travelling the last few years, having struggles and heartache we've gone through and grown through. Some new songs talk about real life, when its too hard to feel you can get out of bed, days when you look in the mirror and don't feel like a one girl revolution, when you don't even feel worthy of being loved!!! We hope you like it. It's still us, but in a much more vulnerable way. These songs are true stories, true struggles. We're pretty sure you'll relate. Hope you listen and enjoy...laugh and cry."

You can catch Superchic[k] on the Newsboys' Thrive Live tour beginning tonight in Bangor, ME. Click here for a full list of tour dates.
- Ben 

October 8, 2002 - The Name Remains the Same…Almost
CMCentral.com reports today that Gotee artist Knowdaverbs has "changed" his name. An announcement on gotee.com confirms that the rapper will now be known as VERBS, and has apparently undergone a musical transformation as well. Gotee has also pushed back the release of VERBS' latest project, Unlocked, to February 25, 2003. In the meantime, two new songs by VERBS can be downloaded here. Both appear on the Gotee compilation we are HIP HOPe.
- Ben 

October 4, 2002 - Veggie Tales' "Jonah" Hits Theatres Today
Hailed as "the biggest event in Veggie Tales history" by jonahmovie.com, the first feature-length Veggie Tales film will hit theatres today. Featuring Bob the Tomato, Larry the Cucumber, the Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, and other VT staples, and simply titled "Jonah," the film tells the story of (guess who) and his ordeal with a big fish. You can read a full plot synopsis and view the trailer here. Also available online is the Relient K version of the song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." The song also appears on the film's soundtrack. Click here to get it for free.
- Ben 

October 4, 2002 - Grits on Third Watch
Gotee Records reports via their e-mail newsletter that Grits will be featured in an upcoming episode of NBC's hit show Third Watch. According to Gotee publicist Jay Swartzendruber, the video for "Here We Go" will play as the backdrop for one of one of the episode's extended scenes. The show will last two hours, and air at 8:00 P.M. on October 28.

In the meantime, you can catch Grits on the "Scream Tour" with KJ-52 and Justifide through November 9.
- Ben 

September 23, 2002 - Ginny to Release Blueprint EP
bluEPrint - Ginny OwensRocketown artist Ginny Owens is slated to release a new EP on November 19. The disc, which will feature a stripped-down sound similar to her live shows, was produced by Margaret Becker. Rocketown president Don Donahue commented on Blueprint, "These new versions of classic Ginny songs will give the audience of her shows and her CDs something more--and something different--to add to their collection." There are seven tracks from her previously released albums, plus a new track, entitled "Let Them Hear." For those who like putting CDs in their computers, the Enhanced CD portion will feature the brand new video for "With Me." Ginny, who is currently on tour with labelmates Watermark, will also support the EP during the pre-Christmas season with Mark Schultz and Newsong.
- Dan 

September 22, 2002 - Luna Halo Releases Self-Titled EP Online
It's been a while since we've heard anything from ex-Sparrow rockers Luna Halo, but rejoice. To tide eager fans over until their sophomore release, the band is releasing an internet-exclusive self-titled EP. The EP, available only from Luna Halo's website, features four songs that were supposed to be from the band's second album before it was cancelled upon Luna Halo's departure from Sparrow Records. The band line-up has changed significantly as well since their first release.

No word yet on how Luna's label hunting is going, and no specific release date yet for their sophomore effort, but we'll keep you posted.
- Rick 

September 21, 2002 - Eminem to Hear KJ-52's "Dear Slim"
According to several sources including KJ-52 himself, Eminem has probably listened to "Dear Slim." The single, which is currently climbing the Christian charts, is KJ's letter to Eminem in the style of his hit "Stan." The song, while still giving props to Marshall Mathers, challenges the rapper to look at what he is doing to the culture and encourages him to search for the truth.

A couple weeks ago, at MTV's Video Music Awards, P.O.D.'s road pastor was hanging out backstage with all the artists. He saw Eminem and talked to him. KJ-52 says that the pastor reportedly told him there was a guy who wrote a song just like his "Stan," and Mathers was interested. Within a couple minutes, Eminem had a copy of KJ's latest disc, Collaborations in his hand, and has probably listened to it since then. Only time will tell what God will do through this.
- Dan 

September 21, 2002 - Lifehouse to Record Worship Album?
Rumours are often more interesting to read than hard news, so we try to bring you the juiciest bits once in awhile. Please read the following with the knowledge that it was reported by an anonymous source, who is an unabashed fan of Lifehouse and, thus, totally unreliable.

Said fan was apparently told by 'house singer Jason Wade that Wade is shopping for a label to publish and distribute a worship album. The source said Wade has already written the album, but will not publish it under the Lifehouse banner; he will apparently name the worship band after a character in C.S. Lewis' The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. No word (confirmed or otherwise) on whether the other members of Lifehouse will be involved in the project.

- Ben 

September 19, 2002 - Buchanan Suspended, Used Steroids
BEC recording artist Ray Buchanan, better known as a star player for the Atlanta Falcons, was suspended last week for using steroids. Insisting that he took them by mistake, Buchanan will have no contact with his teammates until mid-October. "Evidently, I took a supplement of some sort that had a steroid derivative in it," he said. "It was my mistake, and I will serve my penalty. I will learn from this."

In the meantime, we hope that Buchanan works on his music skills, because most critics noted room for improvement on his R&B/hip-hop debut earlier this year.
- Dan 

September 19, 2002 - Katy Hudson Joins Island Records
Although her Christian label, Red Hill Records, was closed about a year ago, Katy Hudson's debut did not go unnoticed. Her unique folk/pop/rock blend, while not selling a large amount of records, was met with much critical acclaim, and apparently people heard it. Hudson just announced a contract with Island Records, home to such big names as U2, Johnny Cash, and Slayer. Hudson, who turns 18 in a little more than a month, is working with producer Glen Ballard, known for his work with Alanis Morrissette and Dave Matthews, among many others. And, in other news, Hudson is rooming with Jaci Velasquez in L.A., where they are both working on their illustrious careers. Expect Hudson's release to hit stores sometime late Spring or Summer of next year.
- Dan 

September 19, 2002 - Kutless' Debut Sells Out
BEC Recordings band Kutless looks to be making a real splash in stores and on radio. Their unique blend of rock, which is similar to some of the most popular names in mainstream radio, is hitting radio hard. "Your Touch," their first single, as been #1 on Christian rock radio for a month now, and does not show much slowing down. Their record label recently announced that it was their fastest selling debut in Tooth and Nail's nine-year history. Christian music stores have been selling Kutless as fast as Michael W. Smith and Jump5, with only more sales to come. This week, Kutless is planned to start hitting shelves at mainstream stores such as Target and Wal-Mart.
- Dan 

September 13, 2002 - Sixpence Single Showing Potential
The skies have been cloudy for Sixpence None the Richer the last few years, but now things are looking up. Not only do they have a new album slated for October 29 (Divine Discontent) but their latest single, "Breathe Your Name", looks like it has potential: 36 Hot AC reporting stations nationwide added it to their playlists this past week. If Sixpence can keep this pace up, then "Breathe Your Name" could very well be a big hit.

You can listen to "Breathe Your Name" on their Reprise Records website.
- Jason 

September 6, 2002 - Grits in The Source
The word from Gotee Records is that Christian hip-hop group Grits will be featured in an upcoming issue of The Source magazine.

The publication, which is arguably the most authoritative of its kind, apparently will do a photo shoot with the group and run a feature before year's end. Grits will also be featured in XXL (from the folks who do SLAM) and RIME magazines and other publications. Coffee and Bonafide will appear on Tuesday in Grovetown, GA, and in selected cities across the country until early November.
- Ben 

September 6, 2002 - New Sixpence Single Available on the Net
"Breathe Your Name", the first single off Sixpence None the Richer's highly anticipated Divine Discontent, can be streamed from the band's Reprise Records site. The single will be released to radio in the next little while and will also be available in stores October 1 with the b-side "Northern Lights".
- Jason 

August 31, 2002 - Third Day, SCC to Participate at 9/11 Tribute
Some of Christian music's biggest players will be involved in an upcoming tribute to those who lost their lives in last year's September 11 terrorist attacks.

tobyMac of dc Talk, Third Day and Steven Curtis Chapman, among others, will all perform at the Tribute to Grace and Hope on September 11.

The event will take place in New York's Madison Square Garden and will also include testimonies from a New York firefighter, police officer, World Trade Center Survivors and others who were present at Ground Zero. New York Knicks players Allan Houston and Charlie Ward and Focus on the Family founder James Dobson will also take part in the ceremony.

For more info visit jammintribute911.com.
- Ben 

August 31, 2002 - P.O.D. Shut Out of VMA's
NEW YORK -- We've been giving you way too much P.O.D.-related news lately, but it's necessary. San Diego's Finest were nominated six times for various MTV Video Music Awards, but didn't win any of them.

All Christendom is likely to protest last night's results. Read a full list of the winners, and vent about it here.

- Ben 

August 29, 2002 - Lifehouse: In a Christian Retailer Near You
Lifehouse fans can now get their hands on the band's music simply by visiting their local Christian retailer. Dreamworks Records signed a deal on Wednesday, August 28, with Sparrow Records that will allow Sparrow's marketing and promotion teams to handle all distribution to the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) marketplace. Dreamworks is still the band's label home, however, and will handle all mainstream distribution itself.

Lifehouse's sophomore project, Stanley Climbfall, releases Tuesday, September 17, and is the follow-up to their double platinum debut, No Name Face.
- Rick 

August 28, 2002 - P.O.D. Chums Blindside the Competition
The first and only signee to P.O.D.'s 3 Points Records, Blindside, debuted today at #83 on the Billboard 200.

The label was apparently hoping for a spot inside the top 200, but never imagined to crack the top 100. Reports say the album, Silence, sold out at many stores and caused some fans to camp out on store doorsteps.

Blindside just finished their tour with Project 86, and will appear on the Conan O'Brien Show on September 10.
- Ben 

August 28, 2002 - Max Lucado Joins CTAW Tour
Though it's currently only 16 dates long, the Come Together and Worship tour has been the story of the year since March, when it was announced. It just got bigger.

Max Lucado, immensely popular author of such books as Just Like Jesus and Travelling Light, recently signed on to join Third Day and Michael W. Smith as a "special guest" on the tour.

Though Lucado's role has not been announced, one must assume that he will act as a speaker—he also pastors a church in San Antonio. The tour will be sponsored by Chevrolet, and will raise money for Compassion International and World Vision.

Says Lucado, "I am honored and excited to be a part of this unique event. Michael W. Smith and Third Day are among the finest of God’s minstrels. The tour has the right people. Moreover, the tour has the right purpose, worship. God being our helper, Christ will be the sole voice of the night." "Max is an amazing addition to this tour," says Third Day's Powell. "He’ll bring another dimension to the evening of worship with his inspiring words. I’m glad he’ll be out with us."

Adds Smith, "Max and I have been great friends for many years and have talked about doing something together for quite a while now. His being a part of these evenings of worship will add a wonderful element of inspiration that will complete the evening. I have a deep respect for Max and am glad to welcome him to the tour."

Thet Come Together and Worship tour will begin on November 1 in Atlanta and end in Auburn Hills, MI, 22 days later.
- Ben 

August 28, 2002 - New Relient K Material Available Only on Tour
Those who attend the Back to the Few Tour this fall with Relient K and Bleach will have access to new music from the former group available nowhere else.

Relient K, which also appears on the soundtrack for the Veggie Tales movie Jonah, will sell the six-song EP The Employee of the Month only on tour. The CD features two songs from K's forthcoming album, three never before released tracks and one song from The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek.
- Ben 

August 28, 2002 - The Elms End Frampton Tour
Sparrow recording artist The Elms recently wrapped up a string of dates with music legend Peter Frampton. The tour saw them debuting songs from their forthcoming LP, Truth, Soul, Rock & Roll, in front of as many as 3, 500 fans each night.

Next, the group will join Jars of Clay on the The Eleventh Hour Tour. Says Elms lead singer Owen Thomas, "Going out with Jars will be a great way to spend the fall. "We love how they’ve made their music the priority, and have written so many songs that cause people to consider truth as a way of life. It’s going to be a great time."
- Ben 

August 28, 2002 - P.O.D. Cancels European Tour
P.O.D. singer Sonny Sandoval will undergo surgery to relieve a herniated disc in his neck and lower back, sources say.

The surgery will take place on October 1, and will force the cancellation of the group's European tour. In the meantime, P.O.D. will perform at the MTV Video Awards (they're also nominated six times), on Sunday, and with the Red Hot Chili Peppers on September 29. A crowd of 45, 000 is expected at the Chili Peppers show.

No word yet on how the injury was incurred, but we'll keep you posted.
- Ben 

August 28, 2002 - Watermark Announces Fall Tour With Ginny Owens
In support of two of this spring’s most critically-lauded albums, Rocketown Records recording artists Watermark and Ginny Owens head out this fall for a string of co-headlining dates in September and November in partnership with Compassion International. Markets to be hit during the first run include Jacksonville, FL; Norfolk, VA; Minneapolis and Houston, while the tour’s second leg targets Birmingham, AL; Charlotte, NC: Memphis, TN and Dallas/Fort Worth, among others. Spring Hill recording artist Gersh (Mark Gersmehl, formerly of White Heart) will be the special guest on all dates.

Owens, who toured this spring with Rebecca St. James and Michael W. Smith, heads out in support of her sophomore disc, Something More. The album’s first single, “I Am,” peaked in the Top 5 on R&R’s Christian Adult Contemporary, Pop/CHR and Inspirational charts, one of the only singles this year to thrive on such diverse formats. Owens' new singles, "With Me" (AC/CHR) and "All I Want to Do" (INSP), went for adds at Christian radio last week, while a music video for “With Me” mails to video outlets at the end of the month. Owens 1999 debut album, Without Condition, spawned three No. 1 songs, sold over 300,000 copies and paved the way to Owens winning a 2000 Dove Award for New Artist of the Year.

Watermark’s Nathan and Christy Nockels spent their spring touring with Fernando Ortega in support of their third album, Constant. The group’s latest radio single, “Friend for Life (More of Thee),” is off to a tremendous start with over 25 percent of stations at both AC and Inspirational formats on the song within the first two weeks.

Following the fall tour with Owens, the Nockels will again perform a few dates with Ortega in late November before heading home to await the late December birth of their second child. For more information on this tour, visit www.ginnyowens.com or www.watermark-online.com.
- Rick 

August 28, 2002 - True Vibe Launches Tour to Promote New Album
Essential Record's pop quartet True Vibe launches its sophomore release See The Light with nine consecutive days of promotional events in major Christian music markets including Chicago, Dallas and Seattle. Among the week's activities are an appearance on Chicago-based television network WGN's morning show, post-game performances at multiple minor league baseball games, and retail/radio supported concerts.

Also in support of See The Light, True Vibe has been on the Summer JAM tour hosted by Reunion Records artist NewSong and featuring guest performers Brother's Keeper, Freddie Colloca, Rachael Lampa and Tait. In addition to the Summer JAM tour and festival appearances, True Vibe will team up with fellow pop artists Plus One, SoulJahz and Phat Chance on a 25-city Pure Pop tour this fall. Aside from live performances, fans can hear the latest from True Vibe via radio, as See The Light's debut single and title track is currently climbing the Adult Contemporary chart, positioned at No. 13 this week.

For additional information on True Vibe and See The Light, visit their website.
- Rick 

August 27, 2002 - 11 Live Delayed, Tour Planned
Although the first DVD from Jars of Clay, 11 Live, was planned to release today, it has been delayed until at least September 10 for unknown reasons. Rumor has it tha the band was having some trouble with the software they were using to create the DVD. They found this out on the same day they were showing off their use of Apple products at the Apple SoHo store in New York.

In other Jars news, the band is planning a tour this fall which will feature The Elms as the supporting band. And, the independent film Hometown Legend was released on DVD last week, which features a film score by Dan Haseltine, lead singer, as well as a music video for their song "Collide".
- Dan 

August 25, 2002 - Larry and Bob Strike Back
Punk group Relient K has announced via its website that Bob and Larry—stars of the Veggie Tales video series and Jonah, a forthcoming feature film—will be covering one of the band's songs.

"Breakdown," from K's recent album The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, will apparently be re-recorded, "polka style," and will appear as a single soon.

The move comes in response to Relient K's decision to cover the Veggie Tales song "The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything." To hear the band's version, click here.
- Ben 

August 24, 2002 - FONO Tours With Goo Goo Dolls, Meet P Diddy
British rock band FONO, whose 1999 album goesaroundcomesaround was highly acclaimed, have been working with touring friends The Goo Goo Dolls for a couple years now, supposedly on a new album. All we have to show for that is a couple unreleased songs on mp3.com but no word of an album release.

In the meantime, though, FONO is staying active. They are currently on tour with the Goo Goo Dolls and Third Eye Blind and playing for around 10,000 people per night. Also, last week they were in New York City, and they visited MTV Studios. According to the new Tour Diaries on their newly redesigned web site, they bumped into Sean "P Diddy" Combs while at MTV, and gave him a copy of their CD. Rumors now have it that there might be a "Bad Boy Remix" of their popular "Collide" in the workds. Stay tuned for more details!
- Dan 

August 24, 2002 - Returning With a Vengeance
They may have been inactive for two years, but Sixpence None the Richer are making an impressive re-entry into the music market.

Earlier this year, they covered the Beach Boys' "I Just Wasn't Made For These Times" for Making God Smile, a Brian Wilson tribute album produced by Silent Planet Records. They contributed "Good Night Children Everywhere" to For the Kids, a compilation by Nettwerk America that also includes Sarah McLachlan, Remy Zero, and Cake, among others. Further, this Christmas they will be appearing on City on a Hill: It's Christmas Time ("Silent Night" as a band; Leigh Nash appears on the title track and "O Holy Night", a duet with Michael Tait) and WOW Christmas ("Christmas of the Year").

According to Reprise Records's Sixpence site, "Breathe Your Name" will be released to stores as a single with an outtake from Divine Disconent, "Northern Lights", as a b-side. More info as it comes.

Divine Discontent, the long-anticipated follow-up to Sixpence's self-titled album, releases nationwide October 29.
- Jason 

August 21, 2002 - Furious? Coming to Nashville
Furious? Records is finally coming stateside, according to reports out of Nashville.

The label, run by British rock band Delirious?, will release new projects from All Star United, Graham Kendrick and its founding group on November 19.

Says Furious? USA head Hugh Robertson, "Furious? UK has garnered tremendous success with its flagship group, Delirious? and other artists, distributing exceptional music to more than 90 countries worldwide. With a passion to minister to even more, the European label knew that the time was right to expand its presence into the largest Christian-music consumer market in the world."

Furious? recordings will be distributed through Chordant Distribution, a division of EMI Christian Music Group, and will set up shop in Nashville.

Recounting the label's history, Furious? CEO Tony Patoto says, "It all started with a couple of hundred tapes sold at the back of a school hall. "Now, ten years [later], Furious? Records has made one of its biggest jumps forward since they scraped together the funds to rent a photocopier. The label's ability to keep a firm hold of its guiding principles is a testament to the grace of God. We have always dreamed big and now its time for us to spread the good news in the US.”

No word yet on whether Delirious?, which has operated under the Sparrow banner for its North American releases, will jump ship. We'll keep you posted.
- Ben 

August 19, 2002 - GRITS Rock Nashville Coliseum
They just released a new album, The Art of Translation, their latest single "Here We Go" is blazing up the charts, and now rap duo GRITS has another bragging right to add to their repoirtoire. Officials for the Tennessee Titans pro football team have confirmed that the team will be adding the group's "Tennessee Bwoys," to their game-time playlist. In other words, this is an awesome opportunity for GRITS to rock The Coliseum in Nashville and get their record out among the masses.

Not convinced yet? Check out our review of The Art of Translation right here on cMusicWeb.com.
- Rick 

August 16, 2002 - More Jesus Freaks
dc Talk and The Voice of the Martyrs foundation are teaming up once again to bring you Jesus Freaks, Volume 2. Like the first Jesus Freaks book, Volume 2 will include more stories of revolutionaries who took a stand for Christ and changed the world around them.

Jesus Freaks was released in 1999 and has sold well over 600,000 copies since. Jesus Freaks: Volume 2 is expected to be even more successful and releases on October 1st.
- Rick 

August 16, 2002 - Woody Rock, Dru Hill Back Together
Mainstream R&B group Dru Hill will reportedly reunite this fall for their first album since 1998's Enter the Dru. Group member Nokio said recently that the group got together at the funeral of fellow member Woody Rock's mother.

"We went up to the pulpit to sing a song together," said Nokio. "and that was the first time everybody had the chance to look at each other like, 'Yo, I miss you, dog. What's up, man? What you been doing?' The communication was there, and it kept getting stronger and stronger. One day me and [group member] Sisqó were on the phone talking about doing a remix to one of the songs on his last album and that conversation turned into, 'Yo, we just need to go make an album ? let's stop playing.'"

Rock is known in the CCM world for his recent gospel album, Soul Music. Dru World Order will release November 12.

- Ben 

August 16, 2002 - Chris Tomlin to Worship With RSJ
Chris Tomlin, known for his work on the copious Passion albums will join Rebecca St. James this fall as a supporting act on the Worship God 2002 tour.

Beginning September 8, Tomlin, who will be promoting his soon-to-be-released solo album, Not to Us, will travel with St. James, to several key U.S. cities. Other supporting acts include Fusebox, Charlie Hall, Rivertribe and Charmaine

"I can?t wait to share the songs from our new record Not To Us with all of you," Tomlin said recently in an address to his fans. We are all the singers, and our audience is the famous One, Jesus Christ. See you there."

Not to Us was produced by Matt Bronleewe (dc Talk, Jars of Clay, Natalie Imbruglia) and was written or co-written entirely by Tomlin. The album also features "Wonderful Maker," co-written by Matt Redman, and the hit "Famous One," and will hit stores on September 10.
- Ben 

August 15, 2002 - Newsboys to Promote Biblical Literacy
Sparrow Records and Zondervan (the publishers of several Christian books and study Bibles) have teamed with the Newsboys in a campaign they hope will raise Biblical literacy among teens.

The campaign is spurred by statistics compiled by Barna Research Group, which say that only 35% of teens read their Bibles outside of church, 53% believe that Jesus committed sins while on earth and only six percent believe that moral truth is absolute. Those who attend the Newsboys' Thrive Tour this fall will receive a free Book of Romans from Zondervan's NIV Student Bible.

Says Newsboys frontman Peter Furler, longtime reader of the NIV Student Bible, "I?m a great believer in reading the Word of God. Without reading and knowing the Word, you can't know the voice of the Good Shepherd." Furler will also be featured in several radio public service announcements in the near future.

"Bible reading is essential for spiritual growth," says Zondervan Vice President of Bible Marketing John Sawyer. "The Newsboys have experienced the power of God?s Word to transform their own lives and now have a personal passion to get the young people who attend their concerts into Scripture. We are thrilled to partner with them on this effort. We pray that many students will 'thrive' by getting into God?s Word"

More information about the Thrive Tour can be found here.
- Ben 

August 15, 2002 - JoC Releases 11 Live, Plans Fall Tour
Double blessings for Jars of Clay fans this month: August 27th marks the release of 11 Live: Jars of Clay in Concert, the band's first ever DVD. Jars is also making plans for a Fall leg of their smashing eleventhhour tour.

11 Live, also available on VHS, features almost two hours of performance footage, including a full concert setting and an intimate acoustic set, plus behind-the-scenes footage and band produced extras. The project offers a musical retrospective of one of the most innovative groups in music today.

“Like the new album, The Eleventh Hour, this DVD is all Jars of Clay,” says David McCollum, Rendy Lovelady Management. “They took it upon themselves to produce and record what they believe is their best live video presentation ever. This will be a lasting tangible piece of Jars of Clay history.”

11 Live: Jars of Clay in Concert features fan favorites recorded live, including new material from their most recent, critically acclaimed and self-produced project, The Eleventh Hour, plus classic No. 1 radio hits such as “Flood,” “Love Song For A Savior,” “Crazy Times” and “Collide.” Songs from the new album featured on the DVD/VHS include the chart-topping, multi-format hit radio single, “I Need You,” and the recently released single, “Fly.”

Recorded in Nashville in conjunction with the recent pay-per-view event, the DVD/VHS also features the biggest staging and lighting production Jars of Clay has ever assembled.

Additionally, the second leg of "theelevethhourtour" will begin on October 3, 2002. The tour, which will run through early December, will feature special guests, The Elms. The dates will feature the multimedia presentation which debuted during the first leg of "theeleventhhourtour" earlier this year.

Jars is also introducing lower ticket prices on this tour, including a limited number of $11 tickets. These "festival seating" tickets will be general admission and will be available on a first come, first serve basis in each market. For those who are more comfortable in actual seats, all concerts will also have regular seating tickets for $15-18.
- Rick 

August 15, 2002 - Nashville Loves Their Grits
Two of Nashville's top hip-hop radio stations (who knew they even had one?) are apparently enamoured with the Grits' new album, The Art of Translation. Blazin' 106 FM announced recently that the album's lead single, "Here We Go," was their most requested single. The other main urban station, 101.1 The Beat, will reportedly add "Tennessee Bwoys" to its "power rotation" (whatever that is). The latter song will also be played at the Tennessee Titans' home stadium during the coming NFL season.

- Ben 

August 15, 2002 - Caedmon's Extends Tour
Riding on the momentum of a successful worship project and multiple 2002 Dove Award nominations, Caedmon’s Call sets out on select dates this fall in support of its September 2001 release, In The Company Of Angels: A Call to Worship. Nearly a year since the album’s launch, continued enthusiasm for the record has prompted the band to extend its tour, which will visit venues in eleven states, including an appearance at the Billy Graham Crusade in Dallas, Texas October 17th.

In response to the album’s phenomenal feedback and request for additional tour dates, Caedmon’s Call plans to give focus to another round of concerts, before moving its attention to a new studio project, slated for a spring 2003 release. The band will perform its hits that have helped sell more than a million recordings, including “Before There Was Time” and “Who You Are” from In The Company of Angels. Independent singer/songwriter, Randall Goodgame, who joined Caedmon’s Call on the spring leg of the tour, will team-up with the group on all dates.

“Our goal in concert is to provide a well-balanced Caedmon’s Call experience,” comments the band’s frontman Cliff Young. “We will perform old songs, new songs and songs that will require the audience’s participation. We believe this will be our best tour yet.”

Acclaimed by consumers and industry alike, In The Company Of Angels continues Caedmon’s Call’s tradition of consummate musicianship. Each group member again lent his talents to both the lyrical and musical production of the project, which garnered a 2002 Dove Award nomination for “Praise and Worship Album of the Year,” as well as a nod for best “Recorded Music Packaging.” In The Company of Angels is the band’s first full-length recording since 2000’s Long Line of Leavers and contains both original songs and traditional hymns, including the current Adult Contemporary radio single “We Delight.”

A complete list of tour dates and additional Caedmon’s Call information can be found at www.caedmonscall.com and www.essentialrecords.com.
- Rick 

August 14, 2002 - Worship Goes Platinum
Michael W. Smith's eminently successful album Worship was recently certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America.

Said Smith, "I look back on the events of this year and am reminded how blessed we are. We live in a great country, a free country, and I believe that the songs on this record were used to comfort people this past year. I’m thankful to have had a part in that."

Worship was released in September of last year, and, as we've told you, has spawned a sequel (Worship Again). The second Worship album is due on October 22, with a MWS DVD coming later this month.

This November, Smith and Third Day will embark on the 16-date Come Together and Worship tour.
- Ben 

August 14, 2002 - Michelle Shocked "Spiritual," Hates Christian Music
Michelle Shocked isn't someone who we've covered much in the past, but she's been making waves of late for her "spiritual" music. So...

Shocked (whose real name is Karen Michelle Johnston) was interviewed by Orange County Weekly in June and had this to say about being labelled a "Christian artist:"

"I hate Christian music! Hate it! I'd love to label [my music] gospel because I love, love, love gospel but I'm not black, so I’m not ever going to be gospel. I guess calling it 'spiritual' would be the more common coin of this realm."

She later adds, "I realize I'm not qualified or educated enough in gospel to be an effective preacher, but just because I don’t know what I’m talking about doesn’t mean I’m gonna shut up. If I have to sit back and wait till I know everything before I speak--well, I’ll be too old by then. So I just try to talk truth."
- Ben 

August 12, 2002 - Sixpence Changes Labels, New Album Due in October
Sixpence None the Richer have reportedly signed with Reprise Records, home to Depeche Mode Neil Young and The Hives, and will release their sophomore effort on October 23.

The band has been a victim of former label Squint Entertainment's internal strife, and has not released an album since their self-titled debut five years ago. That album brought them two Grammy nominations, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publisher's #1 single for 1999 ("Kiss Me") and several other awards.

The new disc, Divine Discontent, was produced by band guitarist Matt Slocum and Paul Fox (XTC, 10, 000 Maniacs). "Breathe Your Name" is slated as the first radio single, and should hit stations across the continent in September.
- Ben 

August 12, 2002 - P.O.D. Records Song For Next Santana Album
According to rollingstone.com, P.O.D. have recorded a song that may be included in guitar legend Carlos Santana's upcoming album, Shaman. Just so you know, Rob Thomas, Everlast, Lauryn Hill and Eagle-Eye Cherry all appeared on the last major Santana album, and nobody cares about them anymore. Then again, so did Eric Clapton and the Dave Matthews Band. What do I know?

Warriors may send hate mail to ben@cmusicweb.com.

- Ben 

August 11, 2002 - Nicole C. Mullen to Release Christmas Album
Pop superstar Nicole C. Mullen will reportedly release a Christmas album on September 24. Titled Christmas in Black and White, will feature performances from Grammy-winning jazz musician Kirk Whalum, guitar whiz Phil Keaggy, and several members of Mullen's family.

"Christmas has been so commercialized, so changed in so many ways that we lose the true meaning of Christmas,? says Mullen. "The truth of the matter is that God became a man through a virgin girl and this God became like us. He was born in a stinky, smelly stable, and he became human. Later he died and rose again to save the ones he had been a part of. This is the foundation upon which our family approaches Christmas, so I wanted to celebrate that fact by making it the whole premise upon which the record is built. [The title track] is saying, 'Here are the facts. It?s right here in black and white.'"

So that's the good news. The bad? If you want to hear Mullen perform her Christmas stuff live, you'll have to sit through a John Tesh concert too. The two will tour together beginning just after Thanksgiving.

- Ben 

August 11, 2002 - By the Tree Founder on His Way Out?
More from the rumour mill...Kevin Rhoads, founding member of By the Tree, has reportedly left the band. Lead singer and co-founder Chuck Dennie reportedly broke the news to the crowd at a Meridian, MS show on Friday, saying that Rhoads did not share the same level of dedication to the group's vision that the other members have.

This story has not been confirmed. We'll let you know more as it develops. By the Tree's sophomore effort, These Days, will be released on August 27.

- Ben 

August 11, 2002 - "...Turn the Lights Off, Carry Me Home."
Any died-in-the-wool "Gomer" will undoubtedly already know this tidbit of news, but for the less uninformed, here's the skinny. Third Day is releasing a 5-song EP titled Carry Me Home that is free with the purchase of their Come Together album. Part of the proceeds from this purchase go to Habitat For Humanity (did you expect some other charity?) to help provide housing for needy families across the globe.

Carry Me Home contains three previously unreleased tracks ("Too Many Days," "Cross of Nails," "One Thousand Years") and two live recordings from their 2001 Offerings Tour ("You're Everywhere," "Sky Falls Down"). You can pick it up anywhere Third Day's music is sold, or order it online through cMusicWeb.com.
- Rick 

August 7, 2002 - Pure Pop Campaign Delivers More Cheese to the Market
Obviously we were wrong to assume that the boy-band phase was dead. This September, Word Label Group, Creative Artists Agency, and Mitchell Entertainment Group are bringing the "Pure Pop" campaign to a city near you. The first part of the campaign is a talent search, appearing in 25 cities, that hopes to discover Christian music's next big pop star. The top three contestants will then compete in Nashville for the opportunity to record their own three-song demo, complete with album packaging. The grand prize winner will also get 100 copies of their own recording. Not only that, but one winner from each city also gets to open the Pure Pop tour, featuring acts like Plus One, True Vibe, Souljahz, and Phat Chance. The tour will span the same 25 cities as the talent search.

If you can't sing, Word will additionally be releasing a Pure Pop album on September 3rd. The compilation will feature tracks from teen-oriented acts Stacie Orrico, Out of Eden, Plus One, Rachel Lampa, True Vibe, Jaci Velasquez, and ZOEgirl while introducing some newcomers to the scene.

For more info on the contest or upcoming CD, visit www.pure-pop.com.
- Rick 

August 6, 2002 - Raphi Scores Hits on MTV2
Uprok Records's hip-hop artist Raphi just scored some serious playtime on MTV2. Fourteen cuts from Raphi's newest release, Cali Quake, will be aired on the "MTV 2 Day" show. Some of these tracks include "Then and Now," "Rollin' With the Punches," "Let Go," as well as many others.

We'll let you know the dates and times as soon as they're announced, so check back with cMusicWeb.com regularly. Raphi's album Cali Quake was released July 30th on Uprok Records.
- Rick 

August 6, 2002 - Pillar Drummer Checks Out
Brad Noone, drummer for rising rap core band Pillar, recently departed from the band. His last show was on June 16th. Noone had stated that he wanted to spend more time with his wife and start a family in the near future.

At the same time, Pillar introduced their new drummer, Lester Estelle, who was hand-picked from an audition of drummers across the U.S. Lead singer/rapper Kalel calls him "...one of the best drummers I've ever seen...ever."

- Rick 

August 6, 2002 - Wal-Mart Can Only Imagine
Your eyes haven't deceived you if you've been to Wal-Mart lately and seen MercyMe's video for "I Can Only Imagine" playing in the music section. The ever-popular and quite overplayed worship song has been added to both Wal-Mart and Target's in-store video displays. The song won a Dove award earlier this year, and the album it appeared on, Almost There is already certified gold.

MercyMe's upcoming project, Spoken For, is slated for an October 1st release. In the meantime, you can hear them play "I Can Only Imagine" and some other less popular songs at Festival Con Dios this Fall.
- Rick 

August 2, 2002 - Ozzy Back On Tour Soon
Ozzy Osbourne won't be out of commission as long as originally expected. According an Osbourne family spokesperson, Ozz attended his wife's first chemotherapy treatment and "nearly passed out." He had to be taken to a recovery room, and has been ordered back to the stage.

"Sharon now realizes that Ozzy is better off on the road," the spokesperson said. "So she's shipped him back out to finish OZZfest." Ozz will, however, miss the shows scheduled for August 3 and 4 in Columbus.

- Ben 

August 1, 2002 - Switchfoot Officially Signed to Columbia Records
It's official: Switchfoot has confirmed signing a distribution deal with mainstream label Columbia Records, as reported in the "journal" section of their official website. This means that, unfortunately, the band's latest release, The Beautiful Letdown, will be pushed back to a 2003 release date. However, the album will now be available on a more widespread basis.

The band is excited about the new agreement, and say they've "never been surrounded by a team who feels so passionate about our songs." For more information, read about it at the Switchfoot website.
- Rick 

July 31, 2002 - Jake Still in Business
As reported by cmusicweb.com earlier this month, Canadian boy band Jake was dropped from Reunion Records' website not long ago. Here's the skinny.

Jake's contract with Reunion reportedly ran out about the same time that another group had challenged the brothers Penner for the rights to the name "Jake." In order to avoid legal consequences of their own, Reunion had to drop all mention of the group from their site. It's unknown whether or not the dispute has been resolved, but the Canadian Jake has re-launched their official website, and all indications are that the group is not breaking up.

Also unknown is whether a new agreement between Jake and Reunion has been reached. For the time being, Jake is selling its own recordings and merchandise via jakemusic.com.

- Ben 

July 31, 2002 - Tree63 Prepares for New Album
Although the official website of the band has yet to announce it, InPop Records has announced the release date and title of the next album from Tree63. The three-piece South African rock band will release The Life and Times of Absolute Truth on October 22nd. The band will also be on the Festival Con Dios tour this fall.

InPop also releases the sophomore albums from Phil Joel, Superchic[k], and Go Fish this fall.
- Dan 

July 31, 2002 - RUMOR: Chapman To Record Live Album
Avid fans of Steven Curtis Chapman know that his music rocks even more live, they are treated to new versions of old songs, and that he talks a lot. But, they have not heard this in a recording for the last 10 years since The Live Adventure. But, that is about to change...

Rumors have been saying that Steven plans to follow Michael W. Smith's lead and record in Louisville, Kentucky. Smith recently recorded his second live worship album in the same town, where SCC plans to stop on September 19th for the Live Out Loud tour. Expected from the recording is a full CD, VHS, and DVD release. Because this has yet to be confirmed by official sources, there is no word on when these will be available in stores, although it would seem unlikely that it would be finished by Christmas.
- Dan 

July 31, 2002 - delirious?, Worship Circus on Big Brother 3
Although we are not expecting that you would actually want to watch Big Brother 3, it seems interesting to point out one of the stars, 25 year old Jason from Alabama. This reality show contestant is locked in a house with 11 other contestants, and seems to have a hint of faith. His bio on the CBS-produced show's website, Jason cites Christian rock bands delirious? and the new Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus as his favorites, and lists his parents as his personal heroes.

Incidentally, the first major-label disc from the Rock 'N' Roll Worship Circus hits stores August 20. You can find a 2-song preview of thie upcoming Vertical Music band at your local Christian bookstore.
- Dan 

July 31, 2002 - Mary Mary Debuts at #20 On Billboard
R&B/gospel group Mary Mary (the folks behind "Shackles") have released their sophomore album, Incredible. The album scanned 42, 000 copies in its first week, earning it the 20th spot on the Billboard 200, just behind Korn's Untouchables and We Invented the Remix from P. Diddy and Bad Boy Records. The album also landed at #10 on the Billboard R&B chart and at the top spot on the gospel chart.

Incidentally, the Counting Crows' new joint, Hard Candy, is currently sitting at #9 on the 200.

- Ben 

July 30, 2002 - New Christian Reality Series Headed For Cable
It was inevitable. Reality T.V. has gone gospel.

The Southern Baptist Coalition will broadcast Truth Quest: California on its cable channel, FamilyNet, this fall.

Apparently similar to MTV's The Real World, the show will follow the lives of twelve teenagers who travel together across the Golden State. "Basically, a person watching MTV is going to see how the world lives," says Baptist Press Assistant Editor Todd Starnes. "We wanted to provide a show to show, 'Hey, this is how Christians live.' You've got twelve people living together for an extended amount of time, so you're going to have difficulties. Our show is going to show how those difficulties are resolved from a Christian perspective."

The cameras will show the youths sharing their faith with real-life vampires, teen runaways, drug addicts, and tattooed ministers. "What we wanted to try and show folks is that Christians don't just go to church 24-7," says Starnes, "but we live our lives outside of the Church as well."

Next stop: Judas (a The Mole ripoff) and Who Wants to Marry a Struggling Youth Pastor With No Chance of Ever Becoming a Millionaire?

- Ben 

July 30, 2002 - New U2 Single Ready For Airwaves
Sources say that U2 is set to release its first single from the upcoming Best Of collection.

"Electric Storm" will be one of two new songs on the album, and will be released to radio on September 16. The title of the second new song and the remainder of the content to be found on the album has not yet been released.

- Ben 

July 30, 2002 - PFR Disappears Again
After a triumphant, yet short-lived comeback, Christian rock band PFR is disbanding once again.

In a recent interview, frontman Joel Hanson commented that the band would probably never release another album together as a trio. To the chagrin of many fans, each band member is currently pursuing separate interests. Hanson is working with a Minnesota camp, Patrick Andrew is serving as a worship leader in Arizona, and Mark Nash is in Nashville, TN working on a television soundtrack.

PFR returned in 2001 with Disappear, released under the Squint Entertainment record label, after a similar disbandment three years before.
- Rick 

July 30, 2002 - Big Daddy Weave Releases Debut Today
Fervent Records and Big Daddy Weave are poised to impact Christian retail nationwide with the release of the band’s debut, One And Only, today. “In Christ,” the first single from the already critically acclaimed group, is at no. 11 and rising on the R&R (Radio & Records) Christian Adult Contemporary chart for the week of the album’s release. With such major markets as Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles and Chicago already spinning the upbeat cut, radio programmers are excited about the future of Big Daddy Weave.

“Big Daddy? Big HIT!” says Jim Beeler of Houston, TX, radio station KSBJ. “Reminds me of the joy I had when I first came to Christ.” With upcoming media coverage slated in such popular Christian publications as CCM and Guideposts for Teens, critics are already supporting this new band with positive reviews.

While this Mobile, AL-based band has been touring steadily and building a fan base for several years, Big Daddy Weave will continue their travels during July and August in promotion of their national debut. The next several weeks find the group performing at camps, singles retreats, in-store visits, brown bags and other concert appearances in AL, FL, GA, KY, LA and IN, among others. Also in the band’s busy schedule are several major retail chain performances, including the 50-store Lemstone Christian Stores national sales conference in the Chicago area, and the 330-store chain Family Christian Stores manager’s conference in Phoenix, AZ. Big Daddy Weave also recently performed and led worship at devotions for the 1500-employee Lifeway Christian Stores headquarters in Nashville, TN.

“We are so honored to get to work with the guys and pray that this season in their lives is rewarding as they embark to spread the word of God on a national level. The momentum we've seen leading up to this release has been so encouraging,” says Susan Riley, president of Fervent Records.
- Rick 

July 30, 2002 - Prepare to be Touched
The release schedule for several forthcoming Delirious? releases has now been confirmed. The album Touch, which is the international version of the UK album Audio Lessonover?, will be released to the international market on October 26th, 2002. The US release date is not yet known but is expected to be around November. Touch will differ slightly from Audio Lessonover? as Furious? Records explains: "We have resequenced and remixed some key tracks and added the song 'Touch'".

Early indications are that the tracklisting for the album will be: Touch, Love Is the Compass (remix), Fire, Alien, Angel In Disguise, Rollercoaster, Show Me Heaven, Take Me Away, Waiting For The Summer, Stealing Time. This means that 4 tracks that were on the UK album will be left off: There Is An Angel, Bicycle Gasoline, A Little Love and America. Disappointing as these were some of the best tracks from Audio Lessonover?

Unlike the international version, the North American release of Touch is expected to include a bonus live disc recorded on the recent US tour. That disc will then be released as a separate live album in the UK and international markets on November 16th. The live album's title has yet to be decided, but the CD is expected to have 'special packaging'.

Delirious? will also release an album recorded in Spanish on October 19th containing all the classic Cutting Edge songs. It will mainly be targeted at the USA and Spanish speaking countries.
- Rick 

July 29, 2002 - Christmas On A Hill
Essential Records, home to blockbuster acts like Jars of Clay and Third Day, announces the unwrapping of City On A Hill- It’s Christmas Time, available in stores Sept. 24. This is the first Christmas project in the Dove Award-winning City On A Hill series.

Whereas its predecessors feature a variety of original and traditional worship songs, City On A Hill- It’s Christmas Time blends traditional carols, seasonal hymns and original songs to unite generations this holiday season. The album incorporates vintage and new, including “Silent Night” (interpreted by Sixpence None the Richer), “Babe in the Straw” (an original, sung by Caedmon’s Call), “Bethlehem Town” (another original, performed by Jars of Clay) and “Do You Hear What I Hear?” (performed by Out of Eden).

City On A Hill fosters creative community, as evidenced by the all-cast title track “It’s Christmas Time.” Unique vocal pairs are a hallmark of the City series, and City On A Hill- It’s Christmas Time is no exception. The record boasts the innovative match-up of Third Day singing with Derri Daugherty and Julie Miller on “Manger Throne” and a duet with Miller and Daugherty, capturing a tender Americana spirit, on “Away in a Manger.” Additionally, Michael Tait pairs with Sixpence None the Richer frontwoman Leigh Nash on “O Holy Night,” for an intimate album closer.

Producer Steve Hindalong says of the project, “I had a great time working with Derri again, who engineered City On A Hill- Songs Of Worship And Praise. We both found that this record came together beautifully due largely in part to the great writers and amazing vocalists involved. The artists gave us some of the best performances I’ve ever heard.”

For more information, go to www.city-on-a-hill.com or www.essentialrecords.com.

- Rick 

July 29, 2002 - 3D Members Lend a Helping Hand
Members of the Gospel Music Association Group of the Year, Third Day, recently returned from Africa after having helped former President Jimmy Carter, his wife, Rosalynn, and 4,000 other volunteers complete the largest home building effort in Habitat history for the 19th annual Jimmy Carter Work Project 2002 (JCWP) in Africa.

Third Day members Tai Anderson and Mark Lee traveled with Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI) to Durban, South Africa last month to help JCWP finish the final 100 homes as part of HFHI’s work to build 1,000 houses in 18 African countries. As the band’s latest and critically acclaimed recording, Come Together, becomes its third RIAA certified Gold album in less than 15-months, Third Day continues its theme to “come together” in a tangible way to help make decent shelter a matter of conscience and action throughout Africa.

“I was so pleased to see Tai and Mark hammering, sawing and painting alongside President Carter and Habitat homeowner, Mambo Mkhize,” said Millard Fuller, Habitat’s founder and president. “Not only are they great musicians, they are wonderful builders and good examples of God’s love In Action.”

A coastal city of more than three million residents on the Indian Ocean, Durban is symbolically significant because in the early sixties thousands of Indians and black Africans were forcibly removed from this area by the Apartheid government. Due largely to ongoing economic conditions, housing patterns that reinforced the separation of the races still exist. Despite the government’s substantial efforts to address the housing problem, millions of South Africans still live in temporary, substandard dwellings.

“Their houses were torn down and the area was cleared to enforce racial segregation,” noted Third Day member Mark Lee. “Jimmy Carter, Habitat for Humanity and a host of volunteers have symbolically joined to further turn back the wrongs of Apartheid to help deserving families have a decent and affordable place to live.”

After Lee and Anderson witnessed firsthand the need of the impoverished people in Africa, Third Day collectively chose to build in Africa two of the eight homes they committed to build earlier this year with HFHI.

More information about JCWP and its work in Africa can be found atwww.jcwp2002.org. Additional information on HFHI and Third Day can be found at www.habitat.org and www.ThirdDay.com respectively.

- Rick 

July 26, 2002 - Everything's Okay With Chris Rice
Smelled enough of the color 9? Chris Rice fans have reason to rejoice as the minstrel of mind-wandering is putting the finishing touches on his latest album, Everything's Okay.

Produced by Monroe Jones, Everything's Okay is supposedly more reminiscient of Rice's Past the Edges project than of his latest work. It will be Rice's first full-studio album since 2000's Smell the Color 9. Since then, Rice has released two more of his famous Living Room Sessions discs, which feature piano-driven instrumental music. Confirmed track names thus far are "Spare an Angel" and the title track.

Everything's Okay will hit shelves sometime in February 2003, and you can expect a spring tour to follow soon after.
- Rick 

July 26, 2002 - Festival Con Dios Launches Version 2
Festival Con Dios version 2 is ready to hit the road come September 13. With headliners Audio Adrenaline, Toby Mac (of DC Talk), Mercy Me, and Out Of Eden onboard, the traveling festival looks to continue the precedent of fun that last year's inaugural outing began.

Along with the headlining acts, Festival Con Dios sports a bevy of second-stage acts including The Benjamin Gate, Tree63, Everyday Sunday, and Jeremy Camp. Comedian Bob Smiley will host the day, which features more than six hours of music. All of this takes place in a portable stadium that can hold up to 10,000 fans.

Great tunes aren't all festival-goers will get. This year's event also features extreme games from Planet X. For a few bucks, you can play indoor laser tag, joust, or even sumo wrestle your friends.

Dates for Festival Con Dios 2002 are set through November 3. Last year's caravan featured The Newsboys, O.C. Supertones, and Switchfoot among others.
- Rick 

July 26, 2002 - Bebo Norman Hits Fall Circa 2002 Tour
Building on the momentum of two prior records (Big Blue Sky and Ten Thousand Days), and a substantial touring history, Bebo Norman sets out this fall in support of Myself When I Am Real, releasing from Essential Records September 10. Slated to hit 42 markets including Atlanta, Dallas, Nashville, Chicago and Seattle, the Fall Circa 2002 tour kicks off in Birmingham on September 10 and wraps up in the Northwest in mid-December.

Joining Bebo Norman is the David Crowder Band, Ten Shekel Shirt and Essential Records’ Sarah Sadler. The David Crowder Band will open on the first half of the tour dates and Ten Shekel Shirt on the remaining second half of the tour; Sarah Sadler will play all 42 dates.

“We’re all very excited about the Fall Circa 2002 Tour,” comments Micah Ottosen, Bebo Norman’s manager. “Bebo has been touring almost year-round for the last six years. Bebo is in his element when performing live, and I’m excited to see how this record is going to translate on stage.”
- Rick 

July 24, 2002 - News From the BEC Front
BEC Recordings, home to bands such as Bleach, The O.C. Supertones, Kutlass, and more, has released several various tidbits of news this month. First on the list is the announcement of Plankeye's latest (and final) album, Wings to Fly. The disc features all of Plankeye's greatest hits as well as a few new songs to please fans. Look for Wings to Fly in stores on July 30th.

The first video from Bleach's fourth album, Again for the First Time, made its debut on Altarnet's July 12th show. The video is "We Are Tomorrow" and you can download it here. BEC is asking for fan support to help get this video played, so be a pal and request it on your local video show.

Finally, if you happen to be a Sonicflood/Cadet/Jason Ingram fan, there's good news for you. You can catch all of them touring 35 U.S. venues together this Fall. For the latest dates, check out BEC's tour section.

For more information on these artists, check out www.becrecordings.com.
- Rick 

July 24, 2002 - David Crowder Band Takes Worship to the Streets
David Crowder Band, Sparrow/Sixstepsrecords' biggest selling debut artist ever, will be the featured artist on the August leg of the Worship Together CityWide Tour.

Debuting the Worship Together CityWide Tour last spring on the West Coast and in Canada, the events met with critical and popular acclaim. The August leg of the tour moves East and South, hitting 11 major markets: Philadelphia (8/9), Cincinnati (8/10), Indianapolis (8/11), Grand Rapids, MI (8/12), Minneapolis (8/13), Chicago (8/15), Kansas City (8/16), Dallas (8/17), Houston (8/18), New Orleans (8/19) and Orlando, FL (8/20). The August leg of the tour will also feature Jason Halbert (former member of Sonicflood and current sought-after producer) and pastor/worship leader David Ruis, with new Sparrow artist and DJ, Andy Hunter, and Floodgate Records worship artist, Rita Springer, both returning to the line-up from last spring.

The tour is an extension of Worship Together, the highly respected worship resource web site and modern worship label marketed and distributed by Sparrow Records. The mission of Worship Together events is to resource, train, and inspire those who lead or influence worship in their local churches. Featuring dynamic guest worship leaders and speakers, the tour will offer attendees Worship Together's trademark resources of experienced seminar training and soul-encouraging modern worship.
- Rick 

July 24, 2002 - Third Day's Offerings Experience Takes the Airwaves
A one-hour version of Third Day's The Offerings Experience video will debut Wednesday, July 24, at 8:PM EST on FamilyNet TV. Like the DVD, released to retail last February, the special will feature Third Day performing live in front of 15,000 enthusiastic fans packing the HiFi Buys Amphitheater in the band's hometown of Atlanta, GA. In addition to songs from its RIAA Certified Gold recording Offerings - A Worship Album, along with other timeless hits from the band's extensive repertoire that includes 18 #1 songs, the FamilyNet TV special will include conversations with each band member and many behind-the-scenes moments.

"As the current album, Come Together, surpasses the Gold-certified benchmark, the band's live recording, Offerings: A Worship Album, bolstered by last year's phenomenal Offerings Tour, is rapidly approaching Platinum status," says Brian Mitchell, Essential Records vice president/general manager. "This TV appearance is a well-crafted look at one of the best live bands in music period. It is also a preview of what fans will see on the upcoming Come Together & Worship Tour this fall with Michael W. Smith."

Following its July 24 debut, Third Day: The Offerings Experience will repeat on Family Showcase Wednesday, July 24 at 8:PM, Thursday, July 25 at 12:AM, and Saturday, July 27 at 8:PM EST. Watch local listings for additional times as the special repeats on FamilyNet TV through September 14.
- Rick 

July 23, 2002 - P.O.D. Up for Six MTV Video Awards
Christian-rockers-who-don't-want-to-be-identified-as-such P.O.D. are among the most decorated nominees vying for MTV Video Music Awards.

It was announced recently that the group, along with Eminem and Missy Elliott was nominated six times for the VMA's, which will be hosted by SNL's Jimmy Fallon on August 29.

P.O.D. will face off with Eminem in the redundantly named "Best Video of the Year" category, and with various other contenders in the Best Group Video, Best Rock Video, Best Direction in a Video (Francis Lawrence), Best Special Effects in a Video, Viewer's Choice categories.

Other multiple nominees include Shakira, White Stripes, Linkin Park and 'N SYNC.
- Ben 

July 23, 2002 - Former CCM Performer Speaks Out Against the Industry
It wouldn't be news anywhere but in the Christian community, but...

Brian McSweeney, former frontman of the modestly successful Christian rock group Seven Day Jesus has been catching press for his criticism of the Christian music industry. He's even written an entire album about it, with his new mainstream band, Matthew.

"The more we toured around churches, the more I realized that everything I had grown up to know was not necessarily true," McSweeney told the Illinois Entertainer. "Almost as if the veil had been lifted like the Wizard Of Oz. "To see the machine behind faith was really disappointing. We can put God's name on anything and sell it and it's really disgusting."

McSweeney also says that performing with his new band allows him freedom that wasn't afforded SDJ in the Christian market. "That [Christian] market was such that I don't think at any time that we had or would have ever had the freedom to make the record we wanted to make," he says. "So that became my biggest goal [for Matthew] was to make the record that I wanted."

You can see the full Entertainer article here.
- Ben 

July 23, 2002 - More Modern Worship for the Masses
Sparrow/sixstepsrecords is eagerly preparing to launch the sophomore recording from highly successful artist/worshiper Chris Tomlin. Entitled Not To Us, and produced by Matt Bronleewe (Jars of Clay, dcTalk, Natalie Imbruglia), the project will release September 10th.

One of the premier songwriters of today, Tomlin is already well known for his widely embraced anthems, including "The Wonderful Cross" and "We Fall Down," which have appeared on over 800,000 Passion records sold to date. Additionally, his "Forever" appears on the current Gold-selling Michael W. Smith’s worship recording. With the new project, Tomlin proves once again his rare ability to reach directly into the world of the modern church and to college students.

Not To Us features all original songs written or co-written by Tomlin. Additionally, the anticipated release includes one song co-written by the UK’s renowned and prolific songwriter, Matt Redman (Michael W. Smith, Tree63, Passion Worship Band). Performing many of the new songs this fall, Tomlin’s significant fan base will get a taste of the upcoming project when he appears on the extensive nationwide Rebecca St. James Worship God Tour. In addition, Tomlin will appear at numerous youth camps this summer and will perform for college students at over 250 campuses via the Passion '03 Satellite Link Oct. 24. There will also be a special celebration in Tomlin’s hometown of Houston, where he will appear during the week the recording releases.

For more information on Chris Tomlin and Not To Us or to obtain tour dates and locations, visit www.christomlin.com or www.sixstepsrecords.com.
- Rick 

July 23, 2002 - True Vibe Launches Extensive Marketing Campaign for New Album
Pop foursome True Vibe’s sophomore label project, See The Light, launches August 20th. In support of its release, Essential Records and True Vibe will embark on a major marketing campaign, including live tours, multi-media and radio exposure as well as a nationwide retail promotion.

To introduce fans to See The Light, True Vibe takes to the road this summer on a 15-city Summer JAM tour hosted by Reunion Records artist NewSong and featuring guest performers Brother’s Keeper, Freddie Colloca, Rachael Lampa and TAIT. The tour, known for its ability to draw large crowds, kicks off July 24th in Virginia and will visit Atlanta, GA, Tampa, FL, Louisville, KY, and Memphis, TN among other cities. In addition to the Summer JAM tour and festival appearances, True Vibe will team up with fellow pop artists on a large-scale tour this fall (details pending). All True Vibe summer appearances will be supported by extensive grassroots promotional efforts including street date focused coupon flyers. More than 100,000 coupon flyers will be handed out nationwide before street date by Essential Records street team representatives.

While True Vibe is busy premiering the music of See The Light live across the country, the record’s title cut and debut radio single will be vying for airtime on both Adult Contemporary and Christian Hits Radio formats. "See The Light" released to radio stations June 21st and this week advanced to No. 27 on R&R’s AC chart, with the week’s largest spin increase. Simultaneously, Essential Records will begin aggressive pitching to Internet, print and television media outlets.

"See The Light is an outstanding record," commented Essential Records’ senior director of marketing Nina Williams. "We have a high belief level in True Vibe as well as in the personal and artistic direction of this album. Our team is dedicated to the success of See The Light, and our multi-faceted marketing approach reflects that commitment."
- Rick 

July 22, 2002 - KMAX to Quit the CCM Festival Circuit
In an interesting move, dc Talk member Kevin Max announced earlier this month that he will no longer be performing at Christian music festivals as a solo artist. At a press conference during Bushnell, IL's Cornerstone Festival, Max said that he wants to reach out to audiences disenfranchised by the church community, including the gay community.

Max's set during the festival included several songs from his debut solo album, last year's Stereotype Be, and covers of U2, David Bowie, Queen and Leonard Cohen.

Also interesting was the fact that Max did not join dc Talk bandmate tobyMac for the latter's performance of "Jesus Freak" or "In the Light." Michael Tait did not join in either.
- Ben 

July 22, 2002 - Rumour: Switchfoot Signs With Columbia?
Sources in the mill are telling us that four-piece surfer group Switchfoot has inked a deal with Columbia Records in time for the release of their fourth album The Beautiful Letdown. Under the deal, the group will likely maintain its current contract with Sparrow in order to have the album distributed in Christian bookstores.

The deal with Columbia may mean, however, that Letdown will be pushed back from its original October release date to January.
- Ben 

July 22, 2002 - Features? cMusicWeb.com Has 'Em...
There's a lot more to cMusicWeb.com than just music reviews. For those of you who haven't been taking full advantage of all the awesome stuff we have here, check this out.

In the past few weeks, we've had exclusive features about SonShine 2002, Denison Marrs, Hangnail, and more, right here on the site. To see these as well as an archive of our past features, just click on the "Features" link on the left sidebar. It's under the "Currents" section.

Got questions? Ask Dear Q. Send in your inquiries about music, bands, lyrical interpretations, etc. and we'll do our best to answer them. If you'd rather chat about your favorite bands or engage in a heated debate, the "Discussion" link will take you straight to our message boards. Addtionally, we have a devotional section entitled "Armor," written by various members of our staff and updated bi-weekly, so check back regularly for lessons in God's Word! Our "Views" column, also updated bi-weekly, is written by our own Melissa Miles and features editoral comments on today's most pressing issues. Finally, Jason Ewert's Right Angle column will delight and entertain you, yet make you think at the same time. All contributions to this column are original works by Jason himself.

Don't forget to visit our feedback page and tell us what you liked or didn't like about your visit to cMusicWeb.com, and also what you'd like to see us add to the site. We'll be waiting to hear from ya.
- Rick 

July 22, 2002 - Osbourne's Cancer Spreads
Sharon Osbourne, wife and manager of Ozzy Osbourne, learned on July 8 that her colorectal cancer has spread.

After being spurred on by her husband to visit the doctor for a checkup, Mrs. Osbourne was diagnosed on July 1. Two days later, she had surgery and nearly a foot of her colon was removed. On July 8, one of two lymph nodes removed tested positive, indicating the spread of the cancer. Now she awaits chemotherapy, and strangely enough, MTV is televising her plight on the new Fall season of "The Osbournes."

Ozzy Osbourne, the self-proclaimed "prince of [expletive deleted] darkness," says he's been doing a lot of praying for his wife lately. In an interview with People Magazine, Osbourne said, "She's my whole world. She's...the best friend I've ever had. She has been my pillar of strength for many years."

Let's keep the Osbourne family in our prayers and ask God to heal them physically and spiritually.
- Rick 

July 19, 2002 - Satellite Back In Orbit
Atlantic Records is slated to release a 2-disc set from P.O.D's, nearly triple platinum album, Satellite. Disc 1 will feature the regular song list, plus remixes of "Alive," "Youth of the Nation," and "Boom." Disc 2 will be a special bonus DVD with four songs from their show in Hamburg plus behind-the-scenes footage.

All of this will be presented in a "box package". The cover art will be altered a bit to show the difference in this new release. This special album is set to release worldwide on August 27th with a limited run of only 100,000 copies made.

In other P.O.D news, the band will soon be filming the video for the fourth single off of Satellite, which will be the title track.
- Rick 

July 19, 2002 - Smitty Prepares to Worship...Again...
Feeding off the success of his first worship album, simply entitled Worship, Michael W. Smith had an innovation: Do it again. Tonight Smitty will be at Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, KY performing an entirely new batch of songs for his next album, Worship Again. The disc will hit stores October 22, riding the heels of an upcoming Worship DVD. The DVD was filmed in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and will feature classic MWS hits such as "Above All," "Breathe," "Agnus Dei," a cover of Rich Mullins "I See You" (which first appeared on the Exodus compilation), and an electric version of U2's "40." Worship on DVD will be available on August 20th.

The real question is, will Smitty's next album be titled Worship Again, Again, or will he actually release a contemporary follow-up to This Is Your Time?
- Rick 

July 19, 2002 - MTV, P. Diddy Team Up For New Reality Show
As if we needed another stale reality TV series, rapper Sean "P.Diddy" Combs announced today that he's teaming up with MTV for "Making the Band II." Under Combs's leadership, the weekly, half-hour long show will spotlight the creation of a new R&B/hip-hop group.

"Besides making music, one of my philosophies is making history," said Combs of his decision to do the show. "I feel every group that I work with is a part of history. I try my best to follow in the footsteps of Berry Gordy and Russell Simmons. Those are my mentors, my heroes. I feel like the baton has been passed to me to be this generation's star maker and that's what I wake up every morning to try to do. That's what I'm going to give the viewers of the world a chance to see."

"Making the Band II" will premiere on MTV on October 12th, and run for ten weeks. MTV's fairly successful first edition of "Making the Band" featured the creation of O-Town, who released one album and then became has-beens. We'll soon see how successful Combs's attempt at "making history" really is.
- Rick 

July 19, 2002 - Elms Tour With Peter Frampton, Prepare for New Release
Sparrow Records’ critically acclaimed rock band The Elms have been scheduled to go on the road with the legendary Peter Frampton for several of his August and September tour dates. Having been impressed by the band’s music, Frampton extended the invitation.

“We realize how great of an opportunity this is and we are honored by it. It’s something to write home about,” said Owen Thomas, lead singer of The Elms.

The tour will include Chastain Park in Atlanta GA; Innsbrook Pavilion in Richmond, VA; Eastern States Exposition in West Springfield, MA; and House of Blues in both Orlando, FL, and N. Myrtle Beach, SC. More dates will be announced soon.

In addition, the fall holds the release of The Elms’ highly anticipated sophomore album TRUTH, SOUL, ROCK & ROLL. This time around, The Elms have opted for a grittier, soul-driven sound. To achieve this goal, they acquired the talents of producer Brent Milligan (Seven Day Jesus, Chasing Furies) and engineers Richard Dodd (Sheryl Crow, Delbert McClinton, Wilco) and David Bianco (Tom Petty, The Black Crowes). The release date has been slated for October 22, 2002.

Owen Thomas continued, “It’s been like breathing new air to see this album come together. We’ve made an album we love - a special record, and I hope people will be excited to share it with us.”

Being hailed as “one of the best bands to come along in Christian music,” by ChristianityToday.com, The Elms have received praise for their distinct sound and thought-provoking lyrics. Following the widespread critical acclaim of The Big Surprise, The Elms garnered two nominations for the 2002 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards. The album was nominated for Modern Rock/Alternative Album of the Year, and the single “Hey, Hey” received a nod for Modern Rock/Alternative Song of the Year. “Hey, Hey” was also the band’s first music video and has received consistent airplay on MTV2’s “120 Minutes.”
- Rick 

July 18, 2002 - Cademon's Hits the Big Apple
The members of Caedmon's Call recently took an outing to New York City, NY to complete the final mixing process on their upcoming album, due out early next spring. For a week they were in and out of the studio working with recording engineer Ben Wisch (Marc Cohn, Jonatha Brooke) and giving their input on the direction of the music. Their comic misadventures include getting locked out of their hotel rooms and chasing down Harrison Ford through the streets, among other things. Caedmon's also got to visit Ground Zero and had a lot to say about it.

The album currently lacks a title, but confirmed song titles include "Beautiful Mystery," "Walk With Me," "Into the Hands", "You Created," "High Countries," "Manner and Means," "Justifide," and "Kingdom."

Caedmon's Call's entire New York trip is documented on a day-by-day basis at www.grassrootsmusic.com.
- Rick 

July 17, 2002 - Pondering Life's Mysteries...
What happens when you release two consecutive award winning albums and become the Christian music industry's teen pop icons?

You disappear into obscurity.

Such is the case with pop group Jake, anyway, who mysteriously disappeared from Reunion Records's artist roster not even 6 months after the release of their highly acclaimed sophomore album Army of Love. Of course it's only speculation at this point, but one could guess that they've either been dropped from the label or have signed to a new one. We'll keep you updated as soon as we receive more information, but as for now it seems "mum's the word."
- Rick 

July 17, 2002 - The Fresh Prince of Nellyville
Mainstream rapper Nelly, whose most recent album Nellyville bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and sold more than 700,000 copies during its first week of release, is about to take the airwaves in sitcom fashion.

The plot of his new show is a mystery at this point, but it's been confirmed Nelly's set-up is with Paramount Network Television. Nelly is following in the footsteps of Will Smith, who also was a rap star before making the transition to acting with NBC's sitcom "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air."

The rap star made his feature debut in "Snipes" and also appeared on Fox's late-night comedy show "Mad TV."
- Rick 

July 16, 2002 - Jars of Clay Joins the Fight Against Cancer
Jars of Clay will be a part of an NBC taping on Saturday, July 27, 2002 at the Mohegan Sun's arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Jars joins Michelle Branch, Uncle Kracker and others as they rock the house to raise money for the fight against cancer at the fourth annual Dare To Dream: A Concert For Hope event.

Log onto www.itickets.com to secure your seats for the July 27th show and join Jars in this great cause.
- Rick 

July 16, 2002 - Nordeman Weaves New Album
Female Christian artist Nichole Nordeman has been anything but idle as of late. The Sparrow Records pop diva recently put the finishing touches on her third release, Woven & Spun.

Says Nordeman of the album, "I'm so anxious for you to hear this new music. It's been quite the journey writing for the last year, and then just finishing recording a few weeks ago. What a growing experience! God has been teaching me some new lessons about the importance of learning to lean into the simplicity found in His truths. In my humanity, I tend so often to complicate matters, forgetting how to stand in awe of God's goodness. His faithfulness. His mercy. These are the themes that are woven time and again, into this new collection of songs, and they feel like a breath of new and fresh air to me."

Woven & Spun was co-produced by Mark Hammond and Charlie Peacock and hits retailers on September 24. Later this Fall, you can catch Nordeman touring with Steven Curtis Chapman.
- Rick 

July 16, 2002 - Changes Sweep Joy Electric Land
Ronnie Martin of synth-pop band Joy Electric has his axe to the grind lately for the upcoming Legacy - Volume 2 album, but in the meantime the winds of change have been blowing full blast for the band. Joy Electric.com recently stated that the new official name of the band would be "Joy Electrical," starting with the release of the next album. Also, Todd Gilliland, the band's live drummer for the past couple of years, has left to pursue his interest in becoming a worship leader in Chicago, leaving Ronnie and bandmate Jeff Cloud as the only remaining members. Last but not least, keep an eye open for "Picture Book," the first ever Joy Electric (or is that Electrical?) DVD documentary when it hits shelves this November. This special project will feature some jE live footage, interviews, and possibly a few music videos. Stay tuned to cMusicWeb.com or joyelectric.com for the latest.
- Rick 

July 16, 2002 - Double Delirious? Blessings
The latest word on Delirious's North American release of Audio Lessonover is a good one. According to CMCentral.com, AL will be released in the U.S. as a two-disc set; the first disc being the actual album, with a few additions and subtractions from the UK version, and the second, tentatively entitled Touch, containing bonus live material. Look for Audio Lessonover to hit U.S. shores sometime this Fall.
- Rick 

July 1, 2002 - steve Undergoing Band Member Changes
BRISTOL, ENGLAND -- The lineup of the band steve is currently in transition due to its ministry focus. According to the press release, Nathan, drummer, and Rees, bassist, are leaving the band becasue of differences in vision. For years, steve has been ministering to mainstream and Christian audiences alike, but this seems to have caused some tension. Nate and Rees wish to focus on the mainstream more, while Neil, the lead singer, and guitarist Lee have a committment to minister to Christian audiences. Thankfully, Nate and Rees have agreed to be with the band until decent replacements can be found.
- Dan 

June 29, 2002 - Several CCM Artists Join Push for Relief in Africa
Michael W. Smith reportedly took to the stage last night before more than 70, 000 people at the Creation East festival in Pennsylvania. During his set, Smith introduced the audience to an organization started by U2's Bono which seeks to end the very real crisis that exists now on the continent of Africa.

The organization, DATA (an acronym for Debt, AIDS and Trade for Africa or Democracy, Accountability and Transparency from Africa) is supported by American president Bush, Russian president Vladimir Putin, the Pope and several of today's most popular CCM artists.

Africa is home to 70% of the world's AIDS sufferers and is by far the poorest continent in the world. DATA seeks to bring relief. Among the artists voicing support for the cause are:

The Benjamin Gate, Margaret Becker, dc Talk, Tait, tobyMac, Sarah Masen, Charlie Peacock, Steve Taylor, the Newsboys and Jars of Clay.

More information can be found at datadata.org.
- Ben 

June 5, 2002 - New Grits Single Available For Download
Though it's been three years since the release of their most recent album, fans of the hip-hop group Grits can relax. New music is on the way.

Now available via gotee.com, the first single from the upcoming disc, The Art of Translation, is available for consumption. "Here We Go," was co-produced by the group, and will accompany a video directed by Elliot Lester(Out of Eden, 'N SYNC, Britney Spears).

- Ben 

June 4, 2002 - Creed to Tour Again
ORLANDO, Fla. -- Creed is set to hit the road once again. Though injuries to lead singer Scott Stapp had forced them to cancel the second leg of their Weathered tour, Stapp has been cleared by doctors as fit to tour, and will do so beginning July 11.

The band expects to play 70 shows before the end of the year, including 30 between July 11 and September 1. The second leg of the tour will make up shows in Indianapolis; Fargo, N.D.; and Moline, Illinois. Previously sold tickets will not be honoured at these shows; they should be returned for refund at their point of purchase.

Labelmates 12 Stones will tour as the supporting act throughout the second leg, and Jerry Cantrell will join in selected cities.

Click here to view all tour dates.

May 30, 2002 - Blink 182's Tom Delonge on God
Though his music is often profane, obscene and nothing you'd play for your grandmother, secular punk icon Tom Delonge of Blink 182 recently revealed his thoughts on God to the Alternative Press.

"I know there is a God," he says, "and I know there is a reason why we?re here. But we live on a planet where the international pastime is tribal warfare. It just seems so?immature and malicious. What I hope for is that everybody in the world would connect a little bit more to their spiritual side. That?s 80 percent of what I?m all about. The other 20 percent is diarrhea talk."

Asked what he thought God was telling us on September 11, Delonge said, "maybe this is the beginning of Armageddon," and made several intelligent references to the book of Revelations and Old Testament prophesy.
- Ben 

May 30, 2002 - Bono Pens Foreword, Stirs Controversy
Already one of the most respected men in rock music, U2 lead singer Bono has lent himself to a new book that is sure to raise some eyebrows in his home country of Ireland.

The singer has written the foreword to They've Hi-jacked God, which openly criticizes the modern Christian church. Subscribing to the increasingly popular theory that God and organized religion are in battle, Bono says, "Sadly, the Church is winning."

In a recent interview, he elaborated, saying, "[Author] Adam Harbinson takes on the Church as mausoleum for the 'dead' Christ and the Church as handcuffs and fire brigade for the risen Christ - it's an interesting subject.

"I find solace in places I never could have imagined... the quiet sprinkling of my child's head in Baptism, a gospel choir drunk on the Holy Spirit in Memphis, or the back of a cathedral in Rome watching the first cinematographers play with light and colour in stain glass stories of the Passion.

"I am still amazed at how big, how enormous a love and mystery God is ? and how small are the minds that attempt to corral this life force into rules and taboos, cults and sects.

"Mercifully God transcends the Church which is, I think, the subject of
this book."

The book will be released later this year.
- Ben 

May 29, 2002 - Korn Member to Open Serial Killer Museum
From the world of weird...Jonathan Davis, lead singer for the troubled secular "metal" group Korn, has plans to open a museum featuring serial killer memorabilia. Many of the artefacts to be housed at the museum will come from Davis' own collection. Among them are the Volkswagen mass murderer-turned Christian Ted Bundy drove around in when searching for his victims, and several items too disturbing to mention.
- Ben 

May 28, 2002 - P.O.D. Looking for New Talent, Eyes Fall Tour
With Blindside locked up, P.O.D. is apparently looking for members of the fairer sex to sign to their fledgling, band-owned record label.

" "You know what I'm looking for? I want a heavy girl band that can rock out like dudes," says P.O.D. bassist Traa. " "I mean girls who can really rock out. I'm not saying the girls out now can't, but we're looking for girls that are bad."

The group had planned to call their label "Soulcraft Records," but found out that the name was already taken. Blindside is due to release their debut on August 20.

In the meantime, P.O.D. is looking towards releasing "Satellite," the title track from their current album, as the fourth single. "Thinking About Forever" may follow. The group is returning to the States this weekend in order to play a series of festival shows, and in July will join the U.S. leg of the OzzFest tour. In November and December, the San Diego-based group will embark on a headlining tour. According to Traa, the group's dream lineup would include secular groups Papa Roach, System of a Down and Adema.

All of this brings about an interesting question. Should P.O.D. tour with groups that wallow in despondency, write profane and violent music and promote drug use? Should they, as Christians, expose their fans to music by such groups? Talk about it in on our message boards.

May 25, 2002 - MxPx Covers Scooby Doo Theme Song
Christian punk group MxPx will lend their talent to one of the most anticipated Hollywood features planned for this summer. The group has recorded "Scooby Doo, Where Are You," the theme song from the movie Scooby Doo. The song will be heard on film as the credits role, and featured prominently on the soundtrack, which also boasts offerings from OutKast, Sugar Ray, Kylie Minogue and others. The movie, which stars Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr., releases on June 12.
- Ben 

May 22, 2002 - Ray Buchanan to Toss Hip-Hop Disc
If history has taught us anything, it's that professional athletes shouldn't make albums. First came Shaq, then CWebb(the Sacramento Kings' Chris Webber), then Allen Iverson. All produced work that was viewed as awful from most circles, and left fans wishing they would devote more time to their day jobs.

Regardless, another has decided to cast his hat into the ring. Atlanta Falcons defensive back Ray Buchanan will release a hip-hop album on August 2 on BEC Recordings. Buchanan was a starter in the Pro Bowl in 1998, and has a sound that blends rap and R&B.

- Ben 

May 20, 2002 - New Switchfoot Album On the Way
Reports from inside the Switchfoot camp are saying that a new album from that band is nearly completed. The disc is being hailed as "Switchfoot like you've never heard them," and is apparently titled The Beautiful Letdown. The album should hit stores on September 24.

In the meantime, you can hear the band preview new material at the dates listed below:

May 24 - El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles, CA
June 7 - Bremerton, WA
June 12 - Daytona Beach, FL
June 15 - Eau Claire, WI
June 29 - Shirleysberg, PA
July 4 - San Diego, CA
- Ben 

May 19, 2002 - New Left Behind Movie Starts Filming
Filming for the second instalment in the Left Behind video series began last week in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Kirk Cameron, Brad Johnson, Chelsea Noble, Clarence Gilyard, Gordon Currie and Janaya Stephens will reprise their roles for Left Behind II: Tribulation Force. The film is being directed by Bill Corcoran, and will release to video and DVD on November 12, 2002.
- Ben 

May 19, 2002 - Woody Rock Hits Broadway
LOS ANGELES -- Singer Woody Rock, a founding member of the mainstream soul group Dru Hill, is finding inventive ways to promote his debut gospel release, Soul Music. Rock is touring with the cast of Love Makes Things Happen, a musical comedy penned by playwright David Talbert. The show tells the story of a successful businesswoman who falls in love with a blue-collar man, and their struggle to be together. The cast includes such luminaries as Dawn Robinson (of the R&B group En Vogue), Coko (SWV) and Kevon Edmonds (formerly of After 7). Rock performed his song "No Matter What" during the intermission at one of the play's showings, in Los Angeles this past weekend. He will tour with the group for two more dates.

All of the music from the play has been written by 10-time Grammy winner Kenneth "Babyface" Edmonds, brother of Kevin Edmonds.
- Ben 

May 19, 2002 - Chevelle Contributes to The Osbourne Family Album
Ozzy Osbourne and his family aren't through cashing in on the success of their reality TV "sitcom," The Osbournes, which aired this past season on MTV. A companion album, which is being hailed as a collection of some of their "favourite songs" will hit stores soon. As expected, the disc will contain a few of Ozzy's biggest hits, and the much-hyped version of Madonna's "Papa Don't Preach," sung by Ozzy's daughter Kelly. In a quirky twist, Pat Boon's cover of the Ozzy song "Crazy Train" will make an appearance, and Christian rock group Chevelle will contribute their song "Family System."
- Ben 

May 17, 2002 - KRS/Nelly Update
More on the KRS-ONE/Nelly saga:

ONE (alias Lawrence Parker) says his feud with Nelly has risen out of a misunderstanding and undue media hype. Parker says, "I was basically answering a lot of cats that say, 'KRS is always talking about real hip-hop and fake hip-hop,' " in reference to his lyrics on the track "Clear 'Em Out," which appears on the compilation The Difference, which were seen as a "dis" of Nelly. " 'Who is he to say what's real and fake hip-hop? He needs to come with a hit record.' I wrote my lyrics to combat that. So the record '#1' comes out and [Nelly] says, 'I'm tired of rappers talking what's real hip-hop and them be the n-----s that their album flopped.' "

Parker says the label which released The Difference mistakenly told the press that his lyrics were aimed at Nelly in order to sell album. Still, it appears that neither is backing down. In a recent interview, Parker said, "Nelly challenged a sovereign power. The MC part of it, I can slap him around for days. I got joints for days!"

Referring to his call for consumers to boycott Nelly's upcoming album, Nellyville, he said, "The boycott, that's the will of God. I said, 'Yo, we should boycott Universal Records and Nelly to send a message to the recording corporations of the United States that says there are people in hip-hop culture who, if they say this is wack, you lose sales. We need to take that stance and let these corporations know hip-hop is a viable culture.

"You can't jerk us, give us contracts that don't make no sense, then turn around and give contracts to artists that dis their communities," he added. "Tell Universal to tell their artist the rules before he goes around yapping, trying to dis those that have paved the way for him to be there."

Nelly recently released a song in which he rips Parker once again. Will it ever end?
- Ben 

May 17, 2002 - Scott Stapp Speaks Out About Motor Accident
Creed frontman Scott Stapp recently spoke out about the mysterious car accident in which he was involved last month.

In a recent interview, Stapp revealed that, after being rear-ended by a 53 year-old woman travelling at roughly 60 miles and hour, he flew forward and hit the windshield of his own vehicle. The singer says he wasn't immediately aware of any personal injury, and pushed the woman's Ford SUV to the side of the road. He then returned to his own car and called his manager. It was after this that he realized that he wasn't as unharmed as he had originally thought. "I was kind of trembling," he said. "Even my lips were trembling, and I was disoriented. I had a concussion from the whiplash and from hitting the windshield."

Stapp says there were no injuries reported on the police report because he opted not to call an ambulance to the scene or admit himself to hospital. "I did that against my manager's wishes and against the doctor's wishes," he says. "I have a personal doctor, and I had him come and see me at my house because it immediately becomes big news if I'm in the hospital. I was trying to avoid the press."

The next day, Stapp fulfilled his commitment to work on the group's video for "One Last Breath," but admits that they had to use a body double for some things that he simply couldn't do. Following the shoot, further tests revealed that Stapp had a bulging disc between two vertebrae in his neck and a smashed disc in his lower back. Doctors say both injuries will likely heal with proper rest, physiotherapy and exercise.

Said Stapp, "I'm scared to death. They've already told me I have an arthritic condition in my lower back. I just want to be 35 years old and be able to play ball with my son and play basketball, golf and do all the things I love to do. It scares me first and foremost that I may not be able to be the father I want to be."
- Ben 

May 17, 2002 - The Elms Working on New Album
Christian rock group The Elms are currently in the studio working on the follow-up to last year's critically acclaimed The Big Surprise. That album earned the group two Dove Award nominations and play on MTV2. In the meantime, the group has inked new deals with the William Morris
Agency (a booking firm that handles acts such as Jars of Clay and Switchfoot) and Alabaster Arts (a management agency).

No date for the new album has been released, but sources say it will be co-produced by Richard Dodd (Tom Petty, Sheryl Crow) and Brent Milligan (Seven Day Jesus, Chasing Furies).
- Ben 

May 17, 2002 - Newsboys Break Chart Record
The Newsboys' success rolls on. Their first single from the well-received album Thrive, "It is You," has held the top position on the CHR (Christian Hits Radio) charts for an unprecedented 12 weeks. No other single has ever held the position for such a period.

Though lead singer Pete Furler had originally written the song for another band, he decided to keep it for his own after playing the demo version for his wife. "When she heard the song," says Furler, "she said 'you can't give that song away!' Being the submissive husband that I am, I obeyed."

Part of the reason for the song's success may be an aggressive promotional campaign. Ever since Sparrow Records received the master copy of the single, the label and the band have been promoting it.
- Ben 

May 13, 2002 - Michael Jackson Mauled by Insane Amazonian Pack Monkey
Gotcha...Those of you who get your church from the Box may have noticed ZOEgirl on Robert Schuller's The Hour of Power. The performance was actually taped last month...The Tennessean is calling recent Squint signee Souljahz "the next big thing" and "a smash act in the making." We'll let you know if they're for real when the album drops on August 20...Speaking of August 20, Jars of Clay is releasing its first ever DVD on that very special Tuesday. More info on 11 Live: Jars of Clay in Concert later...Things have been shaken up a bit here at cMusicWeb. Five new writers have joined since February. Melissa McNeil writes a devotions column, Armor. Jon Corbin is heading up our new hip-hop section. reviews already, and signs his e-mails with "Cheers." Christen Sawls just joined a week or two ago, and is getting a feel for the way things work around here. Peter Clark joined in March, and should contribute more when school settles down for the summer...We also have a new movies section. Check it out...Watch soon for a feature about our favourite albums of all time.
- Ben 

May 12, 2002 - KRS-ONE/Nelly Feud Boils Over
NEW YORK -- Rapper KRS-ONE, who released a gospel-rap album earlier this year, and who professes to be a Christian, has escalated his feud with fellow artist Nelly. KRS released a song in April that was interpreted as a "dis" towards Nelly, and the two have been embroiled in a war of words, but the feud has reached a new level of late.

On a recent remix of the song "Roc the Mic," Nelly rhymes, " "I strike a nerve and old MC's wanting to come back/I had respect and it lost; and that's that/K--No one here even said your name/R--You really feeling guilty about something, man/S--sad to see you really just want this/One more hit, please please/You the first old man to get a rapper's pension..."

KRS recently responded with "The Real Hip-Hop is Over Here." He raps, "Yo, Nelly, you ain't for real and you ain't universal/Your whole rap style sounds like a *NSYNC commercial."

KRS is now calling for a boycott of Nelly's upcoming album, Nellyville. In a written statement, KRS says, " "I'm sending a message to Nelly, his management team, and the entire corporate structure of the recording industry (namely Universal Records) that you cannot be insensitive to our cultural traditions and elders. Furthermore, I am organizing a strategic campaign designed to topple Nelly's record sales. I am saying to the record-buying public and real hip-hoppers...Don't buy Nelly's album on June 25. Unfortunately, Nelly will serve as the sacrificial lamb to anyone that feels they can battle me on any level."
- Ben 

May 10, 2002 - P.O.D.'s Curiel Remixes Nappy Roots
Nappy Roots, one of the hottest new acts in secular hip-hop, has employed P.O.D. guitarist Marcos Curiel to remix their hit "Awnaw."

Says one Nappy Roots member, "We were looking at remixes from a lot of people. And a lot of the ones we were getting just weren't it ... they weren't as tight as the original. And then our manager let me hear Marcos' version, and I was like, 'Oh sh--. That's hot. That's it. That's the remix.' "

While the original began with a pipe organ, the remix apparently supplants that with fuzzed-out guitar riffs. The new version will hit rock radio in the coming weeks, and will be included on an updated version of Nappy Roots' Watermelon, Chicken and Grits. The album has sold nearly 350, 000 since February.

Curiel will also make an appearance in the video for the new version, which will hit television music channels soon.
- Ben 

May 10, 2002 - EMI CMG to Acquire Interest in Gotee Records
BRENTWOOD, Tenn. -- EMI Christian Music Group, a division of the largest independent music company in the world, will get a little bigger in August. EMI CMG has signed a letter of intent to obtain a 25% interest in Toby McKeehan's Gotee Records, and hopes to close the deal within 90 days.

Gotee, home to acts such as Jennifer Knapp, Out of Eden and Jeff Deyo, was established by McKeehan, current president Joey Elwood and former partner Todd Collins in 1994. The label will remain under the independent leadership of McKeehan, CEO, and Elwood.

Says McKeehan, "Joey and I feel like we've built Gotee into a creative artist driven boutique label, but we have visions of taking the label to the next level of success. Inviting EMI CMG to invest in Gotee provides us with a larger family of resources to draw from without changing the personality and vibe we have created at the label. Because we already have a solid established relationship with the leadership at EMI, this was a natural progression. For us, it will be like having a big brother that wants to see us achieve our goals."

"With the record business environment changing so rapidly, the challenge is to figure out ways to remain profitable, and yet stay creatively relevant," says Elwood. "After a lot of consideration, Toby and I realized that lining up our company with the strongest business unit in our industry can provide us with the kind of quality infrastructure we need to continue our growth. Consolidating a sales team with Forefront is just one example of the synergy we can create going forward. This relationship will not only serve to strengthen our entire company, but enable us to better serve our artists and employees."

EMI CMG is already home to Sparrow Records, Forefront Records, Worship Together and EMI Gospel.

Asked for comment on the deal, EMI CMG President and CEO Bill Hearn said, "Our investment in Gotee Records represents tremendous belief in Toby, Joey and the Gotee staff and artist roster. We want to do everything we can as a company to help them fulfill their mission and grow their business."
- Ben 

May 9, 2002 - Luna Halo Leaves Sparrow
Popular Christian rock act Luna Halo has left Sparrow Records "in an unexpected turn of events", reports their official site. The parting was amicable. Says frontman Nathan Barlowe, "I think that at this time our band is going in a musical direction that doesn't exactly line up with Sparrow's vision, and that is o.k. It is best right now for us to pursue other avenues, and I have nothing but the highest respect for everyone at Sparrow, and how good they have been to us."

As can be expected, this will delay Luna Halo's anticipate sophomore released which had been scheduled to come out this summer. No word yet on a new release date or a new label.
- Jason 

May 9, 2002 - Fono Lives On
Though they haven't released an album for nearly three yars, Fono is still going strong. Since the release of their debut CD, goesaroundcomesaround, Fono have toured with the Goo Goo Dolls and Robert Plant, keeping their fanbase alive with their energetic shows.

Yet, touring isn't everything, and Fono have started preparing for an EP which may be released in early summer. At the moment it is supposed to feature seven unreleased songs, and it is expected that some bonus tracks will be added to this tasty collection. There is even talk of a limited edition with some remixes and possibly live songs, but nothing has been settled yet.

To tide fansover, Fono released a new song ("Radio") which they recorded with Robby Takac from the Goo Goo Dolls. It can be download from their mp3.com site.
- Jason 

May 8, 2002 - Third Day Extends Tour, Adds Tait
Third Day has decided to extend it's phenomenally successful Come Together Tour. By the time the spring leg of the tour wraps up on Saturday, the group will have sold out 27 of their concerts and performed in front of nearly 225, 000 fans. The tour will hit 20-25 additional markets in the fall, and continue the fund-raising campaign for Habitat For Humanity International (HFHI), which has raised over $150, 000 to date. The biggest news surrounding the tour, however, is the addition of the Michael Tait-fronted group Tait as a supporting act.

"We are amped to be a part of this tour!" says Michael Tait. "It is obvious that God is using Third Day to effect our culture. The band Tait is very proud to be involved in this movement."
- Ben 

May 5, 2002 - P.O.D. Featured in Top 40 Compilation
You know you've made it when your music is sandwiched between Default's "Wasting My Time" and Alanis Morissette's "Hands Clean."

Such is the case for Christian rock group P.O.D. on the new compilation Totally Hits 2002. Their "Youth of the Nation" is among the 20 songs chosen for that album, due June 4. Craig David, Outkast, Alicia Keys and Busta Rhymes are among the other featured acts who make it onto the album.

Funny how P.O.D. will allow themselves to be associated with O-Town (that group's "We Fit Together" is also found on the album), but not the GMA...
- Ben 

May 5, 2002 - Dove TV Ratings the Pits
According to reports, ratings for the 33rd Annual Dove Awards were abysmal. Sources say the show pulled in only an 0.6 rating, lower than normal ratings for the Touched By An Angel and Diagnosis: Murder reruns that have occupied the Doves' two-hour slot on the PAX network.

The show was up against TV's highest-rated program, CSI, and the finale of ABC's The Bachelor, which was viewed by an unusually large audience. Still, the stats are seen as many as being a big disappointment.

- Ben 

May 5, 2002 - Blindside Signs With Elektra Records
P.O.D. is busy hyping their close friends and former opening act, Swedish rock group Blindside. Blindside has been in negotiations with several major labels since their appearance on the Youth of the Nation tour in 2001, and last week signed a long-term deal with Elektra Records (Metallica, AC/DC, Remy Zero, Tweet, Yolanda Adams. The deal somehow includes P.O.D.'s Soul Craft Records, but details were not specified.

Blindside's debut, originally slated for July, has been pushed back to August 20. Group members are currently in Los Angeles recording the album, and have completed seven songs. You can catch the boys on P.O.D.'s new video, "Boom," which on Friday clocked in at #8 on MTV's TRL.
- Ben 

May 3, 2002 - More Light Shed on Scott Stapp's Injuries
ORLANDO -- More news on Creed singer Scott Stapp's recent car accident:

According to reports, Stapp was rear-ended by SUV driven by Suzanne Covey Swisher, 53, of St. Petersburg, Fla. Though the police report filed following the accident reported no injuries, a Wind-Up Records spokesman revealed Stapp had suffered back and neck injuries.

Creed guitarist Mark Tremonti revealed on a Los Angeles radio station that Stapp was able to shoot the video for "One Last Breath" the day after the accident, but had to remain stationary. Tremonti also revealed that the main reason for Creed's decision to scrap its 20-date spring tour was an existing back and spine problem that the group grew worried about following the accident.

All tickets sold for the spring leg of the "Weathered Tour" will be refunded at their point of purchase, and the group plans to reschedule dates for the summer.
- Ben 

May 3, 2002 - EMI CMG Launches One of a Kind Download Service
EMI Christian Music Group, the world's largest Christian music company and Liquid Audio have joined forces to provide a one-of-a-kind music download service. "Burn It First," which was launched via a website this week, is unique in that it allows patrons to download music and burn it to CD or transfer it to an MP3 player. The files do not expire.

"Burn It First" customers have access to thousands of songs by some of Christian music's biggest players, including Audio Adrenaline and dc Talk. Some of the content made available through this service is only available on line.

The service costs $9. 95 per month, and allows users to download 20 songs per payment. A free trial is now available at burnitfirst.com.
- Ben 

May 3, 2002 - SCC Adds More to the Pile
NASHVILLE -- If you're at all acquainted with Steven Curtis Chapman's past, you're aware that the Gospel Music Association--the organization that hands out the Dove awards--loves him. Chapman went into last week's ceremony with 45 total awards, more than any other artist. This year, he added two more. Chapman was rewarded twice for his work as a producer and recording artist on Declaration, his 12th studio recording. Chapman also performed at the ceremony, giving a rousing rendition of his #1 hit "Live Out Loud."

- Ben 

May 2, 2002 - Relient K Setting New Precedents
Christian rock group Relient K is watching its current album, The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek, become one of its fastest selling ever.

The disc, released in August of last year, has sold over 100, 000 copies according to SoundScan, and continues to sell more than 2, 000 copies a week. The group is also attracting an average of 1, 000 fans to its concerts. In addition to this, the group has two current hit singles?"Those Words Are Not Enough," which sits at #3 on R&R's "rock" chart, and "For the Moments I Feel Faint," which rests at #29 on the CHR chart.

Says Joey Elwood, president of the label to which Relient K is signed, "I think we've
only scratched the surface with this band. They're quietly drawing a very
formidable fan base."

The group is also getting some exposure from the mainstream. Music from the band will likely be used on MTV's Road Rules and The Extreme Challenge. Those shows normally have 2 to 3.5 million viewers per episode.
- Ben 

May 2, 2002 - Jars of Clay Hits New York
NASHVILLE -- Jars of Clay recently visited New York City and taped a performance for CBS' The Early Show.

The group performed four songs, including three from their recent album The Eleventh Hour and "Flood" from their self-titled debut. The episode will air May 4.

Jars also played to a sold out crowd at Irving Plaza, one of the more than 50 stops on its current tour.

This week also marks the release of the mainstream single "Fly." Says lead singer Dan Haseltine, "It's about a couple of friends of ours who fell in love. The girlfriend was diagnosed with cancer while they were engaged. They still married because they were in love and spent the rest of their lives together in a hospital. It's a true story about loving someone through anything."
- Ben 

April 30, 2002 - Hangnail Wins WAMI
Christian hard rock band Hangnail recently came home with a Wisconsin Area Music Award. The group had been nominated for four awards, including Artist of the Year and Song of the Year, but came away with only Gospel/Christian Artist of the Year. The group also lost out to East West at the Doves last Thursday. The two had been nominated for Hard Rock Album of the Year.

Singer/guitarist Nick Radovanovic is also looking to sell his Fender Telocaster, which can be seen here. Anyone interested in buying can e-mail him at theband@hangnailmusic.com.
- Ben 

April 29, 2002 - Scott Stapp Injured in Car Accident
ORLANDO -- Reports from Wind-Up Records say that Creed frontman Scott Stapp was injured recently in a car accident. Stapp was apparently riding in a car when he was struck by another vehicle. He absorbed a sixty mile an hour impact, and has been advised by medical authorities to cancel the remaining dates on the current Weathered tour. All concerts, beginning with tonight's show in Fargo, ND have been scrapped, but all tickets sold will be refunded. The band hopes to resume its tour this summer.
- Ben 

April 29, 2002 - Changes Coming at Rolling Stone
Rolling Stone magazine appears to be in trouble. Long the #1 source for all things music, the publication has faced fierce competition from newcomers, and has fired one of its top editors.

Robert Love, who has been managing editor of the magazine for four and a half years and an employee of Rolling Stone for 20, is being ushered out as the magazine looks to adopt a more news-oriented approach. Love will remain at Rolling Stone until a replacement can be found.

Says magazine founder and editor Jann Wenner, " I came to believe that it is time for a transition, both for Bob and the magazine. Magazines are living, breathing things that are in a constant state of flux and in need of evolution. Historically, we have published a lot of long, discursive pieces with clever titles that made for elegant reading, but we need to develop strength in being shorter and newsier."

Analysts point to upstart magazine Blender, created by the makers of Maxim, as one of the reasons for the change.
"The most obvious reason that Rolling Stone has become vulnerable is that it has less relevance among the young, music-buying public," says Blender general manager Lance Ford.

Wenner shrugs this off. "I am not overly worried about Blender," he says. "I know it is coming along and is backed by a very shrewd publisher. But we have enormous competitive assets and editorial assets that we can use to compete with threats. It's a good and healthy competition."

Regardless, Wenner concedes that competition is fierce: "Time magazine had Star Wars on their cover, which used to be our baby, and Vanity Fair now puts out a music issue. Everybody is competing for the same set of stories and we don't have the field to ourselves any longer."
- Ben 

April 29, 2002 - Festival Con Dios II Coming Soon
Festival Con Dios, the brainchild of the Newsboys and subject of a Newsweek cover story, is readying its second season.

The tour will this year include speakers from the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association, and will be promoted by Premier Productions.

The headliners for this year's festival will be Audio Adrenaline, TobyMac, MercyMe, Out of Eden and Tree63. No word yet on whether or not the Newsboys will be a part of this year's tour.

Says festival creator Wes Campbell, "When we first conceived Festival Con Dios, the vision was to combine the attraction of youth driven extreme sports with a line-up of great bands for a turn key traveling festival that is cost effective. Obviously, the initial challenge was designing the staging, production, and festival environment to allow portability without compromising production values. Our first season focused on refining the festival package into an efficient system that takes 5 hours to set up and 2+ to tear down and move to the next site, providing solid ministry with the event. This enables us to tour multiple markets efficiently and cost effectively."

Also added this year will be a laser tag dome and several other games.
- Ben 

April 28, 2002 - The Dove Awards: Fixed?
A report out of HM Magazine suggests that not all participants voting for the Dove Awards are adherent to strong moral conduct. According to one former major label record employee, several staff members at that label were purchased GMA memberships by their parent company. When the Dove Award ballots came around, each staff member was asked to sign their ballot and return it to the company's business office. The ballots were then allegedly filled out by a single person in order to ensure that a set number of votes were cast for artists chosen by the label.
- Ben 

April 28, 2002 - City High Heading to Studio
City High will reportedly go into the studio soon to begin recording a new album. The R&B trio, whose eponymous debut has sold over 837, 000 copies to date, has been touring constantly, but will get a break soon.

Says group member Claudette Ortiz, "The first album, we did a lot of our own music. We worked on the album a whole year because the label wanted more pop songs. Most of the songs originally had a lot of hip-hop flavor. This second time around we may want our own style, but the label may want more pop joints anyway. "

"I'm going to do a lot more writing. We're going to be playing a lot more instruments. We may have more [collaborations], different writers to get different flavours."
- Ben 

April 26, 2002 - Third Day Wins Big at Dove Awards
NASHVILLE -- As cMusicWeb reported this morning, rock group Third Day won big last night at the Dove Awards.

In reference to his band's five wins, bassist Tai Anderson told the press, ""Ultimately, I think every musician here tonight would agree that the best reward comes from the meaningful connections we make with our fans. However, it is also a true honor and a wonderful surprise to have our peers recognize so much of our work the way they did tonight."

Guitarist Mark Lee continued: "We are deeply grateful for the support of the Gospel Music Association and everything they do to raise awareness of Christian music all year long."

The group won Rock Album of the Year (Come Together), Rock Song of the Year ("Come Together"), Group of the Year and two other awards, bringing their wins to 16. The band has also received three Grammies.

Lead singer Mac Powell was also honoured with Male Vocalist of the Year. He was gracious upon receipt of that award: "It's just unbelievable to me that I would win Male Vocalist. I'm so honored, especially considering the incredibly talented singers who were nominated. If it weren't for the rest of the band playing great music and allowing me to sing, I wouldn't have this award at all." Powell's win is the first in this category by a non-solo artist in 25 years.

Third Day is currently on tour promoting Come Together, and have played before more than 150, 000 people.
- Ben 

April 26, 2002 - Michael W. Smith Conquers Doves
NASHVILLE -- The biggest five days in Christian music culminated in the Dove Awards show last night at the Grand Ole Opry House.

Gospel Music Week reached its peak with the Awards show, which was telecast live on PAX TV. Michael W. Smith, who was nominated seven times, stole the show with six awards, including Artist of the Year. Third Day successfully defended their reign as Group of the Year, and won four additional awards. Third Day lead singer Mac Powell won Male Vocalist of the Year, bringing his personal total to six. Toby Mac was the night's other big winner, taking home five awards including Producer of the Year. He swept the hip-hop categories.

Newcomers Mercy Me took the prestigious Song of the Year category for "I Can Only Imagine." Mercy Me lead singer Bart Millard won Songwriter of the Year. ZOEgirl took home New Artist of the Year.

Watch soon for a Dove-related column by our own Melissa Miles soon. In the meantime, check out what she has to say in our "views" section.

A full list of the Dove Award winners can be seen here.
- Ben 

April 24, 2002 - Oasis Speaks Out About God
Perpetually feuding rockers Oasis recently spoke out about their faith (or lack thereof). Band member Noel Gallagher apparently confronted U2 lead singer Bono backstage at an Oasis concert and defied him to explain why he believes in God. Says Gallagher, "I was a bit p---ed so I went up to him and said, 'You've made £150 million this year, but you still believe in God. How's that?' He said he wouldn't explain, but he gave me a couple of books. And it boils down to you either believe there's a God who says, 'If you drink, do drugs and swear and rob houses, you're not sitting on my cloud.' It's all s---. The amount of times I've gone out in me back garden and shouted up to the sky, Come on then, f---in' show me! Give me a sign!" ... "We're all heathens. Few of us practice a faith but we're after something. I'm after something. I'll say no more than that in case I start to sound like Thom Yorke [of Radiohead]."
- Ben 

April 24, 2002 - Sixpence Back in the Spotlight
Gospel Music Week rolls on. Leigh Nash and Sixpence None the Richer debuted some of the material from their upcoming album, which should hit stores this fall. Labelmates Souljahz also performed, and have been confirmed as an opening act for major mainstream soulstress Erykah Badu.

Also of note: Joy Williams is working on a new album with producer Brown Bannister. The disc will hit stores later this year...tobyMac says he's considering another solo album before rejoining dc Talk...Nikki Leonti is rumoured to be moving to Gotee Records.
- Ben 

April 23, 2002 - KRS-ONE Draws Controversy
Rapper KRS-ONE (alias Kris Parker) is back in the news. Parker, who this January released a gospel rap album with guest performances by notable Christian emcees such as T-Bone, lashes out at commercial rap stars on The Difference, a new underground compilation.

On "Clear 'Em Out," Parker allegedly sings, "Sales don't make you the authority/It only means you sold out to the white majority," an apparent dis of mainstream rapper Nelly.

Though Parker has apparently denied that the song is a direct assault on any party in particular, one other lyric is worthy of mention. At some point in the song, he reportedly raps, "You tired of me saying what's real hip-hop/ Well I'm tired of you biting my sh-- to go pop." Good to see you back to normal, Kris. That squeaky clean Christian thing wasn't really for you.
- Ben 

April 22, 2002 - Third Day Concert Attracts 16, 000
NASHVILLE -- Third Day got Gospel Music Week off to a roaring start with its biggest concert ever. In excess of 16, 000 fans packed the AmSouth Amphitheatre on Saturday night in what was one of the biggest Christian music concerts ever held in Nashville.

Said Third Day lead singer Mac Powell, "Our biggest concert ever was an event like this in our hometown of Atlanta. I never thought we would surpass it, but there are even more of you here tonight. It's incredible to look out and see such a sea of faces gathered together."

The concert was part of the Come Together Tour, which to date has sold out 25 venues and raised more than $150, 000 for Habitat For Humanity International (HFHI).

Says guitarist Mark Lee, "We love playing in Nashville, but this concert tonight is not just about one experience; it's about something that will hopefully be a lasting legacy. Twenty years down the road, the Nashville community will still have a much-needed home, built by the generosity of fans who attended this tour."
- Ben 

April 22, 2002 - Watermark Album Online
Husband and wife duo Watermark's new album, Constant can be heard in part here on an interactive media player. The player includes news updates, tour info, downloads and a link to an online store.

Constant hits stores on April 30, and is the follow-up to 2000's Dove nominated All Things New. Some are hailing the new album as a "creative turning point" in the couple's career.

- Ben 

April 22, 2002 - Denison Marrs Signs to Floodgate Records
Christian hard rock group Denison Marrs has found a label. Though highly successful as an indie group, the band has found a home with Floodgate Records, a subsidiary of Word Entertainment. The decision to join was made during last year's Happy Chrisitmas Tour with Bleach and Hangnail.

"We're really excited about working with Tim Taber and Floodgate,? says band manager Kyle Griner. ?We had a few serious offers that we considered, but Floodgate was, by far, the most artist-friendly, and they really believe in the band and what we're doing."

The group's deal is unique in that it will continue to work with it's indie label, Velvet Blue Music, while receiving promotion from Floodgate and Warner Bros. Entertainment.

The group recently wrapped up recording a new album, which is now being mixed. Then is the New Now will release on August 20.
- Ben 

April 18, 2002 - Circadian Rhythm Dissolves
Worship band Circadian Rhythm is calling it quits. As of June, the group will no longer write music or tour together, and will go their separate ways.

Lead singer Will Pavone calls the split "peaceful," saying "the friendships between the boys are completely intact."

"It has been an amazing 5 years, and I know that God has used us in a great way as a band," he says. "The Lord Jesus Christ indeed must get all the glory for it is by his hand and his alone that the five of us have accomplished anything for the kingdom. The value of Circadian over the past five years will far surpass the sum of its parts."

Most members of the group are now working full time.
- Ben 

April 18, 2002 - More Performers Confirmed for Dove Awards
NASHVILLE -- Michael W. Smith, Kirk Franklin, Take 6 and Superchic[k] have been confirmed as performers for the upcoming Dove Awards presentation ceremony on April 25. Jars of Clay, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Toby Mac, Yolanda Adams and Mercy Me will also perform.

The ceremony will also include a special singing of "In God We Trust," by an all-star choir of Michael Tait, Crystal Lewis, Natalie Grant, Mark Schultz, True Vibe, Out of Eden, Nichole Nordeman, Annointed, the Katinas and more.

Confirmed as presenters are Dru Hill's Woody Rock, Billy Ray Cyrus, Amy Grant, 4Him, Ce Ce Winans, Nordeman, Ginny Owens and Mary Mary.

The 33rd Annual Dove Awards will be broadcast at 9 pm EST on PAX TV, and will be hosted by gospel diva Yolanda Adams and reigning
- Ben 

April 17, 2002 - Downhere Wins Juno
Word recording artist Downhere was honoured with the only award for Christian music at this week's Juno Awards. The Junos, which are Canada's equivalent to the Grammies, honour the best in Canadian music. Downhere's eponymous debut beat out albums by Matt Brouwer, Carolyn Arends, Steve Bell and Londa Larmond to win the award.
- Ben 

April 16, 2002 - Sonicflood Selling Out Resonate Tour
It appears as though there is life after Jeff Deyo. Sonicflood is enjoying uncommon success in concert venues across the country. Though low concert attendance is common right now for a lot of groups, the band has sold out shows in Los Angeles, Santa Cruz, CA, Columbus, OH and Portland, OR. The Resonate Tour features opening acts Downhere and Jason Ingram, and was organized in order to promote Sonicflood's album of the same name. Resonate has shipped in excess of 200, 000 units.
- Ben 

April 15, 2002 - Jason Upton Visits Israel
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL -- While most migrate homeward over the Easter holiday, worship leader and 40 Records recording artist Jason Upton spent his in the troubled country of Israel.

Upton performed at "Let the Thirsty Come," a convention hosted by The Watchman International whose aim was to encourage fellowship between Israeli and Palestinian Christians. The convention lasted four days and included lectures from renowned speakers Dr. Michael Brown, Robert Gladstone and Scott Valk.

Says Upton, "It was fascinating to spend time with both Arabs and Jews in one place, to
see them eating together and worshipping together even though all our styles and languages were different. Without a doubt Jesus was, is, and will forever be the only true peacemaker and peacekeeper for our world. All governments and all religious institutions (including Christianity) are both unfulfilled and powerless to give life and bring unity without Jesus."

Upton's time in Israel was not uneventful. Six bombings were carried out during his stay, including one in the city in which he resided, Tel Aviv. He escaped without injury.
- Ben 

April 15, 2002 - Kirk Franklin Certified Gold
Kirk Franklin's recent live album The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin was certified gold just three weeks after its February 19 release. The album, which is shaping up to be Franklin's best-selling offering, despite the fact that no videos are being made in order to promote it, has sold over 500, 000 copies.

Gospo Centric Records, Franklin's label, has opted for an innovative promotional scheme that is playing big dividends. Franklin himself has hit major churches in more than 20 cities, and played key cuts from the album. He also personally fielded questions and answers, and performed one song live with each church's home choir.

The Rebirth... currently rests at #36 on the Billboard 200.
- Ben 

April 14, 2002 - About.com Names New Christian Music Guide
After about five months without new content, About.com's Christian music page has a new guide. Kimberly K. Koluch, the former About.com guide to Toledo, Ohio. Koluch is a musician and fiction writer who is a vocalist and worship leader in a contemporary worship band at her church.

Says Koluch, "Christian music greatly impacted my life. Albums in my personal collection date back as far as 1977 when contemporary Christian music was beginning, to as recent as today's new releases. Like the artists, I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Without Him, none of this music would be possible."
- Ben 

April 12, 2002 - Here Comes the Voice From the South
It's hard to deny that P.O.D. is the biggest Christian rock group in the world. Their invasion of secular culture continues.

Guitarist Marcos Curiel recently wrapped up the cover shoot with Ozzy Osbourne Zakk Wylde and Daron Malakian from System of a Down for an upcoming issue of Guitar World magazine. Curiel will apparently be featured in a cover story with those artists.

Watch also for lead singer Sonny Sandoval on the cover of Teen People with Jay-Z and Shakira.

Later this month, the band will perform two songs on Saturday Night Live. The group will be in New York on April 19 to rehearse with the cast and crew, and then perform live the following evening.

P.O.D. also recently wrapped up the shooting of their latest video, for the song "Boom." The premise of the video is a ping-pong match in which the band competes against teams from China, Sweden and France. The ball will be added later using digital technology similar to that used in the movie Forrest Gump. MTV will air a behind the scenes documentary about the video at the end of this month.
- Ben 

April 11, 2002 - L.A. Symphony Releases New EP
According to reports, Christian hip-hop group L.A. Symphony is making a limited edition EP available through the mail. The first 1, 000 people to send $10 to the band will get Baloney, an eight-song compilation of never before released material. To get your copy, send a cheque or money order (payable to L.A. Symphony) to:

655 Baker Street #u206
Costa Mesa, CA

- Ben 

April 11, 2002 - Jars of Clay Single a "Hit of the Web"
Jars of Clay's new single, "Fly," is one of the 10 most downloaded Liquid Audio files. "Fly" is the first single from the recently released album The Eleventh Hour, and clocks in on the chart just ahead of Frank Sinatra, Diana Krall and Eric Clapton. Pilar Montenegro (I've never heard of him either) tops the chart, followed by Cher, Enya and Neil Young.
- Ben 

April 11, 2002 - P.O.D. Signs Blindside to New Label
According to a Swedish newspaper, the first band to sign with P.O.D.'s new label (Soul Craft Records) is Swedish hardcore group Blindside. "We have liked Blindside for five years," P.O.D. frontman Sonny Sandoval reportedly said. The two groups have toured together in the past.

An album release from Blindside is expected in July. Soul Craft's website, soulcraftrecords.com, will go online soon.

- Ben 

April 10, 2002 - Several of CCM's Brightest to Take Part in Worship Gathering
Two thirds of dc Talk (Toby and Michael), Out of Eden, Crystal Lewis and Jeff Deyo will all be on hand at what is being hailed as "the largest single Christian worship event ever" on Memorial Day weekend.

The American Worship Gathering will take place at the National Mall in Washington, D.C. and is expected to draw over 100, 000 people. The concert will be recorded and spun into a benefit CD, and will also be broadcast to millions of homes across the country.

Jaci Velasquez, Chris Tomlin, several 2002 Olympians and NFL stars will also be present. The principal goals of the gathering are to honour U.S. soldiers serving overseas, celebrate the Faith, and to join together to pray for the political leaders in Washington.

More info can be found at worshipalliance.com.

April 10, 2002 - Hangnail Gets Four WAMI Nods
It seems as though even the most obscure sects of musical culture have their own awards shows these days. Wisconsin is no exception.

Christian rock group Hangnail have been nominated for four Wisconsin Area Music Awards ("WAMI's"). The group is nominated in the Artist of the Year, CD\Recording of the Year, Song of the Year and Gospel/Christian Artist of the Year. For the record, they've also been nominated for Hard Rock Album of the Year at this year's Dove Awards as well.

Hangnail is in the early stages of writing for a new album, and will head into the studio in September.
- Ben 

April 9, 2002 - C. Diddy's Super Funky Megahits
For those who care, Carman has compiled a 2-CD set of his best work in the realm of hip-hop. Entitled Hip Hop Hits, the collection includes "Addicted to Jesus," "R.I.O.T." and "Faith Enough," each of which Carman himself calls "funky classics." The album also includes re-mixes of "Mission 3:16" and "Who's in the House."

The second CD includes commentary by the artist on how the songs came about. Says Carman, "You may want to get 2 of these, cause I guarantee it; somebody will borrow it and forget to bring it back."

- Ben 

April 8, 2002 - Neil Young "Rolls" First
DETROIT -- While dc Talk will see their song "Let's Roll" published later this year, another high-profile artist has produced a song with the same name.

Legendary rocker Neil Young will release Are You Passionate?, his recently finished studio album, tomorrow, with a song intended as an homage to the heroes of United Airlines Flight 93. During that flight, several men, including Todd M. Beamer attempted to overtake terrorists before their plane crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11. Beamer is said to have uttered the Lord's Prayer and the words "let's roll" before engaging the terrorists.
- Ben 

April 8, 2002 - Ja Rule Gets Misty Eyed Over Berry's Oscar Win
He's far from being a Christian artist, and we don't endorse his work, but rapper Ja Rule is apparently very in touch with his feminine side. For a gangsta.

Rule recently told a New York newspaper that he nearly cried upon seeing Halle Berry win her Best Actress award at the Oscars a couple of weeks ago. "I nearly cried," he said. "It really hit me right there. I just hope it doesn't take us 20 years to win another."

Rule himself is no stranger to the movie business. He is a budding (though, to this reporter's eye, untalented) actor who appeared with Vin Diesel in The Fast and the Furious. He will soon star in movies with Diesel, Steven Segal and Samuel L. Jackson.

"I'm chasing after Denzel," he says. Our advice? Run faster.
- Ben 

April 8, 2002 - Winans Family Together Again
The Winans family is about to embark together on a 40-city tour for the first time in 10 years. Together We Stand: The Winans Family will be sponsored by The Chrysler Corporation, and will feature the following performers: Mom & Pop Winans, Winans Phase 2, The Winans, Daniel Winans, Be Be Winans, Ce Ce Winans and Angie & Debbie.

Says the family's patriarch, Pop Winans, "As we begin to heal as a nation, we also believe this is a time for families to come together and allow all past hurts, wounds and misunderstandings to be mended."

Between them, the Winans have won 31 Grammy Awards, 20 Stellar awards, 15 Dove awards and 5 Soul Train awards. The first stop on the tour is April 17 in Charleston, SC.
- Ben 

April 8, 2002 - Latin Pop Embraced by Mullet Heads
Latin singer Freddie Colloca (the Christian Ricky Martin) recently got the chance to share his music with a sold-out crowd of hockey fans.

Colloca sang the title cut from his upcoming album,Unconditional, as well as "Saviour, My Saviour," his current hit, at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Centre. Colloca's performance was a part of the Nashville Predators' "Share Your Faith" night.

"Freddie Colloca is the kind of artist that songwriters love," says producer Robert Ellis, who co-wrote "Unconditional" with fellow producer Hal Blatt. "He adds life to your lyric and magic to your melody. When I met him, it was easy to understand why he's an inspirational talent."
- Ben 

April 8, 2002 - Eminem Shut Out of Daytona Beach
Rapper Eminem has been banned from performing at this year's "Spring Bling" concerts in Daytona Beach, Fla.

According to reports, the rapper had his set at last year's event halted by Daytona mayor Bud Asher because he had used profanities and drug references. The city had an agreement with BET, who broadcasted the event, that no such conduct would occur. Eminem has since been banned from performing in Daytona Beach. Says Asher, "I don't care if I ever see him again."

Interestingly, this year's "Bling" lineup includes Busta Rhymes, Ludacris, Master P and Ja Rule, all of whom are far from G-rated.
- Ben 

April 7, 2002 - New Darrell Evans CD Delayed
From cMusicWeb news services:

Darrell Evans' long, long awaited record All I Want is You won't be in consumers' hands until at least summer, according to unnamed sources. Finished for over six months, the follow-up to Freedom was to release September 18; Evans had this to say last year: "It surpasses anything I've been involved with recording in the past... there is everything in there from songs of intimacy and surrender to celebrative moments." Sources who've heard the finished product say Evans is quite UNDERstating All I Want is You, "a creative milestone the worship community sorely needs." Another report may indicate the reason for the CD's delay: a Darrell DVD to release summer 2002.
- Ben 

April 6, 2002 - Third Day Raises $100, 000 for HFHI
Third Day, thanks to the fact that it currently fronts the top-selling tour in Christian music, has raised $100, 000 for Habitat for Humanity International (HFHI). The group has sold out 19 of its tour dates so far, and has performed in front of more than 120, 000 people. A portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold will be given to HFHI in order to build eight homes worldwide before the dawn of 2003. The band members themselves have committed to help build three of those homes, each of which are located in the continental United States.

"There is an excitement on this tour we have never felt before," says Third Day bassist Tai Anderson. "It's incredible to be able to stand in front of thousands of people each night knowing that all of these fans have contributed to a cause bigger than Third Day. Having met a few of these amazing Habitat future home owners and seeing their overwhelming sense of gratitude is truly worth all the effort."

Third Day is currently touring behind its fourth studio album, Come Together, and will hit 51 North American cities during its tour of the same name. This by far the most successful string of concerts ever performed by the band.
- Ben 

April 5, 2002 - Chevelle to Join OzzFest
Christian rock group Chevelle has been added to the OzzFest tour. Most of the bands on the tour are apparently picked by Ozzy Osbourne's teenage son, who is more tuned into what the youth of today listen to. Chevelle will play on the "second stage" from August 10 through September 8. Fellow Christians P.O.D. will co-headline the tour with Osbourne, System of a Down, Drowning Pool, Rob Zombie(recently substituted for the now defunct Rage Against the Machine/Chris Cornell band) and others.
- Ben 

April 3, 2002 - Dove Award Performers Announced
NASHVILLE -- Gospel Music Association president Frank Breeden announced today several of the performers confirmed to be taking part in the upcoming Dove Awards ceremony. Jars of Clay, Steven Curtis Chapman, Delirious, Third Day, Rebecca St. James, tobyMac, MercyMe, Nicole C. Mullen and Point of Grace will all take to the stage at one point or another. Jars will perform their new single "I Need You."

Also performing will be Yolanda Adams, Shaun Groves, Sara Groves, Joy Williams, Downhere and ZOEgirl.

Says Breeden, "With this outstanding line-up of artists, The Dove Awards will showcase the depth of diversity and talent in Christian and gospel music. Nearly every style of music will be represented in this telecast including pop, rock, urban, hip-hop, Southern Gospel and modern worship. We believe the show will make for an entertaining and moving evening."

More news as it happens...
- Ben 

April 2, 2002 - A Brave New World
Jars of Clay are just one high-profile example of a growing segment of the recording arts industry who are taking basement recording to another level, according to USA Today.

Jars allowed that newspaper into the studio which was used to record their current release, theeleventhhour. The group spent about $30, 000 on the studio.

Keeping in mind that the bill for recording in a traditional studio could run as high as $1, 500 an hour, the group thinks this is money
well spent.

"We started pretty basic," guitarist Stephen Mason told the paper. "You can put together a digital studio for a reasonable amount of money."

Their current setup also allowed them freedom that would not otherwise be experienced. They were able to record hundreds of tracks, then piece together a song using the parts they liked.

"We would say, 'Now we want you to play this take like Keith Moon,' and then he'd get done with that, and we'd say, 'Play without cymbals,' and then, 'Play another one as the lethargic alterna-rock English drummer,' " Mason says. "Then, through the ease of cutting and pasting, we were able to get the best of all of those."

The Jars studio (dubbed "Sputnik"), which is based on Macintosh computer technology, was also recently featured at apple.com.
- Ben 

April 2, 2002 - Crystal Lewis, Others Play Carnegie Hall
Crystal Lewis recently performed at the prestigious Carnegie Hall in New York City. Lewis joined guitarist Phil Keaggy and vocalists Nicole C. Mullen, Darwin Hobbes and Annointed as a part of Encourage America (a non-profit organization that seeks to provide spiritual and emotional support to those affected by the 9/11 tragedies)'s "Night of Encouragement" on March 28. The show was broadcast as a radio special over Easter weekend.

Says Lewis," Performing at Carnegie Hall has always been a dream of mine. I am honored to be part of such a powerful evening that will impact and encourage so many people who are still hurting."
- Ben 

April 1, 2002 - St. James, tobyMac to Perform at Dove Awards
We told you a couple of days ago that Rebecca St. James was rumoured to have been approached about performing at the upcoming Dove Awards. It appears as though she's been confirmed. St. James will sing a portion of her song "Breathe" during a montage celebrating the worldwide spread of Christian music. Also confirmed as a performer is Toby McKeehan (tobyMac), who is up for eight Doves. Mac will perform "J Train" from his debut solo album, Momentum. Though Kirk Franklin guested on the album version of that track, it's unknown whether he will join Mac on stage at the awards, or who will replace him.

More news on performers as it becomes available...
- Ben 

April 1, 2002 - A Decade of Hits
MxPx will celebrate its 10th anniversary in the biz with a greatest hits collection. Ten Years and Running will have "nearly 20 tracks of MxPx's finest material"(we're guessing that means 19) according to Tooth & Nail Records, which will release the album. Included will be two new songs and a re-recorded version of their hit "Punk Rawk Show." The songs were mixed by Tim Palmer (U2, Pearl Jam).

Says Tooth & Nail, "While it is true that MxPx and Tooth & Nail have had their creative differences in the past, this new release was a cooperative effort between us and the band and we are all looking forward to continuing in a positive new relationship together. We are excited to be able to release this collection!"
- Ben 

April 1, 2002 - Rebecca St. James to Pray For Nation
PHOENIX -- Rebecca St. James was recently honoured by being selected as a member of the United States Presidential Prayer Team's Honorary Committe. The prayer team is a non-profit organization that has as its mission to enlist 1% of the nation's population (roughly 2.8 million people) to pray daily for the nation and its leadership. Among the other members of the team is Franklin

St. James, at 24, is the youngest member of the team, and is also unique because she is a native of Australia. St. James moved to the U.S. in 1991.

"Rebecca St. James has incredible influence with young American, and we are thrilled that she would use that influence to encourage young people to pray for our leaders and our nation on a daily basis," says the prayer organization's founder, William Hunter.
- Ben 

March 31, 2002 - MC Hammer Turns 40
MC Hammer, who according to Will Smith was famous for about a week in the early 90's (remember "Too Legit to Quit?"), recently turned 40. That's 80 in rapper years.

Hammer, who professes to be a Christian, reportedly spent a quiet night at home with his wife and kids. About Stephanie Burrell, his partner of 16 years, Hammer says, "She's always been my pillar, my best friend." She knows that she'll never have to bite her tongue on her feelings or on her perspective. And I always took it in. Whether I liked it or not. So the things that she brought to my attention were very valid, and I had to digest it, and run it through my mind. And live with it and live it."
- Ben 

March 30, 2002 - The Elms Return to Home Town
Christian rock band The Elms will play their first concert in their home town of Seymour, IN in over two years on April 7. The band will debut two new songs, several of the songs that will appear on their next album, and favourites from their first two albums. The concert is planned as a fund-raiser for 4 year-old Megan Cravens, who suffers from a rare form of Cystic Fibrosis. The group encourages you to call 1-800-652-1001 to reserve tickets.

In other news, the video for the group's hit song "Hey Hey" was played recently on MTV. Those wishing to see it again are invited to vote for the video on mtv.com's TRL page.
- Ben 

March 30, 2002 - Songwriter of the Year Nominees Announced
NASHVILLE -- The nominations for this year's Gospel Music Association "songwriter of the year" have been finalized. Marc Byrd, Steven Curtis Chapman, Shaun Groves, Bart Millard and Nichole C. Mullen will each vie for the Dove award in that category. The awards ceremony will air live on PAX TV on April 25 at 9:00 pm EST.
- Ben 

March 30, 2002 - God Worshippers Unite
Rebecca St. James is seeing her most recent project, Worship God received with open arms. The album is currently at #147 on the Billboard 200, #7 on CCM Magazine's Christian Retail Chart, and #4 on CCM's Worship chart. Prior to its release, Worship God had already set pre-sale records at FamilyChristian.com. "Breathe," the album's first single, is currently #4 on the Christian Hits Radio chart, and #17 on the AC chart.

St. James is also up for eight Dove Awards, and is rumoured to have been approached about performing at the awards ceremony.

- Ben 

March 29, 2002 - Ginny Owens Gets Rave Reviews
Alt/pop singer Ginny Owens is getting rave reviews for her most recent project, Something More. Cmcentral.com gave the album a 92% score, and Gospelsite.net is calling More "Quite possibly...the most unique Christian pop effort of 2002." Says Beau Black of CDnow.com, "Those who grouse about Christian music's lack of depth and innovation should find Something Morequite instructive."

Our own Dan Ficker is less enthusiastic. "Ginny Owens delivers a very strong album," he writes, "that challenges the listener lyrically and entertains the listener musically through her piano-based pop. However, the small fault is that it does not add anything new in the musical front, but is very similar to [1999's] Without Condition. Nevertheless, Ginny Owens shows us that there truly is Something More to life in Christ than simply being a part of a Christian church." Read the full review here.
- Ben 

March 28, 2002 - Britney Spears on God
Reports say that Britney Spears, 20 year old vixen and pop princess, recently shared her views on God with a German magazine. Spears apparently believes that God "has a long white beard" and "wanders around in heaven."

Asked to describe her vision of heaven, the comely chanteuse apparently said "[It's] a place where everyone is at peace and happy and they all hop around from cloud to cloud."

And who says pop stars don't have anything between the ears?
- Ben 

March 27, 2002 - "What's Next" for Chevelle
Three years after the release of their acclaimed debut Point #1, rock band Chevelle are gearing up for the August release of their sophomore effort titled Wonder What's Next. The new album was recorded in Vancouver and will be released by Epic Records.

For the next two months, Chevelle will be touring with Local H, and they are scheduled to play some dates of this year's OzzFest. Tour dates and details can be found on their website.
- Jason 

March 26, 2002 - CSNY Angers Pro-Life Group
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- That Crosby, Stills Nash & Young, a rock supergroup that was perhaps most popular in the 1960's and 70's, has begun to advocate abortion has some pro-life groups peeved.

The group embarked on their Tour of America in February, and will donate a portion of their ticket sales to "Voters for Choice," an organization that helps fund pro-abortion candidates.

"Supporting the killing of preborn babies is wrong," says Bryan Kemper, director of "Rock for Life," a division of the American Life League (the nation's largest pro-life education organization). "The idea of Woodstock veterans with guitars celebrating this legal killing is just ridiculous. The youth of America will not put up with this."

Rock for Life has also compiled a list of pro-life and pro-choice musical groups. Christian artists All-Star United, P.O.D. and Cool Hand Luke are on the pro-life list. Mary J. Blige, the Dave Matthews Band and Blues Traveller are among those on the pro-choice list.

You can check out both lists here
- Ben 

March 25, 2002 - Supertones to Work With Peacock, Bourgeois on New Album
Reports today say that the Supertones have employed Charlie Peacock (Switchfoot, Audio Adrenaline) and Brent Bourgeois (Jaci Velasquez) to produce their upcoming album. The album should hit stores in fall of this year. In the meantime, Live, Vol. 1 hits stores tomorrow.
- Ben 

March 25, 2002 - Berry, Washington, Mind Stars of Oscar Night
HOLLYWOOD -- Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring was the film with the most to lose going into last night's Academy Awards ceremony. And it lost quite a bit.

The film, based on the book of the same name by J.R.R. Tolkien, had 13 nominations, the most of any movie honoured last night, and came away with only four wins. The film was in fact shut out of all the major categories, winning only best makeup, best cinematography, best original score (Howard Shore) and best visual effects.

The night belonged to A Beautiful Mind, and also to Halle Berry and Denzel Washington.

Mind, a Ron Howard's biopic featuring the story of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who suffers from schizophrenia, won Best Picture, best supporting actress, best adapted screenplay and best director nod for Howard.

Berry became the first African-American to win best actress (for her performance in Monster's Ball), and Washington only the second African-American to win best actor (Training Day).

Said Berry upon receipt of her award, "This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. ... It's for every nameless, faceless woman of color who now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened."

And just so you know...Joan Rivers, who presided over one of the copious Oscar pre-awards shows, wasn't funny.
- Ben 

March 23, 2002 - TobyMac to Open For No Doubt
TobyMac, one third of the hibernating group dc Talk will open for No Doubt as a solo artist in May. Mac will hit the road on April 2 to tour in support of his recent solo album, Momentum. He'll play the No Doubt date on May 4.
- Ben 

March 23, 2002 - U2 Heading Back to the Studio
According to U2's website, the Irish supergroup is heading back to the studio this summer, and abandoning the idea of a summer tour. And oh yeah. They're not breaking up.

In a short statement, U2 manager Paul McGuinness, said, " U2 would like to clarify that, contrary to certain speculation in the press, they will be neither touring Europe this summer, nor splitting up. Instead, they are spending time in the studio working on new material for a possible release later this year."

Sources also say that a second greatest hits album (the first, which dealt with material released between 1980 and 1990, was released five years ago) may be in stores by fall.
- Ben 

March 23, 2002 - Mary Mary Featured in Compilation
Christian R&B duo Mary Mary are among the artists featured on a new compilation album. Blazin' Hip Hop & R&B, from Sony Records, hits stores this coming Tuesday, and features the song "Shackles (Praise You)" from the group's turn of the century album, Thankful. Also featured on the disc are Nas, Destiny's Child, Xzibit, Cypress Hill, Mary J. Blige and Ginuine.

In other Mary Mary news, the group is currently teaming with Cream of Nature beauty products to create a fantasy wedding for two lucky individuals. For consideration, contestants are asked to create a 3 minute video in which they outline why they should be chosen. Prior to the wedding, the winning couple will receive a full makeover, and designer habiliments for the special day. Naturally, Mary Mary will sing at the wedding.
- Ben 

March 22, 2002 - Newsboys Hit Prime Time
CLEVELAND -- It may not be the same as an induction ceremony, but it's something. The Newsboys, in order to promote their upcoming album Thrive will perform a special concert from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on March 25. The concert will also be broadcast on April 20 (9: 00 pm CST if you're interested), and will reach a potential 60 million households. The 1, 500 fans who will see the show live will be treated to music from Thrive, which will hit stores the following day.

"This prime time PAX broadcast is a key part of setting up and promoting this new release," says Wes Campbell, president of First Company Management. "Every band has that moment when something great happens to give them that little extra. Each year, we try to do something unique to give Newsboys that little extra something to set them apart, like Festival Con Dios. This is huge, and may well be a defining moment in their career. Playing the legendary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame is a special opportunity, but having that moment broadcast in prime time on a national network as big as PAX takes it to a much higher level. Meeting and working with Jerry Rose provided the element we needed to make this dream happen, a dream I challenged our team to achieve for this record release."
- Ben 

March 21, 2002 - Third Day Invades eBay
The members of Third Day are among the millions making use of online auctions. Last month, the group raised more than $1, 000 for website development and Habitat for Humanity by accepting bids for bassist Tai Anderson's cowboy hat, lead singer Mac Powell's glasses and an Offerings gold record on eBay. This month, one of Anderson's guitars and the t-shirt Powell wore on the Offerings DVD.
- Ben 

March 21, 2002 - Victory Awards Winners Announced
The fifth annual Victory Awards, presented by the World of Christian Music, were held recently. Newcomer Shaun Groves earned the most awards of any artist this year, with seven, including Song of the Year and New Artist of the Year.

Jennifer Knapp also had a big night, capturing four awards. Third Day, P.O.D. and TobyMac each won three awards. You can see a full list of the winners here.
- Ben 

March 20, 2002 - Kurt Warner, Yolanda Adams to Host Dove Awards
NASHVILLE -- The hosts for this year’s Dove Awards ceremony are an odd couple. The Gospel Music Association, which hands out the awards, announced recently that two-time NFL MVP Kurt Warner and gospel singer Yolanda Adams will co-host the event.

The show will be broadcast live on April 25 at 9: 00 pm EST on PAX-TV. This marks the first time the ceremony will be broadcast on a national network.

Says Warner, "I am honored to have been asked to host the 33rd Annual Dove Awards," said Warner. "I have been a fan of Christian music for many years and have gone to the Dove Awards several times. I love Christian music because it reflects my faith, and because it has the ability to bring such encouragement and inspiration to others. I look forward to sharing the Dove Awards on the national television broadcast."

Following the awards ceremony, PAX will broadcast the special “White House Salute to Gospel Music.”
- Ben 

March 19, 2002 - The Accolades Keep Coming for P.O.D.
P.O.D.'s current single, "Youth of the Nation," is currently at #2 on Billboard magazine's "Modern Rock Tracks" chart. Says the magazine, "P.O.D. went from being cool and kinda quaint to being the leaders of something bigger than anyone could’ve possibly imagined."

In other news, the band will co-headline this year's OzzFest festival. Lead singer Sonny Sandoval is on the cover of Spin magazine's April issue, with rapper Jay-Z and Nelly Furtado.
- Ben 

March 19, 2002 - Jars of Clay in the Post
Jars of Clay recently saw their album The Eleventh Hour reviewed in the New York Post. Please note that the Post is to journalism what your cousin Joey is to the family at large: a national embarrassment. Here's what they had to say:

"[The album is] a disc of material that sounds a lot like U2 power pop with hints of Creed. Not a bad combo, since their lyrics are ambiguous enough to make you wonder if it's God or a good-looking waitress the band is pledging devotion to. Jars of Clay is a remarkably good rock band. That's clear...Unfortunately, the band seems too concerned that they'll scare off their Christian fans if they rock too hard."

Check out our review of The Eleventh Hour for a more in-depth look.
- Ben 

March 19, 2002 - Eddie DeGarmo Named President of EMI CMP
Eddie DeGarmo, formerly one half of the Christian rock group DeGarmo & Key, and long-time producer of some of CCM's hottest groups, was recently named president of EMI Records' Christian Music Publishing division. DeGarmo will oversee several areas of EMI CMP's day-to-day functions, including artist signings, development and relations, and will help police copyright exploitation.

"Bill [Hearn, current President and CEO of EMI CMP, the man to whom DeGarmo will answer] has made a visionary move to elevate the publishing function by appointing a President," said DeGarmo. "I hope to create a new paradigm in the world of Christian music publishing. I would like to build upon the strong foundation and reputation for excellence that EMI CMP has established and to create a culture of creativity and collaboration that we've not seen in our industry."

DeGarmo, as you may remember was also co-founder of Forefront Records. That label was one of the first in the industry to target youth, and is today home to some of CCM's biggest names (dc Talk, Rebecca St. James).

"I also see myself spending a great deal of time working with the label A&R teams," he says. Because of my A&R background from my days at Forefront, I will be able to support the A&R teams, especially by signing, and then spending time to develop artists before they record their first projects. That's something that happens regularly in the pop world from which we could learn a lesson. Artists, especially those who are songwriters, need time to mature and grow in their craft and are always better off if that happens before they make their first record."
- Ben 

March 17, 2002 - Pillar Gets "Fireproof"
Flicker Records’ recording group Pillar is gearing-up to release their sophomore project entitled Fireproof nationwide on May 21st. The album follows their much embraced Dove-award winning debut Above that scanned over 40,000 units. Their first single “Fireproof,” debuted at #13 at Rock radio after it’s first week out and continues to steadily move up the chart. Flicker Records has an extensive retail, radio and marketing plan in place and is already receiving positive feedback and anticipation from on-set listeners.

“This is honestly one of the best rock albums I’ve ever listened to,” Bob Herdman, President of Flicker Records said. “Pillar’s grown so much as a band since we first signed them and we truly believe they will be a major force in Christian Rock. I work-out to this album, drive with it, I can’t get away from listening to it.”

Pillar has celebrated many milestones throughout their first year and a half on the music scene. From taking home 2001’s Dove Award for “Hard Rock Album of the Year” to earning a spot in Newsweek’s acclaimed “Jesus Rocks” article to touring non-stop from the end of 2000 and all of 2001 on Festival Con Dios, Skillet’s Alien Youth tour, and WinterJam. Their first album Above, put them on the Rock radio radar by garnering a #1 single with “Open Your Eyes,” as well as two more top three singles on the CCM and R&R Rock charts.

In support of the album release, Pillar will headline their first tour beginning in May hitting over 35 markets with The Benjamin Gate and East West. At the conclusion of the tour, they’ll hit over 17 summer festivals and will headline Cornerstone, Alive and Ichthus main stages.

- Rick 

March 17, 2002 - Jars of Clay Debuts at #1
Jars of Clay debuted last week at #1 on SoundScan's Top Christian Retail Chart, and at #28 on the Billboard 200. The group's most recent album, theeleventhhour, is their third consecutive to debut at #1 on the SoundScan chart.

Critics, including our own Rick Foux are already hailing this album as one of the best of the new year. Foux calls the album "deeply personal," and is sure that it will "touch others' hearts as well." For the full review, click here.

Robert Beeson, president of Essential Records, the label to which Jars of Clay is signed, says "Jars of Clay is one of the most innovative artists in our industry. Fans consistently support them, but we believe they are connecting even more fully to this project because of the level of Jars of Clay's creative involvement. The band has pulled from their experience working with talented producers in the past, as well as writing and performing extensively since their debut, to craft a truly outstanding project."

In other chart news, the soundtrack to O Brother, Where Art Thou?, which was produced by Christian T Bone Burnett, topped the Billboard 200 this week. Kirk Franklin's The Rebirth of..., which debuted at #4 on that chart two short weeks ago, dropped to #21. P.O.D.'s Satellite is holding strong at #19.
- Ben 

March 12, 2002 - New Label Announces 'Traveling Light'
Nashville, TN (March 12, 2002)-Creative Trust Entertainment, the artist managers of Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day and Mark Schultz, has announced the formation of a new record label, Creative Trust Workshop. The first recording on the new label is Traveling Light: Songs From The 23rd Psalm (a stand-alone companion to Max Lucado's best-selling book Traveling Light) which will release April 16.

Traveling Light is being co-produced by Dove Award winning producers Brown Bannister (My Utmost For His Highest, Steven Curtis Chapman) and Steve Hindalong (City On A Hill 1 & 2) who are both nominated this year for Producer Of The Year. The album will feature Amy Grant, dc talk's Michael Tait, Jaci Velasquez, Third Day's Mac Powell, Russ Taff, Sara Groves, PFR's Joel Hanson, Fleming & John, The Choir's Derri Daughtery, new Squint artist Adore, Ashley Cleveland, and platinum selling country artist Bryan White.

- Rick 

March 10, 2002 - Iron Maiden Drummer Becomes a Christian
Nicko McBain, drummer for Iron Maiden, one of the top secular metal bands of the 80's, has reportedly become a Christian.

McBain, 48, was apparently affected by the witness of his wife, Rebecca, and is now part of the worship team at Spanish River Church in Florida. He tells of an encounter with God that changed his life: "I just sat there thinking, 'I didn't drink last night...why can’t I stand?'" he says. He then prayed to receive salvation, and began studying his Bible voraciously: "I had this love affair with Jesus going on in my heart." He is now contemplating entering some seminary classes.

"Without [Spanish River] church and this relationship with God, I don’t know where I’d be right now. I just know that I want to be able to use my life for God," he says.

McBain is the latest in a string of converted metal heads. Daniel Spitz of Anthrax and Dave Ellefson of Megadeth have also become Christians in recent years.

Says one media observer of this phenomenon, "Thankfully, some Christians were praying rather than playing the Pharisee."
- Ben 

March 9, 2002 - P.O.D. Hits #12 On Spin's Top 40
Christian rockers P.O.D. clocked in at #12 on Spin magazine's "Top 40" feature in their upcoming April issue. The feature was aimed at giving its readership a cross-section of artists who are "making some of the freshest, most challenging music of the past few years. U2 checked in at #4, with Creed at #19 (the magazine calls them "the biggest rock band in the world). Rapper Jay-Z, despite the fact that he makes most of his hits off obscure samples (a la Puffy) and rips off Snoop with abandon, tops the list.

Though misguided and somewhat erroneous, here is what the magazine had to say about Christian rock, P.O.D. and God: "There are generally two kinds of Christian rock. The first is overt Jesus pop like DC Talk-the soundtrack of Bible camps. The second is tricky God metal that tries to lull people into piety-stuff that sounds like overproduced Slipknot until you notice that the chorus keeps mentioning the word Eucharist. Then there's P.O.D., the postmodern, rap-rockin' Stryper. These Southern California survivors never get too literal or too secular, and their God is the capricious dude from the Old Testament. P.O.D. actually fasted while recording their fourth album, last year's Satellite. And what made 'Alive' one of 2001's most compelling songs was the fact that it didn't feel like just another epic wail about nothingness."

The full Top 40 list can be seen here.
- Ben 

March 9, 2002 - Lauryn Hill Returns
Former Fugees member and accomplished solo artist Lauryn Hill is set to release her first original music in four years. Hill, whose past recordings have held objectionable content, was singing a different song at the time of the recording of her new album, Unplugged.

"I met somebody," she told MTV. "That person had an understanding of the Bible like no one else I ever met in my life. I just sat at their feet and ingested pure scripture for about a year. I started to see I was my worst enemy. I was the problem, my own self-image, who I thought I should be, as opposed to who I really was. I just ate it up. I started to see that my concept of spirituality was totally wrong. Real religion is no religion at all. Truth is the true covering, and when I started to see that, two things happened. My creativity came back in an overflowing abundance, and I got into direct confrontation with everybody I love."

Of one song on the album, "I Find it Hard to Say (Rebel)," she says, ""It was initially written about [Amadou] Diallo [an unarmed citizen who was shot and killed by New York City police] and that's when I realized I was very confused. There was a part when I was singing 'rebel,' and this part of me is afraid — this one voice was saying, 'You can't say that,' and I was like, 'Wait a minute, it's in me to say [it].' But I think it's because I didn't understand the difference between rebellion against God and rebellion against the system that's not God. I think that I didn't understand I was meant to be a rebel, I'm a rebel in a sense that nobody's going to force me to do something against my will."

There are no known plans for a studio album from Hill, but Unplugged hits stores next month.
- Ben 

March 9, 2002 - KRS-ONE Gets Spiritual
Mainstream rapper KRS-ONE (Lawrence Parker) recently released his first "gospel" rap album. Spiritual Minded, which was released in January and which features performances by CCM rappers T-Bone and B. B. Jay was released on January 22.

Says Parker of the album, "When I began to think about what my 10th album should sound like, I could not help but to think of the people that yearn deeply for the spiritual meaning of life and living. I could not help but think of them seeking and searching the narrow path of righteousness only to be bombarded and harassed daily by wickedness and deceit. But be strong!"

"I am in pursuit of Christ," he says. "It’s when you completely die to the flesh, your ego, your desire, your world and your will, you are filled with God."

The album also features guest performances from secular rappers Fat Joe, Rampage and Greg Nice.
- Ben 

March 6, 2002 - Jeff Deyo Explains "Let it Flow"
Jeff Deyo, worship leader and former lead singer of SONICLOOd, is currently gearing up for the release of his first solo album, Saturate. In the following paragraph, he describes how one of the singles from that album, "Let it Flow," came to be:

"[My band and I] were in a hotel at a youth conference leading worship. Rob [the guitar player], Jeremy [bass] and I got together in the afternoon to try to do some writing for the new album. We had a desire to write a song that would project the imagery of God moving powerfully through cities touching and changing people so drastically that they would fall down to their knees as they walked down the street, as they worked at their jobs, and as they went about their day. Interestingly, we originally wrote this song with a straight feel, but after we were done, I realized that it could work even better with a swing feel. Though I never dreamed this song would be the first radio single, I am excited to see people driving down the road with the windows rolled down and their radios blaring, crying out for this type of change in their city."

"Let it Flow" is currently available for download via gotee.com. Just click on the banner on the main page.
- Ben 

March 6, 2002 - Hindsight Coming Soon
Rapper John Reuben has finished recording his sophomore album, Hindsight, and is set to release it on May 21. According to Gotee Records, Reuben's label, the final songs are now being mastered and sequenced. The album features guest appearances by Manchild from Mars Ill and Othello from Logique, and was co-produced by Reuben himself. The lead single, "Hindsight" will hit radio some time next month.

Reuben will stay busy in the weeks leading up to his album's release, sharing the bill as an opening act with Out of Eden on tobymac's upcoming tour.
- Ben 

March 5, 2002 - Third Day Sells Out 11 Shows
Third Day, riding the success of one of their fastest-selling albums ever, is now being called one of the premier touring acts in Christian music. The group has sold out 11 dates (some of which haven't been played yet) on their 51-city Come Together Tour.

Though they've been playing relatively small venues—attendance has ranged between 5, 800 and 8, 500—Third Day is being lauded as CCM's next big thing. "This is unequivocally the genre's premier and fastest selling tour out on the road right now," says Jeff Gregg, an agent with Creative Artists Agency. "We're excited to see Third Day's progress as a touring entity. The new concert production is incredible and I've never seen the band more captivating on stage."
Still, despite the fact that the band is drawing bigger audiences than ever, they seem to have been able to maintain the intimate feel of past performances. "We feel more of an intimate connection with our fans ever!" says guitar player Tai Anderson. "We are completely blown away by [their] incredible response. At several points in the show, we were all close to tears. When we heard the crowd singing 'I've Always Loved You,' I just about lost it."

The group is also up for seven GMA (Dove) Awards, including "Artist of the Year" and "Group of the Year."
- Ben 

March 4, 2002 - Delirious? Kicks Off North American Tour
Delirious?, a group with a loyal following perhaps unparalleled in Christian music, kicked off the North American leg of their Deeper tour Friday in Wheaton, Illinois. From now through April 13, the group will hit 26 cities in the U.S. and Canada, including Chicago, Los Angeles and Houston. Opening acts include the new group Everyone from March 1st to the 23rd and worship leader Matt Redman for the remainder of the tour.

The d: boys are no stranger to the tour circuit. They just wrapped up the UK leg of the Deeper tour, and have opened for bands such as Bon Jovi and Matchbox 20. They will return to the UK in April to play another set of dates.
- Ben 

March 4, 2002 - Biggest Worship Event in History to Hit Washington
Thousands will gather in Washington, D.C. on Memorial Day weekend (May 24-26) for what promises to be the biggest worship event in history. Michael W. Smith, Jeff Deyo, Chris Tomlin, Marcos Vidal, Dan Moen and several other top worship leaders will all perform at the first-ever "American Worship Gathering," which will take place at the National Mall in Washington. Also appearing will be NFL quarterback and two-time MVP Kurt Warner, the United States Marine Corps Band and Lisa Beamer. Beamer is the widow of Todd M. Beamer, who was one of a group of passengers who tried to overcome hijackers aboard United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed in Pennsylvania on September 11. More information about the gathering can be found at worshipalliance.com
March 4, 2002 - New Glisten Song Available
The boys from Glisten have a new song available for download via mp3.com. The demo version of an all-new song, "Can We Outshine the Stars," is now obtainable, along with several past hits at the group's mp3.com page. The group has also recently received enough funding to build their own studio, and plan to have a new album out "as soon as humanly possible."

In other news, Glisten is also up for three "Spinner" awards (the Spinners are a listener's choice awards show put on by a Dallas radio station). The Texas-based group is nominated in the "Best Live Performance," "Favourite Artist" and "Favourite Website" categories. Those wishing to vote for the awards are out of luck (the polls are closed), but interested parties can make their way to Irving Bible Church in Irving, TX on March 9 at 3 p.m. to see the awards show live. Click here for directions.
- Ben 

March 2, 2002 - Kirk Franklin Attacks the Charts
The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin is a genesis that the world is taking heed of. Franklin, whose most recent album is italicized in the preceding sentence, debuted last week at #4 on the Billboard 200 chart, well ahead of albums by Creed, Britney Spears, Ja Rule and No Doubt. The album also topped Billboard's R&B/Hip-Hop, Gospel and Contemporary Christian charts, selling over 90, 000 copies. This achievement is the highest for a Christian artist since P.O.D. peaked at #8 on the 200 chart.

In other chart news the A Walk to Remember soundtrack, which features music from Switchfoot and Jars of Clay rests at #44 on the 200. P.O.D.'s Satellite is at #14, the O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack is in at #15 and U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind is in at #28.
- Ben 

February 28, 2002 - Grammy Winners
LOS ANGELES -- The 44th annual Grammy Awards were handed out last night. As you likely know, the big winners were and U2 and R&B newcomer Alicia Keys, who won four and five awards, respectively.

Among the surprise winners were the O Brother Where Art Thou soundtrack, which was popular in both Christian and secular circles and which currently sits atop the CCM Update's General Market Sales chart. It won Album of the Year, beating out Bob Dylan's Love and Theft and U2's All That You Can't Leave Behind.

DC Talk's Solo, which many were surprised even got a nomination, won Best Rock Gospel Album. Rounding out the winners in the Christian categories were Ce Ce Winans, who won Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album, Hezekiah Walker & LFT Church Choir (Best Gospel Choir or Chorus Album), Bill and Gloria Gaither and the Homecoming Friends(Best Southern Country or Bluegrass Gospel Album), Yolanda Adams (Best Contemporary Gospel Soul Album) and the Blind Boys of Alabama (Best Traditional Soul Gospel Album).

Christian rockers P.O.D. lost out to former tour mates Linkin Park in the Best Hard Rock Performance category.

U2, and several other groups also performed. Perhaps most stirring performance of the night was Allan Jackson's "Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning," a post September 11 tune, which includes the lyrics "I know Jesus and I talk to God/And I remember this from when I was young/Faith, hope and love are some good things He gave us/But the greatest is love."
- Ben 

February 27, 2002 - Ce Ce Winans to Honour Al Green at Grammys
As you are well aware, the Grammys air tonight at 8: 00 pm EST on CBS. Taking part in the ceremony will be gospel diva Ce Ce Winans, who will sing alongside India.arie, Brian McKnight, Hezekiah Walker, Tremaine Hawkins and Andrae and Sandra Crouch in a tribute to the Reverend Al Green. Following Green's performance of "I Feel Good," an all-new 9/11-inspired tune, he will be joined by those artists mentioned for a gospel medley. Green will also receive a lifetime achievement award.

Winans is currently riding the success of her self-titled fifth album, which is approaching gold status, and has won her a Grammy nomination. U2, 'N SYNC, rapper Nelly, singer Nelly Furtado, Christina Aguilara and the Dave Matthews Band are among the others who will perform during the ceremony.
- Ben 

February 27, 2002 - Audio Adrenaline Invites Fans to Contribute to Book
With apologies to Sports Illustrated, we again offer this week’s sign of the apocalypse: The boys from Audio Adrenaline are writing a book.

Hands and Feet will hit stores sometime this year or next, and details of its content are sketchy. But cMusicWeb has learned that the group is giving its fans a chance to contribute. The group is asking that you send in 500 word testimonies of times God has worked through you. The deadline for consideration is March 15. All entries should be sent to the following address:

Thomas Nelson, Inc.
Attn: Kate Etue
501 Nelson Place
Nashville, TN 37214.

You’ll also need a "Publisher’s Permission Form," which you can get by clicking on the link below and sending me an e-mail.
- Ben 

February 26, 2002 - Shake-Up at Word Continues
The changes continue at Word Entertainment Label Group. Loren Balman, who recently resigned her position as head of that group due to philosophical difference with its new owners, Warner Music Group, has been replaced. Barry Landis, vice president and general manager of Atlantic Christian, will take over. Several Word managers were also fired on Friday, to make room for Landis' staff, which will accompany him in his move to Word. Word Records general manager Elisa Elder and Squint Entertainment general manager Hugh Robertson were among those let go.

- Ben 

February 25, 2002 - Katinas to Record Worship Album
Gotee Records recording artist The Katinas will be the next to throw their hats into the worship album ring. March 7 at Bethel World Outreach Centre in Nashville, the group will record a live worship offering featuring "I Give You My Heart," "Eagles' Wings" and "You Are Good," among several other original Katinas tunes. The album will also feature two new studio tracks. All those who will be in the Nashville area on the seventh are encouraged to take part in the recording. The concert begins at 7:00 pm local time.
- Ben 

February 23, 2002 - Let's Roll Hits Prime Time
Let's Roll, the much-hyped compilation album put together to benefit the Todd M. Beamer foundation, has received even more publicity during the February television "sweeps" season.

Prime Time Live with Diane Sawyer aired a feature on Lisa Beamer, the Beamer Foundation and the album on February 21. Todd Beamer was one of a group of men who attempted to overtake terrorists on United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The plane later crashed in Pennsylvania. Beamer is said to have uttered the Lord's prayer, then the words "Let's roll" before confronting the terrorists.

On Friday, Nicole C. Mullen performed the album's first single, "I See You In His Eyes" on CNN's Larry King Live.

The album features music from DC Talk, Jennifer Knapp, Steven Curtis Chapman", Chaka Kahn, Yo Yo Ma and more. The Todd M. Beamer Foundation was created by Lisa Beamer in order to help meet the long-term needs of children who lost a parent following the September 11 attacks, and to prevent future acts of terrorism.

The album will be available on April 9.
- Ben 

February 20, 2002 - Amy Grant Readies New Album
Amy Grant, undisputedly the queen of Christian Contemporary Music, signed her first recording contract at age 17, and has released 17 albums since. The content of her most recent project, Legacy – Hymns and Faith, is something she finds long overdue.

"When Mike Blanton came to me with the idea of doing a hymns record to commemorate the last 25 years, I got excited," says Grant. "I really see Legacy as identifying for myself a long overdue musical expression of my roots. The more life you live, you realize how precious it is to be moved. I just thought how much I would like to be moved again by these songs that really fashioned the framework of my faith as a child. I wanted to re-introduce these songs in hopes that the people who grew up on them could also be moved again and enjoy then in a very intimate setting."

The album was produced by long-time friend Brown Bannister and husband Vince Gill, and features several well-known hymns as well as four new songs.

Grant is a five-time Grammy winner, and has sold over 22 million albums. Recently, she was named "Nashvillian of the Year," a citizen of the year award that recognized her work with the Red Cross, American Cancer Society, the American Heart Association, the Nashville Symphony and the Make-a-Wish Foundation. Grant will release another album, Simple Things later this year.
- Ben 

February 20, 2002 - Jars of Clay, SCC Inspired by Soldiers
Steven Curtis Chapman and Jars of Clay are among several Christian and secular artists who have contributed music to the upcoming soundtrack to We Were Soldiers. Johnny Cash, India.arie, The Dave Matthews Band, Train and Five For Fighting are among the other participating in the project.

Jars was invited to an exclusive screening of Soldiers, which stars Mel Gibson, and asked to write a song based on their emotional response to the film. The result was "The Widowing Field."

Chapman contributes "Soldier," which is a re-recorded and made over version of his song "When You Were a Soldier," which appeared on his 1990 album For the Sake of the Call.

"While the film is compelling as well as disturbing in it's realistic and violent tribute to Vietnam veterans," says Chapman, "I was inspired by the redemptive themes of relationships, courage, Christian faith, and prayer that the writer Randall Wallace clearly communicates through this script and film. "I was honored to personally be invited to screen the film and submit a song for consideration on the soundtrack. The lyric to a song I had written a few years ago for my father entitled, 'When You Are A Soldier' kept coming to mind and I couldn't get away from the thought that a new version of that song, with new music and slightly new lyrics, should be submitted for consideration."

The film is based on the true story of Lt. Col. Hal Moore and his men during one of the bloodiest battles in the Vietnam War, and opens on March 1. Music From And Inspired By We Were Soldiers, the soundtrack, hits stores on February 26.
- Ben 

February 20, 2002 - Out of Eden Topping the Charts
R&B trio Out of Eden have seen their latest project, This Is Your Life, received with a positive response unprecedented in their history. Bolstered by the hit single "Different Now," which currently sits atop R&R's Christian Hits Radio chart, This Is Your Life debuted at #6 on Billboard Magazine's Heatseekers chart, and inside the Top 200.

"It's very exciting to watch the momentum build for Out of Eden and This Is Your Life," says Joey Elwood, president of the label to which the group is signed. "Even though the group has sold over a million records to date, Out of Eden continues to break new ground. Typically a record will see a substantial drop in sales from the release week to the second week of sales. When you are able to sustain or grow those numbers, it's a good indication that the record has really connected with fans, and I think that's what we¹re experiencing with this project."

"We're thrilled to see people sharing in our excitement about This Is Your Life,"says group member Lisa Kimmey. This record really showcases who we are as a group and we're very grateful for the support that we have received from our fans. It's always an anxious time when you've worked so long on a project and are wondering how people will respond to the new music. We're pleased that this album seems to have hit the mark."
- Ben 

February 20, 2002 - Newsboys and Microsoft Join Forces
Sparrow Records has announced that it is teaming with Microsoft in order to promote its upcoming release of the Newsboys' Thrive. Anyone who pre-purchases the album will receive a companion CD that features five never-before-released remixes of Newsboys songs and the first single from Thrive, "It is You." Consumers will also receive a card with an access code that will allow them to listen to Thrive in its entirety in high-quality streaming audio.

The audio preview will be available until March 25 (the album hits stores on the 26th) on NewboysBackstage.com.

"This is an innovative effort by Sparrow Records to drive CD sales using digital media," says Kevin Unangst, director of consumer marketing in the Windows Digital Media Division at Microsoft. "We're video content to the site's card holding members."

The 'Boys recently finished their Winter Jams Tour, which also excited to play a role in bringing the latest Newsboys release to their fans online with the unmatched audio quality of Windows Media."
"The digital pre-sale premium is just the beginning," says Chad Hodge, director of new media for Sparrow. "NewsboysBackstage.com is exciting for us at Sparrow because of the long-term nature of the promotion. We are using the Internet to connect the band to their fans. Windows Media sets the standard for online media quality and we will continue to use this technology to provide exclusive audio and featured Newsong, Michelle Tumes, Brother's Keeper and youth speaker Josh McDowell.
- Ben 

February 19, 2002 - New Passion Album On the Way
The next album from the folks at Passion is complete, and will release on April 9. Our Love is Loud, a live recording being released on sixstepsrecords, features internationally renowned worship leaders Chris Tomlin and Charlie Hall, and The Dave Crowder Band. The album's recorded material is taken from the recent Passion Experience tour, and includes nine never-before released songs.

Says Passion founder Louie Giglio of the theme of the album, "Passion is calling out a generation to live with a radical desire for God's glory, moved by all of who He is to spread His fame to the ends of the earth. More than a concert, The Passion Experience is a journey to the heart of God."

Tomlin performs six tracks, including Delirious?' "My Glorious," Tim Hughes' "Here I Am to Worship" and "God of Wonders." Hall contributes four tracks, including the all-new "Sweep Me Away." The Crowder Crew sings three songs, including the title cut, which was penned following one of Passion's famed OneDay worship concerts.

"Passion has been a big part of my shaping, how it really encourages the stripping away of self to full repentance," says Dave Crowder. "There were so many people in that one place of worship, I simply wanted to thank God for the experience and ask, 'Did that connect with You?'"
- Ben 

February 18, 2002 - White House Hosts Celebration of Gospel Music
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- President George W. Bush and his wife, Laura, recently hosted a special concert celebrating the heritage of gospel music in the United States. Celebrating America's Music Heritage -- A Salute to Gospel Music will air on March 5 and 9 on PAX TV. The concert itself took place on Valentine's Day.

Michael W. Smith and Ce Ce Winans were hosts for the evening, and a virtual who's who of current gospel stars performed at the event. Shirley Cesar, Blind Boys of Alabama, the Gaither Vocal Band, Twila Paris were all on hand.

"I am delighted to celebrate the performing arts and bring together artists from across the nation at the people's house," said Laura Bush. "Gospel music's roots are distinctly American and its message speaks to the ages uniting people of all backgrounds in one voice of joyful praise."

"The Gospel Music Association is honored to be producing this concert with the White House," said Frank Breeden, president of the Gospel Music Association, which produced the even. "[We] are pleased that they invited us to celebrate our music with this special event. Gospel music today appeals to an audience that is truly as diverse as our nation, yet at the same time has a message of faith, hope and love that brings us together with one spirit. This extraordinary concert is a true reflection of the unifying force of gospel music and it's wonderful that television audiences will have the opportunity to enjoy this event on PAX-TV."
- Ben 

February 18, 2002 - Extreme Days Hits Video
The indie Christian movie of the year (or, if you prefer, the only mentionable indie Christian movie of the year), Extreme Days will arrive on video and DVD this month. The movie, which was co-written and directed by Christian filmmaker Eric Hannah, and which starred a host of young 20-somethings, including Dante Basco ("Rufio" from Hook) made just over $1 million at the U.S. box-office, struggling to break even. The film was described by Entertainment Weekly as a "wholesome Road Trip alternative for younger teens," and was met with mostly lukewarm reviews (including one from our own Melissa Miles).

Providence Entertainment, which distributed the film, is asking that fans help get the word out (suggested tactics include loitering in a video store and "recommending [the film] to random people"). The company also promises lots of "special features" on the DVD.
- Ben 

February 17, 2002 - Colin Powell's Remarks in MTV Interview Ignites Controversy
Secretary of State Colin Powell has angered some conservative groups for comments made about condom use to an MTV audience. "Forget about conservative ideas [about condoms], he reportedly said in an interview, which aired on Thursday. Powell urged young people to use condom to help prevent the spread of AIDS. "It's the lives of young people that are put at risk by unsafe sex. And, therefore, protect yourself. I encourage their use among people who are sexually active and need to protect themselves."

These comments seem to be in contradiction to the policy of the George W. Bush administration, which has gained press for its promotion of abstinence in the past. Bush recently announced that he would increase funding for sexual abstinence information by $33 million in his 2003 budget. Powell's marks have caused some groups to call on the president to repudiate them.

"Colin Powell is Secretary of State, not the Secretary of Health," says Dr. James Dobson, president of the conservative group Focus on the Family. "He is talking about a subject he doesn't understand. He clearly doesn't understand the science regarding condom efficacy."

Ken Connor of the Family Research Council agrees. He called the remarks "reckless and irresponsible; a slap in the face [to Bush's core constituency]."
- Ben 

February 15, 2002 - Divine Discontent?
Sixpence None the Richer's upcoming release has the singular distinction of being the most talked about unreleased album in Christian music.

A recent Nashville Scene article says that the new album will be called Divine Discontent and is tentatively scheduled to be released June 18 on Reprise Records, a Warner Music Group imprint.

The article also reveals what the band members have been up to this past year: Leigh has contributed vocals to the Bounce soundtrack and a Los Straitjackets album (Sing Along With Los Straitjackets); Sean did some work on Josh Rouse's Bedroom Classics EP; Matt played cello for a Mark Isham film score and did session work for Paul Fox (who also produced their upcoming album).
- Jason 

February 14, 2002 - U2, SCC Nominated For Gibson Guitar Awards
U2's dominance in the award show season continues. The group garnered the most nominations for the 2002 Orville H. Gibson Guitar Awards (Gibson was the founder of the guitar company that now bears his name). U2 will vie for the title of "Best Guitar Band" with Blink 182, Five for Fighting, Green Day, Nickleback and newcomers Linkin Park and Lifehouse, while The Edge and Adam Clayton were recognized in the "Best Rock Guitarist" and "Best Bassist" categories, respectively.

CCM artist Steven Curtis Chapman was nominated in the "Best Acoustic Artist (Male)" category.

The awards will be handed out on February 26 at The Knitting Factory in Hollywood, California.
- Ben 

February 14, 2002 - Fred Durst Changes His Tune...Sort of
Though Limp Bizkit frontman Fred Durst has attacked many, including Creed, and made several enemies in the music business, he's apparently changed his tune.

"I never really had a real beef," Durst now says about inflammatory comments he made onstage about Creed a few years back. "I've expressed my opinion very publicly, just the same way if I would've got onstage and said, 'I hate hamburgers. I hate them so bad. Hamburgers are the worst.' But it wasn't. It was about something I didn't like about someone else. It wasn't a real beef. I don't personally know the guy."

In a recent interview with MTV, Durst took it several steps further. "I got [Creed's Weathered] when it came out," he says. "It's a great record. It's no filler. It's like these guys know how to write songs. They know how to write songs so the melody and the words and the things, you'll just wake up in the morning and you're singing it for some reason. Then you sing it to a friend and they're singing it all day and you didn't even hear it on the radio. That song 'My Sacrifice,' it's probably the biggest song of this year, like rock band song. I can't stop singing that song."

The rapper/"singer" even offered an apology to Creed lead singer Scott Stapp. Sort of.

"I had an opinion," Durst said. "Everybody has one. It was just that way, and if it offended you I'm sorry, but go on. And if there's any truth in it at all, help it to better yourself. If there's not, [expletive] me. It was just me [being me].
- Ben 

February 13, 2002 - P.O.D. Goes Double Platinum
Atlantic Records recording artist P.O.D.'s most recent album, Satellite, which was hailed by many, including our own Rick Foux, as one of the best Christian albums of the year, has reached double-platinum status.

The album, which includes the hit singles "Alive" and "Youth of the Nation," has sold more than 2 million copies in the U.S. since its September release date, and currently rests at #17 on The Billboard 200 chart. Satellite is currently gold in Canada, and approaching platinum status (the latter indicates 100, 000 units sold).

"Youth of the Nation" is currently the third most played song on MTV's TRL.
- Ben 

February 13, 2002 - Point of Grace Honored in Nashville
NASHVILLE -- Christian pop group Point of Grace was recently honored by the people of Nashville. That city's mayor has declared February 20, 2002 Point of Grace Day in honour of the group's highly successful career.

The group has seen every single they've ever released go to #1 on the charts. That's 24 consecutive singles. The only group to approach that number was country group Alabama, which had 21.

"Celebrating Point of Grace Day allows us to express our appreciation to them not only for giving us over ten years of musical excellence and inexhaustible effort, but for giving us music with the message of hope and encouragement," stated Elisa Elder, senior vice president and general manager of Word Records, the group's label. "What they do touches so many lives and we are thrilled to support them."

David Piece, programmer for K-LOVE, a major Nashville Christian music radio station, says the reason for PoG's success is simple: "Great songs. Over 10 years and 24 #1 songs, pretty amazing when you think about it. With songs that speak to our hearts and encourage us to hold on to God's grace, Point of Grace has become part of our lives. Of course with 24 number one songs I think it's safe to say a lot of people are listening and eagerly awaiting number 25."

Word Records and TBA Entertainment will pay tribute to the group at First Centre on February 20 with a special ceremony.
- Ben 

February 13, 2002 - New Watermark Album on the Way
Rocketown Records pop group Watermark has completed the recording of its third album, Constant. Their previous album, All Things New, spawned four top 5 radio hits, and together with their eponymous debut has sold over 300, 000 copies.

"God is constant, and He has been pursuing each of us all the days of our lives even before we were born," says lead vocalist and primary songwriter Christy Nockels. "His heart is for His people to be constant after Him and to be running after Him. Life is losing ourselves in that pursuit... The songs on Constant come out of our lives, out of who we are and what God has called us to do. We wanted this record to communicate that we're here to stay, that we know writing and recording songs is what we're supposed to be doing."

Says Rocketown president Don Donahue, "Constant is a great title for the third Watermark record because it's what Nathan and Christy have been for Rocketown. I believe the songs, melodies and lyrics on this record will introduce the Nockels to a bigger audience than ever before. I've known for a long time that Christy is one of our industry's most underrated vocalists, and Nathan has really come into his own as a producer. I'm excited for the rest of the industry and the world to hear what Watermark has to say about God's faithfulness, His constancy, on this record."

Watermark will join Fernando Ortega on his 30-city Storm Tour, and will see their album hit stores on April 30.
- Ben 

February 13, 2002 - New Mary Mary Joint on the Way
Gospel/pop duo Mary Mary (the group behind "Shackles") is set to release the follow-up to their 2000 debut album, Thankful. The recording sessions for Incredible have wrapped up, and the finished product is due in stores on June 4 via Columbia Records.

Tina and sister Erica, who comprise the group, and who both happened to marry men with the surname "Campbell," say they want to lift people up and turn them towards God through their music.

"We have songs that address other people like encouraging little girls," says Erica.

Tina continues: " "And talking to people who might of had a hard time in life and ended up in a real bad situation, but now they're doing better with the help of God."

Describing the new album, Erica says, "You know, I think this time, we looked, we told stories that we saw looking at other people. So it's a little something to dance to. A little something to cry to, to encourage you. A little bit of everything."
- Ben 

February 13, 2002 - Dru Hill Member Woody Rock Goes Solo
It's been a long time in the making, but founding member of the mainstream R&B group Dru Hill Woody Rock, is set to release his first gospel album. Soul Music will hit stores on March 19.

"Gospel music was something that I always wanted to do. R&B was a foot in the door, but Gospel has always been my first love," says Rock. "Looking at music from a spiritual standpoint, there¹s nothing better for your soul, or more from your soul than Gospel music," Rock explains. "For me, this is true soul music."
Several prominent CCM and contemporary artists will make appearances on the album, including Gospel Gangstaz, Mary Mary, the other three members of Dru Hill, BBJ, Case and DJ Tony Boston.

"I give God the glory for everything good that¹s happened in my life," says Rock. "The bottom line is that it doesn't matter where you've been, or what you've done. God can change and fix anybody's life. That's what I want people to hear and know. And that's what Soul Music is all about."

- Ben 

February 13, 2002 - Lord of the Rings Scores 13 Oscar Nominations
As you've no doubt heard by now, Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring was the big winner at the announcement of this year's Academy Awards nominees. Lord of the Rings, based on a book of the same name by Roman Catholic author J.R.R. Tolkien, walked away with 13 nominations. There are only 23 categories.

The movie is nominated for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Ian McKellen), and several others. Also competing for Best Picture are A Beautiful Mind, Gosford Park, In The Bedroom and Moulin Rouge. The former and the latter both had eight nominations. The family-friendly film Shrek will duke it out with Monsters, Inc. and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius in the Best Animated Feature Film category.

A full list of the nominees can be found here. The awards ceremony will air on March 24 on ABC.
- Ben 

February 12, 2002 - GMA Co-Founder Dies
MEMPHIS, TN. -- James Blackwood, co-founder of the Gospel Music Association, died on Sunday, February 3 of complications from a stroke. Blackwood, who was 82, was one quarter of the Grammy-winning southern gospel group The Blackwood Brothers Quartet; his brothers Roy and Doyle and nephew R.W. were the other three.

The group was formed in 1934, and James went on to record over 200 albums thereafter. Blackwood helped charter the GMA in 1964, and became a recipient of the Dove Awards' Male Vocalist of the Year six times, and was twice inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame (once as an individual and once with the Blackwood Brothers).

"Both as a singer and as an individual, James Blackwood will forever be remembered for his contributions to gospel music," said GMA President Frank Breeden. "[He] was very special to us at the Gospel Music Association. His is the first name that appears on our original charter of incorporation papers filed on May 19, 1964. It was our honor to induct him into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame."

Blackwood is survived by his wife Miriam, sons Billy and Jimmy, six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.
- Ben 

February 11, 2002 - The Elms Escape Tragedy in Automobile Accident
MEMPHIS, TN -- Christian rockers The Elms were involved in a car accident on February 6. The group had been travelling in their van at 3 am in Memphis, when they hit a patch of black ice. The van spun around more than once, then slid off the road backwards. The vehicle then went airborne and flipped once before landing on its wheels.

Lead vocalist Owen Thomas was hospitalized for a concussion, but released within 24 hours. His brother, drummer Christopher Thomas, was treated for a knee injury. The rest of the passengers in the van escaped with minor cuts. The group has decided to take time to rest and recover following the incident, and will not to play all scheduled concert dates. They ask that we pray for them.

The group has been nominated for two Dove Awards, and will begin recording their sophomore album, the follow-up to The Big Surprise, in May.
- Ben 

February 11, 2002 - Inpop Signs Bob Smiley
Inpop records, the label founded by Newsboys bassist Phil Joel, has announced the signing of comedian Bob Smiley. Smiley has opened for several big-name Christian acts, including the Newsboys, the O.C. Supertones, Audio Adrenaline and SONICFLOOd, and was the emcee for most dates on the infamous Festival Con Dios.

"Bob Smiley has been a part of the Newsboys family for years," says Inpop CEO Wes Campbell. "He has been a part of multiple tours with us - from Newsboys to Festival Con Dios and he has made us laugh for years. We love his heart to reach kids with the love of Christ so when the opportunity came for Inpop to work with Bob, we jumped at the chance."

"I've found that people who would not go to hear a preacher will come listen to a comedian," says Smiley. "So, I get them to laughing and then they are more apt to listen to the preaching."
Smiley is also an accomplished writer, and has been published in Christian Musician Magazine, Real Magazine and crosswalk.com. His first album with Inpop, I've Got a Funny Feeling About This, hits stores on April 23.

Says Smiley of the album, "You can buy it in Christian bookstores and in Walmart...and then probably in Goodwill the next week."
- Ben 

February 11, 2002 - Kevin Max Video Featured on Secular Music Station
The video for "Existence," the second single from Kevin Max's Stereotype Be is now in rotation on the mainstream music channel Much Music. The video will air on that cable channel's "Oven Fresh" program today, at 2:30 p.m. EST, and at various times throughout the week. You can vote to see the video more often by visiting www.mmusa.tv.

- Ben 

February 11, 2002 - CCM's Most Intriguing Singles
Valentine's Day is a gimmicky holiday as it is. CCM magazine, arguably the foremost publication covering the Christian music industry, isn't helping matters by naming the "Top 10 Most Intriguing Singles." And we aren't helping by reporting on it. Oh well. Hallmark forever.

Joy Williams, Rebecca St. James, Alisa Gerard of ZOEgirl and Danielle Kimmey, the younger of the two sisters who comprise Out of Eden were the only females featured on the list. Each artist was asked a series of questions (most of which are of the type you'd find in a Tiger Beat interview, or tell the video camera at a video dating service). Of note: Kimmey is a fan of banjo music.

Bebo Norman, Matt Brouwer, Thom Daughtery of The Elms, True Vibe's Nathan Gaddis, Matt Thiessen of Relient K and dc Talk's Michael Tait made up the rest of the list. Daughtery, apparently, is a Point of Grace fan. Tait's friends think he looks "like a chick." Thiessen's "favourite words of Jesus" are "If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink. By doing so, you will heap burning coals upon his head." All that you didn't want to know and more.

The full list and interviews can be seen here.
- Ben 

February 9, 2002 - New Kirk Franklin Song Available For Download
Kirk Franklin's September 11 anthem "911 [Nine One One]" is now available for download via liquid.com. You'll need the Liquid Audio player, of course, which took me about half an hour to download on a 56K modem.

The song is a collaboration with fellow gospel star Bishop T.D. Jakes, and will be featured on Franklin's upcoming The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin, which hits stores on February 19. Steven Curtis Chapman's "God is God" and ZOEgirl's "With All of My Heart" are also featured on the Liquid Audio homepage.

The Kirk Franklin track will expire 30 days after you download it.

- Ben 

February 6, 2002 - SoulJahz Find a Label
Though Squint Entertainment was recently folded into industry giant Word Entertainment, and subsequently bought (along with the rest of the Word family) by Warner Music Group, the label is moving forward.

Boasting a roster that already includes Sixpence None the Richer, Burlap to Cashmere and L.A. Symphony, the label has added underground phenomenon SoulJahz.

The hip-hop trio has performed as an indie group at the DC/LA youth superconference, and has was featured on the pilot for MTV's It's Your Show; two of their songs made it onto the soundtrack to the XBox video game Project Gotham Racing.

"SoulJahz has one of the most energetic, unique and polished live acts that I've had the privilege to experience," says Squint general manager Hugh Robertson. "The momentum and talent this group possesses has already propelled them into markets that indie acts usually never have a chance to experience."

The group has as its mission to reach people through the positive messages in its music. The male members, Joshua and Je'Kob Washington (the third member is their sister Rachael) turned down multiple basketball scholarship offers in order to pursue their career in music. They are excited to become a part of the Squint family.

"Prior to signing with Squint," says Joshua, "we spent three years doing our homework on the industry. We're impressed with how the label approaches business decisions with honesty and how the people are as interested in our lives as much as they are in our music."

The group is self-producing their debut, which will street on June 4.
- Ben 

February 5, 2002 - Big Tent Revival: The Spirit Lives On
As cMusicWeb has already told you Big Tent Revival received a posthumous Grammy nomination for "Best Rock Gospel Album," an honour bestowed upon them for Big Tent Revival Live, their final album. This is the group's fifth Grammy nomination in as many albums, and comes as "no surprise" to their label.

Says former frontman Steve Wiggins of the album, "No matter how much state-of-the-art studio equipment you might have access to, you still cannot duplicate the energy that happens when you connect it with a live audience. We felt it was time to contain some of that energy and release our first live recording."

In the band's history, BTR amassed seven #1 singles, four #1 videos and sold more than 500,000 albums.

The Grammys will be broadcast live on February 27 on CBS.
- Ben 

Reverse Then Forward Again - Click to view! REVERSE THEN FORWARD AGAIN (2004)
The latest from Dogwood is in stores April 20th.

Seismic - Click to view!
SEISMIC (2003)
Dogwood's brilliant sophomore project Building a Better Me established the band's rep as hard-hitting punk outfit with an intriguing edge. However, recent projects have failed to make as big an impact. While the submissions have been solid, nothing has topped the 1999 smash hit. Dogwood fans will testify that what endears them to the solid but not spectacular efforts is vocalist Josh Kemble's ability to consistently write thought-provoking lyrics. Read full review...

Matt Aragon - Click to view!
This disc included a few more gems, including the poignant "Do Or Die".

Building A Better Me - Click to view!
Dogwood's sophomore disc really shined, with the title track as well as many others having strong, thought-provoking lyrics in a hard rock melody.

More Than Conquerors - Click to view!
Dogwood's Tooth & Nail debut.

A very nice, simple site with all the info you need on the band.

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