Friday, February 11, 2011

Christ Like Swag Team at Java Journey 2/4/2011

Great Christian Rap/Hip Hop group featuring three local guys; Matt Skizzle(far left, green shirt,) Church Boi (center, black shirt,) and Philly Phil (Far right, white vest,) pictured here with two friends, gave a great show at Java Journey in Hickory last Friday night.  It's great to see teenagers using their talent to glorify God!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

John Mark Heard

Mark Heard was an enigma in Christian music.  He only had a couple of radio hits, and  few people familiar with modern Christian music have heard of him, yet he has influenced such major christian artists as Rich MullinsBruce Carroll, Bob Bennett, Julie Miller and Ashley Cleveland, to name a few.  He wrote songs that perfectly described mans fallen condition, and the moral decay with which we live, but were also filled with hope, a love for God and a longing to be with Him. Lyrically, he was influenced heavily by evangelical Christian philosopher Francis Schaeffer.

Heard was discovered by Larry Norman and Randy Stonehill.  Norman signed him to his label, Solid Rock Records,  and recorded his second solo album "Appalachian Melody," in 1979. (His first, self-titled album was released on Airborn Records in 1975. Norman later re-released this album as "On Turning To Dust" in 1978.)  Those first albums were acoustic/folk rock/country albums that garnered heard a comparison to James Taylor.  He then released the European only album "Fingerprint."
Heard moved to Chris Christian's Home Sweet Home records after Solid Rock folded.  He recorded six albums for Home Sweet Home, each one critically acclaimed, but largely ignored by Christian radio, and by the record buying public. Those albums showed the Heartland rock influence of artists like Tom PettyBruce Springsteen, Steven Forbert, etc. with a little Byrds thrown in for good measure.. In 1987 he signed with What? records and released the album "Tribal Opera" under the pseudonym "iDEoLA," a very different approach for him, as it was entirely electronic in nature with sampled drums, guitars, and other instruments.

In 1990, Heard began work on what would be his final trilogy of albums.  "Dry Bones Dance," released in 1990 was a loud' happy, joyous country-rock album with Mark's trademark lyrics. "Second Hand," released in 1991, was a much quieter, plaintive, folksy album that featured Steve Hindalong of The Choir on drums.  Heard's final album, "Satellite Sky," was a Country/Folk Rock album written entirely on the mandolin.

On July 4, 1992, Mark Heard suffered a Heart Attack on stage at the 1992 Cornerstone Festival.  He finished his set before he went to a nearby hospital. He spent several days there before being released, apparently in good health. He moved to another hospital to complete his recovery. It was there that he suffered a Cardiac Arrest and lapsed into a coma. The Doctor's performed a successful bypass operation, but he never came out of the coma. He died on August 16, 1992.  He was 40 years old.

The Choir

In 1986, during the first year of the Change The World radio broadcast, we received a vinyl 12" single by a band none of us had ever heard of.  Two songs from The Choir's "Diamonds And Rain" album:"When The Morning Comes"b/w "Fear Only You."  These songs were very different from what any of us were used to hearing from Christian groups in the mid 80's. Some of the guys weren't too sure about the band, but I loved the single.  The Choir had sort of a U2 meets the Beatles sound, coupled with personal, sometimes enigmatic lyrics.  "When The Morning Comes" was about the return of Christ, (or maybe the death of the singer; I've never been too sure,) but I'd never heard that subject approached like The Choir did.  I was hooked, and got a copy of the full album as soon as I could.  I've been a fan ever since.  With very few exceptions, I have purchased each Choir album as a new release.
Steve Hindalong (drums) and Derri Daughtrey (guitar, vocals) are the heart of this great band, along with Dan Michaels (Sax, Lyricon) and Tim Chandler (Bass.)  Steve and Derri have been together since the early 80's, initially calling themselves The Youth Choir.  Their first two albums "Voices In Shadows", and "Shades Of Grey" were released under that name.  Beginning with "Diamonds And Rain" they dropped the "Youth" and became "The Choir"  As of 2010, they have released 13 albums, two of which (Burning Like The Midnight Sun, and De-Plumed,) were released this year.
These guys are responsible for several of my all time favorite albums, including "Wide Eyed Wonder" (1989), and "Circle Slide"(1990).  Hindalong also produced the popular "City On A Hill" series of worship Cd's.  Daugherty is a member of Lost Dogs, along with Terry Scott Taylor (of Daniel Amos), and Mike Roe(of the 77's.)


This blog will be about all the music I enjoy, and I enjoy practically every style!  Everything from Adult Contemporary to Punk to Rock to Heavy Metal.  Even a little Hip Hop (My son is in a Rap group).  I listen to a lot of Christian groups that are WELL out of the mainstream, and most people may not be familiar with them.  So, if that interests you, continue to check back, and I'll post as often as I can.