I’ll freely admit to being a part of the proverbial Cash Cow known as the Christian Music Industry. I’m not on the receiving end – I’m an avid consumer, and have been since the 80’s when I obtained my first copy of “Father’s Eyes,” and undoubtedly two cassette tapes that played big roles in my formative years, “Never Say Die” and “Not Of This World”. I’ve largely enjoyed it, its mostly been beneficial and good, and I have few complaints (saving those complaints for Cash Cow Part II). But as trends go, the most recent trend is one I sort of like.
Seems every artist has suddenly re-discovered the hymnal. Not that hymns have totally been avoided – every now and then, one shows up on a project. This trend is a little different, and there is a flood of hymn remakes available. Two I’ve heard that are worth noting… First is from the Passion folks, my favorites amongst the worship Cash Cow industry (more on that in Part II…). Their “Hymns Ancient & Modern” is a worthy investment.
The CD that’s getting the most spin in my car, along with the greatest number of “you really ought to get this CD” chat from me, is Jars of Clay “Redemption Songs.” It just sounds good. I love tooling around town introducing my kids to songs like I’ll Fly Away and On Jordan’s Stormy Banks, songs that unfortunately will some day be forgotten in the contemporary church (more on that some other day, too). The version of God Will Lift Up Your Head” rocks in sort of a U2-esque fashion, and I was thrilled to hear my 10 year old singing that with me in the car the other day. Whether you are a fan of Jars of Clay or not, it’s a good purchase, and a sonically pleasing experience. These days, I’m into art and talent. Those haven’t always been trademarks of the Christian music industry, but when the two can be melded together (mix in a little passion and someone with something to say), we’ll “that’s gold, Jerry. That’s gold!” The fine folks at Essential Records even provide a coupon you can use if you’re cheap like me. And when the Blind Boys of Alabama join them on Nothing But The Blood, crank it up. I hope it makes you smile like it does for me!