Christian/Gospel Roundup: Late Summer 2014
by Wendy Lee Nentwig | August 24, 2014
Summer isn't even over yet, but we've already welcomed more than a season's worth of big releases. This roundup starts off with Amy Grant, the indisputable Queen of Christian Music, releasing her first-ever remix album. You may not think of Amy Grant tunes as great candidates for dance remixes, but tell that to the Billboard Dance Club Play chart, where a revved-up version of Grant's "Baby, Baby" has reached the Top 10. In Motion: The Remixes features plenty more where that came from.
Then there's the sophomore effort by American Idol alum Colton Dixon. On Anchor, Dixon joins forces with Matthew West, Ben Glover, Matt Bronleewe, TobyMac, Trevor McNevan and others to craft songs that inspire and express his commitment to his faith. Colton's style is as dramatic as ever, whether he’s working with metal, pop, classic rock or worship styles.
If you blinked you might have missed Ragamuffin, and that would be a shame. Everyone from Derek Webb and Jill Phillips to Andrew Peterson and Audrey Assad gathered to record their favorite Rich Mullins tracks in honor of the recent biopic about this beloved artist.
Fans of Family Force 5 are rejoicing that the band's three-year break from recording is over. Time Stands Still is a fun blend of dance pop and alt rock aimed at getting arena and festival crowds on their feet. FF5's quirky pop rock is a perfect fit for tracks like the Karate Kid-inspired "Sweep the Leg" and "BZRK (feat. KB)."
Moriah Peters is no shrinking violet, using each track on Brave to challenge listeners to boldly live out their faith. Her husband, Joel Smallbone (of For King & Country), coproduced the album along with Seth Mosley (Newsboys, Audio Adrenaline), helping Peters create a theatrical, energetic pop release that pulsates with her strong convictions.
About a Mile's self-titled debut was helmed by Grammy-nominated producers Ian Eskelin and Howard Benson, giving the band a leg up on other newcomers. Brothers Adam, Luke and Levi Klutinoty prove themselves worthy of the A-list attention. The result is worshipful pop rock, and a triumphant celebration of brotherhood and faith.
If worship is what you're after, Hillsong Worship has you covered with No Other Name. The album's 11 new praise songs emphasize congregational worship and highlight the Aussie church's determination to remain a pioneer in the genre. Or you might try the latest by Bellarive, Before There Was. Picking up where they left off with their debut, this new release was birthed out of their tight-knit community (and written for anyone hoping to make sense out of life).
Last but not least is some great gospel music. Kierra "Kiki" Sheard is one of the genre's favorite female vocalists. This granddaughter of gospel legends takes listeners on a joyful and redemptive journey on the appropriately titled Graceland. Then there's Smokie Norful, whose Forever Yours is nothing short of a love letter to God in album form. Norful is a master at genre-jumping; he works in R&B, dance, upbeat praise and worship textures, and also includes some big ballads on this notably diverse album.
Sample a little something from each of these releases in our attached playlist!