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JFH Staff Blog | June 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

Creation East 2009 Highlights

Hey all! Just got back from Creation East in Middle-of-nowheresville, PA! After my one hundreth cup of coffee this week, I'm ready to write you guys a quick little update on how this year transpired for us! As with past years, a full review of our personal experience of this year's Creation Festival East will be posted, but unlike previous years, I have 6,000+ photos to weed through, so it will take a bit longer to get the review and photo gallery up. However, here are some quick thoughts to tide you over...

First off, Creation 2009 got off to an insane start with great performances from Remedy Drive and then total stage domination from Skillet. They were unbelievable this year, and this is from someone who's seen them live many years since their start. Amazing show! I suppose the pyro helped, but they just really have nailed it (and they played two new songs from their upcoming album Awake). On Thursday, our highlight was finally getting to see AA Talks -- an intimate session involving original Audio Adrenaline members Mark Stuart and Will McGinniss as they share about the late band's triumphs and failures, mixing in some classic AudioA tunes in the process. Fantastic stuff -- for AA fans and non alike. Friday featured incredible performances from House Of Heroes, TFK, John Reuben (one of the most underrated entertainers), David Crowder, and Third Day, and Saturday featured an absolutely fantastic show from Family Force 5 (completely donned in football gear), and the delicious NEEDTOBREATHE. Some great performances this year indeed, even if the overall line-up wasn't their strongest I've seen. We missed Creation Fest last year, so coming back felt much like a family reunion (a good one!).

Now, for us -- who also live in Eastern Pennsylvania -- Creation Fest still serves as a mini-road trip... and every good road trip needs great music to ride along to, correct? So some tunes you would have heard blaring from my beloved ride were:  Project 86's Picket Fence Cartel, a homemade Project mix disc, House Of Heroes' The End Is Not The End, All Star United's The Good Album, Hawk Nelson's Summer EP, NEEDTOBREATHE's The Heat, Remedy Drive's Daylight Is Coming, Audio Adrenaline's Until My Heart Caves In and bloOm albums, The Listening's Transmission #1 EP and The Listening EP, Grammatrain's Kneeling Between Shields EP, Dead Poetic's Vices, and Guardian's House Of Guardian.

So, until the full rundown is done..... it's good to be home, but some great memories were made this year, so I guess it's a little bittersweet for it to be over. We hope to be back again next year!

~ John

Monday, June 22, 2009

We Recommend - Flyleaf, 'Flyleaf'

By any measure, I'm definitely not a huge listener nor fan of the "hard rock" genre. And while Flyleaf certainly fits into this category, their self-titled debut, which released nearly four long years ago, is possibly my favorite Christian record of all time. Something about the entire disc just completely draws me in. "I'm So Sick" was the first cut I heard off the album, and while it isn't one of the CD's finer tracks, it was enough to catch my attention, and that attention has remained to this day. Maybe it's the lyrics. Each and every song contained here pushes through meanings deeper than any band that I've heard, and something about each track seems to make a connection. And where do I even begin talking about lead singer Lacey Mosley's voice? It's entirely unique, and it fits in perfectly with every song, from the hard rock "Fully Alive" to the more timid "There for You." With their new record, Memento Mori (which I absolutely can not wait to hear!), releasing in August, there couldn't be a more perfect time to delve into Flyleaf's debut to see what you've been missing. You won't be let down. - Logan Leasure

Flyleaf (2005)

Click here for our album page.

Our synopsis: " An album that will go down in Christian music history as one of its greatest." (Recommended by JFH's Logan Leasure)
Perfect For: Redemption, Faith, Mercy
Song Highlights: "All Around Me," "Sorrow," "There for You," "So I Thought"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Flyleaf? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Friday, June 19, 2009

I Don't Listen To The Words, Just The Music

Ever hear (or use?) the phrase "I don't listen to the words, just the music" when defending listening to music with less than admirable lyrics? It's a proven fact that what we watch, hear, and do really does affect us. The Scriptures even encourage us to guard our hearts and minds in Philippians 4:7-9 -- "And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me--put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you."

I realize, to a degree, some people's minds and hearts are more impressionable than others. But take a moment to realize how much your friends affect your decision-making, your entertainment, even your humor. We pass around catch-phrases, word choice, favorite movies and music. We like to share our interests and personalities with others, but that does affect us, and more deeply than we like to acknowledge.

The thing that hit me with this subject was actually something that happened today. I was working at my desk, deeply involved in the task at hand, with my iTunes music library on shuffle playing as background music. I got the hunger itch and reasoned that it was a good time to get some coffee from the kitchen as well and I instinctively paused my iTunes and went downstairs. The entire time I brewed my coffee and readied a toasted bagel, the song "I Have Nothing" by Plumb repeated over and over in my head. I love Plumb and think her music's great, so that's not the issue... but when I went upstairs to my desk, sat down, and went to press play on my iTunes, I saw that the song was only THREE SECONDS into it. Somehow three seconds of a song was enough to trigger it for repeat play in my mind? It's kind of a scary thought... how much what we ingest really affects us - good AND bad.

So just a little food for thought for you guys. I know I myself still need to be more selective about how much time I spend absorbing entertainment versus time learning about and getting to know God. If you're struggling with that too a bit, try starting up a personal Bible study that goes through a book a little bit each day. A Bible study I attend just recently went through John Piper's "Don't Waste Your Life." Fantastic book and study. So check that out if you need a suggestion to help you to dig a little deeper.

Love you guys! -- John

Monday, June 15, 2009

We Recommend - Dakoda Motor Co, 'Into The Son'

Tonight, I sat down at my desk and got the sudden impulse to listen to one particular record. As I sat here wondering what the latest recommendation from us should be, it quickly became obvious.

The funny thing about Dakoda Motor Co. and their 1993 Myrrh/Word debut Into The Son, is that when I first saw the music video for "Grey Clouds," as a teenager, I hated it! It's funny to think that, before long, not only did their sound - and that song - grow on me, but they remain, to this day, one of my favorite listens. Into The Son is a raw surf rock record (classic "Jesus music" as some might say) when the California band was at its peak. Davia Vallesillo's vocals (and Chuck King's frenetic and varied drumming) are really what stand out on this record. While the band's message got more diluted over the years as guitarist Peter King suited up as an MTV video jock, DMC was never the same, but this debut still sounds great 16 years later (although the sophomore album, Welcome Race Fans has a few genuine gems). With the original lineup currently reunited and performing a few spot dates here and there, the hope for new tunes from this band begins to rise again... - John DiBiase

Dakoda Motor Co.
Into The Son (1993)

Click here for our album page.

Our synopsis: "Surf splashed pop/punk with passion and heart. I'll never tire of this album." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Love, Loneliness, Faith, Fun
Song Highlights: "Wind An' Sea," "Freedom," "Ocean Seems," "Need A Love," "Son Dancer."

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Into The Son? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Monday, June 8, 2009

We Recommend - Danyew, 'Danyew EP'

While I’m starting to really tire of the whole "EP" thing right now, Danyew EP really stuck out to me. (Phil) Danyew, a multi-instrumentalist, put together a seemingly flawless collection of six songs, all special in their own way. It’s a unique keyboard-driven worshipful experience; with the epic “The Closer We Are,” the acoustic-based “Beautiful King,” and the folk-infused “Nothing Without You,” there’s something different for each track. It’s a solid project through and through, and though it’s brief, it’s a good sampler of what Danyew has to offer. My only complaint is that I really wish it was a full-length album (but hey, if that’s the only downside, that can be a good thing!). Maybe it will get expanded sometime in the future, but for now, it’s one of the pleasant surprises as well as among the best of 2009. - Roger Gelwicks

Danyew EP (2009)

Click here for a JFH Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "One of the best debuts this year that brings us a unique alt-rock/electronica sound that should captivate every listener." (Recommended by JFH's Roger Gelwicks)
Perfect For: Unique worship, awe of Christ
Song Highlights: There are only six tracks, and they all qualify here!

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Danyew EP? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Monday, June 1, 2009

We Recommend - Phil Wickham, 'Cannons'

California worship leader Phil Wickham is a fairly new artist who's written a respectful collection of worship songs since his self-titled debut in 2006. I've noticed that his style, however, isn't for everyone. His vocals are undoubtedly unique and are expressed in a rather child-like fashion that is innocent and verbally poetic, especially in a generation where the Church is, in many cases, being fed with watered-down worship music; something generic that is stamped as radio-friendly. In my opinion, Phil Wickham's Cannons album stands out because it is creative and interesting melodically and captures lyrics that are true and honest. Do yourself a favor and spend some time on this album. It's sure to shed a great deal of light and hope to any open listener and willing worshipper. - Ben Cardenas

Phil Wickham
Cannons (2007)

Click here for a JFH Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "Phil Wickham's newest album Cannons stands out with brilliant innocence in a generation of watered-down ideas of worship, taking creative risks that you probably won't find in many of today's popular worship music." (Recommended by JFH's Ben Cardenas)
Perfect For: Fresh Worship
Song Highlights: "Must I Wait," "The Light Will Come," "You're Beautiful," "True Love," "Home," and "Spirit Fall."

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Cannons? Do you recommend it? If so, why?