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JFH Staff Blog | January 2012

Monday, January 30, 2012

Featured Fan - Lizzie

Lizze and Brandon Heath

Favorite Band/Artist: Brandon Heath
Featured Fan: Lizzie
Location: Stillwater, MN
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: National Sports Center- Blaine, MN
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: Brandon is very inspirational to me. I love all his songs and I've always loved them even before I knew who he really was. I really can't go a day without listening to him either. He writes things that most people can relate to, and I find that really cool. Brandon is my inspiration. I'm the only one of my friends who listens to Christian music and I don't care if I stick out from the crowd because he gives a really good message through all his songs. I also love his voice. He has amazing pipes and I wish I could sing like that. One day, I want to be a Christian singer like him. Thanks Brandon :)
Favorite Album by This Artist: Leaving Eden... Even though I love them all
Favorite Song by This Artist: "The Light in Me Fave"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 2
Favorite Live Show Experience:  The Leaving Eden Tour
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  Signed Leaving Eden Shirt and CD

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Top Indie Releases of 2011

Hi.  Last year, we started our first installment of the top independent albums of the year.  Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand we're doing it again!  This year, Samantha, Michael and myself went through and highlighted some of our favorite independent albums released in 2011.  This includes artists who currently have no record label as well as artists who are signed to what is considered an independent record label (Come&Live!, Humble Beast, etc.).  Take a look at our lists, check out what you haven't heard (maybe you'll find a new favorite!), and feel free to leave us comments about YOUR favorite independent albums from 2011. --- Scott Fryberger

Scott Fryberger's Picks
Aaron Newberry - Homewrecker
At one point, Newberry was the lone member of SONS (Sons of God at the time), so it's no surprise that he can hold his own as a solo artist.  Homewrecker sounded indie, but it was a solid effort.
Alert - Red Opus .45
The first full band to sign to Humble Beast, Alert really impressed me with their EP.  Terrific musicianship with hard-hitting and quick-witted lyricism.
Andrew Huang - Schism
A master of multi-genre music experimentation, Huang's blend of electronic music and hip hop is some of the best you can find.
Braille - Native Lungs
Braille and friends produced a banger with this one.  The raps are some of his best to date, and the beats are out of this world.
Heath McNease & For Beats' Sake - Straight Outta Console: The Nintendo Thumb Mixtape
For Beats' Sake shows off his creativity with Nintendo music-turned-beats, while Heath does some of his finest rapping thus far.
Playdough - Hotdoggin'
"Come on man, you heard the flow, you know who I am."  Raps so good you can't say anything but "gosh DANG!"  Playdough's labor of love blew hip hop fans away last April.
Playdough & Heath McNease - Wed, White & Wu
These two dudes teamed up for an extraordinary mixtape that kept it raw, and featured some amazing guest vocals all throughout the whole dang thing.  Get ready to take your shirt off, fellas.
Propaganda & Odd Thomas - Art Ambidextrous
Propaganda is a very skillful spoken word artist who also happens to be a great rapper, too.  Teaming up with Odd Thomas for Art Ambidextrous made for a terrific pairing of beats and vocals, with a lot of meat in the message.
sosaveme - The Garden
These guys were a bit of surprise to me in 2011, but when I was introduced to their first single "Gentle Slope," I knew I was in for a treat when I heard the rest of the album.  Solid indie rock with a bit of intensity and a load of imagery.
Southlen - Loving Life, Living Love
While not as recognizable as the other albums on my list, it's right up there with some of them as far as quality.  I heard of these guys when they signed up for our indie service, and I was very impressed by what I heard.  With so much mediocre pop rock in the indie scene, Southlen is a breath of fresh air.  I look forward to more from these SoCal guys.
Samantha Schaumberg's Picks
Benjamin Dunn and Friends – The Hymn EP
Quite a few bands released collections of hymns this year, but this EP was my most played set, with six cohesive, folky hymns strung together by an instrumental opener and closer.
Half Price Hero – The Outcome
This beautifully honest acoustic album from solo act Half Price Hero features quite a few excellent quest vocalists, including an appearance by Dan Smith of Listener on the opening track.
Playdough & Heath McNease – Wed, White & Wu
Not many duos could pull of a 17-track mixtape composed of Wu-Tang Clan beats. Also make sure to check out Playdough’s Hotdoggin’ and Heath McNease’s Straight Outta Console: The Nintendo Thumb Mixtape. These guys both deserve recognition for being so prolific this year.
Propaganda / Odd Thomas – Art Ambidextrous
Art Ambidextrous is more of spoken poetry over beats than a rap release. I had the opportunity to see Propaganda and Odd Thomas perform parts of this album together this year, and they were phenomenal.
Rigoletto – Prodigal Again
After the introduction, this EP only has four songs, but each of them is a separate masterpiece and all are definitely worth taking a listen.
sosaveme – The Garden
A great indie rock album that is, lyrically, very forward with bold imagery, one of my favorite releases of 2011.
Michael Weaver's Picks
Scott Silletta - The Life and Times of...
As a fan of Plankeye I was excited that Scott Silletta was back at it.  This was a great album that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Though it didn't make my Top 10 of 2011 list, it was an honorable mention at the 11 spot.
Cool Hand Luke - Of Man
This was an album that saw the end of a band I have enjoyed for many years.  It was a beautifully crafted album with deep spiritual content.  Though Cool Hand Luke will be missed, this was definitely a proper send off.
B. Reith - How The Story Ends
What more can you say about B. Reith other than he is amazing.  This was a great release that was tons of fun to listen to.  Can't wait to hear what he does next.
Our Hearts Hero - Love Is Breathing
This album caught me completely by suprise.  What started off as an album I wanted just to hopefully add a couple of new songs to my Christmas collection, became my favorite of the season.  While far from perfect, this is a fun Christmas album with a stellar title track in "Love is Breathing".
Falling Up - Your Sparkling Death Cometh
While not my favorite Falling Up album, I would be hard pressed not to mention it with 2011's indie releases.  This is another solid release from a band who has quietly been around for 10 years.


Featured Fan - Cecelia Evans

Cecelia Evans and Manic Drive

Favorite Band/Artist: Manic Drive
Featured Fan: Cecelia Evans
Location: Hatteras, NC
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Kingsfest, Kings Dominon Virginia
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: Manic Drive has such certain sound to the music. That I feel that no matter where I go there songs on in my head.
Favorite Album by This Artist: Blue
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Music"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 2
Favorite Live Show Experience:  N/A
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  My signed guitar pick
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Key to Making Wise Decisions

The Key to Making Wise Decisions

Practical Lessons for Understanding the Word of God

By Charles F. Stanley

How do you make significant decisions? Some people simply give in to the desire of the moment while others carefully consider the pros and cons to make the choice that seems most beneficial. But both of these approaches can be based merely on a person’s preference. The best way to make decisions is to rely on the principles found in God’s Word.

There are two fundamental foundations for making decisions. The first is principle—a fixed or predetermined mode of conduct. For a Christian, it is a moral rule based on the Word of God. That is why we should live by convictions that are grounded in Scripture. For example, the Ten Commandments tell us not to steal, lie, cheat, murder, commit adultery, or worship false gods. Issues such as these should be non-negotiable for believers.

The second source is preference. These are moral choices based on likes and dislikes—whatever seems best in the moment. A person who operates on this basis asks, “What is going to make me feel good, please me, honor me, or benefit me?” He or she is like someone speeding down a dark highway with no center line. Without clear boundaries, that person is in great danger.

Sometimes people fail to align their lives with the Word of God because they fear rejection. They think that if they go against the crowd, others won’t like them. Greed can also lead people astray. They are willing to be dishonest or unkind to make more money or get the promotion they seek. Others compromise. They rationalize sin, which is a quick route to bondage to it. These people fail to consider the long-term effects their choices will have for both themselves and others.

Instead of following our own whims, we should make choices based on indisputable biblical beliefs. Here are a few examples:

·        Jesus is the Son of God and the Savior of the world. He is more than a good man, a prophet, or a healer; Jesus is the only way to God (John 14:6). This principle should be at the basis of every decision.

·        The Bible is the inspired Word of God and, as such, is infallible and inerrant (2 Tim. 3:16). We can’t discount certain passages because they are hard to accept. All of Scripture is important and relevant to our lives.

·        Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19). Believers should not abuse their bodies with destructive things such as drugs, alcohol, or immorality. Instead, we ought to treat them as tools for glorifying God.

·        Money is not a god. Accumulating wealth is not our highest priority (see Hebrews 13:5). Everything we have belongs to God, and we should be good stewards of it.

·        The proper place for sexual relations is marriage (1 Thess. 4:3-7). Any deviation from this principle will only lead us away from God’s will and create a stronghold for sin in our lives. 

Principle or preference—which of these best describes how you make moral decisions? My prayer is that you will choose to live your life based on the unchanging truths found in God’s Word. His guidelines will save you from many kinds of heartache. Will you still experience difficulty? Yes. But obeying Him always results in internal peace and joy, regardless of your external circumstances. Surrender your preferences to God, and let Him show you how to live by His holy, unchanging principles.


Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


Monday, January 16, 2012

We Recommend - The Ws, 'Fourth From The Last'

With the popularity of the third-wave ska movement came a similar and more short-lived movement: Swing Revival.  While many Christian bands jumped on the third-wave ska bandwagon, really only one band joined the swing crowd from the market.  The W’s joined the likes of Big Bad Voodoo Daddy and other secular artists for a short, three year and two-album career; their first of which was entitled Fourth From the Last.

 While the album was spiritually relevant at times, at others, it was just plain funny, and yet other times nailed them both.  I still remember watching the video for “The Devil is Bad.”  The song was the biggest hit of the album and featured the band playing live at a swing club, a hysterical children’s lesson on felt board, and it got even better as the band started dancing around on a background exactly like the felt board.  For some reason the track has always stuck in my head and I think it always will.

“Moses” is another fantastic song that ponders the thought, “How can God ever use me?  I’m just a nobody.  He sees everything around me.  What does he see in me?  The song reminds us that no matter how insignificant we feel, God can use us for His glory.  “Frank” is a wild tale of a man looking to punish the W’s for playing their music too loud.  “King of Polyester” continues the fun as a great song about a bowler and his perfect game, and “Alarm Clock” is a telling of a rather unusual series of occurrences that is discounted as, “…just an average day.” 

Was this the best album of 90s?  Not by far, but it is a completely fun listen and a great trip down memory lane.  This CD tends to end up in my player at least a couple of times a year.  If you have this album, dust it off and give it a listen.  If you don’t, it is available through your on-line retailers; do yourself a favor and check it out.  They even managed to win two Dove Awards in 1999.  I promise you’ll love this one.


- Michael Weaver

The W's
Fourth From The Last (1998)

Click here for our review of the album.

Our synopsis: "A gem from the Swing Revival that will always be a stand out in my heart." (Recommended by JFH's Michael Weaver)
Perfect For: Encouragement, Good clean fun, and the best bowling song known to man.
Song Highlights: "The Devil is Bad," "Moses," "Open Minded," "Frank," "Alarm Clock"

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

Featured Fan - Blake Bell

Blake Bell and Disciple

Favorite Band/Artist: Disciple
Featured Fan: Blake Bell
Location: Monticello, Georgia
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Six Flags Over Georgia
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You:  Disciple has been my favorite band since I was in sixth grade. I love how all their songs focus around God and how His power and grace affects people's lives. I know whenever I'm having a bad day, I listen to one of their songs and everything seems fine afterwards.
Favorite Album by This Artist: All their albums are amazing
Favorite Song by This Artist: "I Just Know"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 3
Favorite Live Show Experience:  At Atlanta Fest of 2011, Kevin spoke of the power of God and the wind blew strong, then it started to pour raining. It was an absolute act if God.
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  It would be my beanie.
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Monday, January 9, 2012

Featured Fan - Angela Schweinitz

Brandon Heath and Angela Schweinitz

Favorite Band/Artist: Brandon Heath
Featured Fan: Angela Schweinitz
Location: Springboro, OH
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Music Boat Cruise
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You:  Brandon's music, (especially his acoustic stuff) really speaks to me through its lyrical depth. I don't think Brandon's songwriting is like anyone else's. Brandon writes lyrics with honesty, clarity, and heart. His music helps me get closer to God and understand the heart of God for me. I made Brandon the bracelet he's wearing out of para-cord. It was a rough and insane journey to make this bracelet (definitely a labor of love, but I was glad to see it fit!!
Favorite Album by This Artist: Leaving Eden, although I love many tracks from What if We and Don't Get Comfortable
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Red Sky"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 6
Favorite Live Show Experience:  The Leaving Eden Tour
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  Brandon Heath Bracelet
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

2011 - Wow, What a Ride!

Hey everyone! Jameson here! Well it’s officially 2012, and TGT is leaving behind the year 2011. For us, the year 2011 was full of many great times, difficult times, and memories that we will laugh at for the rest of our lives! Well, here’s a recap of some of the events of 2011:

In April we released our first single off of our Rebuild Your Love EP. Even though we had released 2 other singles off our second album, we felt very optimistic about the future of this song. The song is about showing genuine love to people—not the kind of love that is found in movies and cheesy songs, but a love that can be found in a relationship with Jesus Christ.

June was probably the busiest and most transitional period the band has ever had. I got married June 20th of this year and had a beautiful destination wedding. Before leaving to get married, Miah, our old lead singer, announced that he was leaving the band. He explained he needed to be home with his family which we completely understood and supported that decision. But this left Tommy and I wondering where to go from there. At my wedding (which was completely amazing!) Tommy played the ukulele and our manager, Alan Howe, officiated. It was truly a blessing to have them both involved in my big day! While down at my wedding we received word that our song “Rebuild Your Love” had broken the charts. After hearing that, Tommy and I decided that we definitely wanted to find the right singer and continue moving forward with TGT. The day after my wedding Tom headed back to Ohio to get ready to perform at Alive Festival while I headed out for my honeymoon.

In the month of August we got the biggest news our band has gotten so far! We heard that our single “Rebuild Your Love” had reached the #1 spot on the Christian Rock Billboard Charts. During August we had also set out for a tour with Come Wind. While on tour we performed at The Fest alongside such artists as Blessed Union of Souls, Mercy Me, Remedy Drive, and Shine Bright Baby.

In September we welcomed Zack Zaborski to our band as our new lead singer. We were very excited to get Zack and it was during this month that we played our final show with Miah. We performed at Ignite Fest with KJ52, Bread of Stone, Satellites and Sirens, Philmont, After Edmund, and many others! We were sad to see Miah go but we also knew that getting Zack was a blessing and a great sign to keep moving forward.

In November we did our first tour with Zack. We did a 2 week run throughout Florida. We had a blast and enjoyed the beautiful weather. We had one mishap in which Zack and I actually wrecked into each other on some jet-skis. We felt very blessed to walk away from the accident with no injuries, but the jet-skis were a different story. But overall, the tour was a lot of fun! November was also a month where we began shooting our music video for “Rebuild Your Love” with a hopeful release in early 2012.

In December we released our second single off of our Rebuild Your Love EP called “Chaos Parade” which was co-written with Audio Adrenaline guitarist Barry Blair. Before the release we did a 3 week run with our friends in Please Promise. This tour took us to Texas, Kansas, Illinois, and Tennessee. This tour probably left us with the least amount of room in the van and trailer because we decided to ride together and carry full lights and production. Although we were all crammed together in our 15 passenger van, we had an absolute blast! We finished up December with a show in Kentucky and a New Years Eve Show in Missouri—both of which were an amazing way to end the year for us!

All in all, 2011 has been a great year of growing for our band and a lot of big stuff has happened. We went through crazy lineup changes that left us as a 3 piece, we had our first single spend 20 weeks on the charts and our follow up single is ending the year at #21. We also had the privilege of sharing the stage with amazing artists like Flatfoot 56, Eleventyseven, The Fold, White Collar Side Show, Chasen, Grave Robber, and Francesca Battistelli. With that being said, we look forward to 2012 and we think it’s going be a big year for us. Thanks to everyone who supported us in in 2011, and we look forward to see more of you this year! Stay Sweet.