Thursday, December 15, 2011

Francis Chan - Crazy Love

Author - Francis Chan
Title - Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God
Publisher - David C. Cook

Pages - 205
Street Date - May 1, 2008

Personally, I love this book though I think it's not a book for everyone. I personally think it's not a book someone just gets for another as a gift. It's the type of book one walks up to the shelf to pick up themselves. It's a intentional book. It's a book for christians who are tired of the mediocre and religious cliches.

Author Francis Chan who is the founding pastor of cornerstone church in Simi valley California encourages Christians in this powerful piece to dare to take the bible literally. If we really knew how much God loves us, it would entirely change our service to him. Personally getting to the middle of the this classic, I was raising a number of questions in my mind against the author's views but that shows more of the pop Christianity we have been fed with as a church through various books. The last chapter titled 'the crux of the matter' is worth the price of the book but one cannot fully grasp the truth in it without reading the entire book.

'Crazy Love' is a must read for every Christian. Your faith would surely be reshaped and be seen in a better perspective as Francis Chan leads you through God's word on an urgent message this generation really needs to hear. You can't afford not to get Crazy Love. No one is gonna buy this one for you so you wouldn't think them crazy. Get crazy love, it's the beginning of an experience some would definitely term crazy.

"Christians are like manure: spread them out and they help everything grow better, but keep them in one big pile and they stink horribly.” - Francis Chan (From Crazy Love)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Robert Whitlow - Life Support

Author - Robert Whitlow
Title - Life Support ( The Santee Series, Book 1)
Publisher - Thomas Nelson
Pages - 400
Release Date - July 17, 2003

When Baxter Richardson is pushed off a high cliff by his newlywed wife who grew up in the Appalachian Mountains and is haunted by the unseen from her past, a heavy drama unfolds and female attorney Alex Lindale finds herself undone in the aftermath. Baxter Richardson survives the fall but is held on life support as Ezra (his father) and Rena (his wife) battles over his life. Their motives on retaining and terminating his life are called into question though Rena presents a written document  that states Baxter does not want to be kept alive unnaturally.
In this Frank Peretti meet John Grisham styled novel, Author and attorney Robert Whitlow brings up a tale that would ring in our ears like sweet music long after the last page has been turned.
  • The battle over a young man’s life
  • A young woman who is tormented and yet a torment
  • A fine pianist awaking from the throes of a divorce
  • An attorney who has it all together but is finding out as the story unfolds that nothing was really in its right place.
These stories collide in the one story titled ‘Life Support’. Though not so action packed, Life Support is one I highly recommend. Robert Whitlow’s writing is somewhat touching, inviting and captivating with plots that would excite the reader’s imagination, and the little quotes at the chapter beginnings are a plus. For lovers of courtroom suspense-filled thrillers of the likes of John Grisham and heavy spiritual themes of the likes of Erin Healy and Frank Peretti, You just got a new recommendation – Life Support


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Grammy 2012 [My Predictions]

I woke up this morn to the news (Thanks to the amazing Yada site) that the Grammy nominations were out. So excited about that and below are my predictions.

Category 1 - Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance

1. Do Everything
Steven Curtis Chapman
Track from: re:Creation
[Sparrow Records]

2. Alive (Mary Magdalene)
Natalie Grant
Track from: Music Inspired By The Story
[WOW Joint Venture/EMI CMG]

3. Your Love
Brandon Heath
Track from: Leaving Eden
[Reunion Records]

4. Jesus
Le’Andria Johnson
Track from: The Awakening Of Le’Andria Johnson
[Music World Gospel]

5. I Lift My Hands
Chris Tomlin
Track from: And If Our God Is For Us…
[Sparrow Records / sixstepsrecords]

Okay some songs I really love which were released this year aren’t on this list and I really don’t know what Natalie Grant’s Alive is doing on this list, it’s my least favourite song on the Story album. ‘My Heart’ by Chris Tomlin would have made a better cut. And Le’Andria Johnson’s Jesus is just the normal gospel tune, nothing special from my point of view. So and the winner is
Do Everything by Steven Curtis Chapman

Category 2 - Best Gospel Song

1. Hello Fear
Kirk Franklin, songwriter (Kirk Franklin)
Track from: Hello Fear
[Verity Gospel Music Group/Fo Yo Soul Ent.; Publisher: Aunt Gertrude Music]

2. Sitting With Me
Erica Campbell, Tina Campbell, Gerald Haddon & Tammi Haddon, songwriters (Mary Mary)
Track from: Something Big
[Columbia Records; Publishers: Precious Baby Music/T Bella Music/EMI April Music, It's Tea Tyme, That's Plum Song]

3. Spiritual
Donald Lawrence, songwriter (Donald Lawrence & Co. Featuring Blanche McAllister-Dykes)
Track from: YRM (Your Righteous Mind)
[Verity Gospel Music Group; Publisher: Quiet Water Entertainment]

4. Trust Me
Richard Smallwood, songwriter (Richard Smallwood & Vision)
Track from: Promises
[Verity Gospel Music Group; Publishers: Universal-Z Tunes/T.Autumn Music]

5. Window
Canton Jones, songwriter (Canton Jones)
Track from: Dominionaire
[Cajo Records; Publisher: CAJO Music]

Without Much Ado, The winner is
Sitting With Me by MaryMary. That song is just awesome! Though Window by Canton Jones almost got this one. It’s a great song too.

Category 3 - Best Contemporary Christian Music Song

1. Blessings
Laura Story, songwriter (Laura Story)
Track from: Blessings
[Fair Trade Services; Publishers: New Spring/Gleaning Publishing]

2. Hold Me
Jamie Grace Harper, Toby McKeehan & Christopher Stevens, songwriters (Jamie Grace Featuring Tobymac)
[Gotee Records; Publishers: Universal Music, Brentwood Benson Tunes, Songs of Third Base/Chriscendo Music, Meaux Mercy/Achtober Songs]
Track from: One Song at a Time

3. I Lift My Hands
Louie Giglio, Matt Maher & Chris Tomlin, songwriters (Chris Tomlin)
Track from: And If Our God Is For Us…
[Sparrow Records/sixstepsrecords; Publishers: sixsteps Music/ Songs/Vamos Publishing/Thankyou Music/ Publishing]

4. Strong Enough
Matthew West, songwriter (Matthew West)
Track from: The Story Of Your Life
[Sparrow Records; Publishers: External Combustion Music/Songs For Delaney/Songs of Southside Independent Music]

5. Your Love
Brandon Heath; Jason Ingram, songwriters (Brandon Heath)
Track from: Leaving Eden
[Reunion Records; Publishers: Sony/ATV Cross Keys Publishing/Big Skwawka Music, Sony/ATV Timber Publishing/Windsor Hill Music]

There's just something about Laura Story’s Blessing. Though I think She might not win this one  cause she’s new on the Grammy Scene but still I will still tag her winner.

Category 4 - Best Gospel Album
1. The Love Album
Kim Burrell
[Shanachie Entertainment]

2. The Journey
Andraé Crouch
[Riverphlo Entertainment]

3. Hello Fear
Kirk Franklin
[Verity Gospel Music Group/ Fo Yo Soul Ent.]

4. Something Big
Mary Mary
[Columbia Records]

5. Angel & Chanelle Deluxe Edition
Trin-I-Tee 5:7
[Music World Gospel]

The Love Album by Kim Burrell is so artistic but too jazzy, Hello Fear by Kirk Franklin, I personally think isn’t his best effort yet, Trin-I-Tee 5:7’s Angel & Chanelle? How did they get on this list? In fact I just couldn’t concentrate on listening to the album to the end. I personally think it was a weak comeback for the girls. As much as I want Mary Mary’s Something Big to get this, I don’t think it’s going to get it not because it’s not good but excuse me, we have a veteran on the list. So the winner is
The Journey by Andraé Crouch

Category 5 - Best Contemporary Christian Music Album
1. Ghosts Upon The Earth
[Brash Music]

2. Leaving Eden
Brandon Heath
[Reunion Records]

3. The Great Awakening
[Essential Records]

4. What If We Were Real
[Sparrow Records]

5. Black and White
Royal Tailor
[Essential Records]

6. And If Our God Is For Us…
Chris Tomlin
[Sparrow Records / sixstepsrecords]

I have listened to all the albums on this list except the Royal Tailor’s album and I must say these are very good albums. But I sincerely think Mandisa might be getting her first Grammy this year. So the winner is
What If We Were Real by Mandisa. Great Job girl!

So there it is, fingers crossed till February when the awards going to air. In the time being, keep rocking the music and check out the guys you haven’t heard of on the list.

P.S.- What are your own predictions? Who do you think is likely to get an award? I would like to hear your point of view, drop a coment :)

Monday, December 5, 2011

Press Play - World Anthem

Artist - Press Play

Album - World Anthem
Record Label: DREAM / Universal Music Christian
Release Date: Street Date: September 27, 2011

Album length: 12 tracks: 43 minutes, 33 seconds
iPod Pick - Walking On Air ( Feat. Manwell Reyes)

After two albums out that didn't seem to satisfy the creativity of music critics, the group formed from the former worship band of the impactful Los Angeles Dream Center is back with some fresh music. Let's see how this one unfolds.
The album starts off with the title track which starts off with a drum roll and intro which so reminiscent of Plumb's 'Great Planet Earth'. The anthem is a call to start a revolution. Group 1 Crew member Manwell appears on the dance floor ready 'F-I-R-E'. 'Let it Out' would make you double check if someone hasn't switched the CD for party hard Jamaican mix or Rihanna fast track. It an out of the box track for Press Play, really different from what you are used to from them.

'Just Like Lightning' sounds like something snatched from one those Hannah Montanna Shows with a little bit of the 80's ( say Cher or Madonna) thrown in. It's a dance floor disco light tune about surrendering. Walking on Air is a personal favorite. It a beautiful beaty and unique tune. You would simply love it.

Things suddenly take a slow and soulful turn on the tenth track 'Save My Life'. The worshipful 'Give it All' follows in the same vein show casing the fine vocals of the male member of the group. 'Angel Sings' which appeared on their debut 'Life is Beautiful' (but this time sounds way better and it's worth recording again) showcases also the fine talent of the male members once again.

Known not only on the christian music scene, my personal opinion: Press Play has come to stay and this album seals that fact. Bold, encouraging and worshipful, this is more consistent in tune compared to their former efforts. 'World Anthem' is sure a good place to start if you've never heard of this amazing band before. Check it out!

P.S. - Happy December and Merry Christmas (in advance) to all my readers. So happy to make it to the festive seasons. I love christmas. I recently gave some free music away on my other blog and also talked about a site where you can get lots of free music [Legally of course]. What are you waiting for? Click here and dive in. See it as a christmas gift . . . from me to you :)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

John C. Maxwell - Journey From Success To Significance

Author - John C. Maxwell

Title - The Journey From Success To Significance
Release date - April 7, 2004
Publisher - Thomas Nelson

Pages - 128 pages

In this must read hard back, John C. Maxwell president of INJOY reminds us that we cannot achieve our wildest dreams by remaining who we are. He also highlights the demarcation between success and significance and encourages with various real life stories of the importance of us living for others and going beyond ourselves in being significant.
Filled with quotes and real life stories that would inspire you, this book is a must read for those who desire to make the journey from success to significance.
Book Description (Amazon) : Best-selling author and nationally renowned motivational speaker John Maxwell looks beyond a worldly view of what matters to find a deeper call and a greater purpose in life. Stripping away the myths of success touted by our culture, he boldly and confidently asserts that true significance is only found by living in relationship with God and by using one's energy and influence to pass along God's love to others. Written in Maxwell's straightforward style punctuated with engaging stories and anecdotes, The Journey from Success to Significance is right on target for men's groups and business people as well as graduates.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Shai Linne - The Attributes of God

Artist - Shai Linne
Album - The Attributes of God
Release Date - November 1, 2011
Recording Label - Lamp Mode
iPod Pick - Faithful God (feat. Chris Cobbins and Sovereign Grace Kids)

The album starts off with the attention drawing spoken word piece titled 'The perfection of Beauty' which features Blair Linne. 'Only you are beautiful' speaks up Blair ' but yet invisible. True beauty is spiritual'. This beautiful piece is followed up by the repetitive chorused 'Not to Us' which I personally think should have come up later while a more powerful and fist bumping track such as 'Our God is in the heavens' ( which comes after the same styled 'Taste and See') should have been the album opener after such a powerful spoken word intro.

The half instrumental/interlude track 'The Holiness of God' comes up next followed by the retro styled 'Mercy and Grace' which might sound to fans of rap music like the old school Tupac's 'California Love' in sound style. The swaggered up voice of Melissa T. Shows up on the deep searching and soulful 'Lord of Patience'. This one is a personal favorite. The song talks about how God is enduring in his love towards us. A line would sure catch your attention "we know with you a day is like a thousand years and does that mean for every sin you cry a thousand tears" . And really I don't know why but the guitar intro of this track is reminiscent of Adele's 'Turning Tables' intro.

The track 'All consuming fire' comes next asking and answering the question 'What is sin? The glory of God not honored. The truth of God not sought. . The presence of God not priced. . . The person of God not loved. . . That is sin". 'Perferct Love' comes up next styled musically like 'Lord of Patience'. Okay,' Faithful God' which comes next is just so sick, it so so good. It's very hard to compare to anything and the guy featured on it Chris Cobbins' got a great voice. JR shows up on ' The Jealous One'.

This is my first Shai Linne record and I can boldly say that this man of God has something deep going on with Jesus. 'The Attributes of God' is a very focused album lyrically though sometimes musically monotonous. This is the type of rap album one carries along on a personal retreat and I don't mean to underestimate this beautiful work in anyway. I'm just pondering the deepness of this record. Only few people can boldly declare the attributes of God on a rap/hip hop record. For fans of hard core rap looking for some deeper lyrics than stories of sexy girls, gunshots and police infested weed stores, Shai Linne just place out a perfect alternative on 'The Attributes of God' and please do go for it, it's far worth more than the deal.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

D.A. T.R.U.T.H - The Whole Truth

Artist - D.A. T.R.U.T.H
Album - The Whole Truth
Record Label: Universal Music Christian / XIST
Street Date - September 13, 2011
iPod Pick - Cherished Feat. Cece Winans

It's all about being real and second chances on 'The Whole Truth'. Personally I'm reminded of a truth, which if we don't adhere to as Christians might lead us down a spiral down turn of pride, and it's that we are Christians not because we are perfect people but because we have received the grace, forgiveness and righteousness of Jesus Christ which also leads and empowers us to do the same, to give grace and to walk in righteousness.

On 'The Whole Truth' rapper D.A. T.R.U.T.H comes clean about his own sin and how God exposed him publicly ('Lights') and tells listeners the hard price they have to pay for the pleasures of sin and also begs for their forgiveness ('The Whole Truth'). Listeners are encouraged on the hard rock influenced sound 'Impossible' that God can do the impossible if we take our eyes off what we can see. 'Without God' follows in the same vein musically but with a throw back style. One of the things that really got me excited when I got this record was that one of my favorite worship leader, Mia Fieldes (who is popularly known for her participation in the Hillsong United band) was featured on a song ('The Whole Truth'). And the Skylar Grey -esque track is a must listen though very similar in progression to the popular 'Coming Home' song by Dirty Money and Skylar Grey but it's still a fresh tune you don't want to miss. 'Can't Believe' which features Eric Greene starts off like 'Bones' by Hillsong United but runs into something Pitbull would pull off if he had a duet with hot stepper Usher. Yes, its got that dancehall flavor, amazing tune.

The Akon styled 'Cherished' which features Grammy award winning artist Cece Winans would blow your heart away. Tracks like 'Go Misfit Go!', 'Alive', 'Survivor' (which features the amazing 'Suzy Rock') and 'Ain't Going Back' are a musical revolution. Haven't heard anything like them before.

This album is a great comeback for D.A. T.R.U.T.H. It's beautiful hearing someone talk about how they are receiving grace from people and God after a fall ( seriously nobody talks about stuffs like this these days). And it's not just the transparency, this record can get any party bumping. Wondering what this is all about and wanna hear the whole truth? Go get D.A. T.R.U.T.H's new album, it's 'The Whole Truth'.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Erin Healy - The Baker's Wife

Author - Erin Healy
Title - The Baker's Wife
Publisher- Thomas Nelson
Pages- 271

I started ‘The Baker’s Wife’ with shaky hands. Somehow from the first few pages, the supernatural twist drew me in.

Meet Audrey, formerly the pastor’s wife but now the baker’s wife. And no, it isn’t a divorce, it’s a series of event which flows from a choice that brought about this change. Meet Diane, a woman who is tired of her yesterdays but they keep showing up in her today. Meet Julie formerly Juliet,  a single 't' could mean a whole lot but then the first we hear about her at the beginning of the story is her blood spilled all over the foggy town’s intersection.

For me reading the Baker’s wife wasn’t just about the supernatural thrilling suspense. There were lessons to be learnt. 

  • What are the moral consequences of us neglecting a spiritual assignment as Christians?
  • Where is the thing line between grace and works in the matters of faith?
  • Can we practically love a broken person back to wholeness?

These are a part of the tough questions Author (and former Editor) Erin Healy tackles with a suspenseful and mystery driven thriller and she does a very good job on this one. The writing is insightful and sometimes is dashed with a poetic touch. But a little problem I had was at the ending chapters of the book. Healy touches on very sensitive and controversial psychological spiritual themes but makes no solid conclusion, in the style of Dan Brown’s ‘Da Vinci Code’ throwing the conclusion of such discussion to mere characters. I would have loved a bit more biblical perspective in these areas.

All in all, The Baker’s wife is a must read for anyone who loves the creep  . . . creep supernatural of V.C. Andrews, the action and ‘save the day’ protagonists of Ted Dekker novels and the emotional touch of Karen Kingsbury. Grab your loaves fast, you don’t want to miss the best servings from the best fiction bakery in town. Go go go get Erin Healy’s 'The Baker’s Wife'. After you have devoured the last page, you would smell the loaves still.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Jai - Culture Shock

Artist - Jai
Album - Culture Shock
Label- Outlet Music Group
Street date- August 02, 2011

Album length- 15 tracks: 59 minutes, 10 seconds
Genre- Hip-Hop/ RnB/ Urban
IPod pick- Saviour

Meet Jai though She's been around for a while, featuring on various hip hop artists' songs such as 'Hero' by Trip lee and 'God is Enough' by Lecrae. And now, she's out with her debut titled 'Culture Shock' which is sure to put out some shock waves on the music scene.

The album though upbeat and really hard to be classified into one genre is centred on the greatness and the mighty works of God ( 'I Love You (Human)', 'You Deserve My All', 'I'll Wait', 'Praise Grenade', 'Calling You'). Jai also tackles the subject of being confident in one's own skin on the upbeat 'Reflection' singing 'who am I to say i'm not good enough/ not tryna add colur to the Mona Lisa'. On Saviour we hear beautiful accapella echoes in the style of veteran artist Brandy. You would simply love it! 'Stand Alone' has a beaty african-esque danceable tune in the style of Beyonce's 'Girls' but at a slower pace. It's one of my personal favourites. 'Dancing For You' on which Guvna B features sounds like Beckah Shae meets Kesha, In fact Jai drops a long rap.

Other highlights include the morning sunshine song titled 'Good Day' which is sure to brighten up anyone's day with it's powerful message and energetic beats and 'Calling You' (on which Lecrae features) which is a pure praise song unto God.

I wasn't surprised when I learnt Jai wrote or co-wrote every song on this album and this is why. Fine, it's a hip album with lots of beaty tracks, party-ready is the term. In fact, a friend of mine while I was playing this said playfully 'and the party album of the year goes to Jai's Culture Shock' and I really giggled at that. But beyond the beaty music I hear some deep passion and heart on this album sincerely. The lyrics are deep, reflective and at all times point to a sincere relationship with God.

Truth be told there's no song titled 'Culture Shock' on this album but this album is 'shocking' in every sense. Tired of the same ol' same ol'? Need something fresh, real and at the same time entertaining? Let Jai awaken you with a shock from the deep 'sleep' our culture keeps pulling us into. :)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Steven James - Story

Author - Steven James

Title- Story

Publisher- Revell

Pages - 206

Holy creativity, that's what I can use to define what Story teller, Steven James delivers in his book 'Story'. I am amazed at the way, style and form Steven James' story is written. The closest I have ever seen to this is Max Lucado and Donald Miller. It's honest. It's poetic. It's fresh. And yes, it's a story about the greatest story ever told.

Steven James in his book 'Story' takes us through the bible in a style you wouldn't want to miss. Finding the thing line of Jesus's coming to save the human race from sin and how the majority and minority respond to 'free' freedom, Steven tells his stories, other's stories, bible stories, unseen stories and how they all intertwine with the story God is telling.

Steven James left me at many instances after reading a line with my mouth wide open savoring the beauty words can have when they are strung together correctly and also reconsidering how I'm letting God's story influence mine. Let me share one of those many instances. Steven writes in a chapter titled 'broken'

"Someone pointed out to me
That a pebble and a diamond
Are alike to a blind man

Maybe I've been fingering
Diamonds all this time
Without ever realizing it"

'Story' is a beautiful book that can be enjoyed in various ways. Writers and lover of good books would come across a new and innovative way of writing and for jaded christians or those inquisitive about the faith, it's an invitation to recapture the mystery. For anything don't (or never) skip (or miss) the chapters titled 'chains' and 'story'. They are worth the price of the book.

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Monday, October 10, 2011

Shanon & Michael Primicerio - Life. Now.

Author - Shanon & Michael Primicerio

Title - Life. Now. : Overcoming the ten obstacles that derail your dreams

Publisher- Bethany House

Pages- 166 (H/C)

Reading 'Life. Now.' for me was a journey. I was at a place I could only refer to as the 'edge' in my life. I was beginning to reconsider if really this and that was what I was meant to live my life doing in the face of many other 'blossoming' opportunities. If you've been there you know it's a hard place. Then somehow, I stumbled across Life. Now., a book by two twenty somethings (who are married) who have walked the same path at a local book store. And now I'm more confident about some things than when I started.
In a easy to read conversational style, husband and wife, Shanon & Michael Primicerio shed light on how we can take practical steps towards the future we see and dream so much about now. Tackling important areas such as how to fund our dreams, mentoring, handling relationships wisely, safe steps on getting out of your comfort zone and many more. This is a must read for anyone who is intentional about wanting to live the life they have always dreamed about.

What strikes home most about this book is the lace of honesty and sincerity with which it is written. They are not there yet, Mr and Mrs Primicerio tell us at the book opening but they would like to share principles which they have applied in their own lives which have worked well. And from the stories you would read in this book, you would be sure these are vast result producing principles.

Now, I am emboldened to face life head on. With God on my side, I know all things are possible. I don't have to doubt the things I am here (in this life) to do because I can't see anything. Even without 'seeing anything'. I can live my life now. Are you a twenty-something? Or maybe you are at that point of making a major decision? Are you trying to reason out if you can actually achieve why you are here? Or maybe if your dream is relevant to community? Then next time you stop at the bookstore, do get yourself a copy of The Primicerio's book. You would not be the same at the end of the journey. Yes you wouldn't. It's a good guide to living your Life. Now.

Sent from my BlackBerry wireless device from MTN

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Beckah Shae - Destiny

Artist – Beckah Shae

Album – Destiny

Recording Label - Shae Shoc Records

Street Date - August 16, 2011

Album Length – 12 tracks: 43 minutes, 27 seconds

Genre – Hip-Hop/ RnB/ Pop

iPod Pick – Music

There’s this fire and pumped up zeal that comes with anything indie artist Beckah Shae does. From her Youtube pop medley series to her inspiring tweets and to her former albums. And she sure doesn’t fail to deliver that on her new project. Two things never cease to amaze me when I hear the music of Shae. 1. The lyrical depth and rooting in God’s word and 2. Her easy, original and not forced mainstream sound.

It’s no news anymore that it’s hard to compare Beckah’s music to anyone’s style in the Christian market. Talk Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Leona Lewis and a bit of J Lo‘s new sound (yes, the sassy Mrs. Anthony and I’m talking about her ‘I’m into you’ style) now you are getting there and you aren’t even there yet.

Beckah’s last record ‘Life’ was so good (with tunes to be remembered down history’s lane like ‘Imagine’, ‘Forgiveness’, and ‘I’m Beautiful’) and I’m glad to tell you ‘destiny’ is in fact better. Kicking off with the ‘sing it your way’ styled ‘Are You Ready’ where Mrs Shae displays her amazing vocal range, and on to the mind+party bumping ‘Music’ which I personally think should go on mainstream radio. It’s a sound and useful advice to all music makers (no matter what genre) out there. ‘Music . . . . It has the power to take you somewhere’ Beckah croons. This is followed up by another party ready track titled ‘Supernova’ then the dancehall/ hip hop/ pop ‘Holy’ comes up next.

Other highlights on the album are . . . . It’s really hard selecting the highlights for this amazing album of terribly fantastic sounds and fresh message from the throne of grace. But when you pick up ‘Destiny’ take time to listen to tracks like ‘Hope’, ‘#PutYourLoveGlassesOn’ (In fact you can’t even miss this!), ‘Just to Know’ (This is a personal favorite) and the ragga flavored ‘Show Me’. These are sounds hidden somewhere in the middle you really don’t want to be caught skipping.

And yes, less I forget, ‘Just to Know’ is actually my personal iPod Pick (Though I have the whole album loaded) but this particular song speaks to me in deeper way, in common words: I think it was written for me. LOL! . . . And I think we can all relate to it too.

I can’t tell you all you are and would miss in just a review if you are not going to pick up Beckah Shae’s Destiny in the music store. It’s really fantastic and yeah . . . . It was worth waiting for!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

David Gregory - A Day With a Perfect Stranger

Mattie Cominsky’s husband comes back home claiming to have met Jesus in person. Sincerely Mattie thinks he’s lost it. She backs her bag to get away from the madness of it all with the excuse of an out-of-town business trip with hopes to decide on what might be the outcome of their already tortured marriage. Mattie’s will never be the same again when she lands in between two strangers on her flight from Cincinnati to Tucson.
In this soon to be modern classic, author David Gregory tackles hard questions on life, love and faith in a very tender and simple way of a story.
Alongside the book sets us on a part to answer questions we can only answer via an experience.

What would you have to say to Jesus if you met Him?

In fact would you recognize Him if you ever met Him?

Not so fast. Come take a ride in Mattie shoes as she spends a day with the perfect stranger.
You might be surprised at your answers to the questions at the end of it all.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Introducing : Dara Maclean

Meet new singer on the block, Dara Maclean. Her new single ‘Suitcases’ is already all over iTunes now. In fact she’s listed as one of iTunes artist to look out for including others like Miguel, lemonade mouth and many others. Dara’s music is something between the mid roads of the style of Lauryn Hill, the voice of Adele and the little pop spunk Natalie grant and Francesca Battistelli have in their music making her a unique artist to look out for. Building a summer playlist already? Let Dara have a place on it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Melissa Greene - Next step

Artist- Melissa Greene

Album- Next Step

Label- KOCH records

Street date - March 3, 2009.

Album length- 10 tracks. 40.1 minutes.

Genre- Pop

Ipod pick- Imagine

Every now and then we hear a song on the radio that inspires our heart to take action and make our world a better place. Worship Pastor and Former member of the group Avalon is here to give us more of songs like that on her debut. ‘Can you imagine what the world would be. . . . If Hope is the language we all learn to speak’ 30 year old Melissa asks on ‘Imagine’, a rocky ‘anthemic’ song about impacting our world. This is followed by should I say a consecration song ‘Wonder’ were the skilled singer cries out with strong vocals for more of Jesus. ‘Next Step’ is that beaty song reminiscence of the pop tunes of the Jessica Simpsons and Jennifer Lopez but with hope filled lyrics on getting back up when life seems to press a stop.

‘Long road to forgiveness’ would soon be a favorite once heard. A story song in the likes of Mark Schultz’s ‘Letters from War’ which centers on the joys and pains of letting go and forgiveness. ‘Army’ testifies of God’s mercy and refuge. It affirms God fighting our battles for us. ‘Too far’ is a nice pop rock driven tune. The album takes a solemn turn on ‘Jody’s Song’ where the singer sings about trusting God over the loss of a loved one.

For starters, I think this is a good start for Melissa Greene. Thumbs up to her for bringing up an original sound with her and not giving us something that sounds anywhere near Avalon. Wanting something new and refreshing this summer? The shelf holding Melissa Greene’s ‘Next Step’ should be your next stop when next you visit the music store.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jeremy Camp - We Cry Out

Artist- Jeremy Camp

Album- We Cry Out: The Worship Project

Label- BEC Recordings

Street date- August 24, 2010

Album length- 11 tracks: 50 minutes, 10 seconds

Genre- Rock

IPod pick- Jesus Saves

Jeremy Camp’s second worship project sounds indeed like something already heard. My opinion, Strictly mine. But don’t blame me. I’m a big fan of Camp. I have followed him since his debut ‘stay’. The thing about his music is that he’s got a signature sound. He‘s rock is so distinguished and flavoured. You would know it if it’s being played on radio without his name being mentioned. This uniqueness has amassed so much fans for Jeremy camp and even Christian contemporary music over the years.

The first thing that made me roll my eyes on ‘We Cry Out’ was seeing ‘Mighty to Save’ on the track list. Please this same song has been recorded by more than 20 artistes (after 2006 when Hillsong first recorded the song). And guess what, Jeremy sings it as plain and normally arranged as it comes. Popular worship songs (which you would be familiar with if you frequent the worship music shelf) like ‘Never Let Go’ and ‘Everlasting God’ also surface on the album. There are a couple of outstanding tracks on the album though. ‘Not Ashamed’ (which I think is the strongest track on the album lyrically and musically) and ‘Jesus Saves’ are radio ready tracks with easy to learn lyrics that you would soon want to learn.

The album closes with ‘Unrestrained’ and ‘King Jesus’, beautiful songs that talks about surrender to our Lord and Saviour. Long time fans of Jeremy Camp and Worship Music wouldn’t mind picking the new Jeremy Camp’s Worship Project to add to their archives. It would help if new fans taste the Jeremy Camp’s flavor on albums like ‘Restored’ or ‘Beyond Measure’ before visiting this one.

Friday, July 1, 2011


Artist- Group1Crew

Album- Outta Space Love

Album length- 50 mins

Record label- Fervent Records/Word

iPod Pick- Need Your Love

Wow! That’s the word that best defines Group1crew’s brand new full effort. The album kicks off with the electrified ‘Live it up’ which is sure to get you moving. Blanca’s voice is so refined so is the guys’ rap. ‘Need your love’ is that song you would just love to groove to every now and then. The songs talks about how we just can't survive without God’s love. The comparisons of God’s love to ‘rain on dry days’ and ‘ the oxygen I need to breathe’ would keep you saying a prayer as your groove to the beats. It’s all soulful worship on ‘walking on the stars’. The amazing  TobyMac is featured on the thoughtful ‘Let’s Go’ which is a wake up call. ‘There’s never a right time to get up and live life. . . . So take what’s you’ve been given and make time to turn someone’s day bright. . . The future’s what we make . . .’ This 'change' anthem is followed by the grunge styled ‘lean on me’ with rap calling out to a friend who has been through some hard times. ‘ when everybody fades away . . . remember I am here to stay’. The next song ‘ Beautiful’ is an album highlight. It’s indeed a beautiful song and Blanca’s ad-lib shines through.

The rest of the album ( Transcend, Outta space love, Manipulation, Breakdown) are party ready tracks with spiritual truth embedded with. Not neglecting the cool rap tunes about surrender  ( Please don’t let me go, Control )which also are very cool tunes. ‘Wait’ talks about patience in relationships and it has this Motown throwback. Beautiful concept!

All in all, Group1crew’s latest project is an amazing ride you don’t want to miss. Next time you stop at the music store you better grab ‘outta space love’, it’s your ticket for this out of space ride.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Artist: Mario Brown

Album: The Mario Brown Project: Glory

Record Label: Malak Entertainment

Street Date: August 20, 2010.

Album Length: 14 Tracks. 1 hour, 1 minute, 41 seconds.

Genre: RnB/ Urban/ Hip Hop

IPod Pick: Take Me Away

Lovers of soul classic RnB of the likes of Trey songs, Chris Brown and Brandy are in for a swell time on this one. Mario Brown’s new album is simply packed!

The album starts off with an Acapella tune reminiscent of Brandy’s Acapella (Something’s missing) from her Human album. The opening Acapella (Get to Know Ya) utilizes fine voice strings and studio perfection making it something you might soon be leaving on repeat. The next track ‘Grace’ sounds like something fellow contemporary Christian musician Anthony Evans might place on an album, very nice, bouncy and catchy. ‘Glory’ slows things down a bit, reflecting on a life that is to be lived totally for God. The vocal styling on this track would bring to mind the early days of veteran artist R. Kelly.

‘Take me away’ is just a hit! It’s one you would fall in love with after first listen. ‘I can Live’ is a sweet RnB ballad about how we can’t live our lives without God. You would hear strong lyrics like ‘I’ll surely die without you’ on this one. ‘Losin’ it’ sounds like a tune Justin Timberlake and Maxwell might just come up with if they had a collab but the lyrics are sure real and God centered. Mr Brown’s son Jae’min Brown appears on the beautifully penned ‘A Father’s Love’. A song centered on the relationship between a father and a son. Note this might just bring tears to your eyes before the track fades. And Jae’min has an amazing voice in the likes of Justin Beiber. The Party ready ‘I can do’ comes up next. Other highlights in the album include ‘Revealed’, ‘Don’t Let Me Die’ and ‘Proven’.

I don’t mean Mario Brown doesn’t bring originality to the table by comparing him to contemporaries in the music industry. In fact his sound is very new and fresh. Though the album falls into a couple of familiar pot holes of clichés on some track but never the less, Mario Brown’s new offering is something we could all use especially for those who have searched long and hard for a Christian alternative to the big names on the RnB and Hip Hop scene. Say ‘Hello’ to Mr. Brown’s ‘Glory’, people.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Artist – Kerrie Roberts
Album – Kerrie Roberts
Label – Reunion records
Street Date – August 24, 2010
Album Length – 10 Tracks, 39 minutes 15 seconds
Genre – Pop
IPod Pick – Take you away

I love what this new generation is doing with music, developing innovative styles, polishing their God-given talent and presenting the gospel of Christ in a very relevant way through very fresh and innovative music. New comer Kerrie Roberts doesn’t fail to deliver even more on her debut.
I personally love Kerrie Roberts’ music though the monotony in sound might be a bit upsetting but there’s something about this lady of God. She’s got a message of hope and that is what she shares with the world on this one. Kerrie has a strong and beautiful voice in the likes of artists like Christina Aguilera and Janna Long (of Avalon). In fact her voice is so reminiscent of Christina Aguilera’s strong contralto.
The album starts off with the bouncy and catchy ‘No matter what’ which testifies to the goodness of God and how he makes everything we go through come out for good. ‘Keep breathing’ is a personal favorite which is simply a song of hope. Other highlights of the album include ‘Unstoppable’, ‘Take you away’, and ‘Beautiful to me’. The intro of ‘Outcast’ might get you wondering who has mistakenly swapped Kerrie’s debut for the latest Britney Spears CD but the song changes sound at the chorus which later sounds like one of those bouncy songs of Spears contemporary, Aguilera. But lyrically ‘Outcast’ is a song that talks about standing out for Christ in a world that calls one to fit into the crowd.
Putting aside the ballads lined up too close together and the slight monotony in sound style, Kerrie Roberts’ debut is a good alternative for fans of Pop music and strong vocals of the likes of Christina Aguilera searching for something beyond sex- laced edgy lyrics and bubblegum pop beats.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011


Artist – Mandisa

Album – What If We Were Real

Label - Sparrow Records

Street Date – April 5, 2011

Album Length – 11 Tracks, 38 minutes 29 seconds

Genre - Pop/ Urban/ RnB

IPod Pick – Free 
First of all, I would like to say I was shocked by’s review on this album. It was in a way quite ‘belittling’. I formally wasn’t a big fan of former idol contestant, Mandisa but with this one, I became an instant one. Yes it’s that good. Lyrically, the album centers on authenticity in religion and just being real with our faith. 

The album opens up with the hard clap ‘Stronger’ on which Mandisa encourages listeners ‘the pain won’t last forever/ it’s only gonna make you stronger’. The title track ‘What if we were real’ a rock edgy tune with a nice lead guitar rhythm  follows with Mandisa opening up singing ‘I’m tired of saying everything I feel I’m supposed to say/ I’m tired of smiling all the time I wanna throw the mask away’ and she goes on in the chorus ‘We keep trying to make it look so nice/ and we keep hiding what’s going on inside/what if I shared my brokenness what if you shared how you feel .  . . . . What if we were real’? ‘These days’ is a soft pop, feel good song with very sincere lyrics. Mandisa sings about how God shows up through the little irrelevances and annoyances (like traffic and searching for our phones in the mornings). ‘It’s funny what you use to help me grow’ she sings on this one. ‘The truth about me’ talks about looking at ourselves in God’s mirror and not that of the world, listening to what God really says about us. ‘You say lovely I say broken/  I say guilty you say forgiven’ Mandisa sings passionately in the refrain. ‘Say goodbye’ is a personal favourite. It is beautiful really in its entirety. TobyMac appears on the party ready ‘Good Morning’. The intro to this one is quite reminiscent to Kylie Minogue’s ‘Love at first sight’. ‘Waiting for Tomorrow’ is a nice tune with very thoughtful lyrics and sounds a bit in bass lines like Natalie Grants ‘What are you waiting for’ from her ‘Awaken’ project. The fine piano ballad ‘Just cry’ picks up the central theme of being real. The bouncy ‘Temporary fills’ condemns a culture of ‘want itall, buy it all’.

Okay, ‘Free’ is just Mandisa on a whole new level, you just need to listen to this. On ‘Lifeline’, Mandisa acknowledges God as our source. The album closes up with an acoustic version of ‘Stronger’ which funny enough sounds very unique and is worth the listen.

Mandisa’s new album ‘What if we were real’ is what we’ve been waiting for since she left the American idols but it’s a pity we had to wait a couple of years before we could get it. On ‘What if we were real’ Mandisa shows her ‘realness’ in skill as a musical artist of her own class with style. The whole album’s got hand prints of handwork all over it. Mandisa’s great voice is put to better use; the tunes are great and the lyrics beyond amazing. Mandisa’s latest is the real deal and worth the listen. Go for it people!


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