THIS is Gospel Music??? What?!?!?!
Hallelujah! Today is an amazing day! Easter Sunday, 2010. I should be going to Church this morning, but having been corrupted by an overzealous Christ Converter a few years back, I’m still struggling to find my way back to the House of Prayer.
In the meantime, I do hear the divine every day as a devout House of Music follower. Inpsiring gospel or revival music has been making a big comeback from the most unlikely sources.
Growing in popularity in the early 1900’s, Gospel Music was heralded as sprited songs of praise and worship primarily claimed by the African-American community. Know as a music genre that needs to be seen and heard, the popularity of it has jumped religious fences and has become popular to a much larger mass (all puns intended).
Here are a few songs that will have you cheering AMEN at the top of your lungs…from some artists you might not expect.
1. “Move Up” – Patty Griffin – Profiled on CBS Sunday Morning this Easter (please check back for video link) for a feature on Gospel Music, Texan redhead singer-songwriter Patty Griffin powers out “Move Up” from her newly released gospel album, Downtown Church (which by the way, is amazing). Ironically, Patty admits she is not a particularly religious person – just loves the style.
2. “Coal War” – Joshua James – Critically-acclaimed alt-folk artist Joshua James is known for “his intimate vocal style and bittersweet lyrics, often dealing with tragedy, religion, and substance abuse.” Sounding like a modern-day addition to the “Oh Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack, “Coal War” harmonies, old-school feet stomps, and brilliant uplifting composition are what inspired me to write this post. You can purchase the album Build Me This here.
3. “The Feeling Music Brings” – Susan Tedeschi – Married to legendary guitarist and descendant of Allman Brothers fame, Derek Trucks, this woman has got some serious chops of her own. Mesmerized when I stumbled into her audience (literally) at Atlanta’s former 3-day music festival Music Midtown in 2002, I never heard that kind of a voice come out of a body like that. Susan Tedeschi is a diminuitive white redhead that sings with lungs that sound bigger than a big black woman singing to the Heavens at church on a Sunday. The heavy use of church organs and her thick blues background sound like a revival every time she steps out onstage. Downloading any of her critically-acclaimed albums will be deeply satisfying.
4. “Carry Me Through” – Dave Barnes – Starting out as an a capella departure from Nashville’s emerging pop artist, Dave Barnes, “Carry Me Through” builds into a full-on church anthem you just can’t help but sing to the heavens and clap your hands. Dave’s voice has the silky pop-star quality that makes you swoon but the depth of this song makes you think there’s way more to this artist than just another perfectly polished pop production (say that 10x fast). Dave is releasing a new album called What We Want, What We Get on April 6, 2010.
5. “People Get Ready” – Eva Cassidy Taken by sudden cancer at the young age of 33 in 1996, Eva Cassidy was an American blues/jazz/folk/gospel/country vocalist from Virginia whose voice could make grown men cry, according to the reviews on Amazon.com. She lived relatively unknown by the music world thanks to her shy demeanor but left behind her recordings that became devoutly honored after her death. Known for her interpretations of classic folk and gospel songs, her captivatingly haunting and pure voice are captured in this traditional song called “People Get Ready.” Her tragic story is detailed here and her living family fiercely protects Eva’s honor.
6. “Nothing But The Water” – Grace Potter and The Nocturnals – HOLY GOD! After I posted this article sans this video, my friend Brett Holland said he’d go BACK to church if he could hear this kind of music. Almost channeling Grace Jones a la “White Rabbit” (minus the drugs..maybe), the 2006 Boston Music Awards performance of “Nothing But The Water” truly feels like a religious experience to watch…complete with goosebumps and some serious worship. The buzz on Grace Potter has been reaching a fevered pitch lately. Set to release a new album in June, 2010, the recording called for a python in the studio that allowed them to nail the performance. I’m a believer!
Although I’d love to go to Rev. Al Green’s Full Gospel Tabernacle in Memphis for the true gospel and religious experience, I’m craving to see more unlikely artists venture into the gospel genre. Uplifting, familiar, and powerfully spirited, its roots are rich in heart, passion, and incredible musicianship. Amen!
For a continuous player of the songs featured here, just hit PLAY below. Any songs you think could be added to this list? Post a comment below and I’ll add it to the continuous player. Thanks for checking it out!