Comfort Music from Contemporary Christian Musicians
While listening to the music of Casting Crowns, I decided to write a hub about them. Sort of like a tribute to them, their music and their great influence to each of us. My research though showed that there have been some hubs made about them already. Then I realized that as much as I love Casting Crowns, I also have some other favorite contemporary Christian singers and group that I could listen over and over again.
Christian music and gospel songs have become like a comfort food for me. There are three things I do when I need comfort or a de-stressor, something like an anchor for me; I always go back to these activities and it calms me, puts me in the proper and correct perspective.
- I take out my favorite book, put on my favorite oversized t-shirt, and sit in a corner of my bed and immerse myself to the beautiful words in the book, whichever I have taken at that moment. It takes me away from the chaotic, troubled mind until such time I am ready to think, after a consoling activity, more clearly about whatever is troubling me.
- I put on my favorite apron and rummage the refrigerator and pantry to look for something I can cook. Again, it is another way of immersing myself in an activity that is so mundane, but so calming, that I don’t have to think but just cook or bake.
- The third activity is something I do alone or in combination with any of the activities above. If in combination with reading a book or cooking, I would play my playlist of favorite Christian music on speaker and it would be a little loud so that anywhere I go in the house I can hear it. Good thing our house is not that big. If just in the mood for music, I would have my headset on and turn the volume loud, super loud, that all I can hear is the music.
Here are some of the contemporary Christian musicians that are on my playlist, some band, some solo:
Probably one of the most popular contemporary Christian band, Casting Crowns was started in 1999 by the youth pastor Mark Hall who also serves as the lead vocalist of the band. When they first release two independent albums on CD they were actually outreach projects for youth in the Atlanta area. Their first priority, even until today, is to minister to the youth through music. They would start up a band made up of students so they could lead worship during their Wednesday night programs, and while the student ministry grew, the band could play and do other things. Mark Hall has always said that music is not the point, rather “music is just a way of sharing the awesome love of God.” Despite their success in the music mainstream and even garnering awards from Grammy and Dove, they have never taken their eyes off the fundamental message they want to share, with the larger congregation they now have, which is the fact that Jesus is not a religion and God is not a book and that we need to have a relationship with Jesus as a person, it’s about life, not religion, it’s about relationships, not books.
The first time I heard the song, the lyrics hit me immediately. It was not preachy or sanctimonious, it did not tell me I was a sinner, which I already knew, but it sure made me think. This is one reason why I love their music, their songs, because it makes you think about your relationship with Jesus and how you want it to be. It is such a comfort as much as it uplifts you from whatever that is troubling you.The voice of Mark Hall has a certain clarity that makes the song more beautiful, simply more.
Mark Hall (lead vocal)
Juan DeVevo (guitar and vocals)
Melodee DeVevo (vocals and violin)
Hector Cervantes (guitar and vocals)
Chris Huffman (bass guitar)
Megan Garrett (keyboard, vocals, accordion)
Bryan Scoggin (drums)
Some of my favorite Casting Crowns songs aside from Who Am I are:Voice of Truth, If We've Ever Needed You, Here I Go Again, Praise You In The Storm, Prodigal, Prayer for a Friend, East to west, Somewhere in the Middle, Lifesong, and And Now My Lifesong Sings. Each one has a meaning for me, one way or the other.
Matthew Joseph West started out as an independent musician in the late 1990’s but it was only with the release of hid debut album Happy in 2003 that more people knew of him. The first radio single ‘More” stayed at number 1 on Christian AC charts for nine weeks and received nominations from the Dove Awards. I love a lot of his music especially because he also writes his songs. Actually, before he began touring as an independent artist he has already penned songs for well-known singers like Billy Ray Cyrus, Rachel Lampa and more recently for one of the most loved country bands, Rascal Flatts.
His experience in 2007 I think made Matthew value his voice more than ever. If he was good before his 'season of silence', I think he was certainly better after, his writing, his voice, and he was a better person from it. And he tired to show that it in his music for people to understand and get something from. He touches the lives of people with his music the same way he is touched by the stories people have shared with him.
Jeremy Thomas Camp is an ordained minister and a contemporary Christian musician. He has scored fourteen number 1 Christian music hits which include Walk by Faith which he wrote after his first wife died. He was upset; he was hurting and was asking why it had to happen and realized how faithful the Lord has been. My favorite version of Walk By Faith is actually the one when he sang it with his wife Adrienne Liesching who is the former frontwoman for The Benjamin Gate. But I also love the acoustic version which is what I shared here.
Aaron Shust was named songwriter of the year at the GMA Dove Awards of 2007 for his song My Savior, My God. He was also one of the worship leaders at the Presbyterian Church in 2000. While his music makes you feel comforted, more amazed it is the writing that Aaron Shust enjoys most. He shares that “Writing requires a time of rest. I always feel like I’ve accomplished something good when a tour ends or an album is recorded, but it’s exhausting. After I write a song, I feel relaxed and rejuvenated.”
Christopher Dwayne "Chris" Tomlin is a lead worshiper at Passion City Church and a multi-awarded Christian contemporary music artist having been chosen Male Vocalist at the 2006, 2007 and 2008 Dove Awards. He is the last on my list for now. There are other Christian contemporary musicians I listen to like Jaci Velasquez, Amy Grant, Natalie Grant and bands like BarlowGirl, MercyMe, Switchfoot, and many more. But the list above is the ones which are on my playlist whether it be Facebook, MySpace or in my computer.
There is so much that we can learn from them but if there is one thing that we can really see in all their music is that it allows you to have a relationship with Jesus, in your own time, in your own way. But if you are not ready, then maybe you can simply listen to their music and appreciate it.