Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Album Review: "The Good Life" by Trip Lee

Release Date: April 9th, 2012
Genre: Hip-Hop
Rating: 4.5/5 Stars

When one thinks of Christian hip-hop, one of the first names that comes to mind is Trip Lee. No doubt, Trip Lee has played a big role in increasing the popularity of the genre. Since his debut album in 2006, he has grown in both talent and recognition, winning the Stellar Award for Best Hip-Hop Album in 2011. Trip’s fourth studio album The Good Life focuses on redefining what the “good life” really is. Concerning the new album, Trip says, “Though the world, the flesh, and the devil lie to us about what the good life is, we don't have to be controlled by those lies…I want to challenge the lies we've been told, and present a new and more glorious picture.”

The album begins with Trip Lee saying, “I was told that living the good life meant getting everything I could. But I’ve been shown the brand new picture of the good life and its glories.” He then launches into a head-bobbing opener “New Dreams” which features J.R. and Sho Baraka. The first single off

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bible Verse of the Week: Trust in God During Times of Trouble

"They cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and He delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way." Psalm 107:6-7a

This verse instills a deep trust in the Lord in my heart. Vast changes or undesirable circumstances often arise the fleshly question of "Why?" to God. It is wrong to question Him, but we sometimes cannot refrain from wondering if God has forsaken us. It is in these times that it is important to remember that such trials are necessary for the testing and strengthening of our faith in our Christian lives. Amidst it all, we experience the faithfulness of God as He guides us through it all. David experienced this which caused him to confidently declare, "The LORD will fulfill His purpose for me." (Psalm 138:8a) I encourage you to face your trials with trust in God that He has a purpose for all things in your life. ~Jesselyn

Song/Video of the Week: "The Hurt & The Healer" by MercyMe

The new single "The Hurt & The Healer" from MercyMe is sure to become yet another hit from the popular band. This song is a great encouragement for those who are hurting. Lead singer Bart Millard reminds us that God is our Healer: "Even though a part of me has died / You take my heart and breathe it back to life." Check out the new music video for the song!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Artist Alert: Brand New Single from TobyMac, New Album "Eye On It" to Release August 28th

Nashville, TN, May 22, 2012: "Me Without You," the brand-new single from Grammy-Award winning and multi-platinum selling artist TobyMac was the most-added single at Christian AC and CHR radio last week, receiving a whopping 53 total adds—40 at AC and 13 at CHR. The song received an additional 10 adds in its second week. Produced by TobyMac and David Garcia, "Me Without You" will be available via iTunes on June 12.

"Me Without You" is the first track to be released from the five-time Grammy winner's upcoming album, Eye On It, set to release on August 28. Along with TobyMac's first three solo projects, his latest, Tonight, was recently certified Gold by the RIAA.

TobyMac has confirmed appearances at high-profile festivals this summer including Spirit West Coast, Creation East and AtlantaFest, in additional to many more. To check out his schedule please visit www.tobymac.com/tour.

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About TobyMac:
With over 11 million units in career sales, each of TobyMac's four solo projects have received RIAA Gold certification with his live CD/DVD taking home a GRAMMY® award in 2009. In 2012 the much-celebrated and acclaimed artist celebrated his eighth consecutive GRAMMY® nomination, this time for his songwriting contribution to rising star (and recording artist on his label, Gotee Records) Jamie Grace’s No. 1 hit “Hold Me.” His latest album Tonight received GRAMMY nods for “Best Pop/Contemporary Gospel Album" and "Best Contemporary Christian Song" with “City On Our Knees” the track that topped the sales and radio charts faster than any of his previous singles, spending 8 weeks at #1 on the Christian Audience Chart. Tonight also garnered him the highest sales debut of his solo career with over 78,000 units and a No. 6 Billboard Top 200 debut. The album was also named as iTunes® Best Christian Album of 2010 and recently took home the Dove Award for “Best Rock Contemporary Album of the Year.”

Along with sold out tour dates, back-to-back radio hits and being named the GMA Dove Award’s 2008 “Artist of the Year,” he was also nominated for “Favorite Contemporary Inspirational Artist” at the 2010 American Music Awards and was up for three Billboard Music Awards in 2011 including “Top Christian Artist.” The hit song “Tonight” was also chosen as the theme song for MLB’s 30 Clubs in 30 Days Spring Training Series and featured on the Golf Channel. Additionally, his music has been heard in major motion pictures such as “Hancock,” “TRANSPORTER 2,” while also being featured on Fox sports, The NFL network, being selected as the theme song for Fox College Football and WWE’s Fatal 4-Way Pay-Per-View. “Showstopper,” from the chart-topping album Tonight, was featured in ESPN’s ESPY Award Show and used to launch the last season of CBS hit television show CSI: NY. For more information on TobyMac, go to: www.tobymac.com

Artist Alert: 2012 Billboard Music Awards Results



The 2012 Billboard Music Awards took place on Sunday, and the winners of the three Christian music categories were announced. Below is the complete list of winners and nominees. Go here to view my own picks for each of the awards.

Top Christian Artist
Winner - Casting Crowns
MercyMe
Skillet
Laura Story
Chris Tomlin
Top Christian Album:
Winner - Casting Crowns "Come To The Well" Casting Crowns "Until The Whole World Hears"
Skillet "Awake"
Laura Story "Blessings"
Various Artists "Wow Hits 2012"

Top Christian Song:
Winner - Laura Story "Blessings"
Casting Crowns "Glorious Day (Living He Loved Me)"
Jamie Grace Feat. TobyMac "Hold Me"
Mandisa "Stronger"
Matthew West "Strong Enough"

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Free Music: $2 Amazon MP3 Credit for Sharing on Facebook

This next free MP3 credit offer from Amazon requires both an Amazon AND Facebook account. First, go here and in the box, let them know what your current favorite song is. Then, that will be automatically posted to Facebook. Amazon will redirect you back to their page where you will have $2 MP3 Credit to use on whatever songs you like! Big thanks to The Free Christian Music Blog, my source for all the latest Amazon MP3 credit deals! By clicking the link I gave you, you will also be supporting them. So, what song(s) did you choose to get with your extra credits? Comment and let me know! I bought "Healing Rain" by Michael W. Smith!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Artist Alert: Allan Scott Releases "Blameless and Free EP"

A month ago, I posted an album review for Allan Scott's EP "Blameless and Free." The four-song release, which garnered a five-star rating from me, has now been released to the public! You can buy this EP for just $3.96 at Amazon by going here, or at iTunes by going here. This is my favorite worship release of the year so far, so I know that you will enjoy the music on this EP. Be sure to get yourself a copy, and be on the lookout for the full album which is set to be complete by the end of this year or the beginning of next year!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Artist Alert: Hip-Hop Artist Lecrae Release Free Mixtape

Christian hip-hop veteran Lecrae has released a mixtape titled Church Clothes to the public. The best part about this mixtape is that it is absolutely FREE! The purpose of this free album is for Lecrae to reach out to the mainstream audience. Thus, this mixtape is directed mainly towards the non-Christians, but Christians will still enjoy this album. I've listened to it once already, and I know it's going to be on repeat for a while (I'm listening to it a second time as I write this post)! The lyrics are not watered down at all, but musically, fans will get something they haven't heard from Lecrae yet: these songs feature a street hip-hop style! To download the full mixtape for free, just go to the datPiff website here. If you have any non-Christian friends who like hip-hop, be sure to let them know about this mixtape!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Song/Video of the Week: "Church Clothes" by Lecrae

This week's choice for song/video may be a little surprising to some people despite the fact that the song's artist is Christian hip-hop veteran Lecrae. "Church Clothes" is the lead single and title track to Lecrae's upcoming mixtape which releases May 10th. (If you haven't downloaded your free copy of this song, go here to find out how to do so.) However, this mixtape is directed towards the mainstream audience (i.e. non-Christians). This song is spoken from the voice of someone who does not go to church and feels that he can justify his sinful ways due to the hypocrisy in the Christian church. For Christians, this song could be seen as a wake up call to direct attention to some churches where this hypocrisy does indeed exist. Get ready, because this song gets really deep.


Bible Verse of the Week: Trust In The LORD With All Your Heart

"Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." -Proverbs 3:5-6

Although this is a verse that is learned in childhood, it is a great reminder for us throughout our spiritual lives. It begins by saying not to trust in our human abilities, but to lean on God with all our hearts. Interestingly, 'heart' was also used in the command in Deuteronomy 6:5, "Love the LORD your God with all your heart..." In the Old Testament, the heart embraced the totality of human personality--intellect, emotions, will. However, it was and still is what easily forgets God when overcome with pride, fear, doubt, and a plethora of other things. When this occurs, road-blocks and bumps and twists appear; God is the only One Who can straighten that path. Verse 6 promises that God will direct our lives if we acknowledge Him in all that we do. I encourage you to never rely on your own strength but to trust in the Lord with your whole heart. ~Jesselyn

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Song/Video of the Week: "I'm Alive" by Peter Furler

Following his success at the WinterJam tour, Peter Furler has released a promotional video for "I'm Alive," the first track on his album On Fire. The video features footage taken live in concert during the tour. It was great seeing Peter and Phil Joel on stage together again, so newsboys fans will love watching this vid! You can read my review for Peter Furler's debut album by going here.

Bible Verse of the Week: John 14:26

"But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father will send in My name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you." -John 14:26

Although sometimes overlooked, the Holy Spirit is the One Who opens our eyes to understand the Word and discern what God is speaking to us. As this verse states, we do not have to be concerned about what we will say when we are challenged because the Holy Spirit abides in us. An example of this is in Acts 4 when Peter and John were questioned what power allowed them to heal the lame man. Verse 8 says that Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit and answered that the man was healed by the name of Jesus Christ. Upon hearing this confident response, none could find fault in them. In order for you to be filled with the Holy Spirit, I encourage you to hear the Voice at the door of your heart and open the door to let Him come in. ~Jesselyn