Posts Tagged ‘Broadcasting’


Singer Kevin Max by a window, taken for public...

Kevin Max Smith, formely of DC Talk.

A few months ago I was at my day job and I was listening to Out of the Grey’s 1993 self-titled debut album on my Grooveshark account. My boss waltzes in and sees my home screen, which has a picture of the album cover and asks “Out of the Grey: are they still ALIVE?!” to which I respond with a “yes.” Needless to say, he was surprised that someone as young as I would actually know who Out of the Grey is.Unbeknownst to him, I am well-versed in who Scott and Christine Dente are as I am with the likes of Stevie Nicks and Pat Benatar. I have or have had at one point all of their albums and seen them in concert twice in the 90’s – my parents would take me.

It got me to rethink something I have been pondering for a considerable amout of time now: why can’t the Contemporary Christian Music industry see that there maybe a market for a CCM classic station? One of the things that I hate about CCM radio is they refuse to play anything from the 70’s-mid 2000’s. With the exception of their golden boy Chris Tomlin, its like artists such as Point of Grace, DC Talk, Rebecca St. James, Out of the Grey, Russ Taff, etc have all dropped off the face of the earth.

As a result of this, a whole generation is now coming of age not knowing that TobyMac is famous for being in DC Talk, not just his solo work. They’ll never know who the other two guys are: Michael Tait and Kevin Max Smith. Nevertheless, it’s a travesty that these guys will never know that great band.

Plus, people like retro. They love nostalgia. That’s why classic rock is very popular. That’s why, whenever a long-broken up band (such as Black Sabbath, Fleetwood Mac, the GoGos’s, Aerosmith) return, they return in a major way. People buy their tickets and albums because not only do they like the new stuff, but they also like the familiar faces. From what I saw when TobyMac performed “Jesus Freak” in concert as the encore, the crowd LOVED it.

Also, with CCM, there is one thing that makes it stand out from all other genres: its the same rhetoric from over 2000 years ago. Granted, yes, some of the slang maybe different as well as styles and fashion choices, but the message is the same. Though yes, Christians should try to remain relevant but relevancy for one person is irrelevancy to another. Who knows? Some people may love 80’s hair metal bands.

Additionally, great musicians are influenced by other great musicians. Margaret Becker and Amy Grant. would not exist without Joanie Mitchell. Without Metallica, P.O.D would not exist. Music, generally-speaking,  is a form of building blocks. If CCM doesn’t start both openly promoting older artists, they will be taking away a major building block in creativity. One must be inspired to create, so how come other, older Christian artists inspire a younger generation? Why can’t Amy Grant to a 16-year-old girl who feels excluded because of some of her nonlegalistic ways?

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Unfortunately, on Christian radio, music that sounds great is, well, nonexistent these days. That’s not the case with Amy Grant and her 1988 release Lead Me On.

Grant is probably the best-known person of her genre and with this release, it is well-deserved. She is better-known to nonChristians as the singer of such hits as Every Heartbeat, That’s What Love is For, Good For Me, and the number one hit Baby, Baby – all tracks from her multiplatinum release Heart In Motion, which is more pop-oriented and a little less sophisticated. Lead Me On is not that kind of album. It is much more sophisticated both lyrically and melodically.

On 1974, Grant talks about how she came to faith and how her faith has stayed with her through the years. She exclaims “stay with me/ make it ever new/ so time will not undo/ as the years go by/ how I need to see/ that’s still me.” Also, the way that Grant harmonizes with herself in a very echo-like manner is nothing short of beautiful.

Lead Me On is the best-known single from this album. Rarely does a song address history in light of religion: Grant addresses slavery and the Holocaust and what the victims of such tragedies were thinking by saying “man hurts man/ time and time, time again/ and we drown in the wake of our power/ somebody tell me why.”

Every single track on this album is great – which is a rarity in any genre. One thing that is constantly overlooked is the great production value of this album. For example, the excellent drum solo intros on Sure Enough and All Right.  It is a greatly overshadowed album and deserves much more respect than it is given.