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come to the Well (Beach Street/Reunion Records) FOR FANS OF: Newsong, Mercy Me QQQQ
It seems Christian music is in the midst of an era where artists feel they must push boundaries and copy mainstream acts, but Casting Crowns seems to be oblivious.
Instead, they keep churning out stellar, well- written albums. Although there are some formulaic moments (“Angel,” “Facedown”), overall, they have stayed true to themselves and have some true shining moments. Best of all is the charge to fathers and husbands on “Courageous” and the heartbreaking emotion of “Just Another Birthday.” no need to change when what you know is this good.
–Grace S. Aspinwall
WE LIKE: “Just Another Birthday”
Invisible empires (Fair Trade Services) FOR FANS OF: Andrew Peterson, Audrey Assad, Shawn Colvin QQQQ
Groves’ keen insights have perpetuated a catalog of transparent lyricism and emotive melodies. With decidedly thicker production than 2009 critics’ choice,
Fireflies & Songs, the well-articulated singer/ songwriter beds poetic verses with perfectly earmarked guitar strains, gentle beats, quietly provocative piano and heartrending vocal phrasing. Her doubts: “There are so many fakers, I myself have faked it/I should know/Sometimes this has left me groping in the darkness/Hoping in the darkness I will run into you again,” serve to strengthen, rather
All release dates and album titles are subject to change. For the most up-to-date release schedule, visit www.ccmmagazine.com/ category/adult-contemporary/
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than diminish, her convicted beliefs—making Invisible another graceful chapter in Groves’ remarkable discography.
WE LIKE: “Mystery”
shane & shane
The One you need (Fair Trade Services) FOR FANS OF: Josh Wilson, Shawn McDonald, Ginny Owens QQQQ
From the gritty soul stomp of “liberty” to the Jason Mraz-ish acoustic jam of “Future Version” and the poignant balladry of “Grace is Sufficient,” the Shanes continue
their trend of recording scripture imbued, four-minute acoustic pop gems. With both now fathers, “The One you need” poignantly spins their God-centered lyrics into a warm parenthood prayer of surrender while the convicted cello on album closer “Praise Him” perfectly underwrites the fellas’ signature vocal harmony.
WE LIKE: “Liberty”
A Way To See In The Dark (Centricity) FOR FANS OF: Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman, Brandon Heath QQQQ
Guys with a guitar are a dime a dozen these days, but what sets Jason Gray apart from the posers is his relatable lyrical craftsmanship, comforting vocals
and delightfully understated production. With a little help from Jason Ingram (Tenth Avenue north, Brandon Heath) and Rusty Varenkamp (Sanctus Real, Michael W. Smith) behind the boards, the troubadour crafts the quintessential porch pop project that centers around evangelizing to a hurting world while tackling issues of fear, regret and redemption.
WE LIKE: “The End of Me”
SHAnE & SHAnE
THe One yOu neeD
FAIR TRADE SERVICES/ PROVIDEnT
cOme TO THe WeLL
BEACHSTREET RECORDS/ PROVIDEnT
FAIR TRADE SERVICES/ PROVIDEnT
REunIOn RECORDS/ PROVIDEnT
nO OTHER nAME
THe OTHeR SIDe
CuRB RECORDS (DIGITAl)