Listen to the new album from Sam Hauge!
Listen to the new album from Sam Hauge!

Top 15 albums

   "The internet loves its lists. There are seemingly thousands published every day. But this list is different, in that it is a highly personal, subjective accounting of artists that made a difference in my life. Their music has done so much more than to serve as something to put on in the background. It's made it's way into the inner chambers of my heart and helped me to gain a new perspective on the world. It has helped to soothe me during times of trouble, and encouraged me to get up when I've fallen down. Music is one of the Lord's neatest inventions, and it has brought color to my life and it's a gift beyond measure. Music is spiritual food for my soul. For this list I've stuck with artists who are currently active in some form. There are many more than this that I could name (Rich Mullins, Larry Norman and the classic lineup of the Newsboys should be here), but to give the list some context and boundaries I've stuck to this (self-imposed) guideline."


1 Switchfoot

"Switchfoot hits me on all levels. Jon Foreman is a restless, creative soul, and the band, who has never had a member leave in twenty years, continues to explore new ground with each passing year. Foreman’s solo work is also marvelous. But more than just enjoy the music, Switchfoot makes me want to change, to grow, to see the world in a new way each day. They are, in fact, my life coach."

Favorite Album: Hello Hurricane

Favorite Songs: "Needle In A Haystack Life" "Love Alone Is Worth The Fight" "This Is Your Life"

4 The Choir

"The Choir has a depth and beauty that gives credit to their name. They sound like many voices all in one, with the power and beauty to express and explore the nature of God and humanity with the humility and grace those subjects demand."

Favorite Album: Chase The Kangaroo

Favorite Songs: "Cross That River" "The Ocean" "Beautiful, Scandalous Night"
4 Andrew Peterson

"As a fellow believer, songwriter, goofball, author, dad and Lord Of The Rings enthusiast, Peterson is my patron saint."

Favorite Album: Light For The Lost Boy

Favorite Songs: "Don't You Want To Thank Someone" "After The Last Tear Falls" "Dancing In The Minefield"
2 Jars of Clay

"This band has, hands down, the best name in Christian Music (they inspired my pen name, "Tin Can", as in the empty vessel that God uses despite its disposable, insignificant nature) and crafts, beautiful, epic songs and albums. I listened to Inland just the other day while on a drive, and I was struck again with the artistry they have brought to everything they've done. Start with the legendary, self-titled debut and move in order through their catalog, and you will be moved too."

Favorite Album: Good Monsters

Favorite Songs: "Only Alive" "This Road" "There Is A River"
3 Needtobreathe

"Needtobreathe gets better with each successive album, and they are taking their place as on of the best and brightest bands in any genre. Mixing the down-home quality of their southern upbringings with the bombastic and epic qualities of U2, Needtobreathe is as unique and dynamic as any artist out there right now."

Favorite Album: The Outsiders

Favorite Songs: "Lay 'Em Down" "Keep Your Eyes Open" "Difference Maker"
4 Third Day

"One summer, in my early twenties, I experienced a low in my life that I've (thankfully) not managed to find again. Third Day's Time album was the soundtrack for me coming out of that time, and I still sing "I've Always Loved You" as a personal anthem of God's faithfulness to me and all of us. Mac Powell's voice is what I like to think an Old Testament prophet's voice (Isaiah or Jeremiah) sounded like."

Favorite Album: Time

Favorite Songs: "I've Always Loved You" "My Hope Is You" "Soul On Fire"
4 The Lost Dogs

"It's almost impossible to express my love for some artists in a single blurb. But I love the Lost Dogs like I love my odd, beloved, eccentric uncle Bill. The Lost Dogs have dust coming out of their pores, and a body of songs that explore life and geography of the heart."

Favorite Album: Old Angel

Favorite Songs: "That's Where Jesus Is" "Breathe Deep" "Jesus On The Shore"
4 Over The Rhine

"Over The Rhine has been making some of the quietest, devastatingly beautiful music of faith you've ever heard, for over twenty-five years now. Go put on some tea, turn down the lights and listen to their double album masterpiece Ohio right now. I'll wait for you, I promise."

Favorite Album: Good Dog, Bad Dog

Favorite Songs: "Jesus In New Orleans" "Latter Days" "I Radio Heaven"
4 Sixpence None The Richer

"Everything I said about the Choir and Over The Rhine? Ditto with Sixpence. Beautiful, epic, heart-wrenching music. Start with their first album, The Fatherless And The Widow and move all the way through their albums. You will not be disappointed."

Favorite Album: This Beautiful Mess

Favorite Songs: "Love, Salvation and the Fear of Death" "Paralyzed" "I've Been Waiting"
4 Fire Iron Frenzy

"Five Iron continues to write zany-yet-thought provoking songs that always seem to catch the zeitgeist of the culture around them. "Zen And The Art Of Xenophobia" from their last album is a great take on immigration issues in an election year where a certain party has made this issue its number one priority. The ability to pogo between worshipful moments, zaniness worthy of Monty Python's Flying Circus and cultural commentary make Five Iron a treasure; an odd, odd treasure."

Favorite Album: Our Newest Album Ever

Favorite Songs: "Every New Day" "Zen And The Art Of Xenophobia" "A Flowery Song"
4 Plumb

"Plumb, once a band, now an solo artist, continues to write heartbreaking and rocking songs that touch on the darker issues of life. But this year, she released a worship album that showed another side. I have great memories of blasting the debut album in my car on road trips in college."

Favorite Album: Candy Coated Water Drops

Favorite Songs: "Stranded" "Drifting" "Exhale"
4 Sara Groves

"Groves is a quiet, thoughtful treasure of an artist who sounds like the book of Ecclesiastes to me. Her new album Floodplain is a master's class in mood, metaphor and majesty."

Favorite Album: Invisible Empires

Favorite Songs: "Jeremiah" "Pictures Of Egypt" "When The Saints"
4 Matthew Perryman Jones

"The fact that Jones is under the radar is proof that we should scrap the radar all together. If it were possible for U2 and James Taylor had a musical child, Perryman would be the result. Perryman's current EP Cold Answer is seven perfect, majestic and haunting songs."

Favorite Album: Land Of The Living

Favorite Songs: "Until The Dawn Appears" "Waking Up The Dead" "Save You"
4 Burlap To Cashmere

"With only three studio albums (and two solo albums from front man Steven Delopoplous), Burlap has made every one of them count. Their Greek folk music-meets-Coldplay-meets-Cat Stevens sound is as singular as anything out there."

Favorite Album: Is There Anybody Out There

Favorite Songs: "Mansions" "Nehemiah (Build A Wall)" "The Great I Am"
4 Josh Garrells

"Have you heard Love & War & The Sea In Between? If you haven't, schedule an hour and a half off, sit in a comfortable chair and be ready to go on a journey. It's the audible equivalent of a C.S. Lewis novel."

Favorite Album: Love & War & The Sea In Between

Favorite Songs: "Farther Along" "Resistance" "At The Table"


"Propaganda is a passionate lyrical master, who's interests and subject matter is as wide as the Pacific Ocean. He transcends the genre of Hip-hop to something resembling epic poetry with a social conscience and a heart for his fellow man."

Favorite Album: Excellent

Favorite Songs: "Redifine Cutter" "Crimson Cord" "So Help Me"

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