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JFH Staff Blog | May 2008

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Corn? Sure. One Ear or Two?

This post really has nothing to do with the fact that Amy made corn with dinner last night. See, I'm a corny guy, I'll admit it -- in fact, I embrace it. As I was lying in bed this morning, for some reason the thoughts of when I used to lie in bed alone as a teenager and listen to music before I fell asleep (and sometimes before I'd start a day of school... I miss PFR) popped into my head. iPods were a thing of the future so back then, I had graduated from my walkman tape player to a delightful Sony Discman (that was a good Christmas!), and I'd keep a couple CD's under my bed when it came time to turn in, for if I was in the mood for a couple different records... but I don't know if it was just the season in my life or what, but I feel like I had a few more albums that I just really loved to lay in bed and soak in back in the mid-to-late-90's.

Now, whether that means albums were more thematically, as a whole, applicable to how I felt at the time of listening than today, I don't know, but I do remember certain CD's that really hit home. Between Thieves' self-titled instantly comes to mind - particularly songs like "Despite The Rain," the prayerful "Kindle," or my (seemingly) life's anthem, "Privately." I remember in my post-college years, Audio Adrenaline's "Lift" had its moments for sure. "Tremble" was always an incredible moment. But there were always records from Bride, Grammatrain, Bleach, Dakoda Motor Co's "Into The Son" (huuuge in my teen years for me), Eric Champion's "Vertical Reality" and later "Transformation" records, Guardian's "Buzz," Church Of Rhythm's "Not Perfect," Code Of Ethics' "Arms Around The World" and "Soulbait"... Man...... Jars of Clay's debut. That was a big, big, big one for me in my freshman-into-sophomore Summer... Ha, I'm totally getting flashbacks while mulling this over.

So my question to you guys -- do any of you find yourselves listening to a specific record in those quiet moments in bed? Or is it more of a playlist these days? For me, when I do plug into a record in bed nowadays, it's probably just a playlist on my iPod - either slow for a lulling-to-sleep, or geared towards a mood I'm in. In some ways, for the purpose that a full album served for me when lying in bed - connecting with Jesus on a more intimate level, or just providing a soundtrack for my thoughts - it feels like CD's were better for that. *Shrug* Perhaps it's just my age.

Thoughts? Any other nighttime listeners out there? If so, which records do it for you?

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

It's Sarah Kelly!!!!


it's sarah kelly!...and john just asked me to start blogging here on jfh (as well as on my own myspace and xanga) and of course, i said YES!!!

what an exciting couple of years i have had...from making a cd in 2004 to make money for a drumset for my church, that ended up with 7 record deals and a grammy nomination (take me away, my 1st album on gotee!) getting to work with rock icons like Slash, mike clink (mega producer in LA), dave weiderman (from Guitar Center), and chris chaney (from janes addiction) on my 2nd album...(where the past meets today!).

but i must say the most recent release has brought sooooo much positive change into my life.  It's called "born to worship"...and it is full of songs that i wrote when i was 7 and 8 years old....but couldn't finish until going through an intense healing process of a abusive past....It is almost like i couldn't release these songs yet, because i still needed them for me! but now i am strong enough to let them go and hopefully they are a true blessing to you!...

Touring has been crazy....i keep a strong pace out there...but i wouldn't have it any other way! long as i have a day to crash every once in awhile...(which would be TODAY).....i am A-OK!......Just got back from an awesome gig in fort collins colorado....took my whole band and we had one of our strongest shows ever!...(musically speaking!).

well...whatever you are going through....remember that we are not called to understand life....or even to make the right decisions all the time!..(why would we need grace if we made all the right decisions?)..But rather...we are called to TRY to make the best 'JESUS HONORING' decisions that we can, and to worship him through the situations that we don't understand!......i can tell you first hand that paul and silas's approach to worship totally works...they were in the middle of a "why God???" moment...chose to worship, and the faith they released into their worship changed their circumstance completely! (acts 16:25) hang in there...and keep worshiping....joel 2 is right around the corner!!! (he will restore unto you the years the locusts have eaten!!)

all my heart!!!

sarah kelly......and you absolutely must go to itunes and check out born to worship...("not quite home" my favorite!)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Tooth and Nail.

My previous post posed an admittedly vague question concerning Tooth & Nail Records. Specifically, what has happened to them in recent days. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the smartest thing to do, but hey, I was tired and I guess not thinking straight. So let me climb my way out of this hole I've dug for myself.

Let me start by saying that growing up, I was one of Tooth and Nail's biggest fans. I remember meeting Brandon Ebel the first year I went to Cornerstone, and being that starstruck little kid that had all these things he'd always planned on saying when he met his hero, and then forgetting them all in one brief moment. I think all I actually got out was "thank you." No joke. It was pretty awkward.

I grew up listening to bands like Stavesacre, MxPx, Further Seems Forever, OC Supertones, Slick Shoes, Dogwood, The Juliana Theory, Calibretto 13 (Gimme a high five!), Ace Troubleshooter, twothirtyeight, Too Bad Eugene, Watashia Wa, Bleach, Holland, Hangnail, Mae... all the classics. All the Tooth and Nail bands that occupied the label during their best years.

I'm fixing to be 20 (REAL old, right?), and I'm sure that other Tooth and Nail fans that are in their twenties now probably share similar sentiments. It's not really that I'm attacking my favorite label growing up, not at all! It's just...things are different now. You look at the roster of bands on their lineup, and, YES, there are standout bands for sure, but a lot of it just...I don't know.

But I've gotta look at it from both viewpoints, because if I was a 14..15..16 year old that was pumped about the music scene...  I'd bet good money that I'd be a lot more excited about a lot more of the bands on the current roster than I am now. That's a fact.

So maybe it is just that you get older, and sometimes you grow out of certain genres. Admittedly, I'm more into chill stuff as I head out of my teenage years. Ryan Adams, AA Bondy, Anathallo, Wilco... And I just picked up that Derek Webb/Sandra McCracken "Ampersand EP" and I'm digging it a lot! So maybe it's just me. It just kind of seems like back when I was just heading into my teenage years, Tooth and Nail was the alternative. Now, they're the norm. Is that neccessarily a bad thing? Absolutely not. It's just not how I remember it. And that's my own preogative.

So anyways, that's what I meant by "What happened to Tooth and Nail?" Agree? Disagree? Let's have a discussion about it. And a special thanks to The Watcher for having my back during my last post. Blessings to you kind sir.

Til next time!


Saturday, May 24, 2008

Speaking of Which...

Reading Lindsay's blog got me thinking about some things.

I've always wondered why so many people use the term "sell-out" with Christian bands when they sign a big name record label. What's the point? Isn't it every band's dream to make it big? This also brings up a topic of how the mainstream can change bands. I've heard a lot of people saying that bands like Switchfoot, Relient K, and even Anberlin have all sold out because they signed with a major label and now they're dropping all the spiritual parts of their band for money. I'd like to set some things straight and let people know that many of the Christian bands that are out there have really kept their spiritual stance in tact.

Let's start with Relient K. So many people have been disappointed in Relient K because of how popular they've become and how they don't use God or Jesus in thier songs anymore, yet it's obvious that many of these people haven't taken the time to really listen to the band's heart and writing. Go out and listen to "Deathbed" from Five Score and Seven Years Ago, and you'll see they are blatant about their faith, using scripture to get the point across that only Jesus is the right person (and way) to follow.

I've worried about so many bands like Relient K and the others I've mentioned above because I don't want to see the mainstream life take them to a place where the love for money is stronger than their love for God. Yet every time, each one of these bands have gone on to prove me wrong. Relient K was the first, because after the huge success of Mmhmm, they got signed to Capitol Records, and they literally blew me out of the water with the spiritual content of Five Score.... What about Switchfoot, after The Beautiful Letdown? The album got them signed to a mainstream label and they released two very spiritual (and quite entertaining) records through them. But Switchfoot knew what was happening and they knew they couldn't work with Sony Records anymore, so they moved on to an independent level, and the new Switchfoot record at the end of this year is definitely one I'm looking forward to.

Also, let me just say that I have a whole lot of faith in Anberlin, through three records on Tooth and Nail records, the last of which garnered JfH's own Album of the Year. With a title like New Surrender, it seems they might be giving a jolt to the secular and Christian music industries.

I guess all in all, what I'm getting at here is that just because a Christian band gets signed to a mainstream label doesn't necessarily mean they will lose their faith. Bands upon bands have proved me wrong, and I think the future will show that this will continue to be a re-occuring thing.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Summertime: Sun-Kissed Teens, Music, and Tours

To start off-I have to say, I'm quite excited about this JFH Blog. My personal blog actually is what got me working for JFH and writing reviews in the first place! So everything has come full circle in a way.

So it is the summer again! Or at least down in Florida it is full gear! And that means the annual summer festivals and tours are about to start up and make their way across the nation. If you have any chance to check out at least one of these events- I highly recommed you do so. In my opinion, there's not a better time to catch an amazing lineup of artists than in the middle of a stress-free, summer vacation!

Between Cornerstone, Alive, Creation, Purple Door, and the Warped Tour, the opportunities are endless. Just checking out some of the lineups for these shows has got me speechless. I, personally, am attending Warped Tour for the first time this year as a substitute for Cornerstone Florida, which saw its demise earlier this year. This event is huge and seems to get bigger each year! This year's lineup includes an impressive list of rock artists commonly found in the Christian scene (As I Lay Dying, August Burns Red, Between the Trees, Classic Crime, The Devil Wears Prada, Family Force 5, Maylene and the Sons of Disaster, Norma Jean, Paramore...). Anberlin is one of the headliners and with their new release in August, co-headling the Warped Tour is the most ideal way to promote their new songs and their talent to a new, yet familiar, audience. I'm extremely looking forward to hearing some of the new material (even though I'm not very hopeful for the new album as a whole. But more on that later...). Maybe it'll change my view on this new direction (and record label) they've taken?

Even though Warped tends to carry the whole 'mainstream punk' attitude, it really is a lot more than a punk-rock showcase tour. It is a host to many amazing non-profit organizations and is becoming an extremely active member in these hopeful and helpful communities, which is really encouraging to see brought together in such an atmosphere. It's a great way to enjoy some amazing live performances while playing an active role in your local and/or national community.

All in all, it's going to be a busy summer! I'm pulling out all of my summertime soundtracks, so I'll be sure to share those with you very soon!
Enjoy the rest of your week!
-Lindsay Wiseman

I'm new, take it easy on me.

Hey everyone, this is Ben Olin, from This Beautiful Republic writing today for the very first time here on  John was nice enough to invite me over to share a bit about what has been going on with us, so I suppose I'll get started on that.

About 6 months ago, we started writing new songs for our 2nd release and after a long period of refining, contemplation, analyzing, and discretion; we have discovered 13 of them that we felt we needed to share with you.  So, on August 19th, This Beautiful Republic is releasing their second studio album entitled, "Perceptions."  We have some really exciting things to announce about this record; but you'll have to wait to hear about those.  

In the meantime, we're just spending time at home with family and rehearsing the new tunes.  We're going to be working up a new live set with them and we can't wait to start playing them live.  We have a few festivals coming up where we'll get to play some, so if you're at any of them, don't miss our set.  I've enjoyed the time off, but I'm anxious to get back on the road and see some of your familiar faces.

If you guys want anymore insight into the new record, we posted an all-encompassing blog on MySpace about it that you should check out!  Hope to see you all soon!


Whats up.

What's up guys? I told John we ought to do this years ago. He denies it. But you guys now know the truth. I'm kind of scatterbrained right now. But I thought I'd put a few thoughts out there since this blog is now up and running:

-KEEP THE CHAPMANS IN YOUR PRAYERS. I cannot even imagine it. Just..pray for them, man. =/

-I finished my summer class today Scooore. Three credit hours in two and a half weeks = well worth the...intensity.

-Though many of my friends are seeing Indy at midnight tonight, I'm seeing it tomorrow night after my sister's high school graduation. I think it'll be well worth the wait.

-I'm slighty bummed that Lovedrug canceled their show on the 31st here in Nashville. A lot.

-What happened to Tooth & Nail Records? I mean...really?

-I hope everyone has an excellent rest of the week. I'll write something more coherant sometime soon. God bless you all. Remember to pray for the Chapmans during this time.


Wednesday, May 21, 2008

My First Blog Post

Hey guys!! Well here it first blog post.  Not exactly sure what to write about yet but I'm sure lots of things will come to mind as the days go by.  Right now I'm just trying to finish up my junior year of high school (which by the way seems to be dragging on...and on...and on).  I was hoping actually to graduate early but some things have come up that we are looking into, so the plans may change.  I'll update more as decisions are made.  Well, that's all for now! Peace Out!

Wow, it's been 4 years.

First JfH blog, huh? Bet you music fans are going to love getting to know us. Throughout the past four years being a part of this website, I've really felt disconnected from the readers, not being able to know what they're thinking about the music that I come to know and love.

Through this blog, we'll be sharing our loves for music especially, but also hit on the topics that really affect Christians (and non-Christians alike) every day. So it's mostly about music, but not quite 100%! Hope you guys all love that.

Feel free to drop any of us comments or questions you might have. I'll be talking mostly about music here, since not many people are as obsessed with music as I am! Got some reviews on the way... Look for Article One's new one next Monday.

Until next time, Justin

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Serving the Lord while listening to awesome music!

OK, so here I am.  Blogging.  Contributing to cyberspace.  Whatevs.  :) 

Ever contemplate the meaning of life on this big blue and green marble? Ever think, Why am I here?  Could it be to try and leave a mark, to make the world a better place than when we entered it? To find love, happiness, possibly marriage and family? I actually bet it's to savor the coffee bean in its intoxicating liquid form... mmm... coffee....

Having said that, I'm actually excited to be on staff here at JfH. It's a very important aspect of my life and I really enjoy administrating the forums, even on difficult days.  I feel the Lord, in His wisdom (certainly not my own!) has put me in a place where I was needed at a time when I was needed... to serve Him with every breath in my lungs, every thought in my head, every action of my body... to serve our great God while listening to the most awesomest Christian music at the same time! What a concept, and what a job! Woot!

I love Jesus. My daily prayer is that others will see Him before they see me.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Hello everybody! First staff blog right here -- we'll be taking this spot to talk about everything music-related... and even beyond. And hopefully the occasional artist will be blogging from the road as well. So keep an eye out for that! Until then, hope you enjoy hearing from us and interacting with us more. Love to all! ~ J