Tuesday, January 09, 2007


Long, long ago a Christian metal band sprung up on the music scene and they were called Stryper. They wore yellow and black spandex outfits and had big poofy hair. Well, many years have passed since then and now lead singer of the band, Michael Sweet has released a new project called "Him". Put simply, it is a collection of new arrangements of old hymns that have been sung in churches for years.

The overall tone of the album is worshipful. Only a minority of the tracks are actually upbeat in tempo which may surprise some longtime fans. "Christ the Lord is Risen Today" is here called "Alleluia", while "I Surrender All" goes by "Surrender".
Perhaps the most beautiful track is "Take my Life" which runs over five minutes in length. Even included is the Christmas classic "Oh Holy Night". You'll be hard pressed to find a better version out there than Sweet's!

The hymns of course are rich in lyrical content. On the first track "Calvary" Sweet sings: "And mercy there was great, and grace was free/And pardon there was multiplied to me/There my burdened soul found liberty oh at Calvary". Musically and vocally I recommend this cd to fans of Bon Jovi and Def Leppard's slower material.

I do not believe you can order this one from the Christian bookshops. However, it can be ordered via Michael's website at www.michaelsweet.com, as my brother Mark did for a Christmas gift for me. Thanks Mark! Should you order it, it will be well worth the wait!

Monday, January 08, 2007


The Newsboys are no strangers to the world of Christian rock. They are a veteran band that has survived numerous member changes. Their latest project "Go" will be the last album to showcase the talents of bassist Phil Joel, who has been with the band for many years. He is leaving to pursue other interests and spend time with his family.

"Go" is an album full of fun dancy, pop beats that will keep your toes tapping. Heck, even Lauretta was bouncing around to it the other night when i had it on in the kitchen area. Sorry, no video of that!

Evangelism is the theme of the track "The Mission". Praise is directed to God on "In Wonder" and "I am Free". Lyrically, once again the boys are aided by Steve Taylor, who is witty and packs a lot of truth in a few words. Check out these words from "Secret Kingdom" for example: "This here comes in/Like brick to glass/Like grace to sin/Gonna kick down walls like West Berlin/Shout an amen/Hug it out, then/This here's gonna light a fire/Gonna pink slip preaching to the choir/Gonna send us hobbits outta the shire/Here's the theme song/Get your ring on/That there's still propagating waiting on a rooftop/Our journey's just begun/".

Particularly catchy is track 7 "Your love is better than life" which is kind of clubbish i would say. And if you want to hear something unique, hear the boys sample Evie on the last track! You've not heard anything like it.

All in all, this one's a winner and the Newsboys show no sign of slowing down, though touring as a foursome now.
Lauretta and I watched "Dreamer" on the weekend. This one stars Kurt Russell and Dakoda Fanning. It is the story of a down and out injured horse and its' journey to wellness. It is also the story of the bond between people and horses. This movie is quite clean, and could just as well have been put out by Disney. I particularly enjoyed Kris Kristofferson's character. He was solid in this movie, as a long-time horse-owner, father, and grandfather. I have no problems giving this flick a 85 percent, though slow in spots.

Saturday, January 06, 2007


Christian pop music has few names as recognizable as that of Michael W. Smith. He got his big break back in the day as Amy Grant's keyboard player. Since then he has recorded an impressive catologue of records that speak of day to day life from a Christian perspective. He has enjoyed success in the mainstream market with hits such as "Place in this World". He has shown himself to be a worship leader in more recent years.

Smith's new album is entitled "Stand". More than one reviewer has given this album less than favorable reviews whether it be for simple lyrics, or a 'rushed feel' to it. Apparently Smith only had forty days to complete it. He had been busy working on his movie "The Second Chance" so the story goes.

This album is part pop album, part worship album, and that may frustrate some listeners. Overall though after a couple listens thru i feel it works for me. There are a fair number of catchy tunes including the outreach numbers "Come to the Cross" and "Be Lifted High". The core of the album though is tracks 6-9 where the theme is no question that of God's grace. Included is a cover of part of Keith Green's classic "Oh Lord You're Beautiful" and part of a Hillsong's number "The Stand".

Other notable tracks include "How to Say Goodbye" co-written by Amy Grant, and "Escape your love" a love song complete with harmonica that may remind some listeners of the old secular tune "That's what friends are for".

While "Stand" does not feature Smith's most creative work of his career, it does seem to me like a sincere album and worth checking out, if you haven't already.
On a completely different note, here is my review of the movie "Dirty Love". Yes, it's one of those dvd's you can get in the $6.88 bin at Walmart! It stars Jenny McCarthy (she also wrote the movie) as a lady who walks in on her partner cheating and has to go on from there. She searches for love thruout the movie, aided by her friends including one played by Carmen Electra. Electra's character is very street in this movie, and very foul-mouthed just to warn you. The movie as a whole, especially the first 40 minutes is quite rough which is unfortunate because as it picks up there is a lot of great comedy, and their is a touching ending of sorts, though not built up as much as it could have been. One likeable character in the movie is played by Eddie Kaye Thomas, who plays Finch in the American Pie movies. I thought his character portrayal in "Dirty Love" was quite good. In conclusion, this is definitely not a family movie.

Not sure why there is a big space between here and the comment option, but oh well, i think it's something about this post.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

HEAD EAST Posted by Picasa
My brother got me a gem of a present for Christmas this time around. He actually found a copy of "The Best of Head East" at Sam the Record Man in Toronto. Head East is the secular band that John Schlitt sang with before he joined Petra in 1986. I really didn't know what to expect when i popped this disc into my player this morn. Musically, i would compare Head East to a mix of old DeGarmo and Key with more vocal harmonies. Vocally at times i was reminded of Rush, and of course Petra.

Lyrically the songs speak of string-free relationships, drinking, and good times. But that is not all. "City of Gold" seems to ponder another place. It is a good precursor to Schlitt's Christian works. Thruout the album one gets the sense that Head East were a bunch of guys out to have some fun while playing rock and roll. The lyrics and the delivery of them are good-natured and the overall theme of the album seems to be something like the following: We're all in this life together. Might as well enjoy it to the full. Yes, heartache occurs, but good prevails in the end.

Overall, i give the album a 75 percent, with 70 being average. It is a solid collection of old-time rock and roll that will for the most part leave you in a good mood.