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Faith-Based Music: Critics' Picks 2009

From Leeland's Love Is on the Move to Switchfoot's Hello Hurricane to Jars of Clay'sThe Long Fall Back to Earth and more, these are our choices for the best faith-based albums of 2009. Read on and see if some of your favorites are listed, too.

Concert Experience Captured on Jeremy Camp's Live

Live certainly serves as a good faux-greatest hits and a nice filler between studio recordings. But it is an album mainly for Jeremy Camp fans—of which there are plenty and who should be happy with this more "in-person" experience.

The Experimental Side of Hands

The album Creator brought an experimental edge to Hands’ hardcore label and that's not just musically. Instead, it seems the North Dakota band didn't exactly plan on the sonic side they ended up with, but everyone seems happy all the same.

Heaven & Earth Delivered Beautifully by Wickham

Phil Wickham's musings of the "now and not yet" on Heaven & Earth should spark a special chord in today's Christian music scene. It's not that what he has to say has never been said before; it has just rarely been delivered as beautifully.

Shane & Shane: Scriptures Unplugged

Using the pop-producing sensibilities of Pete Kipley and Jason Hoard to get the heart of their songs on tape, Shane Barnard shares with CCM what makes Shane & Shane's newest recording, Everything Is Different, so, well … different.

Take It Back! Still Leans Pop-Punk on Rumors

A first look at the track listing for Take It Back!'s Rumors of Revolt EP might lead one to believe that this Arkansas quintet has made a sudden 180, opting to head toward the indie singer-songwriter genre. But fans have no need to despair.

  • Andrew Greenhalgh |
  • January 05, 2010 |
  • comments
Hawk Nelson Reflects Back and Looks Forward

Daniel Biro says that 2010 is sizing up to be the year of honesty for his band, Hawk Nelson. The pop punk sounds are still alive and well after four studio albums. But now, the quartet is ready to tell the truth about anything and everything.

Hands Digs Deeper with Creator

Creator, the latest effort from Fargo-based Hands, packs far more than could be expected from the average hardcore record, blending elements of melodic rock, prog rock, and of course, good ole fashioned screamo.

  • Andrew Greenhalgh |
  • December 29, 2009 |
  • comments
Reflecting Back with Emery

Emery must be quite comfortable in their own skin. As drummer Dave Powell explains in this interview, Emery loves making music, feels just fine with where they’re at success-wise and enjoys the ebb and flow of it all.

The Crucified Gets the Band Back Together for Humanity

Twenty-five years ago, four teenagers came together to form The Crucified. Now, the band is back together and to kick off this grand reappearing is the remastered release of their classic album, The Pillars of Humanity.

  • Andrew Greenhalgh |
  • December 22, 2009 |
  • comments
Take It Back! Learn to Step It Up

This Arkansas-based five-some shows considerable promise on Atrocities, their second disc on Facedown Records. Yet they also reveal a calm rarely seen in bands so young. Or maybe that’s just procrastination.

No Slump on The Almost's Sophomore Outing

It's the dreaded sophomore slump. Too much is made about it in the first place. But one listen to Monster Monster, the absolutely stunning follow-up to The Almost’s excellent debut, proves there’s nothing to worry about.

Needtobreathe: Life on the Outside

Now three albums into what’s already been a career full of countless accolades—including a Dove Award and song placements in popular TV shows and movies—the men of Needtobreathe still enjoy the thrill of a new challenge.

  • Christa A. Banister |
  • December 10, 2009 |
  • comments
Favorites at Play Covers the Well Known

This covers album boasts many of pop music's well-known numbers of the last few years. From Coldplay to Paramore, Joy Electric’s Ronnie Martin plays well with others, crafting an analog dream from the constructs of others.

The Crucified: Back in Action

Jim Chaffin, former drummer of The Crucified, sat down with CMCentral recently to talk about the reasons for coming back together and what it was like to bring up the idea of actually touring again after all of these years.

Switchfoot's Approach More Hopeful on Hello Hurricane

Switchfoot takes an increasingly hopeful lyrical approach, inspired by the band’s work with Habitat for Humanity and perhaps even their artistic liberation. After the mildly darker nature of Oh! Gravity, it's a welcome return to form.

Diamond Rio: Reason Enough

After years of wanting to record an album reflecting their faith, Diamond Rio unveils The Reason via Word Records. Band members Marty, Jimmy, Brian, Gene, Dan and Dana have crafted a project that is near and dear to their hearts.

  • Deborah Evans Price |
  • November 26, 2009 |
  • comments
Kutless Brings Back Worship on It Is Well

It's interesting to note that for all their rock releases and the longevity of the Kutless name, it's a worship album from four years ago (Strong Tower) that still remains the BEC Recordings act’s best-selling album.

The Letter Black: Change Is Necessary

While the players are the same, The Letter Black—the band formerly known as Breaking the Silence—is armed with a new sound, a new album and a new label home. CMCentral recently sat down with Sarah Anthony to discuss.

Artistry Birthed from Pain in Forget and Not Slow Down

Some of the best artistry is birthed from our most painful moments. Matt Thiessen might be anxious to forget his experiences, but Forget and Not Slow Down will be an album that gladly lingers for quite some time.

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Example: "Gen 1:1" "John 3" "Moses" "trust"
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