Even with the MySpaces and PureVolumes of the world to help, finding your way past the labeled waters of the musical world can be frustrating. Diamonds in the rough are all around, yet most store shelves refuse to reveal them. Allow us to help. Presenting the first part of CCM’s Guide to Independent Artists. . . .

Dave Barnes
This pastor’s son and talented singer/songwriter has fans named John Mayer, Vince Gill and Amy Grant and two critically lauded full-length efforts. At first, Barnes became a heartthrob with his interactive live show and lovelorn lyrics found on Brother, Bring The Sun. However, Chasing Mississippi, his most recent effort, found the newly married songwriter singing blues-tinged rock that revealed a soulful delivery previously hidden. The results were still the same: adoring critics and fans alike.

Blue Birds & Bright Lights

“We want to bring audiences music with positive emotions, sharing a sense of peace and hope,” explains David Lubarski, who, along with Angelina Lucero, forms this post-rock duo from Indiana known as Blue Birds and Bright Lights. Lucero is reminiscent of Over The Rhine’s Karen Bergquist, and Lubarski’s sonic backdrops belong on the best of movie soundtracks. The band’s debut, I Know What Makes Me Strong, released in June.

C-Sick, The Chosen One
Focusing on bringing a redemptive message to today’s youth, C-Sick combines everything from acoustic guitar to heavy samples to present his stated lyrical delivery. Even when he’s not rapping, he’s working with juvenile offenders at a youth treatment facility in Nebraska. Souled Out, his debut disc, shows the former gang member hoping to “convert as many as he’s corrupted.”

The Canvas Waiting

The radio-rock outfit known as The Canvas Waiting evokes comparisons to Goo Goo Dolls and other similar acts, even with only one EP under its belt. The seven song In Search of Beginnings has received high marks from various media outlets including Indie Vision who mentioned, “This is a solid debut, and The Canvas Waiting will be a band to watch in the future.”

David Condos

This Belmont University graduate has critics raving after listening to the stunning melodies on his debut, Smoking City. “Emotive. Smoking City is quite an achievement,” says American Songwriter. Recently, Condos signed with The Agency Group, an international booking agency that also represents The White Stripes, Feist and other indie heavy hitters.

Andy Davis

Davis exudes both charm and charisma, which combines to make him one of the top singer/songwriters to watch. His Fine China EP became a best-seller on awarestore.com, and he can usually be found on the road with artists like Josh Hoge, Dave Barnes, Matt Wertz and Mat Kearney.

The Divine Soldiers

Brothers Jason and Brandon Wallace have performed in front of as many as 15,000 people as The Divine Soldiers, a hip-hop act with three CDs to their name and billing alongside Third Day and Relient K, among others. The duo just finished playing material from their latest, Feature Presentation, at various summer festivals.