Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Where Passion and Art Collide

  • 2008 19 Dec
Where Passion and Art Collide

Twice As Nice

Whether you’re feeling a little bit Christmas or a little bit worshipful, singer/songwriter Kendall Payne has got you covered thanks to two new albums, December and That’s Why There’s Grace.
Forgoing the usual orchestral treatment that Christmas carols are often given this time of year, Payne opts for sparse, mellow piano arrangements of everything from “Angels We Have Heard on High” to “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

Then on That’s Why There’s Grace, Payne offers a satisfying mix of originals (like the title track) and live renditions of praise favorites like Chris Tomlin’s “How Great Is Our God” and Matt Redman’s “Blessed Be Your Name.”

Whether you prefer digital downloads or are old-school and still like CDs, the projects are available in both forms at

Ringing in the New Year with Music and Compassion

In hopes of “creating freedom from poverty,” the long-awaited CompassionArt charity album that was spearheaded by Delirious front-man Martin Smith and his wife Anna in response to the atrocities they’ve seen firsthand while traveling in poverty-ravaged locales, now has a release date of January 27, 2009.
Featuring some of Christian music’s biggest artists including Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Paul Baloche, Chris Tomlin, Stu G, Israel Houghton, Matt Redman, Andy Park, Darlene Zschech and guest vocalists Kirk Franklin, Amy Grant, Joel Houston, Leeland Mooring, Christy Nockels, tobyMac and CeCe Winans, the project also features a 50-minute CompassionArt documentary and will be available at your favorite retail outlets.
The goal of CompassionArt and this recording, including the current radio single “King of Wonders” currently being heard on radio stations across the country, is to engage people everywhere to help end world poverty.

Gathering together in Scotland last January to write songs to benefit “the poorest of the poor,” none of these artists will ever receive a dime for their efforts. And this is not just a one-time offering, but will be a forever offering for the life of the songs through CompassionArt. In addition to the songwriters and guest vocalists, the publishers, managers, record labels, copyright institutes and agents involved are donating their efforts on this project to CompassionArt.
“We are a global community, an underground adventure, a map being drawn as we speak that connects wealth with poverty, art with hope, compassion with despair,” says Martin Smith. “We have united ourselves as a community of artists and songwriters to give it all away. Please join us by purchasing the album, playing these songs and singing them in your church services.”

Four collective projects were chosen to receive 50 percent of the proceeds from these songs:  Hand of Hope, offering relief and restoration for families caught up in Mumbai, India’s sex trade and food and education for children scraping for survival on a rubbish dump in Phnom Penh, Cambodia; Stop The Traffik, a global movement against the trafficking of people that has more than 1,000 member organizations in 50 countries and a grassroots following of ordinary activists around the world; Ray of Hope, a team of people in remote parts of Brazil that meets the needs of children:  food, education, support, advice, clothing and medical aid; and Watoto, a charity helping orphaned children to abused mothers, and helping to restore hope to people whose lives have been devastated by suffering, providing creative life centers, encouraging artistic education and plans for a better future for all.
The 12 projects being supported by the CompassionArt songwriters are:  For The Silent (Paul Baloche); Shaohannah’s Hope (Steven Curtis Chapman); Beanz Meanz Livez (Stu G); Lakewood Missions (Israel Houghton); Caring for Ex-Offenders and The Regeneration Trust (Tim Hughes); Restoring the Sound (Graham Kendrick); Compassion UK (Matt Redman); St. Stephen’s (Andy Park); Links International (Martin Smith); Living Hope Community Centre (Michael W. Smith); Baby Watoto (Chris Tomlin); and Hope Rwanda (Darlene Zschech).
For more information on CompassionArt, check out

Photo by David Muller

About the Writer
After graduating with a B.S. in Journalism from North Central University in 1998, Christa Banister moved to Nashville, Tenn. and eventually started working at
CCM Magazine/Salem Publishing in various editorial capacities (including managing editor) for five and a half years. After that, she launched her own freelance writing company and writes for numerous clients including CCM Magazine, (she reviews movies for them each week), Christian Single, Christianity Today, Threads Media,, BurnLounge, and helped kick-start the first Christian music blog for MTV. She also writes bios for professional recording artists and authors and penned her first two fiction novels for NavPress in 2007.

© 2008  All rights reserved.  Used with permission. 

**This column first published on December 19, 2008.

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