It's shameless promotion day here at my blog, and I feel no shame because these three recordings are three recordings that I think are among the best albums of 2008. Yeah, I'm biased because I've been involved with each one of these projects, but I've chosen to be involved because I've fallen in love with what these guys are doing. So with absolutely no guilt or pressure, I earnestly encourage you to check out these artists here on Myspace or elsewhere, and if you like what you hear, I encourage you to spend a little money on them so they can continue to make new recordings (which, by the way, is how I think it should be).
Jon Black, Goodbye Golden Age (Released Today!)
Jon is one of those guys who never fails to impress me when he does something new. I always look forward to receiving new demos from him because I know that when I do I'm going to be blown away. Of course, I also get angry because I want those songs on a finished album RIGHT THEN. It's a complicated emotion. In the case of Goodbye Golden Age, I knew when I heard "Broken Places" that Jon was going to make an amazing album. You see, a lot of people live under the impression that you can use a bunch of studio tricks to make something that's not so great into something made of solid gold, but much like cooking, what you get out is due mostly to the quality of what you put in. If a song is great as a demo with just a vocal and a scratch instrument, in just about all cases, it will be great with full accompaniment. And this album is full of those kinds of songs. And now, as I hear them in their fleshed out versions, that feeling just gets better. I can't really pick a favorite because it really just depends on what's going on in life at the time, and I think that's good because it means there's something on here for all situations and moods. You can hear the whole album here at www.whoisjonblack.com and purchase it here or here on iTunes.
Paul Reeves, Winter's Over, (Released 9.9)
I can't really say enough about Paul. He's the man responsible in large part for the quality of albums Rebuilt has released this year. In fact, except for Micah's Pawnshop album, at least half of every other Rebuilt release was recorded at Paul's DOMUS studio. He's either engineered, edited, produced, or played on all these recordings, and usually a combination of a few of those. Clearly, the man has a strong work ethic.
But while you may know about Paul's recording side, you may not know as much about Paul's own music. And you should get acquainted, especially if you're a fan of really good pop songwriting. I tend to hate most pop songwriting; I find most of it contrived, self-absorbed, and whiny (and I realize that makes me a music snob, and that's fine. You're free to listen to whatever you'd like), and I love that Paul is writing in a style that is both really catchy and really deep. Who says you can't have form and substance? I know that others are loving songs like "Mystery" and "Put Me Down" the best, and while I do love them, I think my favorite moments on the album are the more subdued and vulnerable tracks like "Love Has Won" and "Dust and Steam." If you're glued to your Blackberry or can't get off Facebook or are working 80 hours a week and living in your car, you need to hear "Dust and Steam." It's your song. It's a song about me, for sure. Visit Paul here on Myspace, at his official website, paulreevesmusic.com and purchase the album here on Rebuiltstore.com or here on iTunes.
David Herndon, Into Danger/Out of Rescue (January 08)
I've already written about this EP, and since I co-produced it with Paul, I'm REALLY biased about this one. David and I were in a band together in college (I'll give you five points if you can remember which one), and I've looked up to him as an older brother of sorts. I love his music, but mostly I love what he's about. Guys like David make me a better person because I am always challenged to put myself in those soul-stretching places that lead to real personal and spiritual growth. People have given David a lot of flack for calling a song "A Church or A Brothel" and for including the words "porn director" in his lyrics, and while they're certainly free to feel how they want to feel about that, I contend that most of those people have not taken the time to really hear what David is talking about. Rash judgments make long wars. I wish more folks realized that art that tells you what to think is not really art at all but propaganda. David's music is among the most Christian art I know, and I'm not afraid to defend it. So put the rocks down, judge the tree by the fruit, and listen for yourself. Then by all means feel however you want to feel about it - that's the joy of freedom.
And now you can download it for free or pay what you want for it. And if you do like what you hear and you feel like I do that what David is doing is important in the conversation of faith and culture, I encourage you to post this widget on your own social network pages, blogs, etc. to help spread the word. You can keep up with David's journey here on Myspace, at www.davidherndonmusic.com and at davidherndon.wordpress.com.
Okay, I'm off my soapbox. Thanks for reading/listening/being.