Thursday, December 29, 2005

Catholic Tuneage

OK, I'm 38 years old, so I really feel "out of it" when I discover "new" music. In an earlier post I referred to a time in my life when I was searching for something and thought I had found it in a Protestant, evangelical group os peers in high school. One of the things that atracted me to that group was the music they were listening to. I remember bands like Petra and atrists like Amy Grant and Steve Taylor (funky). I liked the melody and especially the lyrics. Eventually, I graduated from high school and from that group of people.

Recently, within the last two years, I re-discovered "Christian Rock" on an alternative syndicated radio station called Air1. There I was exposed to bands like dcTalk (and the individual band members' solo acts - Toby Mac and Tait), the Newsboys, Barlow Girl, etc. My kids have grown up the last 2 1/2 years listening to that alone. They love it, and it gives me great joy to hear my youngest ask me to "crank the radio" when Tree 63's Blessed Be Your Name comes on the radio. After awhile, though, the station had a very Protestant feel about it. Not that that is a bad thing, but I felt there had to be more out there.

With the ease of a few google searches I found Catholic Tuneage. At this site I was able to sample Catholic Alternative Rock and see what was out there. Within the last few hours I have found some amazing bands - Cheer Up Charlie, Keith Roberts, Backyard Galaxy, and Plain Jane. I never knew these bands existed! Great melodies and lyrics that lift up the Liturgy, Sacraments, and Magisterium of the Church!

If you never have heard of these bands, you really need to take a few minutes and listen to some of the samples I have listed below. Let me know if you have ever heard of these bands, or if they are as new to you as they are to me. In addition, if you have any other bands you think I'd like, let me know.

Gotta listen to these samplings: (all are links to Sacred Heart Radio in Windows Media Player format for high internet speed connections)

Cheer Up Charlie

Plain Jane

I'll post more samplings as I have time.


Julie D. said...

WOW! Thank you!!!!!!

I also love DC Talk, etc. ... it's such a struggle to find Christian music that is decent music.

Obviously we have similar taste. I am so gonna follow up on these.

Rose said...

You might like Kutless, Skillet, 12 Stones, Relient K, and some Jeremy Camp song. Pillar and Thousand Foot Krutch are a little edgier than what you were talking about, but still good.

Julie D. said...

Here's a link that The Curt Jester sent me for Catholic Rockers' podcast. One of the recent bands interviewed was Cheer Up Charlie.

Also, I liked Plain Jane so much that I went searching for somewhere that had their CD (and it wasn't easy). Found it at CD Baby and was afraid it would disappear forever so I have ordered it.

Thanks for feeding my addiction! :-D

alicia said...

Sean Forrest is another one you might want to check out. He gives away his CDs when he plays live. He came to our town and did a concert for all the confirmation kids and it really did rock.

ND EnviroChick said...


I did not realize that we are so close in age - I am currently 37, and also got into Christian music in high school, then got out of it in college, then back in again during graduate school.

I have not heard of the Catholic groups that you mention, and will give them a listen later on and then respond again. But my favorite Christian artists right now are (in no particular order):
Michael W. Smith
Steven Curtis Chapman
Point of Grace
Across the Sky

I listen to Point of Grace A LOT right now, but when I was really, really struggling with things, Michael W. Smith really touched me where I was wounded and helped me to heal. I continue to use his song Breathe in Me as a post-Eucharist meditation:

"You breathe in me and I'm alive with the power of your holiness. You breathe in me and you revive feelings in my soul that I have laid to rest.

So breathe in me, I need you now, I've never felt so dead within. So breathe in me, maybe somehow you can breathe new life in me again.

I used to be so sensitive to the light that leads to where you are. Now I've acquired these callouses with the darkness of a cold and jaded heart.

So breathe in me, I need you now, I've never felt so dead within. So breathe in me, maybe somehow you can breathe new life in me again."

I find that the right Christian music opens a conduit to communication and relationship with God, which for me has always been a struggle in the more "traditional" ways that we are exposed to as Catholics. I find the mixture of the right music and the right lyrics to be such a powerful aid to prayer...

Darren Norton said...

nd envrochick -

I'll have to check out Point of Grace. I really enjoyed MWS, and still listen to him on KLOVE from time to time. I like the edgier rock of Air1 better though. Right now I'm listening to nothing as my car radio is dead and I really only have a 2 minute commute.

Your idea of using lyrics for post-Eucharist meditation is EXACTLY the kind of thing I had hoped would happen on this blog. Ideas that others are using that I can use or start from. I just say an Our Father and Hail Mary after Communion...

Thanks nd envirochick for thinking "out of the box" for me!

ND Envirochick said...

For another use of music for prayer... two years ago, I took my Christian music collection and I really studied the lyrics in every single song. From them, I created a 2-CD set of music for prayer and reflection that I felt held the message of what Lent means to me.

The CDs were in the car one day as I was traveling with a colleague to a professional meeting. She asked - are you in your church choir? I said - no, why do you ask? She said - you have Lenten music in your car. So I popped in the first CD and on our ride back, we listened to both of the CDs. She expected the CDs to be very somber, but they are not. I said - don't focus on the music, listen to the lyrics. Then she really got it.

Last year, I adapted the CDs to aid further in prayer and to use them beyond the Lenten season. I took out some of the songs with which I didn't connect and added new ones from new CDs, and I created a series of interlinked triptychs - a grouping of three songs with a common theme, with the last song being a transition from one theme to the next. This way, when I travel, I can use the CDs to move in prayer, reflection and meditation from one theme to the next for a total duration of about 150 minutes (2.5 hours). The first CD begins with a song called Open My Eyes, and ends with a song called Speechless that has the lyric: But as mercy opens my eyes, my words are stolen away with this breathtaking view of Your grace... and from the opening prayer - open my eyes to You - I end, hopefully, with my eyes being opened to Him.

I would be happy to provide you with the song list, if you so wish. Do you think you could figure out the triptychs on your own?

Darren Norton said...

Wow, that is so far out of the realm of what I ever would have thought to do - and it's so cool! Yes, please post the list, I'd really like to see it.

ND Envirochick said...

OK, here goes:

Disc 1:
Open My Eyes (Rick Springfield)
As It Is In Heaven (Michael W. Smith)
Prayer (Rick Springfield)
Lord Have Mercy (Michael W. Smith)
I Will Go (Steve Green)
Whatever (Steven Curtis Chapman)
Never Been Unloved (Michael W. Smith)
Who Am I? (Point of Grace)
God So Loved the World (Glad)
O Pilgrim Come (Steve Green)
Give It Away (MWS)
Here Am I (Mercy Me)
Found By You (Across the Sky)
Draw Me Close (MWS)
See the Glory (SCC)
Here I Am to Worship (MWS)
The Wonder of It All (Point of Grace)
Savior (SCC)

Disc 2:
Thread of Scarlet (Steve Green)
Secret Ambition (MWS)
Just As I Am (Glad)
Child of Mine (Jaci Velasquez)
Free (Rick Springfield)
Declaration of Dependence (SCC)
Not So You Will Love Me (Across the Sky)
Above All (MWS)
The Message (4 Him)
On My Way to You (Mercy Me)
I'm Waiting for You (MWS)
God Is God (SCC)
Expressions of Your Love (Rebecca St. James)
Breathe in Me (MWS)
Broken World (Across the Sky)
The Wonderful Cross (MWS)
Speechless (SCC)

OK, now your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to listen to the CDs and see if you can figure out the themes for the triptychs...