This list is not in any particular order and includes bands you’ve probably never heard of. I love extra-ordinary artists that do not get the hype of average artists industries push as the next…
I scoured the release list provided by Jesus Freak Hideout and listened to many artists I had missed and I’m so glad I did because I found some gems. Enjoy.
Manafest – Stones
Manafest has been around a while, I found him in his rap days and he has matured to quite the rocker. This is great album with smart lyrics and get riffs.
Demon Hunter – Outlive
Looking for a little thrashing with a lot of conviction? These veteran rockers have not lost their edge or their mission. Jesus Wept, The End, and Raining Down are some of my favs. Some good keyboard work in this as well.
As We Ascend – Farewell To Midnight
Has an old school rock feel that you’d want to play with a Beats headset while playing air drums. This is not to say they don’t have something to say with songs like When The Gun Goes which deals with suicide. Good keyboard and killer guitar solos. Feel free to crank Watch The World Burn up to 11.
Ce Ce Winaans – Let Them Fall in Love
This may be the most perfect album of the year. I could listen to this album all the way through. Ce Ce’s rendition of Kris Kristofferson’s Why Me is worth everything. Other standouts include He’s Never Failed Me Yet, Hey Devil, Dancing In The Spirit, and Marvelous.
Hollyn – One Way Conversations
Simply a breath of fresh pop air with a raw honesty about relationships but plenty of room for being fun and young. Awe is a stand out track for me.
New school hip hop with a touch of the old school. If you have seen his video for cereal…where you been? It’s this generations Cartoon Network (KJ52)
Mercy Me – Lifer
This was a surprise for me. Mercy Me has been going though some musical changes that I’ve enjoyed. They’ve been playing with abandon and it shows on songs like Happy Dance, Life, and the solemn Even If.
Army of Bones – Army of Bones
What is not to like about this Martin Smith (Delirious?) led band? Absolutely nothing. Although not listed in the Christian section of iTunes, you can still feel the passion and Spirit behind the lyrics. Dead In The Water is my jam.
Zach Williams – Chain Breaker
Blues, Rock, his rendition of Midnight Rider and the song Freedom. That is all. You’re welcome.
Bethany Barnard – A Better Word
A beautiful and simple worship/country-esque album that hits all the right notes. If you use this as an entry to your prayer time (and I recommend you do) I would suggest keeping a tissue box handy as many of the songs will strike a chord as the Holy Spirt beckons you deeper.
Mavis Staples – If All I Was Was Black
This Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) produced album is jam packed with blues guitar and positivity. The political tones are not so much avert but are hard to miss in the times we live in. The album is a gentle nudge (but a nudge none the less) to live wide awake, take action, love better, and love more.
If you like your rap old school with some progressive blues sensibilities, this is your jam. I loved the rhymes, the jams, and the message behind the whole album. Lots of honesty and heart. The songs Blue Eyed Devil, Dougie With The Devil, and Oddball are stand out tracks.
Beautiful Eulogy – Worthy
At first glance of the Spotify pic I thought I was looking at a Beastie Boys photo. The dreamy beats, the smooth flow, and the direct message all make for a great album worth listening to all the way through. The songs If.. and a killer version of the Doxology are some of the highlights.
The Welcome Wagon – Light Up The Stairs
I can’t tell you the last time I listened to a Tooth and Nail record, but it was definitely in the 90’s. I’m glad to have stumbled on this T&N album because it reminds me of the quirky-ness I remember from bands like Havalina Rail Co. or Morella’s Forrest. Light Up The Stairs is something you want to listen to when everything starts sounding the same. They will cleanse your music pallet and maybe a little of your soul as well.
Matt Mahr – Echoes
Oh Matt, what have you done? You made an album that makes me think about this world and my part in making things right. Matt’s call is to all believers is to get off the bench and engage with the world around them in a civil and Christ-Like manner. Not only does this album prick my conscious (and my heart) but it makes my foot tap along while it’s happening. God has the front row seat in every song and had me wishing, “I wish they’ play this in church”.
Jordan Feliz – The River
Jordon didn’t initially make my list. Maybe because at first blush I thought this was a copy of a copy album but, with several listens, I’ve changed my mind. The lyrics are strong, not sappy. The vibe is fresh not re-hashed. Jordan puts his heart into each song. Hope is a strong theme through out. He reminds me, a little, of Eric Champion in his freshman and sophomore albums, and that’s a good thing. Put it on, and just enjoy and let Jordan’s vocals sweep you into better mood.
Andy Mineo and Wordsplayed – Magic and Bird
Pure fun. Take the Way Back Machine to the 80’s and 90’s with this clever rap take on basketball legends Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
Did a miss one? Share in the comments.
Here’ my playlist with 17 of my favorite songs, one from each album so you can get a taste.
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