Posts Tagged ‘Music review


The Joint Goes Official!


In March of this year 2 of some incredible blogging buddies of mine and I kicked off a fun project called the Joint, where we reviewed music in a ‘multi-personality’ format. We’ve had a ton of fun with it. I’ve been stoked to be a part of it and get to know these guys better and interact with ya’ll around the subject of music.

Well we’ve picked up another voice and now 4 of us are cranking out the music reviews. Up most recently has been the review of Fee’s Hope Rising. Before that we had Brenton Brown, Todd Agnew, David Crowder*Band just to name a few. It’s our hope and desire that through the voices of 4 different fellas putting in their thoughts into a review with a brief synopsis, a bottom line verdict, and our own personal favorite tracks and songs that we think could help your worship services that you’d enjoy an incredible introduction to some new and familiar artists!

Some of you have already picked up on it but I’m stoked to announce that the Joint Review has gone “official” and moved from this:


to this:

The Joint Review


AND we’ve gone from reviews showing up on our individual blogs to our very own website that can be found at Check out the music. Show some love and spread the word.

Thanks ya’ll!


The Joint returns! Highest rated review yet: Sojourn Music Over the Grave

It’s been a while so let me remind you, The Joint is a collaborative music review by yours truly and 2 other bloggers whose opinions I highly value! Hopefully, you the listener will get a great indication of whether or not you should fork our your hard earned $9.99 for the CD or not.


Sojourn Music

Sojourn Music – Over the Grave

Pick it up here now.

Alastair VanceGo to Live to Worship he’s got a new banner that’s wicked cool!

Wow!  Hot on heels of On The Move by Aslan Worship is another amazing worship album from Sojourn Music – Over The Grave.  From the very first song (Warrior) this album oozes quality.  I love the contemporary, bluesy rock sound of the album while the lyrics remain rock solid.  While not every song could easily be played the way Sojourn perform it, there is plenty of material on here to suit everyone.

Bottom Line: I hope we keep getting great albums like this to review on The Joint.  It’s new, fresh and totally engages you in worship.  A substantial addition to my music collection!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5!

Must Have Songs:
Over The Grave is full of great songs, but there are a few that I just love.
Warrior (this is my favorite song on the album – what a great sound!), Living Faith, How Long, Only Your Blood (reminds me a little of a Keane song), Reveal Your Love, Over Death (slight Jars of Clay feel), Refuge, We Are Changed,.and Saviour King.  Hang on – that’s nearly every song on the album.

In Church: Only Your Blood, Over Death, Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed, May Your Power Rest On Me, Saviour King.

Joel KlampertGo to

Synopsis: Can the words fresh and Ancient really go hand in hand? Sojourn makes you think with this CD because every song is from the Hymn writer Issac Watts yet they created one of the most refreshing CD’s I have heard to date.
I have been a fan of Sojourn since I was introduced to their Advent CD and later Before the Throne, but this one is an absolute achievement. Within seconds of pressing play on my iPod I was floored and had to even post to twitter ” HOLY COW!!” If you don’t have the same reaction then you need to check to see if you have a pulse.
This is a CD of hymns. Sojourn is very different than other artists that do “modern” hymns. They dont just make it faster and tag on a chorus. They create a whole new song and it becomes modern and rich.
This Church is Chock full of talented artists and musicians. The production was done in-house By Neil Robins. Let me tell you I can’t remember when I have heard a better-produced CD.

Bottom Line: I could literally go on for hours about how revolutionary this CD and how rich it’s theology is. How amazing the sound is and how cool all of the vintage instrumentation mixed with modern sound is…But I won’t.
The “bottom Line” is this. This CD is the best CD of 2009 hands down. And if you could only have one CD to put on your shelf this year. You had better pick this one up!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5!

Must Haves: Please don’t take this as a cop out, but I think every song on this CD is a must have. My favorites are: Warrior (OH MY!!), How Long (was waiting for guest solo from ZZtop), Only Your Blood, Over Death.

In Church: I’d say try them all. The vocalists are SO good on this CD that it may be a little daunting, but with some key changes I think every song on this CD has a place in church.

Conner Byrdstick around here @ WorshipCity

Synopsis: What I love so much about Sojourn’s CD Over the Grave is it’s personality! This was my introduction to Sojourn music (I had to ask the guys what exactly they were? Church? Band? Worship Team?) Sojourn Music is a dynamic group of musicians that make up the worship team there at their church. And a dynamic bunch they are! I believe there are 4 different lead vocals, there’s the blues, driving acoustics, raunchy electrics, beautiful piano, soulful gospel spiritual, pop and somehow they pretty much pull it off!! It’s truly impressive! AND the professionalism in the recording is spectacular as well. It doesn’t get much better than this. It should be mentioned that this music is all inspired and taken from hymns from Isaac Watts. I don’t know a single one but they’ve done an incredible job of taking some difficult subject matter that doesn’t crop up in modern worship music so much and mash it with their worship styles and create this experience that totally works! If I’m honest…I’m typically not a fan of these projects. They come off like Blended Worship Services. Trying to please everyone while aggravating anyone! But something special happens here.

Bottom Line: There’s a little bit of everything in here for you! You want blues? You like Mayer or Brewster? Got it! You want gospel spiritual chain gang revival? Got it! You like Tower of Power? Check! How about some throwback 70s rock? Oh yeah. What’s great is hearing some of the band’s obvious influences while at the same time not loosing their own identity! I swear I hear Silversun Pickups’ Lazy Eye in the beginning of Over Death!
Sojourn has done a fabulous job of creating seemingly simple songs but being smart about their layering and in doing so keeping it creative and interesting. I also love that despite having obvious vocal talent we aren’t bombarded with constant backing vocals! This team is obviously conscientious about crafting their music and not just bludgeoning us with everything they’ve got. THANK YOU SOJOURN!
Rating: 4 out of 5!

Must have: Opening track Warrior is just sick! HOW LONG! Ugh! Raucous and obnoxious and awesome! Over Death not only drives with the acoustic but has “monster” and “damning” in a PRAISE SONG! Come on people! Honestly only Refuge and Savior King haven’t grown on me. The first is a bit too CCM and the

In Church: It’s a worship project! So…all!?!?! I suppose a worship leader would just need to be wise about which songs fit or don’t fit with his or her team and makeup. Chords and lyrics are available on their site. I think Reveal Your Love isn’t as congregationally friendly and I think Alas! (while I dig it!) would get stale without a team that’s able to pull it off. Let’s not forget this is a church worship team but they’ve set the bar HIGH! So dig in leaders and take some pride in what you do and get on it!

Over the Grave Album Cover

The Joint has it’s highest ranked CD so far! Sojourn Music’s Over the Grave gets a combined 4.5!
Apparently the ‘best’ songs as mentioned by all 3 of us are:
Warrior, How Long, Over Death, and Only Your Blood.

Don’t forget to comment here or on the other 2 guys’ blogs to hopefully get picked to get your own copy! It’s not even on iTunes yet people!!


The Joint Raises the Flag with Matt McCoy


It’s going to be a music week folks! Sorry, I got behind with our trip to New Orleans so hold on tight, here we go:

Matt McCoy – Raise the Flag Again

find on iTunes or Amazon

Joel Klampert – go to

Synopsis: I first found out about Matt Mccoy when I would watch the live worship services from the Vineyard Cincinnati. He would cover for the BRILLIANT Robbie Reider when he needed a break. At the time I was really impressed with the guy and always wondered if he would do a CD.
He did and I like it. He has a very interesting voice. Almost like a young Derri Daugherty from “the Choir”. Matt if you are reading this you need to do some covers of them on your next CD.
Gotta love a tangent…
Matt has an awesome sound and great production on this CD. However I think sometimes his vocals are a little too hidden. The guitar parts and songwriting is spot on. This is one surprisingly great CD.

Bottom Line: I like this CD a ton. Every song on it is singable and can be done in a church setting no matter the skill. While it is good I have had to give it multiple listens so it could grow on me. Nothing really jumped out. I will continue to give it more listens because Matt is a great songwriter and you can really see his heart on this EP.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Must Haves: What If (my favorite track), Revelation (not the remix)

In Church: As I said before you could easily do this entire CD in church as long as you eliminated the remix song. Remember when you used to have to blow into the nintendo to get it to not freak out. I wanted to blow into my ipod when the remix came on.

Alastair Vance – go to Live to Worship

Synopsis: When I first listened to this I wasn’t sure I would be able to give it a good review, but to be honest it has since grown on me (a lot).  Matt’s vocals and sound is a little like Leelands with a wee bit of Mark Roach thrown in for good measure.  I love the truths and heart yearnings that Matt exposes through his lyrics and melodies.

Before I looked Matt up online ( I was convinced he had a lot of good worship leader experience and I was right! He is currently serving as a worship leader at Willow Creek Community Church.  This experience really comes across on the record – a transparency and raw honesty that we like to see in our worship leaders.

‘Raising The Flag Again’ is an EP release with only 8 tracks on the record (one of which is a remix).  A full length album is in the works.

Bottom Line: Great heart, great songwriting.

Rating: ★★★★☆

Must Have Songs
: I like all the songs on here – especially Song Of The Redeemed, Everything, Infinite Praise and What If.  If I had to cripe, it would be about the remix version of Relevation.

Church Songs: Song of The Redeemed, You Are, What If, Everything, Infinite Praise are all ready to go!  The melodies are easily followed and the lyrics speak truth and spark desire for God.

Conner ByrdYours truly

Synopsis: Matt McCoy’s Raise the Flag Again is a very well done 7 track intro into the heart and soul of a worship leader. He’s got some tasty guitar tones, very singable melodies, and familiar themes that seem to be relevant in modern worship now: take a look at some of the track names: Revelation, Song of the Redeemed (not a Charlie Hall cover), Treasure, Infinite Praise. The songs are very full sounding utilizing effective guitar riffs, piano fills, harmonies, etc. Everything’s very well put together.

Bottom Line: While I can’t really complain about anything on this CD, I find myself struggling to really get excited about it. I mean it’s a good project with some good songs on it but it’s like so much else out right now and if I’m honest as a worship leader about what I’d play, if it sounds like Tomlin or Fee then I’ll just play a song by them that everyone’s already familiar with. I feel bad saying that, I’m sure if I saw Matt lead worship and connected with his heart then I’d connect with the songs better, otherwise it sounds so much like what I’m already connected too :)

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Must have: Revelation is a great opener but don’t bother with the remix. I also dig What If. Infinite Praise is one that sounds so fun to play and I really like as well.

Church Songs: These are all great worship songs that, like I said earlier are very singable. Pick your favorite and go for it!


Coldplay’s Viva La Vida SMASH HIT!

Typically, I have time to get a listen in before reviewing a new release. Thanks to an educational copy I received last week I’ve been drunk on Viva La Vida for almost 5 days now and like Christmas Eve anxiously waiting for my pre-order from iTunes to begin downloading!

If you are sick and tired of being beaten over the head with X&Y like most of the public then you’ll find the tonality of Viva La Vida incredibly refreshing! What I absolutely love about Coldplay is their insane ability to make music that sounds incredibly rudimentary and yet wildly complex at the same time. They’re like onions people! They have layers 🙂 I honestly wonder what the band is doing for some of the songs because there’s nothing happening other than piano and ambience! Then like a clap of thunder it gets vividly deep and nearing out of control. If there’s a complaint on this CD it’s that it never gets out of control. There are moments when I think the bottoms going to fall out and they’re going to kick down the walls and then it steps away from it a few feet before the wall. I assume (and hope and pray) that this makes for a stellar live show!

I think what I love most about what happened on this CD is the diverse tones. It’s like Chris Martin approached the keys as many guitarist approach guitars and pedals. The keys range from incredible pipe organs to child-like tinker toys. Many times I don’t even know what’s making that noise I just love it! The use of strings here are wicked cool and again (I can hope and pray) they tour with a string section because I believe I’d pee my pants!

There are cool throwbacks to U2, Radiohead, and even the Beatles here but to me, Coldplay wraps it up concisely and neatly in to a collaboration that makes them the infectious band that I can’t get enough of. There aren’t terribly many radio friendly tunes here and that may be it’s greatest asset. I’m not sure this is palatable for radio as previous endeavors were. Hopefully that means whippings we’ve received like the new iTunes ad are over and we can enjoy this release on our own terms. Seriously, if you haven’t picked this up yet you’re wasting time. You won’t regret it!



Thumbs Up/Down – Starfield will GO and the Daniel Doss Band

Thumbs Up/Down has been a fun addition here to WorshipCity that I enjoy doing every Tuesday with new music. For those who are regulars, you know I can become quite the talker 🙂 So from now on, Thumbs Up/Down will be a quick overview of some new material I’ve gotten my hands on and in-depth reviews will take their own post. That way for a quick look see you can check these out and simply see either a Thumbs Up or Thumbs Down and then I’ll link to the full review when I get it up. Those will entertain my full long-windedness 🙂

Thumbs up StarfieldI Will Go – It’s not that I try not to like certain bands but I was pretty skeptical that I’d like this CD when I got my hands on it. I know everyone loved Beauty in the Broken but I just never got into it and therefore never picked it up. My impression from I Will Go though has me thinking I made a BIG mistake! This CD in a word = THICK. U2y guitars, big vocals, a nice mix of the popular quirky chord progressions United likes to do with some very singable melodies. Parts of this CD slow down and just feel real comfortable as well!

To Grab Your Attention: Hosanna -it takes some stones to grab an already immensely popular tune and shake it up to your own style. Holy is Out God – a very worshipful singable song. The ending just soars! I love it!

Thumbs up Daniel Doss BandGreater Than Us All – With a sample on Fresh Tunes – Winter 2008, I was really interested in this band. I think mostly the lyrical content of this CD is really what grabs me. With the opener of Great God:
Great God, greater than us all – Forgive us we have made You small – God open our eyes to see – Just a great chorus that puts things in perspective for us! They don’t let up with God in Me, or Blessed is the One, or Love Like Rain. There’s this kind of raw, authentic sound in the vocals that I love. Plus, things with Ed Cash have been grabbing my attention lately 🙂

To Grab Your Attention: Great God – why not, it’s just a great song that gives a good glimpse of the band. Blessed is the One – just goodness all over it. Creatively Lord Reign into Light is Shining I love!


Thumbs Up/Down – Leeland’s Opposite Way

Thumbs up LeelandOpposite Way – Apparently, Leeland’s never heard of the ‘Sophomore Slump‘ that most breakout bands fall prey to because this CD is a must have for those who enjoy great music! I knew it would take alot to get me over Sounds of Melodies and this disc really does it. I LOVE the new direction of the artwork. I LOVE when it pops up in iTunes and on display in my iPhone. I LOVE the flow of this CD. It feels like I have 2 CDs here with the way it moves. I LOVE the length of the CD: 11 songs is the perfect number of tunes! It rolls in under an hour, I’m left wanting more! I LOVE the sound of this CD! I LOVE the fact that its very memorable. Again, with the diversity and the melodies they’re distinguished enough that I can easily call up the tunes. They really upped the ante on this one I believe. Let’s take a closer look.

Count Me In is such a killer opener! They really know how to ramp you up for your listening experience. It’s moving and just has great guitars, great vocals, and a great feel to it! We get a taste of some of Leeland’s diversity as they move from guitar driving song to a piano led song with Let It Out. I love the message of this song (although that’s something I’m going to say A-LOT of this CD.) Enter this Temple has a real familiar tone to their 1st CD but the lift at the end of this song is unreal! What they can pack into 3 and 1/2 minutes is crazy. I LOVE Opposite Way. It’s an example of a good song made great by the different parts and workings of the song. Starts off with a great groove that allows you to be sucked into the lyrics and just when your bobbing your head and sucked completely in, you can feel it beginning to happen and then…oh over half way through the song it just begins to soar! The Edge would be proud of what they’re able to accomplish with well placed simple guitar riffs 🙂

Then the CD almost starts over. I’m done after the 1st 4 tracks. I’ve had enough. I’m full. I’m satisfied but they just keep going. Wake Up & Don’t Go Away are great in your facers that keep some momentum through this latter part. Beginning and the End & Falling for You  keep a good groove going. Thief in the Night & May our Praise are simply dynamic tunes that work so hard for all their 4 minutes! They come in as the longest tunes but their just packed with so much its so worth it!

The guys of Leeland have obviously been working hard and seeking God making this CD. Go NOW HERE and get it.
Leeland’s Opposite Way


Thumbs Up/Down – Remedy NOT A COLLISION but MAINSTAY! WOAH

Thumbs up OK, this is NOT A Collision. Let’s just get that out of the way right here and now. A Collision was this masterpiece work of art that not only was an incredible undertaking for Crowder and the gang but required the listener to set aside some valuable time to really get all that was intended! I’m uber-excited about Remedy! It’s got a flavor of all the elements I’ve grown to love and expect from these guys!

  • An insanely awesome new revamped hymn!
  • A Golden Oldie with new life!
  • In your face raucousness!
  • Beautiful slow worshipfulness 🙂 is that a word?!?!?! HAHAHA
  • Amazing lyrics!
  • Crowder’s voice sounds nuts!
  • Full guitar tones!

Seriously? What more? Songs? Yeah, having only 10 songs and 2 of them being Passion favorites already with a familiar rendition only puts us at 7 new tunes. I want more! However, those 7 new tracks are sweet! I’m already trying to plan when we can do Remedy at church! Well, those are my .02.

Thumbs up MainstayBecome Who You Are – Holy mess, these guys somehow made it onto iTunes free Single of the Week a while back and I grab those every week of course. I was stunned by the title track of this album: Become Who You Are. Its your typical Rock CD but who doesn’t love a great rock cd?!?! The lyrics are pretty good with some catchy lines that stick with you. Honestly, I’ve been playing Become Who You Are now for a couple weeks and threw it on a mix CD with Foo Fighters, the new Alter Bridge single, Skillet, the Used, and some other random rock artists and it fit perfectly in there! I’m excited to give the whole CD a chance! Anything Aaron Sprinkle puts his hands in typically is a worthwhile endeavor!

Thumbs down Everything’s Magic Video Angels and Airwaves – new video for another highly anticipated CD. I love what Tom’s been able to do with this new project however, thes new video doesn’t raise my appreciation for their taste in video style. Man it had a great concept and I was really excited about what could be but it never did. And I can do without girl on girl smooching even if it is a quick shot 😦 Come on fellas get more creative.

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