Posts filed under My Thoughts About New Music---

The Damaged- Live Performance Video

What kind of song do you write when you feel like you stood on wobbly legs for the last time only to be knocked back down again? What kind of words do you share when it feels like the tiny tears in you heart have met each other and now you see only gashes?

What kind of melody is sung from lips on the face of someone who has found themselves in mud after life's storms have pounded so relentlessly?

What kind of song is the white flag of surrender? The deep aching groan for help? The last whisper before words dry up?

What kind of song acknowledges, even if only in the asking, that their is a place to reach for? Someone to grab for? Help to be found? Someone who will rescue?

This song is my answer:

The Damaged- Live Video Performance

http://youtu.be/hnKG8Eulk7g

Please pass this song around to any you may know who need to fit these words inside their fragile beating hearts.

The Damaged Sarah MacIntosh

Red is the color of my heart as it cries hush hush Pouring like the river torn apart as it pleads hush hush Keep stepping further from the scene whisper softly hush hush Wreckage scattered wildly crumbling look away and hush hush

I don’t want to be the one whose broken I don’t want to be the one who falls apart I don’t want to be damaged

Keep binding, sewing, mending no one notice hush hush Stitches gather wounds and keep them clean mine are numbered hush hush Face twitching sweaty palms are tells mine are screaming hush hush Eyes down and waiting for the gale start the tipping hush hush

I don't want I don't wanna be I don't wanna be...


Leigh Nash "Hymns and Sacred Songs" (Album Review)

I spent the evening last night listening to the fairly new cd by Leigh Nash called "Hymns and Sacred Songs." For those of you who know me, you know how I feel about hymns. Growing up in Texas myself, surrounded by the old songs being sung in harmony with only the tapping of feet as accompaniment, I have a strong attachment to the singing of hymns. In fact, I spent time at my church a few years ago singing one hymn each week, describing it's writer and and the circumstances surrounding it's writing. After doing that for months, I myself recorded and released a hymns cd of a handful of my favorites. There is something deeply rooted in these older songs. Something coming from a different space of honesty and fragility than todays worship songs. For instance, one of my favorite songs on this album of Leigh's, called "Be Still My Soul," was written by a woman named Katharina Amalia Dorothea von Schlegel in the early 1700's. Her hymn was called a revival hymn due to it's popularity during a time of great change in the church in Germany where she lived. Churches were resurfacing from the darkness of the middle ages and they were once again, in the late 1700's, worshipping as a congregation. The songs were no longer being led and listened to only, but instead the congregation was singing along and worship was changing, this song being one of the most beloved and sung. It's lyrics taken from Psalm 46:10, "Be still, and know that I am God," say:

"Be still, my soul – the Lord is on thy side!

Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain;

Leave to thy God to order and provide –

In ev'ry change He faithful will remain.

Be still, my soul – thy best, thy heav'nly Friend

Thru thorny ways leads to a joyful end."

I imagine these lyrics being sung in that fragile, newly worshipping church and the impact of the lyrical truth. No wonder it brought about revival. No wonder it was passed along from singing mouth to singing mouth until I am hearing it sung to me by the lilting voice of Leigh.

This song is the summation of my thoughts about this cd. The combination of Leigh's beautiful vocals and the depth and calm certainty of the lyrics being sung has caused my heart and soul to be still. This is a cd to rest in. To draw us back towards the peace found in relying on our Savior.

Ahhhh.

Thank you Leigh for leading us there.

Grab more info about this cd here:

Leigh Nash "Hymns and Sacred Songs"

Posted on February 24, 2012 and filed under Anything and Everything, My Thoughts About New Music---.

Uh...Christian Radio=No Females...

Today my husband and I had a long drive in a state that has a far reaching christian radio station. For about an hour and 15 minutes we listened to song after song after song and I quickly started noticing a pattern. There are VERY few female voices on christian radio. I heard 15 songs straight and only heard 2 sung by women (one was Christy Nockels and the other a female led band called Addison Road). I started trying to figure out why that was.

Just a week and a half ago I had a sobering conversation with the leading radio promoter in Christian radio and discovered the nearly impossibly statistics for gaining Christian radio airplay. There are only 2 or 3 available spaces per MONTH for new music. There are 25 radio promoters pitching about 3 songs each per week. That means every week there are about 75 songs trying to squeeze into the 1 possible slot radio stations have available. This also means that while thousands of songs are being released each year, if you are listening to christian radio, you are only hearing 36 of them, many of them being multiple songs by the same artists. For instance, last year TobyMac had two different songs hit #1 at two different times in the year.

Since 2004 there have been 74 #1 singles (songs that stayed at the #1 slot for at least 1 week and some more than 1 week). Of those 74 singles only 6 were from females, Joy Williams (once), Nichole Nordeman (once), Francesca Battistelli (twice), Mandisa (once), and Laura Story (once). Meanwhile Mercy Me, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, Third Day, Matthew West, Toby Mac and Chris Tomlin each had anywhere between 4-10 #1 singles each; comprising over 40 of those top 74 singles.

I know, I know, this is a lot of numbers. Here is what I am getting at...there are NOT enough female singers/musicians being represented on Christian radio. I don't believe this is because there isn't enough talent but for some reason their songs are just not making it on the radio. Two female led songs in an hour and a half of radio airplay is just not enough. So what can be done?

First, to the lady musician/singer/songwriters:

#1 Be great at your craft. Stop leaning so heavily on your beautiful vocals and start writing equally beautiful songs. Get out and sing your songs in front of people who will give you honest feedback (most of the time the most honest feedback comes from strangers, you know the ones who sit at a table right in front of you talking louder than you are singing, or the ones who sit in rapt attention because you have brought something to them that they need; great music).

#2 Record your music well. Whether you are signed to a record label or you are independent and find yourself funding your cd recording yourself in your friends basement, make a cd that draws the listener in and makes them want to listen over and over, hearing new creative things with each listen.

#3 Get your music out there. This happens through shows, social media(youtube, Facebook, Twitter, etc.), marketing, a webpage or blog, radio, ITunes, and just old fashioned word of mouth. Perhaps you don't have any idea how to make a webpage where people can stream your music or see where you are playing, then make a Facebook page (I know you are on Facebook anyway). You can also hit up Wordpress.com or one of the many other blogsites and build one (they have pre-made sites that you can stick your info/songs/pictures into that is so easy you have no excuse...if it is still too hard then find just about any 13 year old kid with a computer and have them do it for you). Submit your music to ITunes. Use Noisetrade.com to give away your music in trade for email addresses to keep in contact with your fans.

Next, to the non-female musicians/listeners:

Your job is even easier, you are in charge of finding those great female musicians out there and spreading the word to your friends, rallying them to buy the females music and further promote to their friends. Call your Christian radio stations and request their music (I admit that this probably won't do anything but I would love for the stations to be hearing that there are lots of people wanting what they are not providing).

So, I realize that I am a female musician and I am writing this blog. I am not using this blog to get you to go buy my cd and get it on Christian radio. I am also not using this blog to act like I know it all. These are just my observations and heck, who am I? I'm a girl who makes Christian music that doesn't get played on Christian radio, so this blog conversation is pointed at myself as well as any other lady musician out there.

I want to leave you with some female singer, songwriter, musicians who you can rally behind. Women who are extremely talented and are working extremely hard despite not having a radio presence. Some of my current favorites are:

Kim Walker Smith- You can find her singing with the band/worship team Jesus Culture. Her version of the song "How He Loves" has gotten almost 6 million views on youtube. Did you catch that? 6 Million views! That is huge and shows what a powerful worship leader/singer/musician she is and yet I don't believe there is any major Christian radio station playing her music. You can get a hold of her music by buying a Jesus Culture CD on ITunes. There are 3 that I know of and personally own, each with standout Kim Walker Smith tracks.

Vicky Beeching- I admit I am a little close to the latest CD by Vicky (It was recorded by my husband at our studio in San Diego and I co-wrote a few of the songs on the album with her) BUT I am close to this CD because I wanted to be close. Vicky has a unique calling and gifting by intertwining singing and songwriting with teaching. She challenges the music community to write through a theological lens and to speak of a Savior who is real and not full of fluff. Go buy her latest CD called Eternity Invades and support this great British female artist.

Kye Kye- now here is a band who is female led and has all the wrappings of art and cool and depth and spirituality and theology. The band is led by Olga, the ethereal voiced sister to two of the other band members and wife to the drummer. This band is not for the fainthearted. They do not make music for the complacent. Theirs is for someone who wants to be invested and drawn in to a real, pumping relationship with a Creative Creator. Grab their CD titled Young Love, find where they are playing nearby and grab all your friends and go see them. You can thank me later.

Brooke Fraser- Brooke is a no brainer. After having lent her astonishingly beautiful lyrics and vocals to Hillsong United for years she has finally just released her own solo CD in the US last year titled Flags. She has written songs you sing probably ever month in your church service, her most popular being, Hosanna. I have seen her perform live once and I have to say that out of all the male or female singers I have seen in my entire life, she is by far one of the top most flawless live singers I have ever seen. Support this Lady.

Audrey Assad- I am new to the Audrey bandwagon but friends, including Brenton Brown and his band, have continued whispering praise over her talent and honesty, and it finally rubbed off. I have listened and joined the fan club. Now I just have to make it a point to see her live, you should join me.

Lisa Gungor- One half of the duo led band Gungor (the other half is her husband). This band has been making waves for the past couple of years with only two CDs under their belt, the first being 2010's Beautiful Things (the title track was nominated for a Grammy) and then this months Ghosts Upon The Earth with their super creative worship driven music. The tracks on the record that she leads tend to be my favorites of the bands and I look forward to hearing her more and more. She sings with passion and belief in what she is saying.

Please leave a comment here on the blog, below with any other female singers that people should know about so that we can group together and support them. Perhaps you are that female musician, leave us a link to your website or blog or a place where we can sample your music. Then after you've left a comment with your favorites, go and check out the other music that is being posted. (Side Note: It will do no good for anyone but me if you comment on my Facebook page or Twitter because the readers of this blog will be only reading the comments on this blog...so comment here...please :))

I look forward to hearing of some great female led music from you!

Alrighty...Go!


The Best Music Marketing...

The other day I was assaulted via Twitter and Facebook and CNN and Youtube and links and photos etc. by various unrelated, non-music marketing employed, normal people concerning the recent U2 concert in Nashville, TN. The words used in the posted messages were

Amazing

Huge

Mind-blowing

Epic

Awesome

Perfect

Memorable

Larger Than Life

Transcendent

Magical

Exhilarating

Transforming

I found myself wishing I still lived in Nashville and could have been present at this show. I found myself going back and wanting to pull out my U2 records and CDs and to listen to this band that has once again made a huge positive impression on their fans. I watched as the internet and social media lit up with praise and affirmation of this talented band and was happy that they are still blowing peoples minds and touching people with their music and it left me thinking:

The best marketing you can have for your music is to be great at what you do.

You don't need to have a huge, well funded machine behind you putting you on every late night talk show or reality tv show. You don't need to sell your cd on Amazon for 99 cents to boost album sales. You don't need to have a super revealed/tragic/extreme personal life that is covered in every magazine.

The reason everyone was talking about U2 was because they were great at what they do.

I find myself saying, "Sarah, do you have room to grow and get better at this thing called music that you love to do so much? UH! YES!" I tell myself.

We can always be better.

So whether you are a musician or accountant or banker or stay at home mom/dad or student or teacher, don't sit back waiting for someone else to make life happen for you. Be great at whatever it is that you do and light up the lives of those who are around you.


Brenton Brown- Our God Is Near(Album Review)

Sunday night I had the privilege of watching a dear friend of my husbands and mine, Brenton Brown, lead a group of a few thousand people into worship. I stood and watched as he and the 3 guys that make up his band (aka Worship Republic) cracked open a grouping of new songs that Brenton has carefully and purposefully crafted for us. These songs that are meant to be our words of worship. At the end of the night, I sat back and thought "Wow! Did an hour and a half really just pass? It seems as though we just started." But, this is always the feeling when you are being led by a great leader, and that is Brenton Brown.

I have the cd of these new songs, although it doesn't actually release to the public till March 22nd, and thought I would listen to it and be able to give an unbiased review for you. I have come to the conclusion, though, that it's not possible. If I am to be honest, I can't separate myself far enough from Brenton and his wife Jude and their amazing daughter Bella (my daughter's BFF) to give you an unbiased opinion. I am biased. I want everyone to buy his new cd in droves. I want their family to be able to sit back and see the response of the worldwide church affirm that the time, money, heartache, toil, joy, time apart, time together etc. has all been a seed well planted and tended. I want them to see leaves sprouting and fruit being born of their labor of love.

So here is what I will say. I have spent hours on planes, in distant countries, on stages singing with, in the audience watching, lounging poolside while our daughters were still growing within our bellies, crying together, laughing together (quite a bit of this), sharing songs/ideas together and just simply being friends and growing the relationship between our families with the Browns, so, I know that when you watch Brenton worship, when you hear his lyrics, when you hear him speak and see his joy filled smile as he sings you are getting honesty, you are getting something that is real. This is a huge reason that I buy and listen to music, honesty. I want to hear someone sing something they know deep down and this is something that Brenton does. This is why you should buy his cd, this is why you should jump at a chance to go where he is leading worship.

Here are the lyrics that have planted themselves on my mind from Brenton's song "All I Want":

"All I've got, all I want is in You, it's in You. Like the air in my lungs I will breathe You in. All I want, all I need is in Your grace and Your truth. Fill me up, fill me up, let me sing again."

You can check out an interview he posted about his new record "Our God Is Near" here on his blog. And watch iTunes next Tuesday for the albums release...Don't worry, I will mention it again just to remind you :)


Hillsong United-Aftermath: Album Review...

Last Tuesday, February 15th, Hillsong United released their latest CD called, "Aftermath." I'll admit, I was a casualty of the pre-sale, "get a free song if you pay for the cd early" tactic and was happy to find it bought and downloaded onto my phone when I woke up Tuesday morning. As with all new music I get, I upload it to my phone and slip on my running shoes and head outside to my running trail to get a good listen. I had overly high expectations about this new cd but, crept out the door tentatively, knowing there was a very good chance of being disappointed. I mean, how many good songs can this band put out? How many CDs of boundary pushing worship songs can they actually record? So begins my run and so begins the first song, "Take Heart," written and sung by Joel Houston.

Here he is, the backbone of Hillsong United, who has written or cowritten 7 of the 12 songs on this new record, is the oldest son of the head pastor of the 20,000 person church, Hillsong, in Sydney, Australia, and is starting this new cd off with a slow song. Maybe he is being a bit cocky, after all who starts of the cd with a slow song? I think the type of person who has a vision for the whole CD. He knows where this record is going to go and he wants to start it off right and boy does he. With a drum beat that tiptoes and then marches into the song propelling my feet to a steady cadence, with lyrics that talk about finding God as our hope among our times of trouble, and with Joel's great vocal this song has quickly become a favorite and has set me to almost shouting (even though I don't know all of the lyrics yet) the bridge "He has overcome!!!" What better way to start out a time of worship than with that lyric? This record proves once again that Joel is not established by nepotism but by the actual ability to craft and record some of the best, most worshipful songs currently being sung by the church.

This is the first time, that I can remember, that Hillsong United recorded a cd without the gorgeous vocals or songwriting of Brooke Fraser. In the past, she has contributed some of my favorite Hillsong United songs, Hosanna and You'll Come. But although she isn't on the new CD she was replaced by another stellar female vocalist, Jill McCloghry. Jill sings on two of my favorite songs on the CD, Like An Avalanche and Bones (which she cowrote with Joel Houston). I don't think a day has gone by yet where I haven't listened to "Bones." It's a little bit Blondie and a little bit Abba, which means a lot of bit great. This is the song on the cd that makes my heart want to burst and so everyday I listen and let it burst with smiles and singing while planting the bridge lyrics deep inside my chest

"Breathe in me Your life I can feel You are close now I can never hide You are here and You know me All I need is You And I love You I love You I love You I love You

Breathe in me Your life 'Til Your love overtakes me Open up my eyes Let me see You more clearly Falling on my knees 'Til I love like You love Like You love me I love You"

A couple of my other favorite songs on the record are "Like An Avalanche," also sung by Jill McCloghry and "Rhythms Of Grace" led by Dave Ware.

This, 12th album released by Hillsong United, was produced by Michael Guy Chislett, James Rudder, and Joel Houston and let me tell you the collaboration of these three guys is wonderful. This CD is one of only 2 Hillsong United CDs that wasn't recorded live but instead all in the studio. It sounds fresh and boundary pushing. Worship leaders across the globe will be saying to themselves, "Can I get away with that? I am going to try!" and then once again they will see their congregations take deep breaths of gratitude for bringing this new life into their worship services.

This record is the words, melodies and sounds that will urge the church further into worship. I know I already have been and will continue. Here is the song placed on my tongue today:

"Take my life Take all that I am With all that I am I will love You Take my heart Take all that I have Jesus how I adore You" -Like An Avalanche