If you’ve ever wanted to understand where Christian music originated from, then this is the perfect book for you. Let the People Rejoice: An Interactive history of Christian Music is a remarkable book that has been put together by Mike Spencer, a New Zealander who now resides in Australia. “I always wanted to tell the story of Christian music, so I jumped at the opportunity to lecture on the subject in my local church in New Zealand,” stated Mike. “Five years and 24 lectures later, I was still going strong! At that stage, I moved to Australia and concentrated on promoting my landmark Australian history book, One People, One Destiny: A Christian History of Australia. However, I felt that I shouldn’t waste all the research that I had done, so I started collating it into book form. Several years later, Let the People Rejoice is the end product of my endeavours. “Because music is such a vital expression of our Christian faith, it has proved very controversial over the ages. Churches and congregations have often found it difficult to accept new forms and expressions of worship. This has culminated in the so-called ‘worship wars’ of recent years. In personally growing up singing hymns and Gospel choruses, Mike passionately believed that worship leaders should be able to choose from the whole heritage of Christian music, and not just part of it. “The book’s title comes from the Fanny Crosby song ‘To God Be the Glory,’ he continued. I use the word ‘Interactive’ in the title because I want readers to actually experience the music they are reading about. Music is by nature participative, so for that reason, I encourage readers to either access video clips of songs and musicians, or sing the songs for themselves. “In this book, I delve into the history of music in the church, from Bible times right through to the present day. I look at the relationship between music and some of the great events in church history and examine the lives of some of the men and women of God who have contributed to our rich musical heritage.” An extraordinary read for music lovers everywhere, Let the People Rejoice is now available globally.
Australian contemporary worship ensemble, Hillsong Young & Free has nabbed top honors for Song Of Year from Australia’s national Christian music airplay chart, TCM. And American singer tobyMac has landed the honor for Artist Of The Year. Chart researcher Wes Jay says Young & Free’s song Let Go has secured the most airplay of any Christian song on Australian Christian radio in the past year, while tobyMac has generated the most high rotation airplay of any Christian act across multiple tunes. “Let Go this year spent a total of 30 weeks in the survey,” Mr Jay says. “It owned the top spot for four weeks and dominated the Top 5 for 20 weeks. “This is the first time Young & Free has nabbed Song Of The Year while it’s tobyMac’s third win for Artist Of The Year,” Wes says. tobyMac secured Artist honors with the songs I Just Need U and Everything, plus Bleed The Same (Mandisa) and Right On Time (Aaron Cole) on which he’s the featured act. Previous honors for TCM Song Of the Year include Hills and Valleys – Tauren Wells (2017), Shinny Roads – Emma Mullings (2016), Touch The Sky – UNITED (2016), Fix My Eyes – For King & Country (2014), and Words – Hawk Nelson (2013). Acts previously honored for Artist of the Year include Young & Free (2017), For King & Country (2016, 2014, and 2013), and tobyMac (2015, 2012). Jay says the annual airplay report shows “strong” support for Australian Christian artists from the sector. “A total of 21 songs by Australians secured positions in the Top 100; four scored places in the Top 10, and seven in the Top 50,” Wes says. “In addition to Young & Free, label mates UNITED and Hillsong Worship, as well as Finding Faith, For King & Country, Emma Mullings, Bel Thomson and Mel Crothers have scored the strongest airplay for Aussie acts this year,” he adds. 2018 marks the 20th year that TCM (or TRAA as it was initially known) has published its annual Top 100 survey of the most played Christian songs, and most played Christian artists on Christian radio throughout Australia.
After 15 years of hit records and touring, Casting Crowns is still “keeping the main thing the main thing,” says founder Mark Hall. Sunday through Wednesday the group works in youth ministry at Eagles Landing First Baptist Church outside Atlanta, and Thursday through Saturday they go out on tour. “I think people listen to Crowns more because of what we say, as opposed to just liking the music,” says Hall. “People who come to our concerts come to be reminded of the things we’ve taught more than how we sing them.”
South Central LA rapper Propaganda has seen it all. It’s a fight for survival. Featured in I Am Second’s video, he explains that it’s all about love. “What a world we would live in if all they could say about Christians is those fools don’t care they just take care of folks.” “Be willing to risk name and reputation for the sake of pursuing with reckless abandon, love. Because that’s what we saw Jesus do.”
Jen Ledger, drummer and vocalist of multi-platinum selling rock band Skillet, has signed a solo deal with Atlantic Records and Hear It Loud, the imprint encompassing the creative team of Skillet’s John & Korey Cooper and longtime manager, Zachary Kelm. Her self-titled debut EP, LEDGER is set to release April 13. Ledger’s unique vocals and powerful stage presence have given her a distinct role in Skillet since joining the band when she was just 18. She has been collaborating with Korey Cooper and Nashville-based producer Seth Moseley, whose credits include For King & Country and Francesca Battistelli. “It’s so surreal that I will be releasing my first EP in just a few weeks!,” said Ledger. “The writing and recording process with Korey Cooper, John Cooper, Seth Mosley and many others has been so much fun and I’ve loved every second of it! Learning, growing, and creating with these ridiculously talented people has been one of the most rewarding seasons of my life. We’ve created something fresh that feels unique to me. I can’t wait to share these songs with everyone; it feels like I’m getting to share a new side of myself!”
They’re a Grammy nominated band of siblings (the Wall’s – hence the name) and we’re loving their track ‘My Life!’
Singer-songwriter Chris Tomlin launched is own imprint record label, Bowyer & Bow, in partnership with Capitol Christian Music Group. Singer-songwriter and worship leader Pat Barrett is the first artist to sign with the new imprint. Barrett’s self-titled debut EP is available now and will be followed by a full-length album to release later this year.