Any good Contemporary Christian recordings

I really enjoy contemporary christian music on the radio but have found the few cd's I purchased were lacking in fidelity. Any good recordings to recommend?

Sarah Jahn 'Sparkle' It's her only CD. Available on ebay.

Sara Groves 'The Other Side of Something'. I think this is her best effort. Haven't heard her new CD but it's supposed to be pretty good. Available from her website.

Ross Wright Band-check out the "Will Play For Change" Tour on the website. Chance to check out a variety of bands in different locations.
Anything by Gillian Welch.

Ditto the The Innocence Mission.

Mindy Smith, One Moment More (not quite as saturated with Christian lyrics
as the above).

The Blind Boys of Alabama (the new one with Ben Harper is great)!

Bob Dylan had a Chritian phase with three or four CD's devoted to that theme.

I'm assuming you are looking for Popular Music and not for Classical, but if
the latter as well, you may want to add that to your query.

Try these:

"Try" or "Ten Thousand Days" by Bebo Norman

Warren Barfield's debut album
Marco, do you see Gillian Welch as a Christian artist? Interesting. Some of her songs have religious themes and imagery, but I always thought it was just in the vein of the kinds of sings she does.
Drubin - well, yes, I guess it is that the content of much of her lyrics contain so many Christian references, and spiritual overtones that I assume that it is part of the message she wants to bring to her music. As far as her own personal beliefs, I have no idea, if that is what you are questioning. I guess the question you may be posing is, what exactly constitutes a "contemporary Christian recording"?

Nicole Mullen-talk about it
Sam Phillips-zero zero zero
Rebecca St James- God
Stuff produced by Tbone Burnett is usually has good sound quality and is bound to be diverse.
One of my favorites, and has been for a long time is Steve Taylor's "I Predict 1990" The sound is great, and the songs are typical of his sense of humor and sense of the world.
The first Sara Groves CD sounds very good too.

I'd also recommend Amy Shreve's Harp and Willow.

Micheal Card's Starkindler (I think that's the name) sounds very good, also has a real Irish flavor to it.

If you want something more Bluesy or Gospel check out Babbie Mason's cd with "Wade in the Water" I can't think of the name of it off hand but I have it at home. I lied, the name is Timeless. I've played it for several audiophile friends who liked it inspite of the real Gospel.

Steve Camp has a good CD called Justice, sounds good with good material.

Bob Dylan's "Saved" is a fun gospel LP with great material and back up singers. I love it, but I'd argue that Dylans Christain phase was not a phase. Read the book reastless pilgrim!
Check out Wishbone Ash' album Argus from 1972.
The 77's are a great christian band.
Pedro the Lion is a favorite, his vinyl in particular. I second Mindy Smith the production is great. The new Jars of Clay is also produced well. When it comes to Christians who are doing good music, U2 and Moby also make great recordings.
Third Day has put out some very good music with a solid Christian emphasis. Their latest, "Wired", is good. Their two cd's, Offerings I and II are their best IMO. They rock without taking a back seat to a lot of secular groups.
Try a great band named Ollabelle. One of the singers is Levon Helms' daughter. Pretty good lineage.
Depending on the type of music that you like, here are several I recommend;

The group Selah has a few albums out with great harmony and each individual artist in the group released a solo CD late last year.

Steven Curtis Chapman has an Abbey Road CD/DVD combo.

Jim Brickman and John Tess have christian albums out.

An older recording of Jerry Williams & Harvest called Mighty River is good.

Amy Grant is has come out with some good CD's.

I second Third Day for a more modern rock sound and the group 4Him has a few good albums.

Enjoy and be blessed
Third Day recordings are good compared to typical rock recordings. Try their first self-titled CD and their "Live: Offerings" CD.

Some Hillsong CD's are pretty decent, it's live worship recorded in their huge church in Sidney.
I am surprised no one has mentioned Bruce Cockburn or Phil Keaggy. I recommend Phil's "The Wind and the Wheat" 1985 or so.. instrumental guitar highly underated by the music press due to Phil's religion. Also quality audiophile recording.
I have all the Bruce Cockburn albums on vinyl up until 1987 or so, the Canadian pressings, superior to the U.S. pressings. After 1989 or so I lost interest in him. His best recordings, IMO are "In the Falling Dark" 1976, "Dancing in the Dragon's Jaws" 1977, "Humans" 1979. Audiophile quality recordings.
I am a Christian, but for over 20+ years have never been able to bring myself to listen to this Christian "Pop" music stuff out there... I am primarily a Jazz and Classical listener, and perhaps the only Christian in the West who prefers Bob Marley to Amy Grant? Now dat be a righteous riddem mon!
"Jah Jah watch over I, evil, whatch gonna do?"
"Wicked abortion deciples of lucifer, get behind me satan!"
--Steel Pulse
Bob Carlisle: "Shades of Grace/Butterfly Kisses", and "Stories from the Heart". These are two of the finest recordings within any genre in my collection. Extremely well recorded and engineered...........enjoy.
Susan Ashton - mid 90's stuff

Jim Cole - voice and guitar sound like James Taylor
mid 90's album Merciful God is great (small label, you can find him online)

Van Morrison has a number of discs with great songs
Enlightenment, Hymns to the Silence
not sure if he found was he was looking for
but make for great records of faith

most contemporary Christian music just doesn't measure up
Phil Keaggy's "Sundays Child" has a lot of good stuff on it too.

Van Morrison's "Avalon Sunset" has some good material but Van is just singing. I don't think it's a lifestyle... BWDIK
Van Morrison
The Waterboys
Frank Zappa:
Heavenly Bank Account, Dumb All Over
Delirious, Matt Redman...Jars of Clay. My only problem with Delirious is, they tend to release a lot of their material over and over. Their 1st album, a double CD has great lyrics and Martin Smith is an excellent vocalist.
Chris Rice "Deep Enough to Dream", Natalie Grant,... Watermark is pretty good. If anyone has any new additions to this genre please post.
Another favorite Christian band, and among my own top 5 bands of all time;

16 Horsepower
This isn't a recommendation, since I've never heard any of the music. However, the musician (Caleb Quaye) behind this organization, is a monster guitarist who used to play for both Elton John and, later, Hall & Oates. Might be worth investigating.


PS Marco's suggestion of 16 Horsepower is a great one, but this isn't your grandfather's Christian Band. These guys are intense!
Need To Breathe has great music well recorded
Woven Hand which is David Eugene Edwards current band, his evolution from 16 HP. Marty's disclaimer is an accurate one! Intense.

Like Marco, also up there with my favorite bands (16Hp+Woven Hand...I sorta group em together).
how about Glass Harp
Though Woven Hand clearly does reveal a founding signature in Edwards' genius, and is an extension of 16HP in that respect, I find those two bands very distinctive from each other. I can take Woven Hand in much smaller doses. 16HP I could listen to all day. Woven Hand is darker, more cerebral, more complex and brooding, and at times even a bit abstract. You won't hear as much of the roots of folk, Appalachia, gospel, bluegrass and rock, that makes the music of 16 Horsepower such a unique and distinctive fusion of sounds. Woven Hand is also a highly unique fusion of sounds but definitely not hot the same or even similar to my ears - you can hear Edwards lead, yes, but he's using a different musical vocabulary. But there is no mistaking Edwards presence in both bands - Yes, "Intense" most certainly describes him very well. He reminds me a bit of Nick Cave in some respects, who also uses uses lots of religious references in his music/lyrics, and is also a very theatrical and intense performer. No, 16HP are definitely not your grampa's Christian Rock band - good call on that Marty. Other 16HP band members went on to do a project called Lillium which I don't care for at all. It sounds nothing like 16hp.
I think Mutemath is purpoted to be a "christian" band. I'm somewhat new to their music, recently purchasing their latest album "Odd Soul". ItÂ’s a great album from beginning to end.
My favorite's are the David Crowder Band, Jonah 33, and Chris Tomlin. Others that come to mind are Mercy Me, Brandon Heath, Matthew West and Seventh Hour Slumber.

Nobody's mentioned Bob Dylan?! John Wesley Harding is a pretty amazing album. I guess it's not that contemporary anymore (1967). Though much of his later work have plenty of Christian references, I think JWH is a jewel.
Well, shooot, I'd already mentioned Dylan, early on. How about Over the Rhine? I probably already mentioned them too. If not, try, "Ohio" or "Good Dog, Bad Dog".
thanks for posting. It is encouraging to see this post revived!
Phil Driscoll should be added to the list. I listened to a little bit of 16 horsepower on line. Pretty interesting.
I listened to a little bit of 16 horsepower on line. Pretty interesting.

Here are a couple of good 16HP videos. The first by the Brothers Quay, is a favorite.

Black Soul Choir


And a couple of Woven Hand to give you a sense of Edwards other (current) project:

Blush (with the dance company, Ultima Vez)

Ain't No Sunshine You will not hear a darker version of this tune.


You made for a very funny "YouTube" moment.

I inexplicably (maybe compulsively) switched from the Woven Hand link you provided for "Ain't No Sunshine" to the Michael Jackson link that sits in the border next to the video. While I kinda like Michael Jackson, there's a lesson there: If you ever want proof of the old adage "It's the singer, not the song", I advise you to try that comparison.


PS - A thought for you and Mr. Stacy. Have you ever heard any of Alejandro Escovedo's early solo material. (Particularly "Gravity" and/or the live CD "More Miles Than Money". While my taste includes a fair bit of more mainstream "pop driven" material than does Richard's, I think that both of you guys may dig that stuff.
Hey Marty - Alejandro Escovedo made up for having to listen to a few verses of Michael Jackson before I had to stop him. Indeed, quite a contrast. They are from different planets. I was intrigued about Escovedo; when I did a search on YouTube I saw he did a duet with Chuck Prophet who I do like very much. Anyway, yeah, definitely more pop driven. Nothing wrong with that...hey, it's short for "popular". But none of this is very, well, Christian. Christian pop music - Anyone mentioned the band, Live. Always liked this video from them. Can't get much more mainstream pop MTV than that - I used to like that band...whatever happened to them? By the by, Stacy is Richard's beautiful wife, so you don't want to be calling her Mister.
Thanx for the heads up on "Stacy". Noted.

Sorry 'bout going a little OT on Escovedo, I'd still suggest that you check out his older material if you can. Much rawer than the Chuck P. collaboration you found
Marty, your post compelled me to look into some music in my library. Here's a few ditties on Jesus. Not exactly Christian bands though.
Chuck Prophet on Jesus

Tom Waits on Jesus

Jim White on Jesus

Cake on Jesus

Damn, no video or link to share for one of my favorites: "Thank You Lord", by Hellwood (a Jim White collaboration)

Back to the Christian bands, I'd point once again to two in particular if you are a fan of female vocals. These are two of my favorites. Your post prompted me to go on a video hunt:

Innocence Mission live from back in '95 when they used to open for The Cowboy Junkies, and a more current video (less acoustic and more produced, but Karen Peris voice is no less beautiful.

If you've never heard Over The Rhine, and you are a fan of female vocals, you are in for a treat.

Suitcase (short lead in giving some brief background)

The gorgeous song, Latter Days, with some homemade video (sorry, no official version online)
I'll check 'em all out and report back.
New World Son "Salvation Station"
Kari Jobe