Staff's Picks from 2015!
All Things New's 2nd studio album contains all the fun that is present in their live concerts. Great tracks like Can't Hold Me Down get the feet and head bopping, while tracks like Believe get you to throw your hand in the air in worship. I talked to Garret (lead singer) a couple months back and the band and him are excited with the direction of the band and I know I can't wait to see what they do next!
Colton Dixon has had a amazing year with the release of this great album, which has a cool nautical theme to it and numerous cool tracks from Limitless to Through All of It to the wicked awesome title track Anchor. But my favorite track is Walk on the Waves, which is powerful but made even more so in concert, like at Lifelight Festival this past Labor Day. I also got to speak to Colton and he is a real and down to earth guy. If his future albums are this creative, count me in!
Third Day's newest album is a reliably solid collection of tunes that are perfect for your personal time with God. The standout track is Soul on Fire, which is fun and features the All Sons and Daughters choir. Another strong track is In Jesus' Name, which features both Natalie Grant and Michael W. Smith. Third Day has been around awhile and if this CD is any indicator then they will be around for many years to come!
In a “Hit Singles” driven world, this album was an occasion where I was captivated by every track. If you aren’t super familiar with Mat’s music, he infuses spoken word with catchy pop hooks. Part of what makes this project so compelling is how Mat infused elements of his own life in the music. It’s definitely an album you want to listen all the way through, it unfolds like a novel. Mat built a portable studio on his tour bus and recorded music as he felt inspired while traveling from show to show.
I got the chance to talk with Toby about this album on a recent trip to Nashville, which is partly why it landed on my favorites list. Despite this being his 6th album, he told me that one of his big priorities in making music is fighting the jadedness that inevitably chases you. He firmly believes in honoring the King in all of what he does, which includes making the most creative, funky, interesting music that he can.
Hollyn is a brand new artist on the scene. Her voice may sound familiar to you, if you haven’t heard her new EP yet, as she is featured on two tracks on Toby’s album! Hollyn got her start in music by trying out for American Idol. She performed so well that she garnered a lot of attention…. including that of tobyMac’s drummer, who of course passed on her music. Once Toby listened to some of her work, he reached out to Hollyn’s parents to start a friendship and hopefully start mentoring this new artist. This new EP has a few self written tracks as well as a cover of her favorite LeCrae song. I thoroughly expect her to blow people away with the music she continues to make.