Sunday, February 10, 2013

Ten on the Tenth -- My Favorite Contemporary Christian Albums

Did you miss last month's Ten on the Tenth?  I didn't either ... at least not until about the 14th, when I realized I had completely forgotten about the tenth of the month.  So, I'm making sure I'm getting it done this month, even though it seems like a completely random topic.  But before I start that, I wanted to post a couple of pictures from Bethany's senior night.  We had a great time that evening, and got a big kick out of watching Bethany lead the team in scoring with 15 points.  Here are a few pics...

The last picture is of all the seniors along with their coach.  It's really been a great year for them, and it's not over yet.  We have district tournament next week, regional tournament the following week, and hopefully state tournament the week after that.  Oh, and did I mention that Bethany led the team in scoring on senior night?  ;-)

Now, back to the list.

My love affair with contemporary Christian music began when my Aunt Marie sent me an Amy Grant cassette for my 13th birthday. At that time, I didn't even know that that type of music existed.  I fell in love with that cassette at first listen ... I practically wore it out.  Not long after that, I discovered a radio program that came on our local station for a couple of hours each Sunday night.  They played artists like Second Chapter of Acts, Dallas Holm & Praise, Phil Keaggy, Steve Green, Don Francisco, and, of course, Amy Grant.  I would record the show on my tape recorder and listen to it over and over until the next week's show.

As I got a little older and started earning money, you can probably guess what I spent it on.  I could hang out in Christian bookstores all day just looking at the shelves of cassette tapes?  Does anyone besides me remember that cassettes used to have stickers on the shrink wrap that you could collect and redeem for free cassettes.  If you bought four cassettes and collected the stickers from them, you could get one free.  I painstakingly clipped out every one of those things and would breathlessly run to the store as soon as I had collected enough for my free music.

My love for this music has continued all the way into my middle-aged years.  My tastes have broadened over the years, and I enjoy a very wide range of Christian music, as you'll see from my list. So, without further ado, here are my ten favorite CCM albums from over the years.  These are in no particular order, other than a loose chronological order.

1.  "Never Alone" by Amy Grant -- Since this is where it all began, I had to include this one!

2.  "Live" and "Nothing But Praise" by Dallas Holm & Praise -- Yes, I know that's two albums, but I can't list one without the other.  I had these two records and played them over and over.  And my first "official" date with Brad was to a Dallas Holm concert at OBU!

3.  "Forgiven" and "Got to Tell Somebody" by Don Francisco -- Two again.  Sorry.  I loved these records too, especially "He's Alive."  What an awesome song that was.  Excuse me while I go check iTunes for some Don Francisco songs.

4.  "More Power to Ya", "Not of this World", and "Beat the System" by Petra.  Okay, quit counting.  I just can't narrow these down.  Brad and I also went to a Petra concert together ... before our "official" first date.

5.  "DC Talk" and "Jesus Freak" by DC Talk.  Back when we were first married, we worked with the youth group at Richwoods Baptist Church in Gum Springs, Arkansas.  Several of those teenagers were DC Talk fans, and when we heard that there was going to be a free concert in the parking lot of the Crate Deals store in Benton, we hit the road.  At that time, they only had one album, the self-titled "DC Talk", and it had nine songs on it.  Those guys stood on the back of a flat bed truck and sang (well, rapped) all nine of their songs twice.  They also did a marvelous gospel presentation.  They drew a huge crowd that day ... lots of people who would probably never darken the door of a church.  It was awesome.  And speaking of DC Talk leads me to my next favorite album ...

6.  "Diverse City" by TobyMac, who was formerly the lead rapper/singer for DC Talk.  I love all of TobyMac's albums, but Diverse City has to be my favorite.

7.  "Declaration" by Steven Curtis Chapman.  I have loved all of SCC's albums, but this one would have to be my favorite.  "Live Out Loud" is such a fun song with an awesome message.  I also love "Beauty Will Rise", which he released after the death of his daughter, Maria, but I rarely listen to it ... the emotion is just too raw.

8.  "Almost There" by MercyMe.  I loved how this album didn't sound "Christian" ... it sounded like what was being played on the radio Top 40 back in 2001.  And it contained the song "I Can Only Imagine".  'Nuff said.

9.  "Lifesong" by Casting Crowns.  Need I say more than "Praise You In the Storm"?

10.  "Hello Love" by Chris Tomlin.  This album was released just as Hannah was nearing the end of her earthly battle with cancer, and the song "I Will Rise" was such a blessing to us.  It was sung during her funeral service and was such a great reminder that her pain and sorrow was all behind her.

11.  "Snapshots:  Live and Fan Favorites" by Chris Rice.  Chris Rice is such a creative songwriter, and has some amazing songs about Heaven.  I love all of his music.

12.  Every album by Switchfoot.  I tried to pick one (or two or three) and couldn't do it.  I love them all.

Oh, sorry ... Was that twelve?  I thought I asked you to stop counting.  ;-)

Actually, I probably could have gone on and on ... There are just so many good Christian albums! Thanks for indulging me in this trip down a musical memory lane.  I'd love to hear some of your favorites!

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