Friday, March 20, 2009
Music Review/Recommendation: “Glorious Day” by Jeff Johnson
It’s a rare day when I listen to the radio. Most of the time I’m jamming out to a CD in my car or my house. But several months ago, I was riding with Brian in his car (no CD player!!) and we were tuned in to a Christian radio station playing contemporary Christian music ala Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, Chris Tomlin and Kutless. This song called “Ruin Me” came on the radio and immediately, I was drawn to the musical style. I listened intently to the lyrics and then waited on pins and needles for the dj to tell me just exactly WHO that was! It was the Jeff Johnson Band. The very next day I hit the internet to try to find out more.
Jeff’s newest album is entitled “Glorious Day” (released 2007) and let me tell you, it will be a glorious day when you buy this album. When I bought it, it was an independent release (not sure if it still is or not). Basically that means you could not, at that time, buy it in your local Christian book/music store. I ordered my copy from www.independentbands.com. Currently, I’m not sure if you can order it from them or not, but I know you can go to www.jeffjohnsonband.org or you can buy it on itunes.
Now, I’m not paid to promote this guy’s album, but I’m bringing all this up now for one reason: Easter is coming. And if there is one album I want to listen to at Easter it is this one. Jeff recorded several songs that speak to the awesome sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross. And while the song “Ruin Me” initially attracted me to his music, I was pleasantly surprised to find I love several other songs on this album even more than that particular song.
When I evaluate music, I have several criteria:
- singability - can I sing along with it or is it something I need to just listen to
- musicality - can I hear a strong melody or does it just sound like a bunch of noise
- understandability - can I actually understand their words
- focus - is this a group more interested in promoting their material than promoting their Savior
- lyrical content - beyond all the music, if I read the words on their own, am I as impressed with the song - or are the lyrics hard to understand and even confusing
I can tell you that there are certain artists who excell at writing songs completely full of all those elements. Jeremy Camp is one, yes. But Jeff Johnson is another. And for that reason, this CD gets played a whole whole bunch at my house. Not to mention, Jeff had the goodness to record many of his songs with the assistance of a female harmony part - thereby making it that much cooler.
Many of you are probably wondering if this is a style of music that you would like. And no, I can’t come right out and say that everyone on the face of the earth will love this CD as much as I do. I wouldn’t make such a sweeping generalization. But I can tell you that I do love this CD, I do love the music style, and there are certain songs that I simply cannot imagine a person who loves worship music not liking.
I’m no professional music critic and most likely I never will be. But I know what I like. I know what makes my heart soar. I know what I want vibrating the windows of my car. I know what I want my daughter to dance to in the kitchen. And its this. So very much this. And if you’re anything like me, I think you’ll be just as blessed by it as I have been.