Even though we’ve still got a little over a month left in the year, Christianity Today has released their list of the Bets Albums of 2006.
Our annual selections for Best Christian Albums in small part serves as a snapshot of the state of the industry, and what’s particularly interesting about this year’s list is how many of the finalists seem “outside the box.” Many of the artists have a foot in both Christian and mainstream markets without finding runaway success in either, and some of them are established artists who today continue to record and distribute music independently. It all reflects our commitment to exploring the full breadth of Christian music (released between December 2005 and November 2006), not because of their reach, but because of their potential to reach with artistic excellence.
Jars of Clay and Bebo Norman made the list, but I won’t tell you where. Also, I learned something very interesting in their list, Jonny Lang has released a Christian album. It seems he became a Christian about 5 years ago and is releasing some Christian music. If you don’t recognize the name, he was a blues singing phenom and an amazingly young age. He was featured in the movie Blues Brothers 2000.
Blues wunderkind Jonny Lang has taken his share of praise and critical lumps over the last ten years, and continues to receive it today. Yes, some Christians are seemingly only embracing his latest album because of his conversion five years ago; no, Turn Around is not completely grounded in blues like Lang’s earlier albums. Preconceptions and expectations aside, it remains a sizzling and eclectic effort, stretching beyond the blues to effectively dabble in soul, gospel, funk, and even some pop balladry. It’s also a powerful testimony for Lang, an album he needed to make to explain that the dramatic change in his life is possible for anyone. Plus, let’s face itâ€”we’re all still amazed that a white kid from North Dakota in his mid-20s can sing and play like a timeworn veteran three times his age. Taking his music from the streets to the sanctuary, Lang’s album overflows with talent and hope.
Has anyone heard this album yet? I’d really like to hear what you have to say. This is the first I’ve heard of him being a Christian, I loved his music before.