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Issue: January 1995

local Christian roundup

Building Together (Headss Up)
various artists

Much is made in the local press about the alternative "scene" in Louisville. We've been the next Athens, Seattle, etc., for many years, but sadly, the rest of the world has yet to catch on to this. The same cannot be said for the area's Christian music scene, which is so underground even the "underground" doesn't know about it. Building Together is a compilation of eleven local acts, each performing an original tune. Ostensibly a kind of "collective demo" to help those included land gigs around town, this tape is also a pretty fair representation of the state of local Christian rock, rap, pop, etc.

There are some excellent songs here and the production of each tune is first rate. Paul and Leslie Turner's "Follow Me" is a breezy bit of folk-rock with sweet harmonies that remind me of the Style Council. The Swordsmen do a great a cappella take on "Man Upon the Mount"— truly inventive. Eternal Reign lays down a heavy grunge-metal groove with "Sinner's Prayer," and Omega Highway shines on an arena-rock ballad, "My God Lives." There are also tracks by Fish Tales, Frontier, S.O.T., I.E., K.A.D, Bryon Loren and One Accord.

Unfortunately, too much of this music seems dated, oblivious to the cool new sounds in Christian music that are emerging from places like Nashville, California and, yes, Seattle. The criticism that Christian music is "behind the times" could not be disputed judging by much of what's on this tape — the rock stuff has that early '80s Journey/Styx/REO feel to it, the metal is vintage Dio (circa 1983) and the rap is so cheesy you half expect the DJ to come in with that Fat Boys "beat-box" thing they used to do with their mouths.

I would not begin to deny the integrity, calling or talent of any of these acts. There are no really bad performances here and the message is true every time. I'm sure that some of these songs come off better when done live. I just urge these acts to stay on top of what's happening musically, both in the Christian and secular markets. (I would also advise those who use keyboards to throw them out; unless it's a Hammond B-3 sound, nothing dates music more than synths.) All that aside, there isn't too much to complain about regarding the local Christian music scene. In addition to the talents on Building Together, other acts such as Richard Johnson, Zeb Son, Open Eyes and Dream House are around to create cool sounds that convey the saving message of Jesus Christ.

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