Wednesday, February 27, 2013


Jeremy Thomas Camp was born on January 12, 1978 in Lafayette, Indiana.  His wife is Adrienne Liesching, the former frontwoman for The Benjamin Gate.  Jeremy has sold over 3.5 million albums, has had 32 Number One radio hits across all formats, and has won five Dove Awards including two for Male Vocalist of the Year.  Some of the songs he is known for include: ‘Take You Back’, ‘Walk by Faith’, ‘Speaking Louder than Before’, and ‘Jesus Saves’.  His seventh studio album is RECKLESS (2013, BEC Recordings).  Of it, Jeremy says: “My heart’s desire is that people will listen to the Lord and His leading and really dive into the fullness of what He’s called them to do, whatever that looks like.”

The title track is one of six songs co-written by the duo of Camp and album co-producer Andy Dodd.  ‘Reckless’ is an energetic rocker that finds Jeremy committing himself totally to Christ: “I will lose my life/And just let go/Because I know this world is not my home, no/With fearless faith/I won’t be moved/Unshakeable inside Your truth/You laid Your life down/And gave it up/So I’ll give it up…/And I won’t waste any more time/My life’s Yours, it is not mine/Use me Lord, no matter what’s at stake.”  ‘The Way You Love Me’ has a rousing chorus that reminds us that we should share God’s grace and mercy with others and not keep them to ourselves: “So I will lift the broken ones/Show the world how You love me/How You love me/I will reach/I will touch/Give myself/The way You love me (2X).”

‘Free’ has a third songwriter in Toby Friesen who also plays electric guitar on the track.  This one is a happy rock song of testimony: “Covered by Your mercy/Captured by a hope that will always remain/I can stop and breathe now/Resting in the shelter of Your Name/You reached out to me/And now I sing…/No more fear inside me/I will trust completely/Your love overtakes me/Nothing else has made me free/I am free.”  ‘Paradise’ has Jeremy longing for the splendors of the afterlife: “Can’t wait to walk the streets of gold/And see a lion with a lamb/And colors that are untold/Can’t wait to look into Your face/See the majesty and glory that makes the earth shake…/On my knees I will glorify in paradise.”

‘We Must Remember’ is one of four songs on this project solely penned by Camp.  In it he joyfully shares the Gospel: “You are the pure and spotless Lamb/You are the only great I Am/And we know that You are, yes You are/The God of the redeemed…/The power of Your blood/It is all that we need/You laid down Your life/And the captives were free/The veil was torn/And there was victory.”  A reminder of Jesus’ Great Commission found in Matthew 28:18-20 follows.  ‘Shine’ is musically upbeat: “You are moving all around us/We are kneeling/Desperately seeking Your face/Your way…/Father, lead us/Spirit, guide us/Jesus, show us Your way/Won’t You move us to the places where the broken find healing in Your Name?”

‘Come Alive’ finds Jeremy decidedly sure in purpose: “There is freedom that begins by receiving the forgiveness that cleanses us all/All the broken and bleeding, just start by believing/His love has conquered death’s call…/I walk out on the battlefield/See that all the pain is real/Be the hands that stop the bleeding/Seeing all these wounded souls/All they really need is hope/I’ll show Your great love is healing.”  ‘My God’ is a great original praise and worship song: “My God/You are/The unchanging love/My God/Your heart/Sends hope from above/The Great Creator/Beautiful Savior/I’ve been redeemed/There is life now from Your victory/You are my God.”  Jeremy and his family support Compassion International and travel to places like Josiah’s House, a home for boys in the Dominican Republic, and New Hope Haiti Mission, a children’s home.  ‘We Need’ is anything but selfish: “We need a heart for the hopeless/Reaching the places unspoken/Move me Lord/Raise up a desperate people/Leading the lost and the feeble/Use me Lord/Use me Lord…/Here I am, use me Lord.”

John Catchings plays cello on the ballad ‘Reign in Me’.  This song shows Jeremy to be pure in heart: “I have seen so many teardrops fall to the ground/I’ve held the hand of God’s children/Once lost and now found/I have walked it and I know/That my King is alive/And no other one/Has the love You provide/I want all who I meet/To see You through me/I want all that I speak to be You.”  If all of us would pray these words from ‘Without You’ daily, our lives would greatly benefit from it: “My heart’s desire is You Lord, yeah…/And I’m letting go/I give control/It’s not my will/But Yours I’ll follow/And I lay my life down at Your feet/And I know/I won’t make a move without You.”

A press release says RECKLESS “just might inspire listeners to surrender everything, even what they never thought they could give up.”  What a lofty goal!  Jeremy Camp just may be Christian music’s resident hunk, now that Michael W. Smith is getting older.  What Camp delivers up here is a strong collection of adult rock songs that should please Christian radio and his no doubt largely female fan base.  If you have enjoyed Camp’s previous efforts, you’ll enjoy this one.  There aren’t any surprises.  On his next album I would like to see a couple heavier rockers, a couple electric guitar solos, and a duet with a female CCM artist.  I’m recommending this album with a great message to fans of Third Day and Kutless.  I’m rating it 84%.  For more info visit and

Tuesday, February 26, 2013


Carly Rae Jepsen was born on November 21, 1985 in Mission, British Columbia.  In 2007 she placed third on Season Five of Canadian Idol.  The next year her debut album TUG OF WAR dropped.  In February 2012 she released her EP entitled CURIOSITY.  It included her smash hit ‘Call Me Maybe’ which helped her get discovered by Justin Bieber.  Her full length international debut is KISS (2012, 604 Records Inc.).  Jepsen co-wrote ten of its twelve tracks.  As of February 2013 it has sold 226, 000 copies.

‘Tiny Little Bows’ has good thumping bass and finds Carly smitten: “How do you think it goes/With those tiny little bows?/You’re the one I want/You’re the one I know/And everywhere you are/Is a place I wanna go/Dancing really high/Dancing really slow.”  ‘This Kiss’ is electronically inspired.  Fans of Crumbacher should enjoy it.  This song speaks to the fact that even though one may be in a committed relationship, he/she can be attracted to other individuals: “You know you’re just my type/And your eyes are lock and key/To my heart/Tempting my confession (my confession)/And you’re a real hot thing/But you know I’ve got a boy/Somewhere/So can you feel the tension? (feel the tension)”

‘Call Me Maybe’ written by Carly, Josh Ramsay (Marianna’s Trench), and Tavish Crowe, is, as you know, highly contagious.  It deals with puppy love: “Your stare was holdin’/Ripped jeans/Skin was showin’/Hot night/Wind was blowin’/Where you think you’re going baby?/Hey, I just met you/And this is crazy/But here’s my number/So call me maybe/It’s hard to look right/At you baby/But here’s my number/So call me maybe.”  ‘Curiosity’ finds Carly helplessly drawn to a guy who could end up hurting her: “So don’t break me tonight/This is crazy love/And you know/I’m gonna follow you home/Through the rain/Cause I need your love…/So don’t break (don’t break) me tonight/This is crazy love/And you know/I’m gonna follow you home/Through the rain/Cause I need your love/Yes, I need your love.”

‘Good Time’ is a good song to party to with your friends.  This duet with Owl City was penned by Adam Young, Matthew Thiessen (Relient K), and Brian Lee.  It includes vocal support by the Minneapolis Youth Chorus.  Here are some of the words: “Doesn’t matter when/It’s always a good time then/Doesn’t matter where/It’s always a good time there/Doesn’t matter when/It’s always a good time then/It’s always a good time/Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh/Whoa-oh-oh/It’s always a good time/Whoa-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh/We don’t even have to try/It’s always a good time.”  ‘More than a Memory’ flows smoothly.  It includes words of regret and has Carly wondering about her future with a certain fellow she holds dear: “If I was cruel to you/Well just to hear it breaks my heart in two/If there’s a way to make it up to you/I wanna change so much, you know I do/And you know that night I almost said I loved you/You almost said it back/Are we gonna be more than a memory?/No matter how lame my apology/I let go of you/You let go of me/Are we gonna be more than a memory?”

‘Turn Me Up’ is dance floor ready musically and chronicles the end of a love relationship: “I’m breakin’ up with you/You’re breakin’ up on me/You kiss me on the phone/And I don’t think it reaches/What am I to do?/And how’s it gonna be?/Cause breakin’ us in two/Is breakin’ me in pieces.”  ‘Hurt So Good’ is a great pop song that has Carly pining over a boy: “I don’t ever want to let you go/We could take it fast or make it slow/I’m afraid that you misunderstood/Every day is just a wish I could/Oh, why you gotta make it hurt so good, so good?.../Imagine you, imagine me/Together so, how lovely/Imagine me, imagine you/Inside a dream, how good for two.”

Next up is a mellow track called ‘Beautiful’ which is a duet with superstar artist Justin Bieber.   The lyrics display a vulnerability: “I know, I know it’s been a while/I wonder where you are, and if you think of me/Sometimes, ‘cause you’re always on my mind/You know I had it rough, trying to forget you but/The more that I look around, the more I realize/You’re all I’m looking for.”  The newest single ‘Tonight I’m Getting Over You’ starts slow and builds.  It finds Carly trying to move on once a love relationship ends: “Stuck in a real bad dream/And man it feels so new to me/Should be in your arms but I’m beggin’ at your feet/It’s been a real hard night/And I just hold my pillow tight/It won’t love me back/No, it’s not you and I/We’re not lovers/But more than friends/Put a flame to every single word you ever said/No more cryin’ (no more cryin’) to get me through (to get me through)/I’ll keep dancin’ till the mornin’ with somebody new/Tonight I’m getting over you.”

‘Guitar String/Wedding Ring’ is an upbeat gem.  A lot of young ladies will be able to relate to the devotion expressed in this song: “If you cut a piece of guitar string/I would wear it/This is the real thing/Wrapped around my finger/You know what I mean/You play my heartstrings/When you’re near/I feel the best/I’m somebody, somebody/It’s in my pulse/It’s in my chest/My whole body, whole body/So if you want me/I’ll be around.”  ‘Your Heart is a Muscle’ is a good closing ballad.  It has Carly urging her partner to work harder at preserving their relationship: “You say love’s a fragile thing/Made of glass, but I think/Your heart is a muscle (2X)/You gotta work it out, make it stronger/Try for me just a little longer/Your heart is a muscle (2X).”

Carly Rae has said that in making this album she was inspired by Robyn, The Cars, Madonna, and even James Taylor.  She has five Juno nominations this year, leading the pack!  For the most part KISS is a fun, energetic, innocent collection of pop/dance songs suitable for slumber and pool parties, as well as amusement parks.  The pictures included with the CD show Carly to be cute and pretty.  In the CD booklet she writes: “Thank you to everyone listening.  You make my life a dream.  A really good one.”  I recommend KISS to fans of Hilary Duff, Miley Cyrus, and the Mini Pops.  I’m rating it 87%.  For more info visit

Friday, February 22, 2013


Carrie Marie Underwood was born on March 10, 1983 in Muskogee, Oklahoma.  She rose to prominence when she won Season 4 of American Idol.  Her great first album SOME HEARTS (2005) included the hits ‘Wasted’, ‘Before He Cheats’, and ‘Jesus, Take the Wheel’.  She followed this up with 2007’s CARNIVAL RIDE which showcased such wonderful songs as ‘All-American Girl’, ‘So Small’, and ‘Last Name’.  The next year she was inducted into and became a member of the Grand Ole Opry.  2009 brought us PLAY ON which included ‘Cowboy Casanova’, ‘Undo It’, and ‘Temporary Home’.  As of February 13, 2013 her fourth album BLOWN AWAY (2012, 19 Recordings Limited) had sold 1, 285, 000 copies!  It won Favorite Country Album at the American Music Awards.  It is a generous effort clocking in at 55:40.

The album starts with ‘Good Girl’, the upbeat first single.  The song serves as a warning to ladies about less than desirable guys: “You want a white wedding and a hand you can hold/Just like you should, girl, like every good girl does/Want a fairy tale ending, somebody to love/But he’s really good at lyin’ yeah/He’ll leave you in the dust/Cuz when he says forever, well, it don’t mean much/Hey, good girl, so good for him/Better back away, honey, you don’t know where he’s been/Why, why you gotta be so blind?”  ‘Blown Away’ the emotionally charged second single about domestic violence is next: “There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma/To wash the sins out of that house/There’s not enough wind in Oklahoma/To rip the nails out of the past/Shatter every window/Till it’s all blown away/Every brick, every board/Every slamming door, blown away/Till there’s nothing left standing/Nothing left of yesterday.”

‘Two Black Cadillacs’, the third single, is one of eight co-writes by Hillary Lindsey.  This song has a storyline like that of a Dateline murder mystery: “Two months ago his wife called the number on his phone/Turns out he’d been lyin’ to both of them for oh so long/They decided then he’d never get away with doing this to them.”  ‘See You Again’ is an adult contemporary track.  Those believers who have lost a loved one who knew the Lord, will be able to relate to these words: “Sometimes I feel my heart is breaking/But I stay strong and I hold on ‘cuz I know/I will see you again, whoa/This is not where it ends/I will carry/You with me, yeah, yeah.”

‘Do You Think About Me’ is a gentle ballad.  It finds the main character having trouble getting over a lost love: “Do you think about me like I think about you?/Yeah/I moved on to another town/Wrote you letters ‘til the ink ran out/When the clouds rolled in I’d grab the keys/And play that song that we used to sing/I met a boy a lot like you/It’s funny how he used to sing it too/But he was always just a little outta key/So much different than you and me.”  ‘Forever Changed’ is a quiet country story song.  Many kids whose parents are older and losing their mental faculties will appreciate this one: “Some days she’ll talk about Aunt Rosie/The sister she lost/Asking when she’s coming over/And why she hasn’t called/Some days I just hold her fragile hand/As time creeps ‘cross the floor/Some days it almost kills me/Watching her memory slip away a little more.”

‘Nobody Ever Told You’ has some cool backing vocals.  It shares a similar message with ‘Picture Perfect’ by Michael W. Smith: “Take off all the makeup girl/Shine your light, show the world/Don’t be shy, don’t be scared/You don’t have to hide under there/Let’s throw away all the magazines/Turn off the static on the TV/Wish you could see yourself the way I do/Nobody ever told you/You shine like a diamond, glitter like gold/And you need to know.”  ‘One Way Ticket’ is a carefree song influenced by Caribbean sounds, and includes whistling.  It is all about letting loose: “Sun’s shining bright and it’s meant for us/Life is like a ride on a party bus/Turn the radio up, and sing along with it, hey/We got a one way ticket/So pack up your smile and your new flip flops/We’re headed to a heaven where the beat don’t stop/We’ll dance the day and the night away.”

‘Thank God for Hometowns’ is sentimental in nature and mellow in sound: “Thank God for hometowns/And all the love that makes ‘em go ‘round/Thank God for the county lines that welcome you back in/When you were dyin’ to get out/Thank God for church pews/And all the faces that won’t forget you/Cuz when you’re lost out in this crazy world/You got somewhere to go and get found/Thank God for hometowns.”  ‘Good in Goodbye’ reminds us that sometimes break-ups are for our own good even if we can’t see it at the time: “I thank God I didn’t get what I thought that I deserved/Sometimes life leads you down a different road/When you’re holdin’ on to someone that you gotta let go/Someday you’ll see the reason why/Sometimes, yeah sometimes/There’s good in goodbye.”

The old-school, down home country song ‘Leave Love Alone’ follows.  It speaks of how regardless of heartbreaks, people still crave love: “Funny how love can make you feel/Crush you like a ton of steel/Fake you out, make you think it’s real/Funny how love can make you feel, yeah/Oooooh/Oooooh, yeah/I just can’t leave love alone.”  A delightful traditional country barn blazer is next.  ‘Cupid’s God a Shotgun’ features playful lyrics: “Yeah, Cupid’s got a shotgun/Aimin’ at my heart/I been dodgin’ bullets/I been hidin’ in the dark/Sawed-off double barrel/Trigger-happy as can be/Cupid’s got a shotgun/And he’s pointin’ it at me…Think he’s throwin love grenades/And I’m under attack.”

Carrie slows things down with ‘Wine After Whiskey’ which finds her lovesick: “Looking back I guess it’s really for the best/Still you’re something that I crave/Even though I know it was right to let you go/You’re a habit hard to break/I got used to being high/And nothing that I try seems good enough right now/It’s all so watered down/Like having wine after whiskey.”  A terrific song by Shania’s ex, Mutt Lange, closes the album.  ‘Who are You’ includes these lyrics: “Who are you?/The one I’d give my life to/Who are you?/That loves as deep as I do/Who are you?/Who takes me through the flood and through the fire/Who are you?/Who leads me through the desert and the dry/You’re in my thoughts/You know my mind/You are my fate/You are my light.”

BLOWN AWAY is wholesome, family friendly, contemporary pop/country music.  It has substance lyrically.  There are more quiet, reflective songs on this project than party anthems.  Carrie’s vocals are simply incredible!  This album benefits from the use of many talented musicians including Brad Paisley, Jimmie Lee Sloas, Chris McHugh, and Eric Darken.  Carrie is a Christian and a vegan.  The photos accompanying this CD prove that a Christian lady can be sexy and confident without being trashy.  I’m rating BLOWN AWAY 93.5%  For more info visit and

Saturday, February 16, 2013


Haley Reinhart was born on September 9, 1990 and is from Wheeling, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago.  Both of her folks are musicians.  She studied jazz at Harper College.  She was my favourite contestant on Season 10 of American Idol on which she placed third.  On the show she performed songs such as Adele’s ‘Rolling in the Deep’ and Elton John’s ‘Bennie and the Jets’.  Her debut album is LISTEN UP!  It came out on May 22, 2012 on Interscope Records.  It sold 59, 000 copies.  Interscope dropped her in November.  She says: “I’ll find another great home.”  She co-wrote all ten songs on her debut.

‘Oh My!’ is an upbeat track with sax and trumpet and includes a rap break by American hip hop artist B.O.B.  The song begins with these steamy words that will make some blush: “Hot hot heat between you and me/I’m burning up inside/You shock me with your ways/Ain’t polite for me to say/Like a firecracker blowin’ up the sky/You don’t know, you don’t see/All this static electricity (whoa-oa-oa)/And every time you touch me right/It’s like oh-oh-oh, oh my/Oh my, Oh my.”  ‘Free’, the breezy lead single with Jonathan Berry on guitar, is about coming to the realization that an unhealthy relationship needs to end no matter how hard it is: “Who is gonna be the first to say ‘enough’?/Who is going to be the first one to find true love?/We don’t let go/We can’t get close/I still need you and you still need me/This tug of war/Can’t go on anymore/Nobody wins from this misery/Free/Oh, can’t you see/I want to be, I want you  to be/Free?”

‘Liar’ finds Haley thinking aloud about a relationship on the rocks: “I don’t want apologies/I don’t need your sympathy/But this honesty is killing me/I learned my lessons well/Ooooo/So let me keep lying to myself/Let me get lying to myself/I’m not calling you a liar/I just wish you were.”  ‘Wasted Tears’ has a driving, percussive beat.  This song will resonate with a large portion of female listeners: “Boy you really made me look a fool/You stole my heart and left it black and blue/But I can see now that the clouds are clear/I’ve been cryin’ wasted, wasted tears/So take your promises, get on your way/I’m burning memories up in flames/Cause I can see now that the clouds are clear/I’ve been cryin’ wasted, wasted tears.”

‘Undone’ is a pretty ballad.  All instruments are played by Rune Westberg.  This song again finds Haley heartbroken: “I’m sorry I let me fall for you/I can erase you and forget you, but I can’t undo you/You’re the hand I can’t hold,, the words I’m not told when I’m lonely/And I don’t want you back/I just want to have what you took from me…/Love leaves a black hole when it dies/How can I ever love again?/I’ve come undone.”  ‘Now that you’re Here’ is a commercial sounding song of romantic ecstasy with backing vocals by Haley and Chris DeStefano: “I never thought I’d feel so divine/You’re like poetry, desire justified/You’re a legend now, that will never die/Now that you’re here/Almost torture now/This insanity/As you captivate every inch of me/You’re taking me so far away when you’re pulling me near/Now that you’re here (2X).”

‘Wonderland’ is a positive rally cry: “Come on sister/Stand up for love/Come on everybody, raise up for love/Come on sister, no more crying/It’s around the corner, ain’t no denying…/Fairytales do come true/If you want them to/Whoa (it’s a love that’s real, gonna make you feel), wonderland.”  Victor Indrizzo plays drums on ‘Keep Coming Back’, a song with a playful sound, that has a lover encouraging his/her partner to move on: “So why’d you keep coming, why’d you keep coming back?/Thought your bags were already packed/Why’d you keep coming/Why’d you keep coming back?/Can’t move forward stuck in the past/Why’d you keep coming, why’d you keep coming back?/Take your train down another track/Why’d you keep coming, why did you keep coming back?”

‘Hit the Ground Runnin’’ finds Haley bold and self-assured and has a peppy chorus: “I hit the ground running, running, running (2X)/You can’t hold a rebel down, cause I’ll be breakin’ out/The spirit’s gotta be free/I hit the ground running, running, running/So don’t go following me.”  The album ends with the optimistic ‘Walking on Heaven’.  Here are some of the words: “They call me crazy, but I’m just waiting/For the world around me to change/I’m thinking maybe if we look inside/We’ll find that love and peace of mind/Can’t see their halos/Can’t feel their wings, no/But I got faith that the angels will sing.”

Fans of good soul and jazz music will enjoy LISTEN UP!  Haley’s vocals are sultry beyond her years and seem to invite the listener to come hither.  The photos of her included with the CD are sexy but tasteful.  She is a beautiful girl.  I hope she finds a new label home sooner than later.  I’m giving this album 83%.  For more info visit and