Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Inhabited is a Christian rock band from Texas.  In 2005 as a five member band, they released their major label debut THE REVOLUTION on Fervent Records.  It included the hits ‘One More Night’ and ‘Rescue Me’.  In 2008 they released their follow-up, LOVE (7 Spin Music).  On this album, Inhabited is a trio.  Sara Acker (vocals) and Marcus Acker (guitars) are joined this time by Charlie Harper (drums).  Monroe Jones and Marcus Acker produced the album.

A funky rocker ‘We Will Live’ starts things off by speaking of the value of having an active, alive faith: “We’ve got something no amount of money can buy/We’ve got something more than just a temporary high/We’ve got something more than just a pie in the sky/There’s so much more, so much more to this life/It’s more than just a bunch of tradition/It’s more than emotion/We have a destiny.”  Musically ‘Hush’ sounds like something off of a Gwen Stefani solo record.  It encourages young women to pursue truth¨”Hush goodnight/I’ll kiss you goodbye/To every thought that’s destroying my life/Hush goodbye I’ll walk in the light/Go away, don’t come back/I’m saying goodbye/Where my girls at that are sick and tired/Of buying into all the same old lies?/Cuz sooner or later it will catch up to you.”

‘Love (I need U)’ is a rock ballad of willful surrender to Father God: “Would You fall on me like the pouring rain?/Would You move me now until I’m changed?/I need You, oh how I need You/Now I’m falling down to my knees/And I’m crying out forgive me please/I need You, oh how I need You.../My life is Yours today/There’s nothing left to lose/You keep on calling me/And all I need is all of You.”  ‘I Want to Know’ is a cry for intimacy with the Father: “You’re everywhere I go/You are the fire that burns and takes control/You’re in the words that bring me life/You’re in the starlit sky that sings in the night/But I need You here, I need You here/I want to know, I want to feel/I want to see You move underneath my skin/I want to hear, speak to me/I want to feel You breathe, I want to feel You breathe through me.”

‘A Song to the Fatherless’ is a much needed song of encouragement in today’s society: “God will never walk out on you/He’ll be the Father that you never knew/He loves you, more than words can say/He won’t leave you when you need Him the most/His love is unconditional/And you know you put a smile upon His face.”  ‘Respect’ is a pop/rock track that is countercultural all the way: “Hey girl, better put down that magazine/You know there’s more to life than picture perfect/You know they’d give it up now for the price they had to pay/Oh, can’t you see, they threw it all away.../Come on and give yourself a little respect my friend/You’re beautiful and you can start over again.”

‘I miss You’ is a terrific, vulnerable song about grief: “I feel cold and I feel numb/I still find it hard to face you’re gone/I know that we’ll meet again/One day I’ll kiss your face again/In a place where there’s no suffering or pain/I look up at the stars in the sky/I know where you are/I miss you, I miss you so bad/And it hurts to remember you/I don’t want to forget you/I know now that you’re in a better place/But I miss you/I miss you so bad.”  ‘Are You With Me?’ is a fun, motivational song about anticonformity: “Listen up, listen up, listen up everybody/We’re marching to the beat of a different drum/Watch out, watch out here we come.../If you hear the call, rise up and take a stand/If you want to make a difference that’s where it all begins/We’ve got to get together, there’s a line down in the sand.”

‘One Show’ again shows that this band wants to make a difference: “It’s one show, I’ve got the mic, I’ve got the floor/One time you hope they don’t walk out the door/One show, one time you hope they see it/You never know, you never know.”  ‘Old School’ is reminiscent of Mark Stuart fronted Audio Adrenaline.  It is about having a good time: “We’re gonna rock until everybody’s on their feet/We’re gonna turn up the music/Can you feel the beat?/We’re gonna rock, gonna have us a real good time/I’m making noise until they take us away.” 

All in all, LOVE is a fun record, perfect for cranking up on your stereo in the spring and summer.  It has a positive, affirming message for female youth and young adults.  Fans of Fireflight, Superchick, and Rebecca St. James will like this one.  I’m rating it 87%.  For more info visit:

Friday, May 10, 2013


Glen Campbell was born on April 22, 1936 in Billstown, Arkansas.  He's one of twelve kids.  As  a studio musician he has worked on such hits as 'Everybody Loves Somebody', 'Surf City', and 'You've Lost that Loving Feeling.'  He toured as a Beach Boy for about half a year in the sixties when Brian Wilson left the road.  'The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour' tv show ran on CBS from 1969-1972.  Glen is best known for songs like 'Wichita Lineman', 'Rhinestone Cowboy', 'Galveston', and 'By the Time I Get to Phoenix'.  In June 2011 he announced he had Alzheimer's disease.  Of his 61st studio album which was released that same year on Surfdog Records, Glen says: "GHOST ON THE CANVAS is the last studio record of new songs that I ever plan to make.  I've been saying it to my friends and family, but now that it's in writing, it really seems final...My friend, Julian Raymond, helped me make this album, and it's probably the most personal one I've ever made."

'A Better Place' is a beautiful autobiographical song: "I've tried and I have failed, Lord/I've won and I have lost/I've lived and I have loved, Lord/Sometimes at such a cost/One thing I know/The world's been good to me/A better place/Awaits you'll see."  The title track 'Ghost on the Canvas' penned by Paul Westerberg, is a great country ballad that starts with these mysterious lyrics: "I know a place between/Life and death for you and me/Best take hold on the threshold of eternity/And see the ghost on the canvas/People don't see us/Ghost on the canvas/People don't know/When they're looking at soul."

'A Thousand Lifetimes' is a modern pop song that displays great depth and maturity lyrically: "I've faced the consequence and sorrow/Still I stood up and faced tomorrow/I've had dreams I've feared and followed/I found my way home/I've held on to coal in my bare hands praying for diamonds/I've trusted in the words that to my face turned out were lying/I've trapped and I have tripped and I have loved and I've abandoned/Each breath I take is a gift that I will never take for granted."  'It's Your Amazing Grace' could be addressed to God or Glen's wife Kim: "Everything I have in this world/I give it to you/Everything I see in this world/I see it through you/Oh...yes I do.../It's your amazing grace (2X)/Yes, it is/I hold my head/In my hands and I cry/When I think of you/Amazing grace/It keeps us together."

'In My Arms' features vocals by Chris Isaak and electric guitar by Dick Dale.  This upbeat old country song with touches of surf music, is a love song that indirectly references Glen's Alzheimer's: "Keep it on the recent/Keep it on the now/Give me an easy way out/It's a lovely world that I got/In my arms, baby, in my arms/Got a lot of room to get lost/In my arms, baby, in my arms."  'Nothing but the whole wide World' is a terrific country ballad with great lyrics penned by Bob Dylan's son, Jakob: "I was born in a stable/Built like an ox/Down in the pastures/I learned how to walk/Mama she raised me to sing/And I let 'em talk/No rich man's worth his weight in dust/They bury 'em down same as they'll do us/God wants you busy never giving up/He wants nothin' but the whole wide world for us."

'Hold on Hope' is a sunny sounding song that shows Glen to be an optimist in his older years: "Everybody's got a hold on hope/It's the last thing that's holding me."  'Any Trouble' finds Glen coming to terms with his own mortality: "Don't go to any trouble/You know I won't be here long/Hold me like a breath/You can count on me to ten/Then any trouble you got will be gone.../Don't go to any trouble/You know I must say 'so long'".
'Strong' is a poignant love song for Glen's wife, with touches of rock guitar: "As I look into these eyes I've known for all these years/I see for the first time in my life...fear/This is not the road I wanted for us but now that it's here/I want to make one thing perfectly clear/All I want to be for you is strong/I'm going to be the one you can count on/I'll always be for you...strong."  'There's no me...without You' is the longest track at 6 minutes and 16 seconds.  Billy Corgan, Rick Nielson, and Brian Setzer all contribute electric guitar work.  The song puts forth the idea that earthly romantic ties continue in the afterlife: "We never have to be afraid/Heaven is a place for two/There's no me...without you/We shall be/Forever two/There's no me...without you."  This album also includes six neat, short instrumental numbers all composed by Robert Joseph Manning Jr.

Glen Campbell says: "All of my little rollercoaster ride-the laughter, the tears, the successes and the failures-are part of who I am now.  They helped create the Glen Campbell I am today..."  On GHOST ON THE CANVAS produced by Julian Raymond and Howard Willing, you will hear several instruments including: pedal steel guitar, dobro, banjo, mandolin, keyboards, violins, and trumpet.  This is a truly marvelous record that only an artist with the longevity and experience of Glen Campbell could put out.  It runs circles around much of today's music.  I'm rating it 95%.  On July 30, 2013 Glen will release SEE YOU THERE, which will contain remakes of some of his old hits, that were recorded during the GHOST sessions.  For more info visit and

Wednesday, May 01, 2013


Amanda Ashby grew up singing in many kid’s choirs and musicals.  She was accepted into the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.  Amanda is based in Greenville, South Carolina.  Her website states: “Amanda Ashby’s passion surfaces through her sincere lyrics and vibrant melodies.  Her music is a transparent window to the soul...Simply put, she connects with her audiences, leading them into authentic and true worship.”  Amanda has just released a seven song ep entitled SCREAMIN’ (2013, INOV8 Music Group).

‘Don’t Let Me Down’ is a Christian rock song with a punch.  Lyrically, it is about spiritual renewal: “Flashes of light that I once remember, glimpses of a passion consumed/Ripping my soul, my spirit falters, I can’t control this burning in me.../Can you see it?/Can you hear it coming like a rushing wind?/Fire in me is burning/Burn it all through me again.”  Next up is Amanda’s cover of the terrific praise and worship song ‘The Anthem’ by The Planet Shakers.  It declares, without question, who Christ is and what He has done: “Hallelujah, You have won the victory/Hallelujah, You have won it all for me/Death could not hold You down/You are the risen King/Seated in majesty/You are the risen King.”  Musically, ‘Through it All’ reminds me of Twila Paris’ lighter fare.  This song finds Amanda pressing into the Lord: “Desperately seeking more of You, more of You/Watching my tears fall on You, fall on You/Come and break these chains that overwhelm/With me always I believe/And I will praise You all of my days/I will give You all of my praise/Undo me and help my unbelief.”

The title track, ‘Screamin’, is a dazzling heavy rock track with good electric guitar work.  These words remind us of the necessity and difficulty of submitting our will to God’s: “I have scattered visions invading my soul/Trying to focus on the One who makes me whole/Pursuing His dreams, pursuing His goals/Afraid to admit I can’t do it alone/Blinded by pride, it darkened my sight/Surrendering my life.../Come release me, surrender all my dreams/Come rescue me, surrendering all of me.”  ‘Lullaby’ is one of two songs on the ep written by Amanda’s husband Grady.  It imagines God gently offering words of comfort to a person with a troubled heart: “When life has caused you too much pain/Your dreams will take you away/As you fade off peacefully/You’ll find you’re here with Me/Hush now, sleep now/Don’t you cry/You’re only a moment away/Hush now, sleep now/Close your eyes/Sleep, dream, you’re free.”

‘Breathe’, one of four songs penned solely by Amanda, is tender sounding and features keys.  These words paint a picture of intimacy with God: “The fears, the doubts, the insecurities/All loyalties are set aside, my spirit longing to abide with You/Not a word is spoken, though I feel Your breath on my skin/Silently holding my hand, You’re drawing me in/Breathe on me once again.”  The last song, ‘Redeemed’, is really top notch.  It has no chorus and is the most artistic and appropriately dramatic.  This song makes it clear that a spiritual prodigal can indeed come back to the Father: “Haunted by the brighter days of when I believed/In Christ, the Son of Man, God, and all His enemies/But blinded by my foolish, lying ways/I numbed my faith/Now I walk, I walk these streets alone/Of my reality/I’m wasting all my time, as the demons rise inside/And battle over me.../So I pray, Lord how I pray to be redeemed/And I fight, I’m fighting for my life and my sanity/I ain’t wasting no more time, I’m coming forth tonight/As I begin to scream/I believe.”

SCREAMIN’ was produced by Sean Hill of Uphill Studios, mixed by Tony Palacios of Guardian fame, and mastered by Scott Sanchez.  Amanda has a real strong voice that is suited both to rock music and praise and worship music.  It is encouraging to see young people such as herself serving the Lord with their talents.  If you have a teenage daughter, you should get this ep that is contemporary and focused on God, into her hands.  I look forward to hearing more from Amanda in the future.  I’m rating SCREAMIN’ 86% and recommending it to fans of Fireflight and Krystal Meyers.  For more info visit and