The Prodigal’s Black Box

The matter lost
In the slow concussion
Gentle and steadfast
At the rate of age
And inevitably sure
Is that gravity leaves
A downturn In
The arc of your high
Fireball trajectory
Surely a light against
The sky burned bright
Then out leaving soil
In a barren field scarred
With ashes and debris
To reflect another
Light that still lands
Upon the consequences
Of lessons unlearned
Inadequacy unconfessed
And peace unfound
Tired of feeding pigs, yet
You never made it home

Jesus Freak: 20 Years Later

Wow. 20 years of Jesus Freak.

decentchristiantalk

It’s hard to believe it has been 20 years since the groundbreaking Jesus Freak record. It’s fun to look back and see the impact that Jesus Freak had. Let’s go back 20 years and hear from those that had a hand in one of the biggest successes in CCM history.

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Dan Brock (former Forefront Records President): 1995 was quite an exciting time for us at ForeFront Records. We were a small independent label that had grown quickly. We had recently received our first Platinum Album award for dcTalk’s Free at Last release. The group was back in the studio recording and we were preparing our plan for the biggest release in our company’s history – ‘Jesus Freak’.
In August of that year we released the AVCD single of Jesus Freak which also featured the Gotee Bros. Freaked Out Remix, I Wish We’d All Been Ready, and a Jesus Is Just…

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To American Christians Who Reject Refugees

A point well-worth considering for every single one of us who consider ourselves Christians.

Merely Me

To the American Christians who are rejecting refugees from our Country:

Do you remember a couple of months ago when we saw images of the little boy named Aylan who had washed up on the beach? He and his family had escaped from Syria and were trying to make their way to Canada. Sadly, he never made it. We were all heart-broken when we saw his picture. Many of you said that you would have opened up your home to him and his family if you had been able to.

But then the attacks in Paris and Beirut happened.

Now you are signing petitions asking your governor to close your State’s border to refugees. You are frightened by the images of terror attacks you’ve seen on the news. I know that you mean well, because you think that you are protecting your families and your country from harm. But my heart breaks when…

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Music Review: STARRY EYES SURPRISE by Kevin Max

Songs of the night: STARRY EYES SURPRISE by Kevin Max

Kevin Max’s vocal dexterity is well matched by his penchant for playing hopscotch from one musical genre to another. From R&B/hip-hop to alternative, modern rock and radio-friendly pop, Kevin Max has done it all well and with relative ease. It was just a few months ago that he released BROKEN TEMPLES, a critically acclaimed showcase of his personal faith and love of new wave. But, with his new album, he’s focused his attention exclusively on the music and ably delved into the magic of mid-twentieth century speakeasies and Hollywood in a manner that exudes deep reverence for the character of each song while simultaneously flirting with each track’s creative potential. It’s as if Max found a seam in time to sing his way through leaving, intertwined in his wake, a series of revitalized crooning standards (e.g., “Nature Boy”) and lavishly reimagined modern songs of the night (e.g., “Sunglasses At Night”) that are each ready stand on their own and, now, are all collected for the listener’s convenience and pleasure as STARRY EYES SURPRISE. A solid soundtrack for a quiet evening without the kids.

The Latest Kevin Max Project Is In The Works: Starry Eyes Surprise

Enigmatic. It’s a word that many have used to describe the musical journey of Kevin Max, DC Talk member and former lead vocalist of Audio Adrenaline. Since the legendary contemporary Christian music group DC Talk’s “intermission” some 15-20 years ago, Max has charted a course that resembles more of a multifaceted, obstacle-laden pinball game table than that of a carefully curated recipe for profitable longevity in the Christian music industry. His back catalog includes: a world music/pop explosion that was STEREOTYPE BE (2001); the critically acclaimed rock and roll of THE IMPOSTER (2005); a timeless Christmas staple – HOLY NIGHT (2005); an amazing gospel covers album – THE BLOOD (2007); the wildly experimental/electronic COTES D’ARMOR (2010); critically acclaimed missionary pop rock as lead singer of Audio Adrenaline – KINGS & QUEENS (2013); and a profound collection of pop-rock/nu wave spirituals – BROKEN TEMPLES (2014), in addition to a number of other EP’s, side projects, books of poetry, and the writing of his fictional novel FIEFDOM OF ANGELS.

Kevin Max’s journey has led him all over the place, but, that fact is much more a testament to his relentless creative energy and artistic integrity than it is a knock on his ability to make a buck. He could have easily just continued in lock-step with Christian music industry protocol and secured a steady and more-than-comfortable income, but, he’s never been content with the status quo and with that in mind, he has, yet again, ventured in a different direction.

STARRY EYES SURPRISE, the project he is in the process of recording and gathering support for through his second Pledge crowd-funding campaign pays homage to the classic voices that have and continue to influence his love and performance of music: Nat King Cole, The Smiths, Frank Sinatra, etc. It is a project that, thematically, lends itself to notions of evening romance and reverence for the crooners of the past. The musical arrangements of the songs that have surfaced, so far, are remarkably played  (with instrumentation and backing vocals being provided by John and Painter and Flemming McWilliams) and are reverent to each song’s original history while, also, lending a creative nod to Max’s own experimental instincts. It’s an interesting project that is definitely worth lending an ear, and possibly, your support to. I’m really hoping that he continues in this vein for a new Christmas album. HOLY NIGHT is an amazing album, but, I’d love to hear him take on classic Christmas songs as performed by Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash, and Burl Ives.

Check out what he has to say about it and learn more about how you can get involved in STARRY EYES SURPRISE.

Reaction (a stream of consciousness poem)

The focus of our time
That which steals the purpose
The substance that could be our reaction
To something divine
Outside our realm of understanding
But fully capable
With infinite potential
To create beyond the scope of our conception
Life abundant
Through grace incomprehensible
Prompting us
If we will let It
To overflow with foolishness
For that is what it is in comparison
To the scales – the units of measure
By which humanity has limited itself
Irrational
God and everything outside of ourselves
Outside of self
Our attention focused on the other
Our attention and time and energy
Spent outside of ourselves
Is equivalent I believe
To Love
To God
To worship God is to let our attention
Let our limitations
Let our reactions and our fear
Loose
Free to run away
and in doing so
Freeing us to trust and place
Our hope
Our time
Our hands
Our feet
Directly on the path that He has drawn out
To reveal His glory through
To love others
To serve others
To focus your attention outside
Of ourselves
Is to love God
To worship God
To touch the heart of Jesus
And to remove ourselves
From our own grip
With which we cling so tightly
To sin and the death
The absence of life
That it brings
Lord teach me in each moment
Of each day going forward to
Look outside of myself
To let go of myself
To release my fear
And grab Your hand
As it is extended out to me
Each day in need
Empty my hands
Oh Lord
So that I am free to react
To focus my attention
To spend my time
Outside of myself
Outside of sin
But, in You
In Love

Spent

Like canvas stretched tightly over the frame
Imposing upon each gessoed fiber strain

Constitution’s vulnerabilities
Raked and now exposed for the world to seize

Endless hours spent chasing carrot tails
While stuttering words and accruing fails

Squandering away these precious few hours
Tasked to preserve the substance of flowers

Regardless the cost for vain veneers paid
I find my own dignity worn and splayed

With all cupboards bare
The absence clear shows
I have nothing more
To give from behind doors that only close