Liberty by Shane & Shane

I know this song is old news to a lot of you, but I just had to share it! Where to begin. The song features classic Shane & Shane: worshipful, heartfelt vocals that highlight their soulful, gospel-style voices.

Something they did differently on this song (and this album [The One You Need]) is the fusion of country guitar, gospel choir and organ, and almost “arena rock” style dynamics. Love it!

She’s Always A Woman by Billy Joel

Billy Joel has a fantastic collection of hits that range from doo wop to classic rock. His music could be compared to a number of pianist/singers including: Elton John, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Ray Charles. That being said, he has a style all his own that has obviously stood the test of time.

I chose to highlight “She’s Always A Woman” because I think it represents Joel’s smooth tenor voice and his gift for songwriting. The band Copeland also has a great cover of this song that I recommend listening to.

Lament by Mount Moriah

Mount Moriah

Hometown: Durham, NC/Chapel Hill, NC

I heard Mount Moriah on The Current awhile back and I was interested in their music before the song even played because of their name. Mount Moriah is where Abraham was about to sacrifice Isaac, before God provided a substitute at the last moment. I don’t know if this event relates to the band’s name, but it certainly caught my attention.

With their combination of country-sounding lead guitar, a beautiful layering of harmonies, and a simple light drum beat to back it up, they’ve created a great song with “Lament”. Enjoy!

Can’t Help Myself by Sandra McCracken

My friend Kyle told me about Sandra McCracken and this song and I’ve really enjoyed listening to her other music recently. I highly recommend checking out to listen to and read about her hymns project. I completely agree that we can’t afford to miss the gems that have been written in worship to the Lord over hundreds of years. She has also written her own hymn-style songs that are great.

“Can’t Help Myself” – Sandra McCracken from jeff venable on Vimeo.


I confess the things, I am afraid of
Thorns and danger just around the bend
I pray for tongues of fire and bands of angels
To come and circle ‘round me like a fence

I lift my eyes to the hills,
where comes my help?
I lift my hands, empty hands
I can’t help myself, can’t help myself
No, I can’t help myself

My enemies surround me like an army
Within without the battles raging on
I pray the spirit would be strong and mighty
For courage through the night until the dawn

Oh trust the lord, my soul and all that is in me
Oh trust the light to show my darkest parts
With wounds of truth and love, a friend who has known me
A fool would keep his secrets in his heart

O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus by The Oslo Chamber Choir

Larger view

This is a beautiful hymn sung by the Oslo Chamber Choir (Oslo Kammerkor). I will let the music speak for itself.

You can download/listen to the full track here – thanks to Classical MPR:

I believe these are the English lyrics for the same hymn, but the track here is sung in Norwegian.

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current
Of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to
Thy glorious rest above!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
Spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth
never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones,
died to call them all His own
how for them He intercedeth, watcheth
o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus,
‘Tis a heav’n of heav’ns to me
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Bread & Wine by Josh Garrels

I’m really impressed with Josh Garrels. At first, I was thinking he was just another singer/songwriter with an acoustic guitar, but after exploring his album Love & War & The Sea In Between I’ve started to see that he is much more than that. Surprisingly, he ventures into hip hop a bit, which I can enjoy in small doses. What especially surprised me after listening to his album a second or third time were all the biblical references. I believe it takes a real gift to sound secular, yet inject truth into your songs. Garrels has done this successfully.


I was wrong, everybody needs someone, to hold on
Take my hand, I’ve been a lonesome man, took a while to understand

There’s some things we can’t live without
A man’s so prone to doubt
Faithful are the wounds from friends
So give it just a little time
Share some bread and wine
Weave your heart into mine
My friend

Walls fall down, where there’s a peaceful sound, lonely souls hang around
Don’t be shy, there’s nothing left to hide, come on let’s talk a while

Of the places we left behind
No longer yours and mine
But we could build a good thing here too
So give it just a little time
Share bread and wine
Weave your heart into mine

If I fall, I fall alone, but two can help to bear the load
A threefold chord is hard to break
All I have I give to you if you will share your sorrows too
Then joy will be the crown upon our heads
My friend

Gossamer Thread by David Gray

David Gray doesn’t need much of an introduction. He is an incredible songwriter and one of my favorite artists. When I look at his discography I feel as if I’ve barely uncovered a goldmine of songs. I’m excited to listen and re-listen to his music more.


Talking with the old folks by the wall
Dreaming ‘bout New Orleans in the Fall
And grateful for the time that God allows
And doing my best to keep it hid
Hanging by a gossamer thread

Roll on up it’s feeding time again
A kiss to suck the lightning from the pain
I’m hatching us a plan for busting out
And free of what that bastard did
Hanging by a gossamer thread

All lit up like the National Grid
And hanging by a gossamer thread
You’re choking on your daily bread
Hanging by a gossamer thread

Dog in the doorway
Dyed in the wool
Dog in the doorway
Dyed in the wool
Dog in the doorway
Dyed in the wool

I hope that I’m wrong
Hope that I’m wrong
I hope that I’m wrong
I hope that I’m wrong
Hope that I’m wrong
I hope that I’m wrong

Heroes and Monsters by Penny & Sparrow

Hometown: Austin, TX

Penny & Sparrow is Andy Baxter and Kyle Jahnke. Beyond that, I can’t find much info about them. There are times when Baxter’s voice reminds me of Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). Specifically on their song “Creature.” I’m excited to explore these guys more.

The moons gonna rise no matter what
The moons gonna rise no matter what
Yeah, I can feel my armor, underneath my fur but
The moons gonna rise no matter what.

There’s a house on fire and I’m running in
There’s a house on fire and I’m running in
With an empty box of matches, I’m the one who burned it down, burn,
There’s a house on fire and I’m running in

The way the parts of me
They always disagree
It’s a wonder that this body doesn’t break
The moons gonna rise no matter what

Yeah, the moons gonna rise no matter what
And I’m a hero and a monster, so tie me to the chair
Because the moons gonna rise no matter what
The way the parts of me
They always disagree
It’s a wonder that this body doesn’t break

To The Very End by Will Reagan & United Pursuit

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

My friend, Chris Knox, pointed me toward these guys recently and I’m just beginning to scratch the surface of their music. Something seems pretty clear from listening to them so far: They write simple, worshipful songs. The way their songs build and their overall style reminds me of Jesus Culture.

Another favorite of mine so far is Break Every Chain. This song is just Will Reagan and the piano, but it is very powerful when you listen to the lyrics and meditate on them.


Surround You by Elliot Road

Hometown: Wichita, KS

Elliot Road is comprised of brothers, James and John Beasley. At times they remind me of Trampled by Turtles, not only because of the prominent banjo, mandolin and fiddle parts in their songs, but also because James Beasley’s voice reminds me of Dave Simonett. Simonett seems to venture back into his rock roots at times, and another key difference between these groups is that Trampled by Turtles is known for many songs that have a quick tempo and intense strumming/plucking, whereas Elliot Road seems to stick to the classic folk/country sound.

I’d have to say that my favorite thing about the Beasley brothers is their harmonies. They have sweet, country notes that seem to melt together.