Tuesday 22 Jul
 
 

Manmade Objects - Monuments

No one wants to be forgotten; everyone wants some sort of legacy, a mark they leave behind as they exit this life for whatever lies beyond.

And for as long as there has been death, there have been monuments — whether austere or understated, abstract or concrete, prominent or tucked away in private — erected by the ones they loved to assure that remembrance, at least for a time.
07/15/2014 | Comments 0

Admirals - Amidst the Blue

Sometimes it helps to not be very good.

Some of the best albums and artists were born out of happy accidents owed to varying degrees of early suckage — the perfect note or chord for a song found by missing the one you are aiming for, failed mimicry of an idol bearing something entirely new and great instead.

07/09/2014 | Comments 0

Kierston White - Don't Write Love Songs

The Tequila Songbirds have become just as beloved as about any group around these parts. And how could they not?

Featuring a revolving cast of the Sooner State’s most badass female performers, it’s a power hour of some of the best songwriting coming out of central Oklahoma. Sure, they might not technically be family, but they are clearly a band of sisters all the same, bonded by the same brand of whiskey running through their veins.

07/01/2014 | Comments 0

Depth & Current - Dysrhythmia

"Overproduced" is a term thrown around all too indiscreetly nowadays, usually applied when the thing that sticks out about a song or album is how it sounds rather than how it is constructed. Yet some of the most compelling albums ever crafted embodied a certain aesthetic that was just as skillfully and meticulously put together as any Bob Dylan or Miles Davis record — which is to say production is as crucial to our enjoyment of music as much as anything else; it's also the most overlooked.
06/24/2014 | Comments 0

Weak Knees - “IceBevo”

Indie rock has been in a good place as of late. Not caring about being cool is the new cool, and a couple of dudes on guitar, bass and drums can make catchy, earworm songs without being armed to the gills with computer software and vintage synthesizers.
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Christian singer/songwriter Charlie Hall mixes styles and pairs personal experiences with a direct, lyrical relationship with God


Greg Horton September 30th, 2010

Charlie Hall is about to enter his 20th year in the music business, still going strong after helping create some of the most iconic songs and institutions of modern Christian music.

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Charlie Hall is about to enter his 20th year in the music business. The Putnam City North and University of Central Oklahoma graduate has been involved with some of the best-selling Christian worship albums of all time.

Along the way, he helped launch the contemporary praise act Passion and has maintained a solo career in a genre that's somewhere between mainstream rock and praise pop.

Last Tuesday, Hall released his fifth solo project, "The Rising." True to form, it's a mixture of rock anthems, contemplative worship, contemporary psalms and singer/songwriter pop. Hall is first and foremost a songwriter, so his tunes don't resemble the formulaic, clichéd music that often dominates Christian-pop radio.

"My writing reflects the life that I'm living," Hall said. "I'm going to take that life " my wife, my kids, my faith " and I'm going to put it into a spiritual journaling song and then give it as an offering."

Because the lyrics are deeply personal, his songs aren't the type that lend themselves easily to corporate worship services.

"Much of what I do isn't the kind of music where you can sing it once or twice and have it down," he said. "It takes a while to get it, and I really want people to think about the words, to hear them."

Despite his resistance to writing formulaic music, his worship ballads and musical prayers have struck a chord almost everywhere. With the help of Passion Conferences, Hall's music has traveled the world.

Currently, two of his songs, "Give Us Clean Hands" and "Marvelous Light," are on the Christian Copyright Licensing International's Top 100 songs of the year. The list tracks the frequency with which songs are reported as used in churches that pay licensing fees.

The writing philosophy that undergirds Hall's approach started in high school.

"I got into a drunk driving accident when I was at North," he said. "It was the point that turned my life around. Nathan Nockels and James Marsden reached out to me. Nathan's dad was a pastor, and so I was invited to church."

Hall said he had been in rock bands throughout high school, and so with his conversion to Christianity came a new lyrical lexicon, but no change in the kind of music he wanted to play or the kinds of songs he wanted to write.

"I had no paradigm for writing Christian music," he said. "I just started writing my prayers into my songs. It didn't take long to realize that the prayer portions of the songs were what people responded best to."

That approach still dominates Hall's songwriting. He is a musical mystic in the sense that he believes worship, both individual and corporate, brings the worshiper into direct contact with God. As such, he tends to focus on the character and grace of God and the experience of trying to be a faithful Christian rather than theological axioms. It's become a constant theme of critics.

"I don't know what to say to people who think my songs aren't scriptural enough," Hall said. "I believe everything I write is biblical. It may not quote verses, but the ideas are there. As big as 'Marvelous Light' has gotten, I still hear from people who say, 'Why are you talking about spinning around? I don't get it.' They think I may have influences from other religions."

He said he's stopped explaining himself as much as he used to when he first started.

"I believe that my experiences with God are scripturally true," he said. "I may not convince critics, but I believe God is holding me up, and he's put things into me to share."

"The Rising" reflects Hall's conviction that a life lived "walking straight with patience" will always lead to an encounter with something good, something beautiful. The title also reflects his experience that life is often a long, lonely climb. "Greg Horton
 
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