Thank God (She’s Writing Songs)

I am not trying to brag, but I consider myself to be pretty good at staying just a bit ahead of the curve of what band and what music is popular.

Emily Hearn is an artist that I have been telling people about for years. I have also been saying for years that if the right person hears her music then she is guaranteed to be the next big thing. But with her newest release, ‘Hourglass’, my opinion has changed a little bit. With this record, I no longer believe that the right person needs to hear her music for her to blow up. I think the music speaks for itself, and it is going to spread like wildfire.

Emily is a truly gifted songwriter, everything in her back catalogue proves it. But the songs on ‘Hourglass’ are special. There is something for everyone. There are sing-alongs sure to get your foot tapping, like ‘Can’t Help Myself’, ‘Without You’, and ‘Waking Up Again’, as well as soulful slower tunes such as ‘The Oak Tree’, lead single ‘Volcano’, and my personal favorite on the record ‘Thank God You’re Holding Me’ which is a number one country song if I have ever heard one. There is even a little bit of an electronic vibe on ‘Save Me’. Not to mention that the album art is stunningly beautiful.

Here is the thing. I backed this record on Kickstarter. I am friends with Emily and her husband Michael. I believe in them as people, as songwriters, and as performers. And I believe in this record. I believe in this record so strongly, that if you buy it and do not love it, I will literally give you the $10 that you spent on it.

So check out a song here then just stop listening to me and go buy the damn record here.

Count On (Kearney)

CCM is probably the genre of music that I make fun of the most. Contemporary Christian Music. All the songs sound the same; same cheesy chord progression, same lame vocals, and nothing but cookie cutter pick-me-up lyrics. I’m kind of part of the core audience for this genre. I work at a church and I even have some friends who play in some of these bands. I still don’t think most of them are worth a damn.

Yet somehow, the genre is massive. All a band/musician has to do is label themselves as a “Christian artist” and all the Sunday school goers of the bible belt will eat it right up, completely unaware that they are being spoon-fed the same garbage over and over again with different packaging.

That being said, it breaks my heart to see Mat Kearney, a dude writing some of the catchiest pop-rock around, labeled as “CCM”.

I had been pretty strongly anticipating Kearney’s fifth full length, ‘Just Kids’, ever since hearing the first single ‘Heartbeat’. Actually, let me rephrase.

I had been pretty strongly anticipating Kearney’s fifth full length, ‘Just Kids’, ever since my third time hearing the first single ‘Heartbeat’. The first time I thought it was obnoxious as hell. The second time I thought it was kind of catchy. The third time I was singing along loud and proud and marking the album’s release date on my calendar.

I really think that this could be the record that launches Mat Kearney to Top 40 radio. He is truly brilliant at crafting catchy hooks, a la ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Billion’, and ‘One Black Sheep’, as well as really heartfelt movers like ‘Ghost’ and ‘The Conversation’. What I really love about Kearney’s lyrics, especially on this record, is how open and transparent he is about his personal life. Several of the tracks on ‘Just Kids’ read as autobiographical, like he just needed to get his life and words down on paper.

That is what really stands out to me about Mat Kearney’s music, how genuine he comes across. I feel like his music invites the listener into his life and his thoughts, more so than your average pop singer-songwriter.

I wish there was more of this in music. Of course, most music has a handful of these moments; moments where we get a glimpse into the life and soul of some our favorite musicians. But I don’t think there’s enough of it. I think if more artists were willing to open up to their fans the way that Kearney does…. Well I don’t know what but at least we would have less Nickelbacks and Imagine Dragons.