“The CCM Time Machine” (Part 2)

So for this second edition of The CCM Time Machine, we are highlighting two female artists whose music made a lasting impression on Cecily and I. And a band that, though, short lived,  were a creative breath of fresh air to the world of CCM. We’re talking about Cindy Morgan, Sarah Masen, and Earthsuit.

If you’ve never heard of these artists I hope after reading this blog you’ll want to check ’em out. If you have heard of them I hope you discover their music all over again.

Cindy Morgan: Now, this particular artist holds one of the dearest places in mine and Cecily’s hearts. As with all the artists we are highlighting here, we grew up to their music. But I believe it is a truly rare thing to be able to say this artist’s music grew me. But so is the case with Singer/Songwriter, Cindy Morgan.

In the early 90’s I bought a tape called “A Reason To Live”, which was the sophomore release from singer/songwriter, Cindy Morgan. I can’t even begin tell you how much both Cecily and I fell in love with that tape! Our favorite track and the one that probably holds the most memory for us, is a track called “Picture Me In Paradise”. We wore that song out! And I don’t know if Cec will kill me for mentioning this or not, (she’s asleep right now so ha!) but she even had a whole choreographed dance to this song lol. Okay…so I’m sure she’ll probably get me back for that one, but it’s true lol. A lot of the songs on that tape and her very first recording “Real Life” had a very 90’s dance/pop feel, which I loved as a kid, but mostly revisit for nostalgic reasons now.

But one song from that era that has stuck with me through out the years is a pretty piano ballad called “I Will Be Free”, which is off the “A Reason To Live” cd. It’s a song that was inspired by her struggle with fear and depression. At such a young age, this song impacted me, but I really didn’t grasp the full meaning of it until I grew up. It continues to take my breath away whenever I hear it. The lyrics speak of a hope for freedom found in Christ.

“I will be free
I will be free to run the mountains
I will be free
Free to drink from the living fountain
Oh, I’ll never turn back
‘Cause He waits….
I’ll never turn back
Don’t you ever turn back
Because someday, someday we’re gonna see
We will be free”

Cindy’s music slowly started evolving into more piano – based pop with even a slight jazz flare. This was most apparent on her 1996 release, “Listen”. Which is a cd that, to this day, I still listen to quite often. Songs like “God Is Love”, “Jamie”, “They Say It’s Love”, “Need”, and the title track, “Listen”, continue to be some of my favorite tracks on that cd.

Other cd’s of Cindy’s that I would recommend checking out are her ’98 release, “The Loving Kind”, which from beginning to end chronicles the last few years of the life Jesus. It’s a beautiful record to listen to around Easter time. I never understood the depth and meaning in those songs until just recently when I listened to it again for the first time in a very long time. And lately I’ve been stuck on her ’95 release “Under The Waterfall”.

In February of 1997, she played a concert in Victoria,TX, which is an hour from where we live. My dad was youth leader at our church at the time and took the whole youth group to the show. I loved every second of it!

She opened the show with our favorite song “Picture Me In Paradise”. I remember thinking how cool it was so get to see these songs performed live. Whether it was her dancing all around the stage or sitting at her piano, we hung on every note. Even Cec, as young as she was at the time, has really fond memories of this concert and getting the chance to meet her after the show. Below is a picture of us with Cindy. This picture makes both of us smile. 🙂

After the release of her 7th studio recording, 2001’s “Elementary”, it seemed that Cindy had put her music on the back burner to start focusing more on writing for other artists. She’s written for numerous artists over the years such as: Michael W. Smith, India Arie Point Of Grace, Avalon, Rachael Lampa, Brit Nicole, Mandisa, The Martins, Michael English, BeBe Winans, Sandi Patty, Jaci Velasquez, Mark Schultz, John Tesh, and Natalie Grant. But finally in 2006 she came back strong with her cd titled “Postcards”. Long time fans were so ready to welcome her beautifully crafted, thought provoking music back to the scene. “Postcards” saw Cindy taking a whole new musical direction with her music. Shifting into more of a Folk/Country sound. Stand out tracks on that cd for me are “Enough” and “River”.

Cindy’s newest release, 2008’s “Beautiful Bird”, follows that same musical path. I haven’t purchased this cd yet but have heard wonderful things about it. Cindy’s also about to embark on the Gloria Christmas Tour with Shaun Groves and Travis Cottrell. When she’s not on the road, Cindy and husband, author, Sigmund Brouwer, and their two daughters spend half their time living in Canada and in Tennessee.

Cindy Morgan is such a true artist in the way she crafts words and melodies. Her amazing ability to belt out a song with so much soul and passion emanating from her vocals. The older I get and the more I go back and revisit her music, the more I realize how much of a treasure it is. It’s music that has a lot of layers to it. I find myself learning something new from it each time revisit. It’s what Cecily calls “life music”. Music that walks with you in life wherever you go. I have a feeling her artistry will walk with both Cecily and I for life.

To check out Cindy Morgan’s music go www.cindymorganmusic.com

Sarah Masen: In 1996 you could probably have found my sister Cecily and I randomly breaking out in song and dance to Sarah Masen’s energetic song, “All Fall Down”. The song was Sarah’s first single off her self titled debut released on Charlie Peacock’s Re:Think Records. It was one of our favorite songs and music videos…where we picked up a few of Sarah’s dance moves.

We first saw the video for “All Fall Down” on a Christian music video show that we watched faithfully as kids, called Lightforce (Which was run by Houston’s Christian radio station KSBJ). We not only loved the fun sound of the song but also the energy Sarah had in the video. Dancing and jumping all around and even running and bouncing off a wall… which Cecily did a mean impression of I must say. 🙂 This song gained popularity fast and was even featured on the hit Tv show Party Of Five. To this day whenever we hear the opening lines of that song we instantly start singing and dancing along.

“Blow Your trumpets angels
Come sweet salvation
Shout scattered thanks
In power that’s strength
And glory
Good Lord gory
and the fool stands only to fall
But the wise trip on grace

All fall down
All fall down
Hit the ground
All fall down”

I never bought Sarah’s cd, and after a while, lost touch with her music. Later on I found out that she released another cd on Re:Think Records entitled “Carry Us Through”. And in 2001 released “The Dreamlife Of Angels” on Word Records.

She didn’t release any more cds until 2007, when she recorded and self – released three Eps. They are titled “Magic That Works”, “Women’s Work Is Alchemy” and “A History Of Lights and Shadows”. Each Ep sleeve was designed to contain a slightly different work of art, like snowflakes. I have heard clips of these songs and they sound amazing. You can purchase them on her Myspace or on Noisetrade.

Sarah has also done some guest vocals for Jon Foreman’s (Switchfoot) Spring and Summer Eps. You can hear her on tracks such as “The House Of God Forever”, “Love Isn’t Made”, and “Deep In Your Eyes”. She also happens to be Jon’s sister in-law (He married her sister).

Sarah now lives in Nashville with her husband, author, David Dark, and their three children.

I came across this quote about Sarah’s music that I think describes it perfectly:

“Where Masen stands apart is in her literary approach to songwriting. She is a young woman in love with words, ideas, imagination. She has a God-given ability to express the light and the dark, and the shades where we all walk in between… Her songs are dangerous because they’re honest, and auspicious because they’re drenched in grace.” — author, Steve Stockman,

I’m sure Cec and I will continue to jam to “All Fall Down” for years to come. It’s even a staple on my mp3 player. But I think we will also be affected and impacted by her work yet to come.

For more info on Sarah go to her Myspace: www.myspace.com/sarahmasenmusic

Earthsuit: In the year of 2000 I started seeing a music video of a slightly strange new band called Earthsuit. The video was for their song “One Time”, (which was their first single from the cd “Kaleidoscope Superior” released on Word Records in 2000 ). But at the time, I just referred to the video as “the dog on a treadmill video” lol. If you’ve never seen this video, you’re probably a bit confused yet a little intrigued by that description lol.

That’s a good word for who Earthsuit was. Intriguing. Adam LaClave, Dave Rumsey, Paul Meany, Darren King, Roy Mitchell, and Dave Hutchison made up the experimental rock band, Earthsuit. They were a mesh up of different genres actually. Not only rock but infusing hip hop, reggae, electronica, and soul. Needless to say, they were extremely different than what the Christian music industry was used to at that time. They were so before their time.

I was even very unsure as to whether I liked them at first or not, but really grew to love the music that I heard from them. Which really wasn’t much. “One Time” and “White Horse” were the only ones I knew back then. But I truly loved the sound. So different. So refreshing. I still love and listen to “One Time” quite often. I think I actually appreciate the music more now than I did back then.

Unfortunately, Earthsuit was short lived. They released an independent cd in 2003 entitled “The Rise Of The Modern Simulation”, after which, they disbanded.

Shortly after, Paul Meany and Darren King got together to form the now widely known band MuteMath. You can actually hear a lot of elements of Earthsuit in the music of MuteMath.

“One Time” will probably always be one of my favorites. I mean, you get to hear Paul Meany do a little rapping, how can you not so love that? lol I’m also a crazy fan of MuteMath, and hope to someday see them in concert (I seem to miss them every time they’re in my area). If you’re a MuteMath fan I encourage you to go find some Earthsuit music. Trust me, you’ll find yourself going back for more.

To check out MuteMath go to: www.myspace.com/mutemath
To hear and purchase music by Earthsuit  Click Here

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