I think the only way to start this blog is to first admit to a few things that will help give context to this blog.
We knew who Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith were before we ever knew who Madonna was or before we even cared who Michael Jackson was. We knew every word to Carmen’s “Sunday School Rock”, in fact he was our first concert (Oh yes, there’s an admission for ya! lol) One of my (Krystal) biggest childhood regrets was that I never got to meet Rebecca St. James. One my (Cecily) best childhood memories was getting to meet Cindy Morgan. What does all this weird info add up to, you ask? We were the epitemy of the “Christian culture” kids lol.
My parents didn’t allow us to listen to anything but Christian music when we were kids. And instead of rebelling against it, we embraced it. We immersed ourselves in it and loved every minute of it. While maybe we did get introduced to some admittedly cheesy music, we also got introduced to music that grew us into the people we are today.
This is a blog about the music and artists that have stayed with us through out our lives. Their music challenged us and made us think. Their music had a profound influence on us. So we thought it would be fun to look back and rediscover some of it!
In the coming weeks, will revisit these artists and talk a little about how their music was a part of our lives. So we hope you enjoy and hopefully relate to this look through the CCM Time Machine.
LaRue: It was late one Saturday night in 2001 when I first saw the music video for the song, “Reason”, the first single by brother and sister duo, Phillip and Natalie LaRue. It was one of those songs that made me stop what I was doing and take notice as they sang the chorus, “And I see you there, your arms around. Your arms around me. And I have no fear you’re all around me, you’re all around me. You’re all around.” The pretty melody, simple yet beautiful lyrics, carried by the their soaring harmonies, caught my attention and forced me to listen intently.
Later on, I bought their 2nd cd, “Transparent”, which had a pop/rock feel and really solid songwriting. It became one of my very favorite cds back in the day. I was hooked on songs like “Near To Me”, “Fly”, “One White Tulip”, and “I Can’t Sing”. Around the same time I bought this cd I was still kinda going through my “pop music phase” lol, so this cd gave me some of the catchy melodies I loved but with really good, thought provoking lyrics. Plus I loved how their voices blended together and complimented each other’s perfectly. Natalie’s voice sounding reminiscent of Jennifer Knapp, or even somewhat like Natalie Merchant.
I recently pulled this cd out again after not having listened to for a while, and I realized, that I still love those songs just as much now if not more than I did back then. In fact, “Near To Me” and “Reason” are now a staple on my mp3 player. After releasing their 3rd cd “Reaching” in 2002, LaRue decided to call it a day, as Natalie moved on to get married and start a family.
In recent years, Phillip has spent his time writing and producing for other artists such as Brandon Heath, Krystal Meyers, Natalie Grant, and Tenth Avenue North. Not to mention this past April he released his first solo cd, “Let The Road Pave Itself”, to rave reviews. I haven’t bought this cd yet but it’s definitely on the list.
Tony Vincent: I had quite the crush on Tony Vincent when I was a kid lol. This may be a very shallow way to start this…but I don’t care. 😉 I’m not afraid to admit that the first thing that got me to listen to him was his hair, smile, pretty blue eyes,…and not to mention, his earring lol. I thought he was adorable. Don’t worry, I’m not that shallow anymore. Nice hair and a great smile no longer has any bearings on whether I listen to someone’s music or not.
I first saw Mr. Vincent perform back in the early 90’s on a tv show called, “Time 2”, which was hosted by a certain 90’s Christian music icon named, Carmen. I’m sure some of you out there remember this. Well if you grew up immersed in the Christian culture that I did then you probably do lol. On the show that night he performed a song called, “Out Of My Hands”. I became an instant fan of his dance/pop sound and his smooth vocals.
Not too long after that, I set out to buy his tape (Yes, tape) which upon purchase I completely wore out. It was his 1995 self titled release which featured songs, “Out Of My Hands”, and radio single,”Simple Things”. As I was writing this blog I decided to revisit this tape. In spite of the fact that some of the pop sounds on the songs are of course, somewhat dated, the lyrics are still really interesting and intriguing. Probably even more so now that I’m older and have a better understanding of what they mean. Famed songwriter and producer, Charlie Peacock (Switchfoot, Sarah Masen, Amy Grant) had a hand in a lot of the co-writing and producing of this release. Some of my favorites on that tape were and continue to be “High”, “Must Be The Season”, “Simple Things” and of course “Out Of My Hands”.
In 1997, Tony released another cd called, “One Deed”. I never bought that cd, I don’t know why. I always wanted to buy it but for some reason, never did. Later on in the years, I couldn’t find it. I did however have the single, “One Deed”, which became a favorite of mine. Tony was always passionate about sharing the message of Jesus creatively through his art,”My goal as an artist is to create music in a innovative and professional way. Dismissing the concept of religion and presenting Jesus Christ as a real and passionately loving God whose grace is for everyone.”
After “One Deed, Tony left music to pursue a successful career in theatre. Staring in such productions as “Rent”, “Jesus Christ Superstar”, and “We Will Rock You”. In 2007 he released his first recording since 1997, an EP entitled, “A Better Way”. Most noticeable difference being his voice. It sounds completely different, at least to me anyway. Still really good, but totally different. It’s definitely a new direction musically, and definitely a new Tony, but even after all these years, he continues to remain true to his artistry.
For more info on Tony go to his MySpace.
Miss Angie: Ah, where do we start? She was so much a part of our childhood. In case you’re not familiar with the wonderfully unique, Miss Angie, allow us to introduce you to her.
In 1997 Angie Tuner (aka Miss Angie) released her debut cd, “100 Million Eyeballs”, on Myrrh Records. It was an eclectic and energetic mix of rock music with beautiful, worshipful lyrics. Our favorites were, “Which Way The Wind Blows”, “Trampoline”, and “100 Million Eyeballs”. With her crazy look some people probably wouldn’t have expected the worshipful lyrics of her songs, such as in the song, “1oo Million Eyeballs”. The lyric say, “Day and night they never stop singing…Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty Holy, holy, Lord God Almighty. Laying down on the floor Giving their honor”. You couldn’t help but notice and love the fact that she was totally different than any other artist in Christian music. Not many Christian artists at that time were known for their crazy makeup and fashion. Such as star stickers under her eyes and big blue poufy dresses. She definitely had her own distinctive style. I mean how many cd’s come with stickers? lol
My sister, Cecily actually has really fond memories of this. Here’s what she had to say about Miss Angie’s influence on her: I wore those stickers under my eyes until they would not stick anymore lol. Miss Angie was such a huge influence in my life and still is today. In fact, not too long ago I was sitting in front of my mirror drawing stars under my eyes, like I often do, and I stopped and laughed when I realized that this is all because of her lol. She is so much a part of who I am today. I loved her music so much!
I remember I would lay on my bean bag chair with my headphones on and literally listen to her tape until I fell asleep. In my opinion, she was way before her time, people in the Christian world weren’t ready for such a strong personality as Miss Angie. Though, at ten years old, I was…she was exactly what I needed, and still is. I would bounce around all over the house to her music and sing along at the top of my lungs. Her music made me so happy. I love people who aren’t afraid to be who they are, who are not afraid to be the unique person God created them to be, and that my friends, was Miss Angie. Her music was crazy and bouncy with a whimsical punch, mixed with gorgeous worshipful lyrics.
Back then, being so young, I didn’t fully understand all the meaning behind her songs, but I knew it was honest…you could just feel it. Now all grown up, I still feel that honesty when I hear her music. I still get that happy blissful “I just want to spin in circles” feeling I got when I was ten. And yes, I still proudly wear stars under my eyes. And as I sit here and try to find the words that convey how much her music and her style meant to me, all I can really say is; Miss Angie, I am who I am today because of you.
For a long time we had no idea what had happened to Miss Angie. It seemed as though she just dropped off the face of the earth. It was quite the mystery for a lot of CCM fans. People were asking where she was, if she was even still alive lol. We searched on the internet a few years back and found out that she had released another cd in 1999, called, “Triumphantine”. But hadn’t done any music since. But then not too long ago, we found her MySpace page where she revealed that she is back! She is back and recording new music again, now as Angie Turner. We could not have been more thrilled! And I think all her fans feel the same way. It was so cool to see countless comments on her MySpace of people who felt the same connection to her and her music that we felt. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for this unique and creative artist.
For more info on Angie Turner go to her MySpace.
Dakoda Motor Co.: I didn’t really know very much about this band when I was a kid. All I knew was that everytime their videos came on I somehow would always find myself singing and dancing along. And, that I so wanted to be the “cool rock chick” like lead singer, Davia Vasesillo lol. Davia, along with Peter King, Derik Toy, Elliot Chenault, and Chuck Cummings, made up the 90’s Surf/Rock California band known as, Dakoda Motor Co. I loved their sound! It was, in my opinion, very different from what the Christian music scene had to offer at the time.
I never bought any of their cds, and later on in the years, rarely ever saw their videos anymore. But every once in a while I would start singing remnants of their songs that I still found stuck in my head. “Grey Clouds” and “Truth” were always my favorites. I loved the lyrics of both songs but would often get the chorus to “Truth” stuck in my head, “The truth to them is an abstract idea But that’s alright. That’s okay. You don’t have to be afraid, cause I’m not afraid for you”. In the mid 90’s I lost touch with what was going on with the band and didn’t know what had happened to them till years down the line.
In later years, I found out that Davia ended up leaving the band shortly before the release of their third cd. They replaced her with another female lead for that release. But in 1996, decided to call it quits. But their story doesn’t end there.
In recent years, they have all joined back up to make music together as Dakoda Motor Co. once again. Buzz seemed to travel fast as fans were more than thrilled to welcome them back with open arms. Comment after comment on their MySpace seemed to be from people saying how their music was apart of their childhood, or teen years, or college years. They have been busy playing local shows in southern California as well as playing various Christian music festivals. They are also in the process of writing and recording a new cd. I’m excited to hear some of my old favorites as well as new material from these guys. I don’t know why I never bought any of their cds when I was younger but I think I need to change that. 🙂
For more info on Dakoda Motor Co. go to their MySpace.
Out Of The Grey: In my opinion, husband and wife duo, Scott and Christine Dente of Out Of The Grey, created some of the most beautiful and introspective music of the 90’s Christian music scene. I was really young the first time I heard their song “So We Never Got To Paris”. I was hooked the second I heard Christine’s pristine voice sing, “So we never got to Paris, found the cafe of our dreams. But our table still holds a world of memories. No we never went to Venice and strolled the streets alone. But we built our worlds together and we got the best of both.”
It’s funny to think that as 9 or 10 year old kid, I was listening to music that was way more mature than I was. Music that you wouldn’t necessarily think a kid of that age would be all that interested in. I really hope more kids get a chance to be introduced to music that will make them think and open up their mind a little. No offence to Hannah Montana or anything lol, but this is the kind of music that grows you.
I was so intrigued by the words that were carried by Christine’s haunting voice and Scott’s jazzy guitar playing. The lyrics were filled with so much substance put to the back drop of ethereal, flowing music. It was music that required something more from you. You couldn’t just listen, it made you think.
Being a writer now myself looking back on their songwriting is really inspiring to me. Christine once said that her desire as a writer was to “draw people in with a metaphor that would cause them to think and feel and consider.” And to do that, you can’t always stand at the front door. Sometimes you have to draw them in through the side door, back door, or through an open window.
My favorite Out Of The Grey songs we’re and still are, “All We Need”, “Nothing’s Gonna Keep Me From You”, “Disappear”, and of course, “So We Never Got To Paris”. After releasing six studio albums they made the decision to leave their record company and pursue other avenues.
In recent years, Christine has spent her time homeschooling their 3 children, as well as releasing a solo album entitled, “Becoming” in 2003. And according to her MySpace, she has plans to record another cd this Summer. Scott has also been busy, working as a producer and guitar playing session musician in Nashville. If you’re interested in checking out their music I would definitely recommend buying their cd, “Remember this, The Out Of The Grey Collection”. It has the songs I mentioned above as well as many others that will always hold a special place my heart. At a young age, Out Of The Grey showed me what true art by a Christian should look like.
Stay tuned for more on our favorite Christian artists from The CCM Time Machine. Feel free to let us know which artist’s from The Time Machine had an influence on you.