Five 90’s Christian Rock Albums You Must Own: Shaded Red, Self Titled & Red Revolution


<b>Shaded</b> <b>Red</b> Discography

Shaded Red

Right up-front let me address the thought behind putting up two records for consideration. Simply stated, I think they both deserve recognition. In fact, I felt so strongly about the band’s self titled debut, that when the parent distribution company was launching the group’s sophomore record, I convinced them to let me bundle the two projects, and give their first release away with the purchase of Red Revolution.

The core of Shaded Red consisted of two brothers, Jamie (vocals, guitar), and Jon (guitars, bass, trumpet, piano) Roberts. According to an online bio, the brothers studied music in college, and it was then that they discovered their intense musical chemistry.

Although I can’t confirm this, there is a rumor that the Roberts family had been involved in promoting Christian concerts, and when their Father had learned of his sons desire to start the band, he lead them before a wall of photos featuring CCM artists. As the story goes, their father pointed out how most of the artists on the wall no longer had careers in Christian music. His point being that any success they might achieve would most likely be fleeting.

True, or not, I always found that tale to be extremely ironic, considering the short, and seemingly ill-fated  time Shaded Red had together as a band. Their father’s words were eerily prophetic.

Shaded Red lyrics - Shaded Red lyricsThe band’s debut release in 1997 garnered positive reviews from critics,and immediate tour opportunities with bands like Petra, and Guardian. The raw, emotive nature of the lyrics, and surprising sonic power that the trio managed to generate is what drew me in. I found the musical arrangements simple yet refreshingly creative. Subtle use of horns, and piano round out this record’s “live” vibe.


“Caught”- Hooky, and singable. I instantly loved this song, because Jamie was able to work “Cold Fusion” in to the lyric, and make it sound cool…no pun intended.

“Let It Out”- A crunchy rock anthem that depicts the Good News of Christ death, and resurrection as so energizing the individual is unable to contain it. He must “let it out” for others to hear.

“Use Me” – Simple, heartfelt, beautiful. This piano based track I’m sure, made for a moving concert finale.

As the band began to gain momentum, tragedy struck. On January 11, 1998, the band was in a serious accident while on their tour bus. The bus hit a patch of black ice. Chris Yeomen, the drummer at the time, died, and Jon Roberts was left with a shattered Pelvis. The two brothers seriously considered ending the band all together. Understandably, the passion was gone.

However, after time of physical and spiritual healing, Jon regained the use of his leg,s and God restored Jamie’s love for music. The song “When God Ran”, originally written by Benny Hester, was the medium that brought Jamie through.

In ’99, after months of recuperation, Shaded Red returned with Red  Revolution. Many critics felt that the new record was a major step above their debut. General market publications such as Billboard Magazine took notice of the project because of its unique stylings. The fusion of spanish trumpets, and orchestral arrangements with rock elements made for an eclectic sound that really worked well.


“Revolution” – The first track on the record, it set the tone, and exemplified the “mariachi rock” that runs throughout the disc.

“When God Ran” – A huge hit by Benny Hester way back in the early days of CCM. It could have been really cheezy, but the impact it had on Jamie, and the way the band pulled off making it relevant, warrants recognition.

“One Year” – IMHO opinion the deepest song on the record, and the one that totally kicks my butt with rock awesomeness. Clearly a testimony to the pain, and struggle that Jamie & Jon were processing in the aftermath of their tragic accident.

If any band should be granted license to ask the question “What if”, it would be Shaded Red.

What if there was never an accident?
What if we had never lost our friend?
What if Jon had never walked again?
What if Jamie had never returned to music?

To me there is great mystery, and tension in all of life’s “what ifs.” And although there is some wisdom to be gained by examining these questions, dwelling too long on them could drive one over the edge, or worse, leave them hopelessly stuck in neutral.

I humbly submit that the Roberts brothers found peace in the God who control’s the “what ifs”, trusting that whatever the outcome, it was always going to be for their good, and for His glory. We all stand to benefit from the tragedy, and victory that marked Shaded Red’s brief story.  For that reason I suggest that their two records belong in your music collection.

Question: What if Shaded Red never existed as a band?

Five 90’s Christian Rock Albums That You Must Own


Did Jesus Really Build Your Hot Rod? Whiteheart, Convertibles


There’s no denying that Terry Taylor/Daniel Amos/Swirling Eddies/Lost Dogs is one of the most creative, and influential forces  that “Christian music” has produced over the last 30+ years. And although I count myself among his legions of fans I can’t say that I always understood what he was doing, nor have I connected with every project that he produced. Take for example the 1996 Swirling Eddies record Sacred Cows.
The idea behind this release was to get the Eddies into a studio and have them Swirling Eddie-tize some top CCM hits of the day. The reaction to the parody project was understandably mixed as some folks “got it”, while others felt the songs were disrespectful and unkind. To be honest I was torn, I had no problem with the Eddies poking fun at Amy Grant, Carmen, and even DC Talk, I mean come on, did the boys from DCT really expect us to take “I Love Rap Music” seriously?

However, when the Eddies busted on DeGarmo & Key, and Stryper I wasn’t laughing anymore, and when I saw that they had targeted Whiteheart I was ready to lose it completely until I noticed the song selected for ridicule was “Convertibles” off of the Don’t Wait For The Movie record. Ok…I admit it, that song was cheesy with a capital C.

Dont Wait for the MovieEven as a 15-year-old “die-hard” Whiteheart fan, I had thought “Convertibles” was goofy. Sure, sure, I sort of got what Gersh, Smiley, and Kennedy were trying to say on that track, but I still thought it was a campy diversion on what I had considered an otherwise stellar disc. And for 27 years I pretty much have felt the same way, until I read the following excerpt from Tim Keller’s, Every Good Endeavor.

“Parents want to give their children everything they need, but they also want them to be come diligent, conscientious, and responsible people. So they give their children chores. They could obviously do the task quicker and better themselves, but that would not help their kids grow in maturity. So parents give their kids what they need–character–through the diligence required for the chores they assign them. Luther concludes that God works through our work for he same reason.”

“What else is all our work to God–whether in the fields, in the garden, in the city,in the house, in the war, or in government–but just such a child’s performance, by which He wants to give His gifts in the field, at home, and everywhere else? These are the masks of God, behind which He wants to remain concealed and do all things”.

Keller adds,”Even the humblest farm girl is fulfilling God’s calling. As Luther preached,”God milks the cows through the vocation of the milk maids.”

With that said, is it too much of a stretch to suggest that God did in fact make convertibles through the hardworking men on automobile assembly lines? And if you ever have driven in a convertible, with the top down, wind blowing in your hair, blue skies above, and warm sun on your face, you would certainly be hard pressed not to consider that a wonderful gift from God.

Whether it be your vocation, or enjoying 80’s Christian rock songs, there really is freedom that comes when you understand how God desires to accomplish His work in this world. So bring in that Sacred Cow ’cause I’m in the mood for a Holy Burger, only, hold the cheese please.

So have you ever had a song that you disliked or felt was cheesy, only to realize later that it might have been deeper than you first thought?

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Winning! (Ric Cua, I Can, I Will)


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My Life In Music Guest post:

As a Christian, why do I find it so hard to live the victorious life that we have through Jesus Christ?First let me remind you that through Jesus Christ, the battle is won. How often do we remind ourselves of that?

1 Corinthians 15:57 (NLT) says, “But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.” I’ll let all of the theologians pick apart what “sin” & “death” are, but to me sin includes sickness, disease, violence, abuse, greed, corruption, sexual addiction, alcoholism, drug addiction, loneliness, sadness, homelessness, hunger, abortion, injustice or anything that is not God in this world.

The death part most of us have down… we’re going to heaven someday, but guess what? His Kingdom, while not fully realized, is present in us, we just have to live like it.

So back to the victory and battle winning. If Jesus gave us victory over sin & death, that seems like pretty good news. We talk about the Good News a lot in Christian circles, but is it really GOOD NEWS to us?

Again, far too often I don’t live like I know the Good News of Jesus Christ. I complain, I whine and shake my head at this world. I worry about the economy, I gripe about the politicians and I buy into the fear that is peddled to us everyday.

The Bible says, “For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.” (2 Timothy 1:7 AMP)

Many of us live like we’re hanging on until Jesus comes back, but we’ve got some amazing work to do. First off, we have victory over the enemy. I know you’ve all heard about the enemy. He’s the one that, “…prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” (1 Peter 5:8 NLT)

Scary… but don’t forget about that not having a spirit of fear thing. In fact, it says that Jesus gave us a spirit of POWER, love, calm, well balanced mind, discipline and self-control. There’s also that little verse that says, “So humble (submit to) yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and HE WILL FLEE FROM YOU.” (James 4:7 NLT)

Hmmm… so why are we not living a victorious Christian life?

I’m tired of living my life like Jesus doesn’t live in me. Jesus gave us His Holy Spirit to live in us (John 14:16, 17; Acts 2:4; 1 Corinthians 3:16), guide us, teach us and empower us. In fact, Jesus told His disciples in John 14:

12 I tell you the truth, anyone who believes in me will do the same works I have done, and even greater works, because I am going to be with the Father. 13 You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father.

Greater works! Not only have we been empowered to do the things that we see Jesus doing, but He told us we would do GREATER THINGS… does that make you a little excited?!? There are countless stories of Jesus’ followers doing amazing things in His name.

In Acts 5:12-16 it says:

12 The apostles were performing many miraculous signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers were meeting regularly at the Temple in the area known as Solomon’s Colonnade.13 But no one else dared to join them, even though all the people had high regard for them.14 Yet more and more people believed and were brought to the Lord—crowds of both men and women.15 As a result of the apostles’ work, sick people were brought out into the streets on beds and mats so that Peter’s SHADOW might fall across some of them as he went by.

16 Crowds came from the villages around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those possessed by evilt spirits, and they were ALL healed.

Remember the woman who touched Jesus’ garment as He walked by and she was healed (Mark 5:21-34)? Peter, filled with Jesus’ Holy Spirit walked by people and his shadow healed them.

Then in Acts 19:11  & 12 we read:

11 God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.

12 When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases, and evil spirits were expelled.

The power of Christ in us is so powerful, we don’t even have to be there for it to rub off on people! Talk about Good News!

So why are so many of us living defeated? Why are so many of us not filling the world we live in with the Power of His Kingdom?

From everything I read it’s there for us. We just have to walk it out. Live like we know who we are in Jesus Christ.

I know this may seem a little crazy to some. I’m sure there will be people that question the theology of it, but I can honestly say that He’s awakened me. He’s opened my eyes and given me faith (almost like a child… I’m getting there) to believe Him at His word. I’m starting to believe that “I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:13)

How about you?

So What song started this whole thing?

Midnight Sun

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BSR Episode #25: Adam Lee Kemp/Crystavox Pt2





In this episode Bill continues his conversation with Adam, focusing on the band’s 1992 Ocean Records release Crystavox II:The Bottom Line.
Click here to listen to BSR #24 Pt1 with Adam Lee Kemp, lead vocalist for Crystavox.

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The Peyton Manning Bible Study Method (Margret Becker, Deep Calling Deep)


Peyton Manning Denver Broncos v Dallas Cowboys

I do not think it is possible to achieve Bible study perfection in this life, “and that’s… ok.'” (Stuart Smalley Voice). Here’s what I mean. For the Christian, regular time in God’s Word is vital to spiritual growth, and yet I don’t know anyone in my faith circle that hasn’t at one time, or another had problems staying on track with their devotional time. Many struggle with guilt over this, and even feel like they are “bad Christians”. I believe that these negative feelings are used by the “great deceiver” to damage, and discourage us as we work to grow in Christ.

That being said, Satan’s attacks, and the onslaught of everyday life, does not excuse us from the need to establish a consistent, quality, time of Bible study. If anything, it should reinforce just how desperately we need to invest in a personal “quiet time”. However, before this quest begins, there is one inescapable truth that we must first come to terms with. Bible study is a discipline. You have to take ownership of it. You have to make it a priority, there is no way around it, and the quicker that you accept this fact, the sooner you will be on the road to success.

For example, who would Peyton Manning be without the hours of film study and throwing reps? Certainly not the NFL Hall of Famer he is destined to be. With football, and any other competitive sport, winning requires sweat equity and time spent in training. Winning and training, the two go hand in hand, they cannot be separated.

Training pays off. When Peyton finally won that elusive Superbowl the victory was big on many levels. Financially: he was paid somewhere in the realm of 80K for winning, and then countless thousands for all the endorsements. Mentally: for years critics claimed he couldn’t win the “big one”, with his Superbowl win he finally shed that proverbial “monkey” from his back.

Winning the Bible study battle has its rewards as well. You should expect a vibrant, and growing faith as you apply the scriptures to your daily experience, and that in itself is reward enough, but I’d like to share another “reward” that I have come to enjoy. I find that when I spend regular time meditating on God’s Word, the more I WANT to meditate on God’s Word! I literally begin to hunger for truth, and I get energized as scripture leaps off the page and penetrates my core. It is in these moments that I can actually feel the Spirit inside me taking pleasure in the reading of his own words!

I get caught up in what God feels when he delights in his truth, his plan, and his own glory. The overflow of pure joy that God radiates while reveling in himself pours over me, and I can not help but worship him.Typically, in moments like these a song comes to mind, and while a song presented itself, lines from one of my favorite movies did as well. The good stuff starts at 1:19 so feel free to skip ahead.

Lest we get too far from the whole “My Life, In Music” thing, here’s the scripture, and song that I think explains what is going on in these special moments.

Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls; all your breakers and your waves have gone over me  (Psalm 42:7)

“…I want to be near You, Want to be known,  Want my deep to find its home
Calling to deeper love, Calling to higher truth, Calling to anything that leads me
Deeper and farther on with You…”

So In other words, the Holy Spirit in me constantly calls out for deeper connection with God the Father, and Jesus the Son. When that connection is made I get the benefit of experiencing the pleasure that they find in one another! (remember the Dance?)

Friend, I share this in the hopes that you will be encouraged in the fight, and that you will be spurred on into a more consistent, and fulfilling time of personal Bible study. You have everything to lose, but when you put in your “reps” you’ll there is sure to be gain. I will pray for you in this struggle, and I ask that you remember me, as I am sure to stumble many more times along the way.