Christian Retailing

Rap, worship and Southern gospel among start-of-year music releases Print Email
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:38 AM America/New_York

Baritone Doug Anderson returns with ‘Drive’ while fast-growing church’s worship band sings praise

Thrive-DougAndersonDrive - Doug Anderson, StowTown Records, (Provident Distribution), 643157427827, Jan. 21

A Dove Award-winning baritone vocalist in Ernie Haase & Signature Sound,  Anderson sees the release of his second solo project, Drive, on Jan. 21. Once again using the talents of producer-songwriter Wayne Haun (Jason Crabb, Ernie Haase ), the project features a cover of Dolly Parton’s “The Seeker” and tracks such as “I’ll Be There With You”  and “Sundays Are Made for Times Like These.”


OnlyKingForever-ElevationWorshipOnly King Forever - Elevation Worship, Essential Worship, (Provident), 083061098728, Jan. 14

Elevation Worship returns with its third release on the Essential Worship label. Based in Charlotte, N.C., Elevation Church is one of the fastest-growing churches in America with more than 12,000 in weekly attendance, and Elevation Worship’s songs are being sung in churches worldwide. The theme of the album is who God is as King and who His people are as children of the King. Key songs on the album include “Only King Forever,” “Grace So Glorious,” “Raised to Life” and “Last Word.” Guest artist Darlene Zschech leads the song “The Love of Jesus.” The project will be supported through appearances at major worship conferences. 

Stereotypes-HeeSunLeeStereotypes - HeeSun Lee, In My City Records, 859711574122, Jan. 21

As with the lead single from Korean rapper HeeSun Lee, “I Break Stereotypes,” the artist arrives with a new sound. Delivering her lyrics in rapid-fire fashion, she has been compared to mainstream counterparts such as Nicki Minaj. Songs include “Skin Deep” and “Changed Me.”

New DVD Releases January 2014 Print Email
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:35 AM America/New_York

BonhoefferBonhoeffer, the 2011 ECPA Christian Book of the Year, is the inspiration for the new DVD Bonhoeffer: A Four-Session Study on the Life and Writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas ($26.99), releasing Jan. 28 from Thomas Nelson. Filmed on location in Germany, the four-part series hosted by Metaxas will explore how Bonhoeffer impacted his community during World War II and how his faith has influenced the church since. Sessions include “Life Together” and “Religionless Christianity.”


Jeremy Lin, the NBA basketball star known for his outspoken Christian faith, is the subject of the documentary Linsanity ($19.99, ARC Entertainment/Provident Distribution) releasing Jan. 7. The film spotlights the rising popularity of Lin, who proved himself in a crucial New York Knicks game, scoring more points in his first start than any other player in modern history. The film scored the second-biggest per-screen box office when it was released to theaters in October. 


ImInLoveWithAChurchGirlJeff “Ja Rule” Atkins, Adrienne Bailon, Stephen Baldwin, Vincent Pastore, Michael Madsen and TobyMac star in I’m  Love With In a Church Girl, releasing on DVD ($19.99) and Blu-ray ($29.99) Jan. 21 from Reverence Gospel Media Films (Capitol Christian Distribution). Based on a true story, the film follows a drug trafficker who falls in love with
a devoted Christian woman. The film released to theaters in October. 

New Jamie Grace album attracts top production team Print Email
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:34 AM America/New_York

GRAMMY-nominated and Dove Award-winning artist ‘Ready to Fly’ with sophomore project

ReadyToFly-JamieGraceJamie Grace, GRAMMY Award nominee and GMA Dove Award winner for Best New Artist, is back with her sophomore album, Ready to Fly, on Jan. 28. The new studio record from Gotee Records follows her breakout album, One Song at a Time, also from Gotee. The new release reunites her with producers Christopher Stevens (TobyMac) and David Garcia (Britt Nicole), and adds Chuck Butler (Royal Tailor) to the production mix.

 “The entire concept of Ready to Fly is being ready even when you don’t know what the Lord has planned for your future,” Grace said. “I wrote the title track the night before I turned 18. I was crying out, wondering what God’s plan for me was. I started to doubt so many things, but as I randomly began singing the lyrics to ‘Ready to Fly,’ I realized I don’t have to have my whole life figured out to start my journey. This record is about being in the waiting with God, yet while you’re waiting being ready to move—ready to fly—when the timing is right.” 

 The album features appearances from Manwell of Group 1 Crew on “Just a Friend”; Grace’s sister, Morgan Harper Nichols on “White Boots”; and Jason Crabb on the digital-only bonus-track version of “Fighter,” a song inspired by Grace’s childhood struggle with Tourette Syndrome. Other tracks include “My First Love,” “To Love You Back,” “Every Bit of Lovely” and “The Waiting.” 

 This summer, Grace released first single “Beautiful Day,” which rose to the Top five on the Christian Hot AC/CHR and Christian AC Indicator radio charts. She also released a lyric video for the song to social media networks.  

 In the fall, Grace previewed songs from the project on TobyMac’s HITS Deep Tour 2013 and will continue touring on The Roadshow 2014 with a number of artists, including Skillet, Third Day and Royal Tailor. She also made her big-screen debut in the motion picture Grace Unplugged, which released to theaters in September.

To order, call Provident Distribution at 800-333-900 or visit

Switchfoot’s ‘Fading West’ tries to ‘find peace in dangerous places’ Print Email
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:32 AM America/New_York

New songs inspired through relaxed creative process

FadingWest-SwitchfootSwitchfoot, the San Diego-based rock band that’s proven to be one of Christian music’s most successful crossover acts, returns to the spotlight with the group’s ninth studio project, Fading West (075678683824, $13.99), releasing Jan. 14 from Atlantic Records (Word Distribution). 

Approaching the record after the band’s 17 years together, including double-Platinum success from breakthrough release The Beautiful Letdown, frontman Jon Foreman said the challenge was to do something fresh and new while still maintaining the group’s identity.

“The point became, ‘What are we going to do to push ourselves?’ “ he said. “Could we take ourselves somewhere we’d never been before, yet achieve a feeling of comfort at the same time? How do we go to a new place that feels like home?”

To find inspiration, band members took to their surfboards while touring in support of their previous release Vice Verses. According to co-founder and bassist Tim Foreman, “the idea was to surf, write songs, play music and see what ideas came.”

Songs birthed during that creative process include “Worth the Fight,” “All or Nothing,” “Slipping Away” and debut single “Love Alone Is Worth the Fight,” which broke records when released on Christian Hit Radio (CHR) charts in the fall. The album closes with songs distinctly inspired by water, “Salt Water” and “Back to the Beginning.” The comfort of the water and the potential danger served as a fitting metaphor for the album’s theme. 

“You’re comfortable out there, but it’s the unknown,” Foreman said. “You can paddle out in South Africa, and it’s exactly like home and nothing like home all at once. That’s what I’m hoping our record feels like—trying to find peace in dangerous places.”

A film, also titled Fading West, coincides with the new release. The film was screened on the band’s tour as well as on demand and through digital outlets. It is described as “pock documentary, part surf film and part travelogue.” 

To order Fading West, call Word Distribution at 800-876-WORD (9673).

Kirk Cameron’s ‘visual journal’ raises the ultimate question Print Email
Written by DeWayne Hamby   
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:30 AM America/New_York

Actor-director’s successful documentary was born out of the loss of his teenage friend

UnstoppableKirk Cameron (Growing Pains, Fireproof, Left Behind) tackles one of life’s most significant questions—why God allows suffering—in his new documentary, Unstoppable (602341006293, $17.99), arriving on DVD Jan. 28 from Provident Films. Described as a “visual journal,” the film blends Cameron’s narration with dramatic creative vignettes. 

“Why doesn’t God alleviate pain and suffering?” Cameron asks in the film’s opening moments. “I want to answer that question to the extent that I think we can based on what we know from experience and history and from God’s Word.”

The direction of the film was inspired by the death of Cameron’s 15-year-old friend Matthew, who participated in Camp Firefly, a camp for terminally ill kids started by Cameron and his wife, Chelsea Noble. 

“When he passed, I found myself asking the question, ‘Why, God, didn’t You heal Matthew when I know You can heal him? Where were You in the middle of this?’ ” Cameron said. “On my way to his funeral and burial, I took cameras with me and documented the whole process and then looked back in the Bible to find where God is since the fall and the garden of Eden, tower of Babel, crucifixion—where is God in the midst of all this terrible tragedy and what’s He doing?”

Dramatic elements are used in the film, including Cameron leading a discussion on the proper way to put the story of Noah on film. In the middle of the discussion of such a serious, heart-wrenching topic, the vignette provides some comic relief.

“The movie needed a little lightening up, so we wanted to put some humor in there,” he said. “It was the riskiest part of the whole movie.”

Cameron enlisted Liberty University as a production partner, and it also served as the location for the film’s simulcast premiere party through NCM Fathom Events. Billed as a “one-night only” live event, most theaters sold out of tickets, scheduled a second-night showing and the documentary bested movies such as Gravity and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 in per-screen averages. The film grossed $3.2 million on 700 screens. 

“We didn’t have any kind of a marketing and promotional budget to speak of, and we were only on one showing of each of those nights,” Cameron said. “It was the biggest one night in NCM Fathom Events’ history.”

To order Unstoppable, call 800-333-900 or visit

Fiction File January 2014 Print Email
Written by Leslie Santamaria   
Monday, 23 December 2013 01:12 PM America/New_York

ASK THE AUTHOR TheDancingMaster

JulieKlassen-GingerMurrayPhotographyJulie Klassen

LATEST PROJECT: The Dancing Master (9780764210709, $14.99, January).

Publisher: Bethany House (Baker Publishing Group)

What draws you to the Regency era?

I have loved all-things-British ever since I read The Secret Garden and Jane Eyre as a young girl. But later, Jane Austen’s novels—and the miniseries based on them— cemented my love of the Regency era in particular. ... As a Christian author, I’m also drawn to the era because it was a time when church attendance and family prayers were commonplace.

Is the village of Beaworthy real?  It is a fictional village based on a composite of three real villages in Southwest England.

What type of character is Julia Midwinter? Is she a typical character for you?  Julia is a different character for me in that she is not the typical sweet, self-sacrificing heroine. Early on, she is a bit reckless, flirtatious and difficult. But like many people in real life, there is more going on beneath the surface—and in her past—that has made her who she is. As the story unfolds and secrets are revealed, I hope readers, like the hero, will come to understand her, and perhaps even become fond of her, especially as she begins to grow and change.

How did you research the dances and dancing instructors of this era?  I read the diary of the dancing master to Queen Victoria’s children as well as dance instructions from the 18th and 19th centuries. My husband and I went English country dancing several times, and this fall I attended dance classes at the annual meeting of the Jane Austen Society of North America. Research has never been so enjoyable! 

What themes are explored in this work?  The main themes are love and grace—contrasted with the foolish things we sometimes do to try to fill the void in our hearts that only our heavenly Father’s love can fill. I enjoyed weaving in grace in its many forms—social graces, grace in dancing and, most importantly of course, God’s grace. 

Why did you include the Byranites?  I came across the name in an old Cornish newspaper that described the Bryanites worshipping in a large loft over a stable with great fervor in imitation of David’s dancing before the ark. The beams suddenly gave way, and “the minister and his dancing congregation” fell to the stable beneath. How could I resist mentioning them in a book about a dancing teacher? Further research revealed the Bryanites (or Bible Christians) were an offshoot of Wesleyan Methodists, founded by a man named O’Bryan (originally Bryant).

What else should retailers know about this novel?  The Dancing Master is a stand-alone novel. [Also] the English country dancing described in the novel is akin to, say, square dancing or the old-time waltz here in America. In 19th-century England, dancing at a ball under the watchful eyes of chaperones was the primary way young people met and courted. It was considered so vital that parents hired dancing masters to teach their sons and daughters this important social skill. I sincerely appreciate everything retailers do to bring good books—and The Good Book—to readers!