Christian Retailing

Taking a down-to-earth look at love Print Email
Written by Cameron Conant   
Monday, 06 April 2009 02:26 PM America/New_York
Jars of Clay wrestles with ‘sobering’ nature of interpersonal relationships

altJars of Clay follows up its critically acclaimed 2006 album Good Monsters and its excellent 2007 effort, Christmas Songs, with The Long Fall Back to Earth, releasing April 21.

The GRAMMY- and Dove Award-winning band said the title of the album is not an admission these songs won’t measure up to its recent portfolio, but rather refers to the interpersonal issues the new recording addresses.

Worship veteran Moen believes ‘there is still more’ Print Email
Written by Cameron Conant   
Tuesday, 17 February 2009 05:04 PM America/New_York

Praise & worship veteran Don Moen, with 17 albums and 5 million units in sales to his credit, has just released what is being billed his most personal recording yet, I Believe There Is More (0-00768-44502-0, Integrity Music/Provident-Integrity), which became available March 3. 

For the first time, Moen produced one of his own albums, but instead of getting caught up in the heady technical aspects, he described the project as one on which he followed his heart. “I’m once again writing and recording new music, fully persuaded that there is still more God has for me to do,” said Moen, 58.

Moen actually wrote or co-wrote nine of the album’s 14 tracks, which range in style from choral to Celtic to gospel. “This is the first time I’ve written in a long, long time,” Moen said. “Writing was always something I crammed into the middle of a busy schedule. But I’ve had time to live with these songs and to be intentional about the writing process. I really think it’s the most personal project I’ve ever done.”

Moen said it’s easy to get discouraged at the thought that the best is in the past, but said he’s out to pursue life with the same vigor he had years ago. “I have a sense that there are lots of family members in the body of Christ who are wondering where they are going with their lives and how they got to where they are today,” he said, adding that the “response is ‘absolutely yes!’ God still has more.”

To order I Believe There Is More, call 800-333-9000, or visit

Mandisa shares her journey to ‘Freedom’ Print Email
Written by Cameron Conant   
Monday, 09 March 2009 06:02 PM America/New_York

Former ‘American Idol’ contestant sings about addiction on latest album

altThough former American Idol contestant Mandisa has already seen success, her third album, Freedom, which hits stores March 24, could reach an even broader audience. On the album, the 32-year-old California native—whose acclaimed 2007 debut, True Beauty, scanned more than 150,000 units—addresses various issues, notably addiction.

Mandisa co-wrote some of the songs, while others were penned by top songwriters. In order to get appropriate song pitches, she sent a document to publishing companies listing issues that were important to her.

“I’m on a journey of freedom,” she said. “I have a food addiction. And it’s not about the way I look, it’s about being a healthy temple of God. Food addiction is my main issue—but these songs don’t really just talk about food. There are a lot of Christians and non-Christians who are bound by (addiction). This album is for anyone who needs to be set free from things.”

Despite covering serious subjects, the new album is meant to be encouraging, “and with the economic downturn, that’s something people really need,” she said.

Based in Nashville, where she has lived since her college days at Fisk University, Mandisa described her brand of upbeat Top 40 pop as “pop-soul” and compares it to songs by “old school” performers like Chaka Khan.

Though she still watches American Idol religiously, she admitted to cringing when she sees judges lambasting contestants. “The ones being made fun of, that was me,” said Mandisa, who was one of the 10 Idol finalists in 2006. “I got the chance to confront (Simon Cowell) and forgive him, but a lot of people don’t get to. … I don’t know if (judges) understand the damage they could be doing in those situations.”

Yet, Mandisa doesn’t regret being on the show because it gave her an opportunity to do what she loves and encourage others. “I’m so thankful to be where I am now,” she said.

To order Freedom, call 800-877-4443, or visit

Becker comes up for ‘Air’ after a long break Print Email
Written by Cameron Conant   
Monday, 09 February 2009 10:20 AM America/New_York

Dove Award-winner Margaret Becker hasn’t released a new album in nearly a decade, but that all changes this month with Air (0-80856-00242-7, Modern Records/Go Global Entertainment). The independent album has been available for several months on iTunes and at some retail chains, but releases Feb. 10 to independent stores.

Becker has found plenty of things to occupy her time these last 10 years, including speaking and writing—she published a book in 2006, Coming Up for Air (NavPress), that loosely ties into the album—and she seems to be OK with not having music first and foremost in her life anymore.

On the up and up from Down Under Print Email
Written by Cameron Conant   
Monday, 09 February 2009 10:17 AM America/New_York

Aussie rockers arrive with a little help from their Third Day friends

revive cdAustralian rockers Revive met Third Day in 2007 and the quartet from Sydney hasn’t been the same since. Revive and a few other bands opened shows for Third Day during the group’s Australian tour, but Revive was the only one “cheeky” enough to ask Third Day to watch its set and provide feedback, said Dave Hanbury, Revive’s frontman.

“Third Day said, ‘If you ever come to America, please let us know.’ Maybe they didn’t watch the other opening acts,” Hanbury told Christian Retailing.

Broadway star returns to roots on new album Print Email
Written by Cameron Conant   
Friday, 16 January 2009 03:51 PM America/New_York

With a raspy voice and a New York accent, Heather Headley is a Trinidad-born Broadway star set to release her third album, her first gospel recording, Jan. 13.
Headley has appeared in starring roles in Broadway shows like The Lion King and Aida (the Tim Rice-Elton John version), and is now set to release Audience of One (5-09992-26512-2-8, EMI Gospel/EMI CMG), a return to her gospel roots.

In talking about her musical career, Headley is a strangely private person for someone in such a public industry. But the bright lights are nothing new. She was born a pastor’s kid and has always had to deal with the scrutiny that comes from being in the spotlight.