Bring It On

Phil Joel
Inpop Records

I could have very easily chosen The Newsboys' Thrive to sit in this spot (as Russ did), but I think Phil's work on his second solo effort deserves even more accolades. His disparate voice is the common thread that unites these ten pop friendly modern rock tracks. Though the tempos and the hooks come out of every direction, the voice brands each tune with familiarity. The same is true of Phil's lyrics, which are like musings from his private prayer journal. He's another solo artist that has shown significant growth between his freshman and sophomore years of solo projects.
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The Life and Times of Absolute Truth

Inpop Records

The vertical rock of this talented South African power trio has always interested and inspired me. I really like the way this sophomore effort builds upon the unique retro-yet-modern rock sound of their Dove Award winning debut. Yet despite the new sounds and experimentation, all the tracks have a very distinct Tree63 signature on them: exciting modern rock that recalls The Police and U2, with worshipful lyrics. This one didn't waste any time growing on me – it grabbed me with the first listen.
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Woven & Spun

Nichole Nordeman
Sparrow Records

I've always preferred the introspective singer-songwriters for my daily music listening, and Nichole's latest album is no exception. On her previous albums, Nichole asked all of the questions about faith that we were afraid to ask, and it endeared her to many. This time, the focus is on God's goodness woven into our everyday lives. Nichole's lyrics are as insightful as always, so much so that I've actually taken them home to read them as part ...

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