Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music--Book and CD-ROM  -     By: Mark Allan Powell
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Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music--Book and CD-ROM

Hendrickson Publishers / 2002 / Paperback

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Product Description

This groundbreaking work covers both major and minor Christian music artists and those associated with Christian music from the '60s to the present day, highlighting their influences, their struggles, and their achievements. Powell treats each artist or group with a balanced, intriguing, and fresh look into their background and discography. Every entry summarizes critical response to the group, and provides band member lists, complete discographies, lists of awards, artist website addresses, and biographies of the artists. The fun, easy-to-read writing style provides fans with accessible information on their favorite artists, while also encouraging them to greater appreciation of the stylistic breadth and historical depth of the music they have come to love. The CD-ROM features a searchable version of the complete text for both Windows and Macintosh systems, as well as live links to artist-websites, album information, and music clips.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Number of Pages: 1000
Vendor: Hendrickson Publishers
Dimensions: 9.25 X 7.5 (inches)
ISBN: 1565639006
ISBN-13: 9781565639003
Availability: In Stock

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Publisher's Description

This groundbreaking work covers both major and minor Christian music artists and those associated with Christian music from the ’60s to the present day, highlighting their influences, their struggles, and their achievements. Powell treats each artist or group with a balanced, intriguing, and fresh look into their background and discography. Every entry summarizes critical response to the group, and provides band member lists, complete discographies, lists of awards, artist website addresses, and biographies of the artists. The fun, easy-to-read writing style provides fans with accessible information on their favorite artists, while also encouraging them to greater appreciation of the stylistic breadth and historical depth of the music they have come to love.

The CD-ROM features a searchable version of the complete text for both Windows and Macintosh systems, as well as live links to artist-websites, album information, and music clips.

"Mark Allan Powell has done a great service - not only to the vibrant scene we often call ’Christian rock,’ but to the rock and roll world in general and to the church. While it is true that many of us Christians have developed and relegated ourselves to a subculture, there are many artists living and working in this ’evangelighetto’ that have made and are continuing to make relevant and very beautiful art. Yes, some music made by Christians can truly be labeled trite and propaganda, but there is a vast universe of musicians who are fusing their faith with their art in an outstanding way. This encyclopedia helps legitimize those remarkable artists that, up until this point, were clustered away as legends in an unknown and ignored genre. Treating this art with the respect it deserves, along with the occasional but warranted criticism, does a great justice. Good art deserves to be appreciated and this book helps save my voice from having to shout as loud to get people's attention for it."
—Doug Van Pelt, Editor, HM Magazine

"Powell's Encyclopedia is exhaustive, all that you'll ever want to know about the artists and history of Christian rock. This is a noble work - honest, fair and complete - paying respect where it is also overdue, and honoring the genre's true artists alongside its most successful sellers. Careful to value the art of pop music, Powell's greatest contribution is the thoughtful theological insights and honest critical voice. I wish I'd written it."
—Brian Quincy Newcomb, pastor of Christ UCC, Maplewood, Mo., and freelance music writer, contributing regularly to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and CCM Magazine

"Mark Allan Powell has accomplished a most formidable labor of love with the publication of this Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. With a fan's zeal and a scholar's dedication to research and accuracy, Powell has treated the music made by these artists - dismissed for too long by too many in the music business and the church - as a valid, and often vital chapter in the ongoing history of popular music and Christianity. Thorough, informed and opinionated, Powell's refreshing take on the music and its messages is an important contribution to this sadly overlooked phenomenon."
—Thom Granger, author and former editor of CCM magazine

"I wish this book had been available when I was working on mine. How Powell managed such comprehensive coverage is beyond me. This is certainly the defining volume of every recorded work our community has released. I am impressed and overwhelmed. So many of these works existed way under the radar and then disappeared almost instantly. It’s important that they be remembered and archived for future generations. As a fan, and aspiring historian, I thank Mark Allen Powell from the bottom of my heart."
—John J. Thompson, Founder; True Tunes Etc., and Author of Raised By Wolves: The Story of Christian Rock and Roll

"More than a reference book, The Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music is a fascinating commentary on the church in America since the late 1960s. For those of us who were part of the Jesus movement, this is a documentary on ’our’ music. For all observers of the genre it is THE encyclopedia that provides a substantive historical context for today’s industry. Powell’s success at providing a comprehensive list ’of artists associated with contemporary Christian music’ is exceeded only by the monumental size of this amazing undertaking. It takes an academic to create a useful tool of this nature. It takes an artist to make it enjoyable. Powell has demonstrated that he is both."
—Rick Edwards, Editor of CCM magazine

Author Bio

Mark Allan Powell has published articles on contemporary Christian music in Christian Century, Christianity Today, and Trinity Seminary Review. He is frequently interviewed in print and over the airwaves concerning the proliferation of rock, rap, and other popular genres of Christian music. He is Professor of New Testament at Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and is the author of seventeen books, including the best-sellers Jesus as a Figure in History and Narrative Criticism: A New Approach to the Bible.

Editorial Reviews

"In what may be the first-ever reference work of its kind, the 1,000-page Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music profiles Christian musicians, songwriters and producers, in addition to secular artists whose faith has influenced their music. Author Mark Allan Powell (who is actually a New Testament scholar of considerable repute) says he wandered into a Christian bookstore five years ago and discovered that more than a quarter of the shelf space was devoted to contemporary Christian music. There was not, however, a single book on the subject a lacuna that will be amply corrected by this enormous, funny, informative tome. Powell is a man of considerable opinions, whether he is defending Amy Grant's album Behind the Eyes as possibly the most painfully honest recording ever produced by any artist or arguing about the impact of Rich Mullins's tragically short career. On a basic level, the book will be utilized as an encyclopedia by people who confuse Jars of Clay with Point of Grace. But in a more profound way, readers who appreciate Powell's assertion that contemporary Christian musicians are actually amateur theologians whose perspectives are helping to shape Christian history will marvel at this book's stunning combination of breadth and depth."
— Publishers Weekly

"Powell, a professor at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and former pastor, has created a work for a genre that, though popular and widespread, has received little reference coverage. Even in other music reference works, such as Salem Press' Popular Musicians (1999), this form of music is pushed into the categories of pop, rock, or gospel. Powell defines contemporary Christian as a musical style that was developed in the late 1960s and early 1970s and known then as "Jesus music." Since that time, it has evolved and borrowed from other popular musical styles such as metal, rap, rock, and ska. Gospel of any variety and other types of Christian music (hymns, sacred music, instrumentals) are excluded.

"The alphabetically arranged entries cover individuals and groups. Each entry lists all albums produced, with date and record company. An essay provides biography and evaluation as well as partial lyrics for significant songs and notes on performance style. Group entries name all members (including dates for when various members came and went), the instruments they played, and who sang the vocals. Entries conclude with lists of chart hits and awards.

"Powell drew upon every available issue of prominent and lesser-known Christian music periodicals, newspapers, and Web sites, then created a database of each artist and group discussed, interviewed, or reviewed in these sources. Some of the groups he includes are primarily known as rock or pop bands that occasionally have songs or albums with a spiritual nature, such as Moby and U2. Powell states that in these cases, he erred on the side of inclusion. More well known singers and groups have longer entries (for example, Amy Grant, the Winans, Jennifer Knapp), but even the less well known (for example, Phat Chance, Project 86, Jan Krist) have at least a long paragraph.

"Given the sheer volume of material, the relatively modest price of this work is a wonderful bargain. Add to that the unique coverage, and this volume is highly recommended for music collections and Christian schools."
—Booklist

"This hefty paperback's author, a faculty member of Ohio's Trinity Lutheran Seminary, adopts a rather informal style as he surveys almost 2,000 individuals and ensembles that have recorded Christian music in the past 30 years. The entries include a discography (album title, label names, and release dates are provided), memberships of the groups, biographical sketches, subjective evaluations, "chart hits," and awards. Websites are included and, in fact, updates are projected. The front matter surveys the history, while the volume concludes with a glossary, contents list, and a CD-ROM of the entire work (needing 15 MB of free space). No other undertaking in this area is known to exist, and the vast coverage appears to be quite comprehensive. The reference offers a large perspective on its subject, and the entries—while of scholarly value—are refreshingly chatty. This is an impressive endeavor."
Library Journal

Awarded a 2003 Association for Recorded Sound Collections (ARSC) Excellence in Historical Recorded Sound Research for Best Research in Recorded Popular Music

Product Reviews

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  1. 4 Stars Out Of 5
    August 19, 2010
    Danny L
    Really useful reference book, but sometimes I would prefer if the author stuck purely to facts and not opinions - though I do find many of his views amusing. Quite a comprehensive work, but unfortunately a few years old - so some of the newer bands I enjoy are not listed (which is obvious I know - but just bare that in mind).
  2. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    May 11, 2004
    Steve
    For any fan of Christian music this is a phenomenal resource. Find information on a performer or band that you haven't heard from in ages, learn more about your favorite groups or individual singer, or use it as a checklist for those larger-than-most music collections some of us have accrued over the years. Half the fun of this book is opening it up anywhere and finding something interesting about the industry. A list of music genres makes it easy to figure out what the writer means when coming across a strange musical style, and a complimentary CD-ROM version of the entire book makes it incredibly easy to find exactly what you are looking for.
  3. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    October 1, 2002
    Brent Wilcox
    Everything You Could Want, And Then . . . Something More!First, this book does deliver everything that anybody could ever want in a reference book on Christian music. Every artist is included. There are complete discographies, personnel lists, bios, updates on "where are they now," summaries of album reviews, and lists of chart hits. For some that may be all they want or need. The something more is that the author also provides his own critical analysis of the music. This is easy to skip, if you dont care about it. But it isnt commentary by just anyone. Mark Allan Powell is one of the most prominent theologians of the late twentieth-century, a world-famous, prominent author and profound analyst of religion and culture. Still, he writes in such a humorous and friendly, easy-going style that youd never suspect its the same guy responsible for all those intellectual tomes for which he's won academic accolades(of course, hes also been a professional music critic for about thirty years now, writing about rock and roll as a hobby for newspapers and popular magazines). Powell presents his book as a gift to Christian music artists, industry, and fans--people who have made my life more pleasant and meaningful. What a gift it is! This is the first time that anyone of this stature has ever even noticed the little parallel universe of Christian rock, much less taken such care to document it or invested himself so personally in commenting on it. The comments are so incisive that, even if they were negative, the criticism would be welcome. Butgood news!he loves the music and consistently discovers what is best about every artist. The book isnt just informativeits positive, upbeat, inspiring, and a whole lot of fun!
  4. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    September 28, 2002
    Lester Long
    For Any Christian Who Likes Rock and RollThis book is an absolute treasurean incredible achievement! Over 1900 entries containing everything that anyone could ever want to know about any artist even remotely connected with Christian music. There are full, entries on all of the big name Christian stars, appropriate listings of mainstream artists whose recordings have sometimes dealt explicitly with matters of faith, reminiscences and updates on long-forgotten Christian artists from years ago,and major articles on critics favoritesedgy artists who dont get a lot of attention in the official Christian music scene but who have made some of the best music the field has to offer. If youre a Christian music fanthis is the book youve been waiting for! But even more important! This book would make the best gift imaginable for someone you know who likes rock or pop music, but might be kind of skeptical about the whole Christian rock scene. The author has a delightfully disarming style and he doesn't come off as though he's trying to sell the music. He just helps you find which of the artists may be to your liking. The result, is that he kind of sneaks up on you. He obviously loves this music but he doesnt take it too seriously. He is witty, provocative, and never, ever forgets that rock and roll (even Christian rock and roll) is supposed to be fun. So,if you know some Christian who reads Rolling Stone but not CCM--buy this for them! They'll see Creed and U2 and read around a bit. They'll think Powell is funny and they'll read some more. Next thing you know . . . well, if ANYONE can turn them on to Jesus music, this is the person (and book) that will do it.
  5. 3 Stars Out Of 5
    September 26, 2002
    John J. Tollefsen
    The strength of Mark Allan Powells Encyclopedia of Christian Contemporary Music is its humorous opinions (bad music about God by white people) and is thoroughness (Eric Clapton). These are also its weaknesses. Those who want a scholarly resource to use in this area of church history will be somewhat disappointed by the flippant opinionated approach. Those who want to understand the field and not be put to sleep while doing so will be appreciative of the authors witty style. While far from perfect, Powell has found a way to launch an important work despite skeptical publishers. Lets hope subsequent iterations turn it into a more serious multi-volume hardback series that is the definitive resource for Christian contemporary Music.
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Author/Artist Review

Author: Mark Allan Powell
Located in: Columbus, OH
Submitted: July 10, 2002

    Tell us a little about yourself.  I started out thirty years ago as a rock journalist but got caught up in “the Jesus movement revival” of the early ‘70s. My life was transformed and I went on to become an ordained minister and, then, a Bible scholar. I got fairly well known in that world and wrote some 17 books on Bible and theology. But with this book I’ve returned to my roots, to pay tribute to those people who have provided a soundtrack for my life. I’m married and we have four children, four cats, and a turtle.

    What was your motivation behind this project?  Contemporary Christian music is an important part of modern culture but I find that many people do not take it very seriously. My theologian friends tend to dismiss it as “shallow” or “superficial” and my rock critic friends just write it off as bad music. I am a theologian and a rock critic and I am here to say that (by and large) it is neither. I think that there are millions of people in our society– Christians and non-Christians–who would really enjoy this music and find their lives enriched it if they would only discover what is really available.

    What do you hope folks will gain from this project?  This book is for any Christian who likes popular music. Fans of what gets called “contemporary Christian music” will find a great resource here to learn more about their favorite artists and to discover other artists who they might have overlooked. But there are also a lot of Christians in this world who enjoy popular music but, for a variety of reasons, have never gotten into the ccm scene. I think this book will enable them to find out what is available, to get past some stereotypes, and to decide for themselves whether there might be more to contemporary Christian music than they thought.

    Who are your influences, sources of inspiration or favorite authors / artists?  In terms of Christian theology, I have been most influenced by the writings of Martin Luther, and by such authors writers as Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Henri Nouwen, Frederick Buechner, and C. S. Lewis. But this book is about contemporary Christian music, and a number of Christian music artists have inspired me as well. A list of my personal favorites would include Andrae Crouch, Kim Hill, Daniel Amos, Amy Grant, Mark Heard, Phil Keaggy, Love Song, P.O.D., The Seventy Sevens, and Starflyer 59.

    Anything else you'd like readers / listeners to know:  I love Jesus and I love rock and roll. If you love either of those two things, this book might be for you. And if you love them both–well, then, it can’t miss.

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