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).
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.
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!
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.
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.