Is there such a thing as Christian music? Fans of what is now called Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) might think so, but not radio personality and writer Mark Joseph. In this well-researched work, Joseph argues that Christian music is not a separate genre, and that by creating a separate marketing category, Christian musicians removed themselves from pop culture--to their own detriment as well as the culture's.
Through profiles of leading Christian musicians and producers (including Bob Dylan, Johnny Cash, Pat Boone, Run-D.M.C., and U2), Joseph explores Christianity's place in American popular music, concentrating in particular on the rise of CCM as a commercial power. For anyone interested in the tension between sacred and secular in modern American music, or for fans of popular artists who have struggled with these issues (such as Amy Grant, Sam Phillips, T-Bone Burnett, Mark Heard, and dozens of others), this book makes for fascinating reading. (And it might also introduce you to some great music!) --Doug Thorpe
" Joseph a journalist and talk-show host doesn't have utter contempt for the CCM industry...his tone is firm but loving." -- The Lakeland Ledger
" Joseph has created the strongest argument yet for the demolishing of the CCM demarcation." -- The Orange County Register
""A must-read for music fans. Lots of talk about Christians who stayed secular and those who went back." -- The Houston Chronicle
"Contemporary Christian music, that catch-all for any modern religious music, has finally gotten the scholarly history it has... deserved." -- The Arizona Republic
"In this fascinating book author Mark Joseph makes a strong case for integrating faith-based music into the broader American culture." -- Billboard Magazine
"Joseph compares CCM to the 1930s-era Negro baseball leagues." -- World Magazine
"Joseph, the founder of MJM Entertainment's book explains the failures of a trend to create a separate Christian culture." -- The Washington Times
"The author's real aim is to destroy the archaic notion that Christian music should be separate from mainstream pop." -- The Lima News
"The latest attempt to decipher Dylan's faith, that also discusses the conversions of Alice Cooper, Lenny Kravitz and other musicians." -- Los Angeles Times
Can you imagine artist-ministers receiving flat salaries instead of relying on album royalties? The term Christian artist being avoided like poison ivy? Joseph not only envisions such changes but he says they're necessary if Christian music is to reach the broader culture while still meeting believer's needs. To his credit, he's clearly not a controversy hound; he critiques artists and record-label executives but consistently tries to be fair. For example, he heaps praise on Phil Keaggy while lamenting the artist's decision to leave mainstream rock. A bonus benefit is the up-to-date history of contemporary Christian music. Customers will ask about this bold book. Cross-merchandise copies in your store's music section-with the confidence that you're giving space to a thoughtfully and courageously crafted work. -- CBA Marketplace
Contemporary Christian music has finally gotten the scholarly history it has deserved, only, with an irony attached: Its author's aim is to destroy the notion that Christian music should be separate from pop. What baffles Joseph, is why the proponents of CCM continue to bring segregation on themselves.
Joseph pays special attention to Lenny Kravitz, Johnny Cash and Run-D.M.C., who search their souls on record, yet also watches CCM deprive edgier, visionary talent of the chance to preach to anyone other than the converted, creating the strongest argument yet for the demolishing of the CCM demarcation.
But Joseph doesn't have utter contempt for the CCM industry. His tone is firm but loving, as if he were trying to stroke key egos to make them realize the potential that Christian music has. Joseph's book details their and their forebears' fight to be heard from within a tightly drawn circle. An important statement . . . -- Knight-Ridder News Service