On Oct 19, the joy and wonder of the Christmas season will be available in the new “The Essential Christmas Collection,” a vibrant 12-song project featuring many of Christian music’s most admired artists, with holiday songs from Third Day, Casting Crowns, Michael W. Smith, Jars of Clay, Rebecca St. James, Brandon Heath, Tenth Avenue North, Building 429 and Matt Maher along with newcomers, Revive, Kerrie Roberts andAnthem Lights. The collection includes stunning versions of Christmas classics as well as two original tunes—Heath’s poignant “The Night Before Christmas” and Smith’s original “All is Well.”

The set opens with Third Day’s powerful rendition of “Angels We Have Heard on High” as lead vocalist Mac Powell breathes new life into this seasonal classic and its familiar, joyous chorus, putting the Third Day creative stamp on this holiday favorite. The musically influential singer-songwriter/worship leader Matt Maher delivers a warm and prayerful version of “Silent Night,” evoking the tender spirit of the season, and “The First Noel” shines as reinvented by Aussie imports Revive.

Over the years, Jars of Clay has become known for putting its creative spin on Christmas music and they do that again with, “It Came Upon a Midnight Clear,” delivering a gentle, understated version of one of the season’s most beloved classics. Rebecca St. James lends her distinctive voice to “O Little Town of Bethlehem” while Building 429 serves up the timeless “What Child Is This?” and Casting Crowns delivers the buoyant, “Joy to the World.”

Newcomer Kerrie Roberts lends her soulful, soaring vocals to “O’ Holy Night” in one of the most memorable tracks on the album and never has the good news of Jesus’ birth sounded more heartfelt and compelling than on Tenth Avenue North’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain.”

Michael W. Smith’s iconic “All is Well,” written for his very first Christmas album and now featured on this collection, is one of his favorite songs ever recorded.  Smith notes, “There was just something special about it. I’ll never forget when I wrote it. It was such an emotional moment. To this day, I still get really moved when I hear it. It’s one of my favorite things I’ve written.”


Tigerwine 2020

A Disparate Vintage

On Tigerwine's latest, 'Nothing is for You,' vocalist and lyricist Trobee departs from the band's last effort as a concept record to write about an array subjects. Notably, Trobee tackles his evolution from rigid belief system to an acceptance and understanding of other ideas: "Through touring and becoming close with those very people I was taught to be afraid of, I realized how untrue it all is."


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Employed to Serve

Forward Under a Dying Sun

Most of these days, the sun rises and sets on a world that feels like it's dying. Across the pond, where Employed to Serve calls home, they're learning how to support their latest record a year into its release. HM contributor Andrew Voigt recently sat down with Justine Jones to learn more about the band, marrying your bandmates, and their outside shot at touring with Rammstein.


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Comrades 2020

Becoming Comrades

The trio of Comrades – husband and wife Joe and Laura McElroy alongside drummer John Gaskil – is used to living in a van and touring the country. Now, their new normal has provided them with a moment to "be adults" for once. We recently sat down with the McElroys to talk more about the spiritual reality within life, how soon they'll be able to release new music, and how koalas are their new normal.


Photo by Quinsey Sablan

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HM covers from over the years

HM Magazine Turns 35

In 1985, Doug Van Pelt photocopied a letter-sized sheets of paper, bound them together, and handed them out in person on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin. It's all digital now, but, along the way, Van Pelt stirred up quite a few waves, played some seriously heavy music, and made a few friends along the way. Here: A quick look back at the magazine's 35-year history with Van Pelt and new owner, David Stagg.


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