Ceili Rain offers touching tribute to war, without politics


Celtic rock band Ceili Rain's latest single, "Kneeling," offers perhaps the best response Christians can have in the debate over the war in Iraq. Without bowing to either side of the issue, songwriters Bob Halligan Jr. and Linda Halligan suggest instead that prayer is the answer, with lyrics like: "You say I must stand up for what I believe, but when I stand up, well, I'm down on my knees." "Kneeling" is from Ceili Rain's latest album, Whatever Makes You Dance. If you've never heard of Ceili Rain (pronounced kay-lee rain), I urge you to check them out at ceilirain.com or spiritandsong.com. Their whimsical joy and heartfelt lyrics will win you over with one listen.

For hip hop fans who can't wait until the December 26 release date of Soul P.'s anticipated first national project, The Premiere, Beatmart Recordings is offering a 20-minute mixtape sampler of the album as a free download. Created by eminent Christian hip hop DJ Morphiziz, The Premiere Mixtape features a generous amount of time from all 15 tracks on the album (which is produced by Todd Collins), and includes Soul P. sharing his testimony and heart behind the album. I had a chance to sit down with Soul P. last April during GMA Week, and was struck by this quiet, gentle man's story, which includes drugs and jail before he turned his life over to Christ. Soul P. is one of those artists that will connect with teens struggling to survive in today's culture, because he knows what it's like out there on the streets and he's experienced just how powerful the grace of God really is.

With the highest SoundScan debut in the band's history, Grammy-nominated rock band Skillet entered the Billboard overall Christian chart at No. 3 with its latest release, Comatose. The album also had an impressive entry on the Billboard Top 200 chart at No. 55. Comatose debuted on the iTunes overall album chart at No. 19 and was the No. 6 best-selling rock album and No. 1 selling Christian Digital album of that week.

When it was released in September, See The Morning, the first new studio album in two years from worship artist Chris Tomlin, debuted at No. 1 on the SoundScan compiled Current Contemporary Christian, Christian Retail and Billboard Christian Album sales charts. The recording also landed at No. 15 on the Billboard Top 200, marking Tomlin's highest debut on the chart.

Essential Records and Flicker Records recently released the compilation rock project, oseven: The Year's Best Christian Rock Hits. The album is the debut installment of their new rock series, and features brand new songs from artists like Pillar, Jars of Clay, Krystal Meyers, Red, eleventyseven, Kids in the Way, Day of Fire, Leeland, nevertheless, Fireflight, Flatfoot 56 and Until June. The project gives listeners a taste of what both labels have to offer and introduces rock fans to new bands.

"Shine On," the first single from Lava/Atlantic and Sparrow Records' recording artist needtobreathe's critically acclaimed debut, Daylight, was featured in the new Dane Cook and Jessica Simpson film "Employee of the Month." The band has recently been on tour with the likes of TRAIN, Collective Soul, and labelmates Big City Rock.

The Christian Country Music Association recently announced the nominees for the 12th Annual Inspirational Country Music Award Show. Nominees included Chunky Nelms, Clifton Jansky, Del Way, Mike Hammock and Tommy Brandt for Male Vocalist of the Year; Gayla Earlene, Mary James, Melanie Walker, Nanette Vaughan and Susie Luchsinger for Female Vocalist of the Year; and Brooks & Dunn's "Believe," Carrie Underwood's "Jesus Take the Wheel," Josh Turner's "Me and God," Mike Hammock's "Welcome Home, Soldier," and Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton's "When I Get Where I'm Going" for Song of the Year. Winners were scheduled to be announced Nov. 9 at the Acuff Theater. 

Centricity recording artist Downhere received six Covenant Award nominations, including the prestigious Artist of the Year and Group of the Year honors, from GMA Canada's 28th Annual Covenant Awards. Downhere's critically acclaimed 2006 release, Wide-Eyed And Mystified, has also received nominations in both the Album of the Year and Rock Album of the Year categories. The 28th Annual Covenant Awards will be held Oct. 27 at Centre Street Church in Calgary, Alberta, in conjunction with the Canada Christian Music Conference.

Entertainment notes compiled from wire service reports, press releases and artist interviews.