Jars of Clay refuse to fizzle in African relief effort


Multi-Grammy winning and platinum-selling rock band Jars of Clay, well known for its humanitarian efforts worldwide, is using the release of its new album as a platform to provide clean water for Africans in need. The Global Water Challenge, with support from The Coca-Cola Company, will donate $1 for each of the first 100,000 copies sold of Jars of Clay's latest release, Good Monsters, to the band's Blood:Water Mission, which promotes clean blood and clean water efforts in Africa. According to the United Nations, more than 300 million people in Africa lack access to safe drinking water and 477 million people live without adequate sanitation facilities.

With music that's a mixture of rock, funk and jazz, Hyper Static Union is definitely not a Nashville-cookie cutter band. Even better, the band makes no bones about the fact they are an unabashedly Christian band. "We are here to promote Jesus, not our music," vocalist and guitarist Shawn Lewis told me recently. "Our agenda means nothing to God and we're simply trying to be stewards of what He's given us." HSU is currently on a 40-city fall tour with Third Day and the David Crowder Band. "Overhead," the first single from their debut album, Lifegiver, reached No. 2 on the CHR charts; their latest single, "Free Me," was released to AC radio in September.

Hot on the heels of their 2003 bestseller Collide, Grammy-nominated and Dove Award winning rockers Skillet are heating up the Christian and mainstream charts with their new album, Comatose. The first single, "Rebirth," shot to the top of the charts when it was released to Christian radio in September, and in two weeks logged 100,000 plays on the band's MySpace page. Another single from the album, "Whisper," was just released to mainstream radio.

The single, "Run," from Day of Fire's current album, Cut & Move, was selected as the official WWE Pay-Per-View Theme Song for Unforgiven, which aired in September. Lead singer Josh Brown said, "For me personally, this is really cool because I grew up watching Jerry 'The King' Lawler wrestle in Memphis, Tenn. Now he is the voice of 'Monday Night Raw' on the USA Network and it is truly an honor to have him introduce our song 'Run' as the official theme song of WWE's Unforgiven 2006."

Following on the heels of her Top 10 single "Love Rains Down," from her debut album, Reason to Live, worship leader Jaime Jamgochian's latest single, "Hear My Worship," has hit No. 1 on the Radio and Records Inspo chart. Jaime heads out this fall on the Girls of Grace tour and, in addition, has launched the "Modest is Hottest" teen girl retreats and seminars to promote modesty and purity in young women. Jaime is the great example for young girls: a single, gorgeous, hip woman who's fully enjoying her life while waiting for her Prince Charming.

When Michael W. Smith releases his latest album, Stand, on Nov. 7, it will mark several firsts for the veteran artist. In addition to being the first project where Smith hasn't served as the lone producer, it'll also mark the first time he has recorded songs that he hasn't written or co-written. For Stand, Smith turned to the album's producer, Matt Bronleewe, and longtime friend Amy Grant as well as fast-rising young songwriter Leeland Mooring and even Smith's own son, Tyler, for contributions.

With three RIAA Certified Gold records, five Dove Awards and nine consecutive No. 1 radio singles, Jeremy Camp releases his greatly anticipated studio recording, Beyond Measure, on Oct. 31st.

Actor Stephen Baldwin's book, The Unusual Suspect, hit bookstores last month. Written with Mark Tabb, the autobiographical story about Baldwin's conversion to Christianity is both lighthearted and deeply serious. I've heard Baldwin tell his conversion story before, and Tabb does an excellent job capturing the essence of the story while maintaining Baldwin's unique storytelling voice. (I feel the need to add "Dude" here.) The book covers everything from how the events of Sept. 11, 2001 led to Baldwin's conversion to Christianity, why most American Christians are missing out on the excitement of a life totally devoted to Christ, and how Hollywood's bad boy still screws up no matter how hard he tries not to. The book is written just like Baldwin talks, off the cuff, completely casual, and totally direct, and is one of the most amusing and inspiring Christian non-fiction books I've read in a while. The honesty will probably upset more conservative readers, so if the word "crap" bothers you I suggest you find another read. Make no mistake about it: Baldwin is unabashedly devout in his faith, showing the reader that a life in Christ really can be as exciting as jumping out of a plane without a parachute.

—Compiled from wire service reports, press releases and artist interviews