Tag Archives: capital lights

Amy’s Christmas Playlist

21 Dec

Every year I make an iTunes playlist of my favorite Christmas songs–some have been on the album every year since its inception, while others are happy new editions.  There are several versions of my playlist before choosing the 20 or so songs that will fit on a CD for the enjoyment of my friends and family.  (And I make like 6 copies of the epic mix album for people.  Don’t get the piracy police after me!)

So, here it is…my 2011 mix, which I call “Joy Is Born.”

Joy Is Born Christmas Mix 2011

1. “Star Of Wonder” – JJ Heller, Wake Up The World [My good friend, Shari, told me that about JJ’s Christmas album and we both love it!  JJ’s version of “Star of Wonder” is the perfect lead-in to any album.  She imagines to capture the wonder of seeking Christ–“Messiah was worth every mile.]

2. “Heaven’s Got A Baby”-The O.C. Supertones, Happy Christmas Vol. 3 [This song is a cheery proclamation and it’s on the mix every year.  Sometimes it’s first, but I’m going for awe and wonder this year, so I needed something a little more subdued.]             

3. “Born to Die” -Bebo Norman, Christmas: From the Realms of Glory [As if I would ever make a playlist without a Bebo song.  That would just be ridiculous! I assume you already own this album, so I’m not even going to tell you to buy it because you already know how awesome it is!]

4.  “Adorn” -Alli Rogers, The Silent Stars [If you don’t own The Silent Stars or anything by Alli Rogers, you need to rectify that RIGHT NOW!  Go, buy, download, and prosper!]

5. “Ring The Bells” -Travis Cottrell, Ring The Bells [Did you know that Travis Cottrell is the worship leader at Beth Moore’s church?  Or at least he was.]

6. “I Celebrate The Day”- Relient K, Let It Snow Baby…Let It Reindeer [Relient K’s Christmas album is one of my favorites, so this song is ALWAYS on my playlist.  Let It Snow Baby is available as a $5 download on Amazon right now!]

A bunch of fans made this music video for “His Favorite Christmas Story.” Love it so much I had to share it here!

7. “His Favorite Christmas Story”- Captial Lights, X Christmas- Various Artists [I haven’t heard anything from Capital Lights since their debut album.  This song tells a cute story that make me tear up.  Every. Single. Time.]

8. “You Gotta Get Up (Christmas Song)”- Rich Mullins, A Liturgy, A Legacy & A Ragamuffin Band [I play this song as soon as I get up every Christmas morning for as long as I can remember.]

9. “Feliz Navidad”- David Crowder Band, X Christmas- Various Artists [David Crowder Band + silly Spanish = mucho bueno.]

10. “A Christmas Song For All Year Round” Aaron Sprinkle, Happy Christmas Vol. 3 [I wanted to marry Aaron Sprinkle so I could be “Amy Sprinkle,” as it turns out Aaron is already married.  I suppose I could legally change my name to “Amy Sprinkle” anyway.  Santa, bring a name change for Christmas!]

11. “How Many Kings”-Downhere, How Many Kings: Songs For Christmas [I’ll be talking more about this song on Friday Faves.  I. Love. It.  So much that each word was its own sentence.  I played this at my small group’s Christmas party “reflection time” and they loved it, too.]

12.  “Welcome To Our World”-Chris Rice, Deep Enough to Dream  [What is Chris Rice doing these days?  Has anyone heard from the guy since he got married?  He needs to make more theologically relevant music for the masses.]    

13. “The First Noel (Instrumental Version)”-Josh Wilson, Sing: A Christmas – EP [Josh Wilson + instruments of any kind = magic.]

14. “Hallelujah (Light Has Come)”- BarlowGirl, Home For Christmas [The Barlow sisters are always wonderful, and this song is exceptional. Their vocal arrangements make my heart happy.]

15. “What Child Is This”- PLUMB, (Free Download) [Sometimes the best things in life really are free!  Plumb’s version of “What Child Is This” is an older version than the one we usually sing.  Personally, I prefer this version.  It was prettied up to celebrate the birth only, and completely revised of the implication of the cross Jesus was to bear.]

16. “Bring A Tourch, Jeanette, Isabella”-Downhere, How Many Kings: Songs For Christmas [It’s Downhere again!  Their version of this classic makes me want to grab a torch and look for the Christ child myself.  I mean, there is a plastic Baby Jesus in the nativity down the street.  But I just don’t that elicits the joy of the actual event.]         

This is the version from his self-titled album, not the Christmas EP.  I put the Christmas version on the mix. Josh makes the best facial expressions when he sings.  Love, love, love his guy and his beat-up gee-tar!

17. “Sing”- Josh Wilson  Sing: A Christmas – EP [What a shock!  Another song by my friend, Josh Wilson.  I played this at small group two weeks ago when we talked about the LONG-AWAITED joy and expectation of God’s timing.  “We could never get back home with broken hearts, so Home has come to us.” Lyrical genius!]

18. “Snow Globe”- Matt Wertz, Snow Globe [We had a whole Friday Faves dedicated to the hilarity that is this song.  See “Friday Faves: Snow Globe Living Edition.“]

19. “Mary Did You Know” – Spoken, Happy Christmas Vol. 4  [All punked up like it should be.]      

20. “Drummer Boy”-Jars Of Clay, Christmas Songs [I never truly appreciated this song until Jars of Clay recorded their version.  Then I researched how the drummer boy is the lowliest of all shepherds, and still he came, and offered what he had–the gift of his playing.  I mean, I’m not sure how drumming helps a newborn baby.  I would think that would elicit much screaming and sobbing. But I still like the song.  It’s not like Baby Jesus didn’t cry either, so “Silent Night” is a farce, too.  And  yet I enjoy both songs.]

21. “Jesus, King Of Angels”- Fernando Ortega, Christmas Songs [Oh, Fernando, I love your music.]

This is the video that launched Straight No Chaser into a music career years after graduating from college.

22. “The Christmas Can-Can”-Straight No Chaser, Christmas Cheers [Because I like to end things on a hilarious note, I included this song from acapella group, Straight No Chaser, who became “famous” after their “12 Days of Christmas” video from college re-emerged on YouTube years later.  So they recorded a second album, Christmas Cheers.]

I was going to tell you why I chose each and every song, what the song means to me,but that’s entirely too much work, so I added a few notes, a bunch of links, and a handful YouTube videos for your viewing enjoyment. 

Have a question about why I chose a song, leave a comment!  Tell me what songs are on your “list.”


Review:: X: Christmas – Tooth and Nail Records

3 Dec

By Moriah Coxen Anytime you ask a rock ‘n’ roll band to cover a classic Christmas song, you’re going to get something interesting.  Tooth and Nail Records’ (T&N) X: Christmas compilation, a follow-up to Happy Christmas, is no exception.

Creativity:: 10 This album does not disappoint with The Almost (Aaron Gillespie) covering “The Little Drummer Boy” and Seventh Day Slumber reminding us to listen with “Do You Hear What I Hear?” August Burns Red brings joy to any hardcore fan with “Carol of the Bells” (an instrumental track), which includes the most kick-drum beats in Christmas music history. Hawk Nelson’s “Gloria” is a clever combination, using the classic chorus tune but in the verses tells the story the lead singer wanting “the girl of my dreams” for Christmas.

Original Songs:: 9 Switchfoot’s “Evergreen” appears in T&N’s Christmas compilation (originally recorded for the Happy Christmas album in 1998). KJ-52 forks over a Floridian’s view of winter-y things in “It’s Christmas Timewith talks of going to the beach on Christmas Eve—amusing. However, I found the chipmunks-on-helium-sounding background vocals a bit annoying. “His Favorite Christmas Storyis a touching tale of a man retelling the story of his favorite Christmas moment The album is complete with “Christmas Shoes,” the sappiest song on the record.

Classic Covers:: 8— Crunching guitars kicks off this musical adventure through the holidays with Thousand Foot Krutch’s “Jingle Bell Rock,” putting you in the right mood for what’s about to go down. Anberlin’s “Christmas, Baby Please Come Home” is filled with passion and yearning, while FM Static’s rendition of “Christmas Shoes brings a nice pop-punk feel to what could be the most tear-jerking Christmas song of all time. Jars of Clay does a beautiful rendition of “Love Came Down at Christmas,” and Sanctus Real delivers a softer, epic “Silent Night.” David Crowder Band’s “Feliz Navidad” provides an interesting switch that seems awkward at first but then warms you like a good bean burrito. Cameron Jaymes of The Jaymes Reunion’s smooth vocals confirm that “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree” can be done in a “new old fashioned way”. Project 86 gives a memorable rendition of “This Time of the Year” with eerie sounds, while Corey Crowder’s “Angels We Have Heard On Highand Kutless’s “Mary Did You Know?” seem lackluster in the creativity department.

Musical Score:: 9— Anything with the Tooth and Nail logo will be edgy–no doubt. So along with Christmas albums of the past, X: Christmas brings shredding guitars merrily together with choir bells and double-kick drums with the occasional seasonal sounding harmony.

Overall Holly Jolliness:: 7 —The overall Holly Jolliness is a 7 because I was more interested in how the covers were delivered and how they were different than thinking about my family and stocking stuffers.

Total:: 44— Keep your eyes peeled for this album as the paper is flying Christmas morning—it’s probably going to be there.

Print copy of review.

To read our review guide lines, go here.

You can find X: Christmas and the rest of our great “12 Days of Christmas Music” reviewed albums in Backseat Writer’s online store, Drive-By Shopping, under the “12 Days of Christmas Music” category!

Take 5 with Capital Lights

14 Aug

By Amy Sondova Capital Lights won’t take “no” for an answer. Instead of accept rejection when they sought a record deal, the band continued to perfect their craft, eventually ending up with a spot on Tooth and Nail’s coveted roster. Releasing their first album, This Is an Outrage in July, the guys in Capital Lights—guitarists Brett Admire and Jonathan Williams, vocalist Bryson Phillips, and drummer Michael Paul Phillips—have had a busy summer touring across the United States. Bryson was kind enough to take time out from re-reading his Harry Potter books to “Take 5” with Backseat Writer.

A lot of bands don’t realize the hard work that actually goes into getting a record deal. You guys sent several songs to Aaron Sprinkle, who eventually ended up producing the album, but what was it like, for lack of a better word, to deal with all that rejection?

Oh, yes, it took a lot of work for us! We sent emails out to every label and producer out there. Rarely did one of them email us saying they weren’t interested; we just hardly ever got a response at all. This was something we all wanted really badly so no matter how many times something didn’t work out, we kept trying.

Actually, Sprinkle was one of the few that actually responded. He said, “Keep me updated when you guys write some new songs.” This basically meant “These songs aren’t very good.” Now most people would take that as rejection, we took it as someone finally taking the time to respond. We kind of celebrated. I think Sprinkle responding sort of gave us hope because whether he meant it or not, we took him up on his offer. I emailed him every song we ever wrote after that. Haha, it finally paid off!

Capital Lights definitely has the sound of early Relient K, yet you started with a screamo base eventually deciding to pull together your own sound—how did this come about?

It’s really weird because, yes, three of us played in a Story of the Year-styled screamo band, and Jonny came from a metal band. We aren’t really sure how pop music was formed here. Actually, before we got this group together, I was just the bassist, and when we were looking for vocalists I decided to give writing a try. I wrote a couple songs and they ended up coming out pretty pop rock sounding. This is the kind of music I mainly listen to and all the other guys love it too, so everyone decided to stop searching for a vocalist and make this happen.

People keep asking me what “Let the Little Lady Talk” is about—so what’s it about?

Haha, OK, well most of our songs, including this one, are pretty sarcastic. This one is basically just about couples fighting. Not a specific couple, just in general, boyfriends and girlfriends getting into it. I say the word “I” a lot but I’m usually not referring to my actual self. I just put myself in the place of the character in the song. This being said, I’m not a jerk who likes to come over late to my girls place and fight with her. It’s just a song.

There are a ton of songs on this album, and since we only have five questions—can you give me a run-down of a couple of my favorites—”Return” and “Mile Away”?

Sure! “Return” is one of the few songs that actually means something deep to me. Like I said, most of the songs are pretty sarcastic and don’t deal with anything too serious. Well I remember while I was writing the album, one day our A&R guy, Jon Dunn, called me and said he and Sprinkle wanted me to write a song that wasn’t so fast-paced on the vocals. They wanted me to slow it down a bit so people could actually understand what I’m saying. So I thought, if I’m going to slow it down just for people to easily understand what I’m saying, I better have something good to say. So I wrote “Return” based on Matthew 24. As this world is gets worse–no matter what tribulations may come, we Christians will stand firm to the end. We can see many things happening in the world today that may very well be signs of this happening soon. Basically, it’s a song of encouragement.

“Mile Away” is a completely different song. Although it may sound serious, it really isn’t. I don’t have a girlfriend, so I don’t have much drama in my life. If I want to write a song about that kind of stuff, I create my own stories. I wrote “Mile Away” about a guy who leaves his girl and runs off to California. Once he gets there, he misses what he had, and realizes that he belongs back home… and home is with her. There have been people who have told me they got something completely different and more meaningful out of this song, which makes me happy. I’m glad a song can have different meanings to different people.

Bryson, why do you thank J.K. Rowling in your liner notes? Are you a big Harry Potter fan? (I’m personally a HUGE Harry Potter fan and even have a silly blog dedicated to letting people know that Fred really isn’t dead…just a little FYI.)

Oh goodness… I LOVE Harry Potter! Jonny and I are the only Harry Potter fans in the band. I’ve been waiting for the trailer to Half Blood Prince to premier for so long! I watched it literally minutes after it was posted online 2 days ago. I really need to find this blog you speak of because Fred’s death was the saddest to me… of all the deaths in all the books, I really did not want that to happen. BUT, I do have to say the way J.K. Rowling ended the 7th book was amazing! I was shaking all the way through the last 3 chapters!

Have you heard of Wizard Rock? The genre of rock bands that write all songs about Harry Potter? Yeah, I started a WR band. We are called The Boyz Who Lived. We already have 2 songs. We wanted to be called Hufflepuff-daddy. Or we were thinking maybe The Rowling Stones but we were afraid she may somehow sue us. She does that a lot. The Boyz Who Lived is a cool name though, don’t ya think? Especially how “Boyz” is spelled with a “z” instead of an “s”. Makes us look kinda gangsta, like it makes me want to start Wizard Rap. Anyway… yes, HUGE Harry Potter fan. Check us out on myspace.com/theboyzwholived.

Print copy of Take 5.

%d bloggers like this: