Three reasons to get excited about music this summer

Finding great music for this year's summer memory-making shouldn't be too hard. Here are three reasons to get excited about music this summer.

1. It's festival season.

Music festivals are great for enjoying the outdoors and seeing lots of different acts within the span of a few days. And lots of this year's folk festivals happening across Canada feature musicians who write and perform from a Christian worldview.

Critically-acclaimed Ohio-based folk band Over the Rhine will perform at the Winnipeg Folk Festival (July 10-14) as well as the Calgary Folk Music Festival (July 25-28). The lineup at the Calgary Festival also includes Steve Earle, the American troubadour who has wrestled with faith in the music he's released over the past 30 years.

The Edmonton Folk Music Festival (August 8-11) is scheduled to include a performance by Canadian singer-songwriter legend Bruce Cockburn.

For music fans travelling south of the border, the 32nd annual Sonshine Festival in Wilmar, Minnesota has an impressive, multi-genre lineup of some of the biggest names in Christian music, including Newsboys, TobyMac, David Crowder, Lecrae, Skillet and Petra. It takes place July 17-20.

If large festivals aren't your thing, there are lots of smaller gospel music festivals taking place all across the country. Visit to find one near you.

2. New music from great musicians.

While record labels typically wait until fall to release what they hope will be some of the most popular albums of the year, that doesn't mean there isn't great new music coming out in July and August.

In the coming months, you can look forward to a new album from pop-rock band Relient K, titled Collapsible Lung (July 2). Metalcore five-piece Norma Jean, whose 2010 masterpiece Meridional was one of my favourite albums of that year, will release the follow-up, reportedly titled Wrongdoers, on August 6.

1 Girl Nation, a group made up of five young women who perform "an exciting blend of upbeat, relevant dance pop music, with lyrics that are totally focused on living for God while being young" are generating some buzz online. They'll release their debut disc via Reunion Records on August 20.

One week later, Love & The Outcome—a husband and wife pop duo made up of Winnipeg expats Jodi King and Chris Rademaker—will release their self-titled debut album on Word Records.

3. You can catch up on music you missed earlier this year.

A lot of musicians you'll enjoy have already released new material in the last six months. Contemporary Christian music artist and worship leader Chris Tomlin released his seventh album, Burning Lights, in January. The single, "Whom Shall I Fear [God of Angel Armies]" currently sits at number two on iTunes' "Inspirational" chart.

This past April, another worship leader—Matt Maher—released a compilation album titled All the People Said Amen, which includes the new hit song, "Lord, I Need You." Meanwhile, Plumb, the Christian alt-rock singer who rose to fame in the late '90s, has released her first album in six years. Need You Now came out in February, and it includes the single, "Drifting," which features an appearance by Dan Haseltine from Jars of Clay.

Memphis rock band Skillet released its eighth studio album, Rise, late last month. And finally, Manitoba-born singer-songwriter Matt Epp (no relation to the writer) released his seventh album at the beginning of June. Learning to Lose Control was recorded in Los Angeles with producer Jamie Candiloro (Ryan Adams, R.E.M.) and features Epp's finest work to date.

Dear Readers:

ChristianWeek relies on your generous support. please take a minute and donate to help give voice to stories that inform, encourage and inspire.

Donations of $20 or more will receive a charitable receipt.
Thank you, from Christianweek.

About the author

Special to ChristianWeek

Aaron Epp is a Winnipeg-based freelance writer, Musical Routes columnist, and former Senior Correspondent for ChristianWeek.