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I took this at a recent concert with Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill. Randy co-wrote the song with Keith Green and others. Phil recorded a version called “Your Love Broke Thru” on one of his albums and he played guitar on a demo with Keith Green, which was featued on his podcast.

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I remember when the first On the Cover came out and it was one of my favorite MxPx CDs. There were some great tracks on that one—Take on Me, Summer of 69, Drum Machine Joy, along with a Keith Green cover, a Buddy Holly cover and a song that introduced us to the Cootees. Other than the artwork and the fact that it is a cover album, the two EPs have nothing in common.

The music is more sophisticated with guitar solos and a plethora of guest stars. There is a wide variety of artists covered such as: Poison, the Descendents, the Ramones, Queen, U2 and a Japanese punk band. I haven’t heard most of the originals and I don’t know if their younger fans have either, so it’s hard to say how they stack up against the other bands.

Don’t get me wrong—this is a nice little cover album, but if I had to rate my favorite MxPx covers they would be: O Donna, Take on Me, Summer of 69, KKK Took My Baby Away, Seventeen, Rock and Roll All Nite by Kiss, No Action, Blue Moon, Zombie by the Cranberries and Sick Boy. Obviously none of these songs are on there, so I’m an impartial observer.

If you are one of those fans who buy everything the guys put out, then you should snatch this up. Otherwise wait till next year for the next album or pick up anything before Panic.

I was thinking about the Christian music scene that I grew up with and what exists today, and I came to the conclusion that most of my favorite music is in the past. I’m not saying there aren’t great bands out there now or new music that will be enjoyable, but most of my favorite music has been out for several years.  (Do a test yourself. Sit down with a pen and paper and try to think of how many of your favorite albums were released within the last year.)

The Christian scene I grew up with is mostly non-existent. True Tunes closed, the Heart and Soul Cafe doesn’t do shows that I know of and the ska scene is mostly dead. I went into a Family Bookstore the other day and asked if they had a “Christian Happenings” Magazine and they looked at me like I was from another planet. I also feel old every time I look at the Cornerstone lineup and I don’t know who most of the bands are. Thankfully the North Central College Union has saved a good part of the scene for me.

I get nostalgic thinking about bands like MxPx, Starflyer, the Huntingtons, Five Iron Frenzy and Poor Old Lu. It was a time where there were tons of cool bands and every band that Tooth and Nail signed was awesome, even the hardcore bands like Strongarm.

It seems to me that the Christian industry has become more polarized with bands either totally playing Christian venues or not playing Christian venues at all, which means it’s CCM or the bar. Sure I understand that a lot of Christian musicians are not youth pastors, but historically speaking bands in the Christian market have talked a lot during shows (i.e. Keith Green, Steven Curtis Chapman, etc…). The essence of their music was the message before the music.

I know that Christian stigma exists and that bands want to be taken seriously by non-Christians—probably mostly for their egos or record sales. But I just wonder why some bands have such a hard time talking about God. It seems like either Jesus is the product the band is selling or he has no place on the stage. I know that talking about God on a stage is awkward, but we shouldn’t ever have to feel like we’re ashamed of his name.

So I realize that I can’t go back in time, but I still like to listen to the old albums and reflect on a time when we weren’t looking at the death of the CD or the corporate ownership of human expression. Maybe there are bands that don’t tour any more, but I can still listen to their music and I can still watch them perform live thanks to YouTube and you can too.

Keith Green is a musician that needs no introduction. It’s been more than 20 years since his death, but his music tills touches people all over the world. A DVD of previously unreleased Keith Green videos was recently released. You can watch the videos here.