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MP3 Jim Black - 'til then...

Recorded with David Santos (Bass - Billy Joel), Shawn Fichter (drums - Trisha Yearwood), Dennis Burnside (keyboard), and Michael Foster (producer) and Jim Black (guitars and vocals), this is worth a listen.

11 MP3 Songs
POP: 70''s Pop, FOLK: Folk Pop

Hi CDBaby person!
I''m glad you found this site. I''m excited to share these songs with you, and I hope they make you think, challenge your faith, and encourage you in your spiritual search. I wrote these songs as prayer in response to what God has been doing in my life - maybe they will help you pray as well...
Some background information (if you''re interested - if not, skip this and just listen to the songs...)
I didn''t plan on recording this CD. I used to travel full time in a band, dreaming of "making it", whatever "it" means. But after 3 years we went our separate ways, and I became a pastor of a church. During the past couple of years I began to write songs again about the struggles of trying to know and serve God everyday. I found a little studio to record in once a week for a couple of hours (I don''t golf - a cliche for pastors - so my wife said OK!) I was burning CDs and giving them to friends and family.I remember saying a prayer asking God to use these songs somehow to help some people...

Not long after that prayer, a friend of mine gave a CD to Michael Foster...
I spent the last year recording this CD with Michael Foster (producer), David Santos (Billy Joel''s bass player), Shawn Fichter (Trisha Yearwood''s drummer), and Dennis Burnside (an awesome session keyboard player) in Nashville and Florida. I feel like I''m caught in a Wayne''s World dream..."I''m not worthy!" I hope you give this a listen, and I''d be honored if you would consider it worth owning a copy.
Til then,

(Here is a recent review if you would like to read on...)

Music Review
Thousands of undiscovered Christian musicians are hard at work, all in the hope that their original music will reach and minister to an audience of believers https://www.tradebit.com rewards the independent spirit by providing a means for new music to be exposed Each month, https://www.tradebit.com reviews two full-length CDs of Christian-themed music created by indie artists. Learn more about this feature and how to submit a CD for review.

Jim Black: ''til then...
Label: Unsigned
Sound/Style: light yet energetic pop/rock with a heart of devotion
By Steve Morley
(UMCom) -- Anyone who has seen the perennial Christmas classic Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer will recall how the nasally challenged reindeer and his pal Hermy, the would-be-dentist elf, are misfits in their respective communities. Even though they have something unique to offer, they aren''t initially given a chance by the powers-that-be because they don''t fit the mold. They conclude that the only way to live honestly is to go "inde-pen-dent," risking the dangers of the unknown path but retaining their integrity along the way. The comparison is an apt one for unsigned recording artists, many of whom give their inward motivations priority over the allure of a fame-obsessed culture. The entertainment industry''s emphasis on sales and trends (which is not limited to the secular world, incidentally) eliminates many artists who perhaps aren''t cut out for magazine covers and Grammy nominations but whose work is not without merit. And while it must be conceded that non-major label releases can vary vastly in quality, the independent scene allows fresh voices to poke through the music-biz glitz, reminding us that a "perfect-sounding" record doesn''t necessarily possess depth and substance. On his album ''til then..., Jim Black makes a convincing argument for the benefits of a musical minor-league that doesn''t demand creative control or mega-star quality.

Black, a Florida pastor who surrendered his dreams of musical stardom, kept his love of music alive in a local studio. His goal was simply to encourage other Christians by sharing songs gleaned from his own relationship with his Creator. Despite the fact that the singer''s modest voice wouldn''t likely impress the infamous judge Simon on TV''s crass American Idol, there''s a direct connection between his heart and throat, and it comes across in his earnest, sincere delivery. Nashville guitarist and producer Michael Foster was, in fact, drawn to the sound of Black''s voice and his plainspoken but catchy compositions, and the musician proceeded to underwrite a CD project, exceeding Black''s understated ambitions. The production style is simple and direct, like Black himself, and boasts an immediacy typically airbrushed out of much mainstream Christian music. And if Black''s work isn''t always as artfully crafted as that of his major-label counterparts, it rings with the unmistakable mark of a man after God''s own heart.

The bright, relatively uncomplicated tone of songs like "Lead Me," "Love Rains Down" and "I Can Remember (The Underwear Song)" recalls the Top 40 pop of the early 70s. And don''t let the underwear reference disturb you - it comes in the form of a cozy domestic recollection of the singer playing Tarzan as a youngster in his tighty-whities. Black, the recipient of a happy and nurturing childhood, draws the connection between those innocent times and the faithful God who is a dutiful Father to the grown-up Black, whose adult responsibilities no longer allow for parading around in Fruit of the Looms. "Face To Face," which eagerly anticipates a heavenly rendezvous, combines Latin and jazz elements with a rocking guitar, resulting in one of the disc''s most rhythmically and sonically inviting tracks.

"Forever," a tender love song to Jesus from the perspective of an unnamed first-generation disciple, floats invitingly on a cloud of atmospheric keyboards, and the slight but touching "I Will Follow You" shows potential as a congregation-friendly worship tune. Black''s strongest suit is his songwriting, though his personable and vulnerable voice more than compensates in spirit what it lacks in finesse. If this album ever made it to the big leagues, it''s a good bet it would lose something personal in the translation. And this, in the end, is why we should cheer the availability of independently released records like ''til then..., which scratches an itch that a heavily polished, big-budget production doesn''t always reach.

Steve Morley is a freelance music journalist living in College Grove, Tenn.

This review was developed by https://www.tradebit.com, the official online ministry of the United Methodist Church.

(Still another review...)

CD Review: Jim Black - ''til then...
Solid debut for an independent Christian recording artist.
by G.A. Johnson
Partial Observer - (link below)
( https://www.tradebit.com )
May 2, 2004
There are places you visit, and you feel like you want to go back, even before you''ve left. There are books you read, and you feel you''ve been reading that favorite author for years. There are chairs you sit in that you''d like to bring home with you. They''re just the right fit. And there are CD''s you put on your stereo, and you like them right away. They''re comfortable. They''re encouraging. They''re new songs, but you like them right away. That''s the feel of Jim Black''s debut CD: ''til then...

Jim Black is a fresh Contemporary Christian artist who has something new to offer this increasingly important music genre. He blends his songwriting (really story-telling) skills with his guitar-playing and vocal skills to achieve an excellent first effort, leaving the hearer wanting more.

After a season of the intense agony depicted in Mel Gibson''s The Passion of the Christ, this collection of Christ-oriented songs is a welcome, Easter season offering of healing and hope. While Mel concentrated on the pain Christ suffered, Jim Black reminds us of Jesus'' strength, caring, love, and forgiveness. After coming face to face with a crucified King, we need and find the wounded Healer here, One that can conquer even death.

Jim starts his collection of songs with the hummable "Lead Me", followed by a warmly reminiscent "I Can Remember" (The Underwear Song,) and then "I Will Follow You," which can linger in your mind all week. Jim''s grasp of an abundant life, and his ability to write and sing in such an encouraging, entertaining way, is what keeps the CD in your car deck or in your boom box. Here is an artist who doesn''t just play and sing. He communicates. You''d like to have him over for supper. You''d like to have him bring along his guitar and sit by the fireplace. You can listen to some samples of Mr. Black''s CD on https://www.tradebit.com.

Also notable on the CD is "All the Difference", a Christian take on 9/11. And then there is the hauntingly expressive "Forever". All the songs are filled with meaning. All are personal, and give words to feelings one might have, but didn''t know how to express. All are hope-filled. We can certainly use more hope in our world today. I recommend the CD, on the hope of future albums and more Jim Black. ''Til then, we at least have this one.

(If you would like to read on even more, here is a recent newspaper article:

Linda Reeves, Copyright by the Sun-Sentinel, Florida)
The Rev. Jim Black dropped out of college to join a band and follow his boyhood dream of rising to the top of the musical charts. But his visions were tucked into the back of his mind when he received the call from God.
He put his guitar away and became a minister.
Now, 25 years later, he has picked up a guitar again, written songs and cut a religious recording, Til Then, with well-known musicians. His music is a hit and is being aired on radio stations across the country, none locally as yet. Black''s next local concert is planned for Aug. 22 in Royal Palm Beach.
"I had dreams when I was younger about making it in the music business," said Black, 45, co-pastor of Hope Community Covenant Church in Boynton Beach.
"A few months ago, I began writing songs and playing music for a hobby. One day, I prayed to the Lord and asked him to use my songs and music to help people. Two weeks later, I received a call from a top Nashville producer. I know it was my prayers."
Til Then is a private venture on an independent label. Michael Foster of Nashville produced the recording. He paid the bill out of his own pocket, an estimated $50,000. and volunteered his talent, time and studio.
"I heard his music. I like his songs. I like what he is saying. I like his voice," said Foster, who is a backup singer on the recording.
Foster brought in some top-flight musicians for the recording: David Santos, a bassist who has played with Billy Joel and is currently on tour with Crosby, Stills and Nash; Shawn Fichter, a drummer who plays with Kathleen LaGue and Trish Yearwood; and Dennis Burnside, a keyboard payer in Nashville who has played with Elton John and Phoebe Snow.
"These guys are known worldwide," Foster said. "They make a lot of money. We had faith in Jim."
The recording took about a month to produce. To start, Black burned about 2,000 CDs. The music is described as contemporary, inspirational, positive and uplifting.
"I like it," said Tony Crosby, 38, of Boynton Beach. "It''s different. It has undertones of religious music."
The songs and music have been described as one of a kind.
"It is Jim," said Kandy Oliver, 40, of Boynton Beach, wife of Doug Oliver, co-pastor at Hope Community. "He sings of his childhood memories. It is his style. It is his music. The songs are really from his heart."
Black sings about life, tears, hardships, fears and troubled minds, and his hope, love and faith in God.
"The songs have come out of my ministry," Black said.
Black was born in Jamestown, N.Y., where he grew up. He began playing the guitar and singing as a youngster. In high school, he played in bands. He attended college in Chicago for a year, but dropped out to pick up his guitar.
He was offered a gig with a 10-piece, traveling Christian band sponsored by the Evangelical Covenant Church, a denomination of churches in the United States and Canada. They performed in churches, high schools and parks.
"I developed my musical skills when I was in the band," Black said. "It was really an exciting time."
A strong religious calling brought Black to Trinity College in Chicago, where he studied youth ministry and the Bible. He graduated in 1985, married his sweetheart, Laurie, and the couple moved to Houston, where Black went to work for the Evangelical Covenant Church.
He helped organize four churches in the Houston area and created their music programs. In 1989, Black enrolled at North Park Theological Seminary in Chicago to further his religious training.
He graduated in 1992 with a master''s of divinity degree and was ordained. He and his wife moved to Boynton Beach to help start Hope Community Covenant Church with Doug Oliver.
"I hope he has his music heard in many locations," said Doug Oliver, 45. "I am excited for him."
Black sings and plays music at Hope Community Covenant Church during services for nearly 100 members.
The congregation meets at 10:15 a.m. Sundays at Christa McAuliffe Middle School, 6500 Le Chalet Blvd., Boynton Beach.

Web users can hear Black''s music by visiting https://www.tradebit.com or https://www.tradebit.com
For information about the music or the church, call 561-252-1443.

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