published Thursday, October 25th, 2012

Heath bringing 'hip-hop-alachia' sound

If You Go

* What: Brandon Heath with Matt Maher.

* When: 7 p.m. Friday.

*Where: Calvary Chapel, 3415 Broad St.

* Admission: $20 and $35.

* Phone: 615-472-1604 or 615-472-1604.

* Online:

In its early days, contemporary Christian music was essentially "Godspell" and a lot of mostly unlistenable music with altered lyrics originally written as love songs to a girl done by rockers who'd found salvation.

In the last two decades, it has changed as much as any genre in music, with artists dedicating themselves to their writing and playing. Christian rockers have experimented with metal, rap, folk and alternative sounds.

Brandon Heath has added bluegrass or Americana to the mix, with a little hip-hop thrown in, on his latest CD, "Blue Mountain." He will be performing Friday at Calvary Chapel along with Matt Maher.

Heath said he had a specific sound and theme in mind when he went into the studio. He calls it 'hip-hop-alachia."

"I wanted to capture a mountain town in Appalachia," he said, "rural America with honest, hard-working blue-collar people."

Heath said it was important to find his own sound, and doing so meant getting out of his comfort zone in Nashville. The CD was recorded at Echo Mountain Recording Studio in Asheville, N.C.

"I would say there is a Christian music sound, and it's mostly because we all use the same players, but I think each of us needs to carve out our own niche.

Heath said he has been a fan of bluegrass music for a long time. "I didn't want to so much do the Mumford & Sons sound, but I did want more Americana."

He said fans will hear songs from "Blue Mountain," but also older hits like "I'm Not Who I Was" and "Your Love."

Contact Barry Courter at or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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