We've come a long way since. Now Christian music is found in so many different styles it is the only genre of music that is defined by its lyrical content.
Adult Contemporary Christian Music offers a pop flair, but is delivered in a softer, lighter style. However, since the modern pop elements are still there -- sometimes interspersed with folk sounds, which are back in favor with college-aged listeners -- Adult Contemporary isn't restricted to just the older folks.
Essential Adult Contemporary Artists
Christian Bluegrass is intricate and technically difficult, belying the stereotype of "mountain music" as being slow and simple. Some of the best pickers I've ever heard were bluegrass musicians.
Essential Bluegrass Artists
- Alison Krauss & Union Station
- The Easter Brothers
- The Lewis Family
Country music, lyrically, is about real life. And for many, real life includes heartbreak, as well as the faith that gets them through it. Yes, country music's sub-genres "honky tonk" and "outlaw country" are more about drinking and thumbing your nose at the "establishment," but today's country music is less outlaw and more Godlaw.
Essential Country Artists
- Alan Jackson
- Charlie Daniels
- Point of Grace
- Randy Travis
From the underground days of the Resurrection Band of the late 1970s to the 1980s when Stryper put Christian Metal on the map, the genre has twisted, turned and grown. With several styles of metal, such as melodic metal, classic metal, speed metal, thrash metal and screamo available to metal-heads, it is absolutely possible to find a metal band that fits your taste and glorifies your Savior.
Essential Metal / Hard Rock Artists
- August Burns Red
- Day of Fire
- Falling Up
- Top Christian Hard Rock Bands
- Top Christian Metal Bands
Christian rock, much like its secular counterpart, has several sub-styles within the genre. Modern rock, alternative rock, indie rock, punk and southern rock are all well represented, bringing much to like to the masses. Using electric guitars, passionate vocals and drum kits beating out killer back beats, Christian rock was a way to share the Message of Hope to people in churches who wanted more than traditional hymns and to those outside of the church that didn't know Jesus.
Essential Modern / Alternative Christian Rock Bands
Artists like Carman, Sandi Patty and Steve Green are more Adult Contemporary, but they have released projects specifically for kids. Then you have music that is 100% kid-friendly, like songs from the popular Veggie Tales, The Cedarmont Kids and The Praise Baby Collection. And let's not forget the "tweens." Jump5 was the first band that came out specifically aimed at the pre-teen group. Since they disbanded, PureNRG and The Rubyz have worked hard to fill the gap.
Essential Kids Artists
Using secular music terms, Christian pop contemporary could easily be described as "Top 40." Pop music meets soft rock and voila! -- Pop Contemporary!
Essential Pop/Contemporary Artists
Artists using a rap style to share their faith reach places that other styles could never enter. Unlike secular rap, which frequently glorifies sex, drinking, violence and drugs, Holy Hip Hop focuses on The One who can deliver you from those things.
Essential Christian Rap Artists
Inspo blends pop, contemporary, AC, hymns, and even praise and worship, without the corporate worship elements. Artists from several of the Christian music styles have recorded inspirational albums, making the inspo genre full of variety.
Essential Inspirational Artists
Many people have asked how instrumental music can be labeled as Christian, since the basis for the entire Christian music genre is the lyrics. The answer to that question, at least my answer, is to look beyond the music into the heart of the musician.
Essential Instrumental Artists