But two of our favorite sons - Steven Malcolm and Kevin Max - have released new recordings which are claiming their spots on the musical spectrum.
MALCOLM'S NEXT PART
Steven Malcolm, the rapper/hip-hopper who honed his music and worship leading skills at the Edge Urban Church on Grand Rapids' southwest side, is out with the second part of his four-part series: "The Second City." The five new songs are the next step after part one's appearance earlier this year. Read our review online.
Malcolm will be debuting some of his new material at a showcase concert Sat. June 30 (see details below).
A reminder: "Second City" refers to Montego Bay, Jamaica, where his father was born. But it also foreshadows a new city in the coming kingdom of God. The melodic title song has the artist sporting an island accent as he uncovers redemption.
There are some confessional lyrics in the tune "Been There" which reveal the artist's heart. "Even Louder" features worship beats and rather serenely concludes with guest vocals by Leeland Mooring (of the worship-based group Leeland).
Collaboration also shows up on one of the stronger tracks, "Fuego," in which Michael Anderson shares the spotlight.
The new project has been promoted with some well-placed billboards around West Michigan. Last week there was one on west-bound I-96 in the Grand Rapids area.
His local concert features many of the artists Malcolm has worked with over the last several years, some through the Infinity Music Group (IMG).
IMG Movement – featuring Steven Malcolm, Beacon Light, Kevi, Zay Marr, Quese, Zay Jones, Peazy and Mark The Baddguy
6pm Sat. June 30
The Edge Urban Church, 735 Ritzema Ct. SW
Advance tickets $11, at the door $14, VIP $25, for tickets online
Watch a video preview of the June 30 concert online.
MEANWHILE, MAX STRIKES AGAIN
Remember Kevin Max? The former Kevin Smith, part of the ground-breaking, Grammy-winning Christian-music-and-beyond trio dc Talk?
Yes, Kevin has deep roots in Grand Rapids. He's a son of Max and Elaine Smith and a mid 1980s graduate of Grand Rapids Baptist High School (now Northpointe Christian). Then he traipsed off to Liberty University where he met Toby McKeehan and Michael Tait and dc Talk happened.
After the trio went on hiatus in 2000, the members went their separate musical ways although they've always stayed in touch and occasionally sing together.
Can it be with his latest album, "AWOL," that Kevin now has 13 solo projects in his catalog? Yes, and it's been a most diverse musical thread.
The new album's style has been described as new wave, Brit rock, and electro synth. It is unpredictably eclectic.
A sampling: Listen to the ethereal ballad, "Cornucopia of My Soul" .See the concept video for the eerie, outer space vibe of "Moonracer" with its admission "I need you to move forward."
The boldly-titled "Yeshua" is a direct reference to Jesus and his invitation to the doubting disciple, "Touch the holes in my side..."
"Eurorail" is a driven song which describes firsthand a European train ride, with some sound effects included.
Listen for the delicacy of Max's expressive vocals throughout the album.
"AWOL" is an amazing musical painting, with some wonderful discoveries to uncover in the depths of his musical layers.
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