Neon Steeple

Neon Steeple

by Crowder


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Two years after the dissolution of the David Crowder Band, its frontman and songwriter issues his solo debut, Neon Steeple. In his promo video for the record, the artist calls this music "folktronica." The term goes back to music journalist Jim Byers writing about Badly Drawn Boy. Momus' 2001 album was titled Folktronic, and as a "genre," early records by Beth Orton, Tunng, and many others fall under its umbrella. But this is a first for CCM. Etymological origins aside, Crowder's description is somewhat accurate, at least for its purposes. While "Neon Intro" is a rootsy acoustic number, it's immediately followed by massively looped handclaps, dropped synth basslines, four-on-the-floor drums and programs, acoustic guitars, banjo, Dobro, and fiddle in "My Beloved." Bluegrass melody aside, the sheeny production and rhythmic tack move it directly toward mainstream radio pop. Pre-release single "I Am," despite its wafting synth intro, is more processional -- at least in the first verse -- until the over-amped floor toms, kick drums, and waves of digitally delayed vocal choruses kick in on the refrain. It's a signature Crowder church anthem to be sure; it spent ten weeks in the Christian music charts, as did the other pre-release single "This I Know," a more subtle -- but no less triumphant -- affair that begins with fingerpicked guitars, mandolin, and fiddle. Unlike the rest of this set, its more organic-sounding backing chorus trounces the production even amid those thundering looped handclaps. The sonic framework is best utilized on the retro Bon Jovi-esque rock in "Lift Your Head Weary Sinner (Chains)," the country gospel of "Jesus Is Calling," and the shuffling "Ain't No Grave," which cleverly pairs strummed mandolins with oversized drum programs -- and a killer bridge. There are a pair of cuts that don't work: the anthem "Here's My Heart" is so derivative of U2 that its own identity is erased, and the balladic alter-call number "Come as You Are" feels too formulaic. If Crowder has a career signature -- besides writing hit worship songs -- it's been his quirkiness; that's certainly the quotient on Neon Steeple. Fans should be delighted.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/27/2014
Label: Six Step Records
UPC: 5099968048426
catalogNumber: 002000202
Rank: 5512

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Crowder   Primary Artist
Emmylou Harris   Background Vocals
Phil Madeira   Electric Guitar,Slide Guitar,Lap Steel Guitar,Hammond B3
Ron Block   Banjo
Chris Carmichael   Fiddle
Todd Bragg   Percussion
Kenny Hutson   Banjo,Mandolin,Lap Steel Guitar
Ed Cash   Banjo,Guitar
David Crowder   Acoustic Guitar,Vocals
Christopher Stevens   Keyboards
Matthew Melton   Bass
Claire Indie   Cello
Chad Copelin   Keyboards
Taylor Johnson   Guitar,Resonator
Drew Ramsey   Acoustic Guitar
Max Mitchell   Synthesizer Bass
Laura Musten   Violin
Hank Bentley   Acoustic Guitar,Bouzouki,Electric Guitar,Harmonium,fender rhodes
Dave Spencer   Background Vocals
Jacob Schrodt   Percussion,Drums
Jared Fox   Acoustic Guitar,Keyboards
Liz Huett   Background Vocals
Lauren Johnson   Vocals,Hand Clapping
Tom Loschiavo   Vocals,Hand Clapping
Cara Fox   Cello,Keyboards,Background Vocals
Christian Paschall   Percussion,Drums,Mellotron
Josh Murty   Acoustic Guitar,Mandolin,Electric Guitar,Theremin,Resonator
Timmon Johnson   Vocals,Hand Clapping
J.R. Collins   Bass
Mercy Stevens   Vocals,Background Vocals,Hand Clapping
Sally George   Background Vocals
Blaine Watson   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Phil Madeira   Vocal Producer
Charlie Monroe   Composer
Todd Robbins   Engineer
Hank Williams   Composer
Kenny Hutson   Engineer,Instrumentation
Matt Maher   Composer
Ed Cash   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Will Hunt   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Louie Giglio   Composer,Executive Producer
Chris Tomlin   Composer
Seth James   Composer
David Crowder   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Jason Ingram   Composer
Brad O'Donnell   Executive Producer
Tom Tapley   Engineer
Shelley Giglio   Executive Producer,Art Direction
Steve Littleton   Composer
Ben Glover   Composer,Programming
Christopher Stevens   Composer,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Solomon Olds   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Gabe Scott   Programming,Producer,Engineer,Instrumentation
Chris Llewellyn   Composer
Hank Bentley   Composer
Leighton Ching   Art Direction
Jared Fox   Producer,Engineer
Gareth Gilkeson   Composer
Mike McCloskey   Art Direction
Christian Paschall   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Seth Philpott   Composer
Becca Wildsmith   Art Direction
Tommy Carnes   Engineer,Guitar Engineer

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Neon Steeple 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've always loved David Crowder, but this is his best yet! Love the acoustic, unplugged sound. Duet with Emmy Lou Harris is a treat!