Jesus Music and Hot Dog Evangelism

Recently, I had the task to select special Jesus Music for the new Jesus Music Radio show, which will begin streaming Saturday nights on from 6 p.m. until Midnight all summer long in advance of launching in the of Fall 2016. Seeing classic Jesus Music album covers and hearing songs from groups like Prodigal and Fireworks caused me to remember The Harvest Rockfest which happened in June of 1982. It was held in outdoors on a Saturday in the parking lot of the Odeum in Villa Park, Il. The artists I remember being there wereProdigal, Marty McCall and Fireworks, Rick Cua, Denny Correll and DeGarmo & Key. I know there were one or two others that I forgot because I missed them when I left around Noon for Ohare Airport to pick up Denny Correll whom I had met on several other occasions and his band who flew in from Los Angeles. I was pretty psyched because I was finally going to meet a bass player from Love Song that I really admire1700317_origd, Jay Truax. He was playing with Denny Correll’s band.  Accompanying them was a drummer and lead guitarist who appeared to be LA session musicians.

The ride to the event was pretty uneventful with Denny chatting away as he caught me up on the going’s on in his life and was intrigued why a successful Christian retailer like me had left that for a risky career in Christian radio. I told him that “the Lord works in mysterious ways.” Once we arrived and unpacked, I finally had a chance to talk with Jay. The drummer pretty well kept to himself and attended to his prized drums… a snare and set of cymbals.

Midway through our conversation, the guitarist wandered over and joined in, telling us about the struggles of trying to make a living in the LA music scene. He spoke fondly of his young wife and brand new baby at home. There was a quiet desperation about him so I told Jay that I’d catch him later and concentrated on my attention on him. It was about 2 p.m. and the sun was bearing down on us so I asked if he wanted a bottle of water or something. He said, “No” but his body language told me otherwise. “It’s my treat. Have you eaten anything yet?”,  I asked. He shook his head from side-to-side. I pointed to the portable concession stand. “Come on, I’ll get you whatever you want to eat,” I said as we made our way from the side of the stage to the back of the enclosed audience area. “But you don’t know me,” he said incredulously. “I just want to share the love of Jesus with you. It is my honor to do this.”  So he ate his Chicago -style hot dog between sips of Coca-cola and he thanked me. Then we parted company as I went to visit with another friend backstage as Rick Cua was about to do his set. Together we marveled at the incredible slide guitar work of Dave Perkins.

At the end of Denny’s early evening set, as he gave an altar call, this guitarist laid down his guitar, leaped off the stage, and gave his life to the Lord in front of everyone without hesitation. I found out later that he had no money nor food for the day. The simple act of buying an obviously hungry musician something to eat was the tipping point where he had a personal experience with the Lord in the form of someone putting the gospel into action. I have never forgotten this lesson of hot dog evangelism.

The last time I spoke to Jay Truax a few years ago he reported that this man was a still a solid believer and serving the Lord in studio music industry on the West Coast. Amazing grace, indeed!

Glory to God, James

Jesus Music Is Different From Today’s Christian Music

Most people today have not heard any Jesus Music because it happened long before 2000 AD.

Blame it on the desire by so many programming today’s Christian radio and churches to be perceived as “relevant” but there is an unwritten rule not to feature any songs recorded last century during worship or on the radio. Many Jesus Music pioneers who are actively performing today get very little airplay and tend to draw small concert crowds. Yet when one hears Jesus Music, it is instantly recognized as a “Christian” song compared to some of today’s Christian Music.

Last week I was chatting on Facebook with Al Cox, who has just launched a new public group “CCM & Christian Rock of the 80’s & 90’s” ( when he commented that at 42 years old, he never tires of the “classics”. “Neither do I” was my response when he said something that was so profound,

“Yeah, something about the music then that isn’t there now.”

Boom! Did that get me thinking. I’ve been listening to Christian Music since the mid-1960’s. I founded in part to curate all the Christian Music that I could get my hands on since the Jesus Movement and place it into an on-going and ever expand music archive online. My intention has been to educate and inspire future generations with an accurate musical timeline, which takes listeners all the way back to the roots. You can read through the majority of the hard-to-find Jesus Music portion of the archive while listening to SnT Radio here. Then Al added;

“Some of the stuff today including rock, really lyrically you can not tell if it is Christian or not. You knew it with, Dion, Dallas Holm, Carman, Petra, and others.”

Jesus Music artist Dion on the cover of his 1981 album, Only Jesus" is a side-view of his head and upper chest.


I think a couple of distinctions need to be made in order to fully understand the good, the bad and the ugly concerning the current state of Christian Music. First, in my opinion, there are only two distinct forms of Christian music being produced: one is strictly for commercial purposes (profit), and the second is for worship and edification of the church. All the major Christian labels are now subsidiaries of secular record companies like Sony and Capitol.

Vague lyrics or just the mention of Jesus in a pop song doesn’t make it “Christian” per se. On the other hand, Jesus spoke in many parables to effectively communicate the Gospel and describe the Kingdom of God. He did this so a mass audience would understand His teaching. Knowing when and how much to quote the Bible is as much a matter of discernment as is reducing God’s Word to a readable bumper sticker. Overkill never works well. It normally ends badly with the exact opposite of the desired outcome. Al the added,

“I saw a recent Christian rock title called “CoConut Dracula”. I don’t even think of horror things when I think of Christ. Yeah, that’s why I don’t listen to much new stuff.”

I fully get bands like Mute Math or Stryper, (Michael Sweet) or Switchfoot saying “we’re not a Christian band, but a band comprised of musicians who happen to be Christ-followers.” Even U2, one of the biggest bands in the world for the past 25 years started out playing sets dominate with Christian message songs for Christian youth rallies in Ireland until they elected to make a change in bass players who was not a professing Christian. Yet one of the highlights of every U2 performance is the song 40 (based on Psalm 40) that ends with thousands singing the chorus acapella as single spotlight tightly focuses on Bono’s crucifix that’s dangling from a microphone stand in the darken hall or stadium. In these days where non-Christlike activity (aka sin) is saturating the media, the Internet, and every aspect of society even a little light shines brightly.

The fact that a large segment of popular Christian Music is designed for radio with sales and profit as the driving force is not at all surprising because they have dividends to pay to their stakeholders. The key distinction is the primary motive for creating the music. One is for making money and profit. The other is to worship God on earth as it is in Heaven.

Modern worship from the likes of Hillsong, Bethel Music and IHOP-KC have all shared roots in common with the seminal worship & praise bodywork of Keith Green, Andrae Crouch, The Vineyard, Integrity and Maranatha Music from the Jesus Movement of the 70’s, The Vineyard and Integrity from the 80’s afterglow.

The influence of Morningstar Ministries musicians Don Potter and Leonard Jones combined with the teaching of Ray Hughes over the three decades have been a bridge from the old “worship & praise” to the now sound that is fueling the new uncompromised and spontaneous worship cherished by so many of the millennial generation. Giving glory to God and encountering the manifest presence of God is the driving motive behind the creation of this worship music. Pure, genuine, and authentic vertical lyrics that lead listeners into an atmosphere of Heavenly worship described in Revelation 4 and 5 is the goal.The songs and psalmists that break through into this lofty realm become the modern hymns churches sing with regularity.

My response to Al’s original statement was “I believe that it is a kind of anointing by the Spirit of God that was present during the Jesus Movement.” Even though there were “Christian” record labels back in the day the music was created in most cases to glorify God as a priority and make money if possible. It appeared that God honored and blessed it. When Christian Music became more of a business, Jesus Music faded somewhere along the way until a few went back to creating music in worship to God as in Heaven. So now you have the true spirit of the Jesus Movement sweeping through and stirring up a whole new community of worshippers to benefit the body of Christ. This is a real move of God and I’m expecting a revisitation upon this generation like we saw in the late 60’s and 70’s.

Written by James Kevin Burkhardt

More Christian Music Playlist Secrets Revealed

Here are more keys to unlock those mysterious Christian Music sets you see every few hours on

Pre-recorded 25-minute Christian Music sets have populated the playlist ever since launched on Memorial Day 2009. These were designed to ensure top audio playback quality, volume, and mix flow throughout the day. These were the dark ages before better-sounding AAC’s and other sonic improvements were made for streaming audio content.SnT Radio pre-programmed three different sets: a general music set  SnT000a, a mini-worship set SnT000wpa, and an artist retrospective set ArtistBP, which can only be heard on Saturdays.

The backstory on how artist “block party” retrospective sets is in 2010, the famed Orlando Water Park Wet’N’Wild was holding their second annual Waves of Glory Battle of the Bands and asked founder James Burkhardt to emcee the event. Waves of Glory then became the first event in a series of summertime celebrations clustered under the “SnT Summer of Fun” theme which covered Memorial Day through Labor Day. A major part of this promotion was to give away a “Family four-pack” off admissions to Wet’N’Wild, which were given as promotional consideration. Every week for 13 weeks during June, July and August featured an artist and listeners could enter to win a Family Four-pack just by sending an email when they heard

A major part of this promotion was to give away a “Family four-pack” off admissions to Wet’N’Wild, which were given as promotional consideration. Every week for 13 weeks during June, July and August featured an artist and listeners could enter to win a Family Four-pack just by sending an email with the song title and time when they heard  a song by the featured artist of the week. Winners were announced on Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. just after the artist block party set aired. the Block Parties were aired on Saturdays when listeners were awarded

Now, revealed for the very first time ever are four Artist Block Party set listings which originally aired during 2010’s Summer of Fun promotion.

Love Song LPLoveSong  BP

  1. Front Seat Back Seat                                 1972
  2. Brand New Song                                         1972
  3. Little Country Church                              1972
  4. Welcome Back                                            1972
  5. Let Us Be One                                             1972
  6. Freedom                                                       1972
  7. Feel The Love/Love Song Reprise        1972

Sweet Comfort Band - Breakin' The IceSweet Comfort Band  BP

  1. Childish Things                                        1977
  2. Armed & Ready                                         1982
  3. Got To Believe                                           1979
  4. You Need A Reason                                  1981
  5.   Let It Go                                                    1977
  6. Never Should Have Left You                1984
  7. Ryan’s Song                                              1977

michael card - present realityMichael Card BP

  1. Jesus Loves Me                                     1982
  2. Way of Wisdom                                    1991
  3. El Shaddai                                              1982
  4. This Must Be The Lamb                     1984
  5. Who Can Abide                                     1993
  6. Tell The World                                      1983
  7. The Greening of Belfast                    1994

honeytree - the melodies in meHoneytree BP

  1. Pioneer                                                   1994
  2. Diamond In The Rough                     1979
  3. Making Melody In My Heart            1978
  4. The Broadmoor Song                         1978
  5. The Road                                                1994
  6. Hummer Bummer                               1973
  7. Clean Before My Lord (live)              1977

COUNTDOWN TO A CONCERT; T minus 24 Days and counting



Today is Thursday, December 26, 2013 and time is ticking. Fortunately, the ticket selling website is working perfectly. More tickets have sold today as of this writing and that is a good indication that we shall be successful. Tomorrow I will poll the area Christian bookstores and see how tickets are selling there.For variety’s sake I’ve included the new poster which shows the Matthew Ward Concert scheduled for April 2014. Bulletin size inserts of these will be made available to churches participating in the 10 FREE TICKET giveaway on FaceBook.

Its reaally interesting to see how people are reacting to the preferred seating tickets having been sold out. Before Christmas, we had several phone calls and emails from potential customers from out of state wanting to purchase these prized seats for family as presents and we did our best to make sure these were received by Christmas. So far, so good no complaints. Thankfully, I did not send any out via UPS or FED Ex as both of these package handlers had way more packages to deliver than anticipated. Thousands of people are upset that items were not received in time for that special WOW! moment on Christmas morning. I am thankful we avoided that kind of circumstance. Being a big lover of the “Christmas surprise”, I know I would be upset too if tickets that I purchased as the special gift for a friend or relative didn’t arrive and robbed us both of a good memory.

So the concert is nearly 3 1/2 weeks away and there is lots to be done but most will have to wait until the Holidays pass. Why? Many offices are short staffed and/or closed until; next year which is exactly one week from today. This will make the last 16 – 17 days a mad dash to the finish line. The police need to be notified of a potential traffic bottleneck and steps taken to have enough parking area personnel familiar with the traffic patterns for entrance and exit. Then certain accommodations for the at-the-door ticket sales and advance ticket holders should be finalized. The venue has two entry points so we are designating one for at-the-door sales and the other for in-advance ticket holders. Then there’s a final negotiation with the sound man and his crew.

So the list goes on. I am using the holiday time to make as complete of a list as I possibly can. At this point it is nearly a page and a half long with one item per line. Phil Keaggy has a rather long and detailed rider which must be adhered to… something that we want to do with excellence because we’d like to have him back at another time. All in all, this event is shaping up to be a rather special evening for Christian Music lovers in Central Florida. A set by Randy Stonehill followed by a rare duet performance of Phil Keaggy and Randy Stonehill doing songs from their MYSTERY HIGHWAY CD. If you were not aware of that CD don’t worry, it is very under-exposed but that is part of the reason we are doing this event. To draw attention to one of the best recordings of these two since they collaborated on Sunday’s Child back in the late 1980’s. Then a solo set by Phil Keaggy that is certain to mesmerize everyone.

More tomorrow… thanks for sharing some time with us. I appreciate you so very much and ask you to pray for this event to be used of God to reach the lost and reconnect others with their first love.

Countdown to a Concert; T minus 27 Days and counting


Here we go… First thing to know is that this is real… the people are real…. the concert is real so in a sense this is now a reality blog..

But first, a bit of backstory. It has always been a dream of mine to present many of the Pioneers of Contemporary Christian Music to the New Millennium audience and everyone inbetween them and the Jesus Movement generation (aka Baby Boomers). There is a line that spans the decade from the early 1970’s to present day on which few have points along the way. Phil Keaggy, Randy Stonehill, Chuck Girard, Nancy Honeytree Miller, David Meece, and Matthew Ward are among those who do. People in the church today need to know their musical roots and have the opportunity to appreciate those who paved the way for what is known as “Today’s Christian Music.” That is part of the vision behind and the primary motivation for the idea to have concerts in the family entertainment capital of the world — Orlando, Florida USA.

The hard truth is concert promotion is wrought with risk. What if nobody buys tickets in advance or doesn’t show up after pouring thousands of dollars into making the market aware of the event? That is what keeps every event coordinator and concert promoter that I’ve ever known up at night. Our first concert on December 7th suffered that cruel fate but sometimes you have to break up the fallow ground in order to make the field fertile enough to bring forth a harvest. It was pre Christmas and people make all manner of plans at that time of year. But those that did come on a love offering basis that night were treated to an evening of quality music that would’ve cost $35 or more per person if it were held at venues in Downtown Disney or Universal’s City Walk.

To be fair, nobody in the audience was informed that Randy Stonehill drove down from South Carolina and David Meece flew in from Nashville, Tennessee too be there after a decade long absence. The audience was graciously advised by the hosting Church Lead Pastor that this was how they make a living and to please give a love gift worthy of a living wage for a highly trained professional musician. At the moment the offering plates were being passed almost two and a half hours into the performances, one couple hurriedly got up and rushed out the door to avoid participating in the love offering based on their comment overheard by a security person manning one of the product tables. No love shown there.  What do you think the average “love offering” per person was? You are not going to believe how mature adult persons who have been blessed by their music responded. It was not quite $4.84. So that breaks down to $2.42 per man for both Randy and David for roughly 75 minutes of work each without a cent towards what it cost to get them here, house and feed them. Not a lot of “love” in the love offering either would you agree?. Minimum wage is what, just under $8.00?

Please understand that I am only stating the facts and trying to give you insight into what the financial inequality is that confronts many Christian artists ministering on a love offering basis. Hopefully, you are being encouraged to treat anyone who ministers on a love offering basis to better than what was just reported above. Who made up the gap? That’s right, The artists both took a lesser than normal fee and covered the rest. Like I stated earlier, concerts are a risky proposition. But that doesn’t excuse people being disrespectful. We all need to be more generous and giving. But our sights are not on short term monetary gain or loss. No, our sights are on adding souls to the Kingdom of God either by making new disciples or snatching away from the jaws of death those who once followed the Lamb of God. And the music of their “first love” is what shall draw them back into the fold. That is why we present 24/7 on the internet.

So in just 27 days, Phil Keaggy, one of most important guitarists of the past 30 years is coming to town to share his unique gifts in Central Florida. There’s even a short set where Randy Stonehill will join him and play as a duet..Who wants to miss that? All the preferred seats have sold and general admission tickets are beginning to sell. Honestly the venue does not have a bad seat in the place and we can comfortably seat just about 550 or 600. It is a good start. Line of sight to the stage is great from every seat and the sound is impeccable. There are no sup[port poles blocking anyone’s view. The sound is clear and strong but not too loud.

Tomorrow will be day 26 and counting. Check back, won’t you? This story is far from over.

SnT The Best of the Jesus Music Era 1969 – 1979 Songlist for Saturday, September 3, 2011

The danger with a list like this is that it proves time is marching on. In under 12 months will be the 40th anniversary of what Life Magazine heralded as the “Christian Woodstock – Explo ’72”. My brother attended that event. I had just graduated from High School, and was about to begin my freshman year of College. So many of the songs selected are going to be memory joggers for many of us who qualify for membership in AARP. Or maybe just call us Jesus Geezers.

The albums shown above were some of the most significant of that very special and Holy Spirit-filled ten year season. Of course Jesus Sound Explosion Explo ’72 had to make the list. Eighty thousand persons were there. Almost a significant is the Hosanna USA Live event. Broadcast live via satellite and simulcast on FM stations (this was before stereo TV audio) as was common with other secular televised concert shows like ABC’s IN Concert series. A very ambitious undertaking by Chuck Smith and the Calvary Chapel/ Marantha Music folks – I had a connection because I was Advertising Manager for Tyndale Bookshops, who sponsored the FM simulcast in the Chicago Market on a non-Christian mega-watt FM station that hit 3 states around that city.

Then there are the Jubilation series “sampler” albums from Myrrh Records. Four sides for $16.98 list price. Ouch! These were some of the first widely distributed albums of Jesus Music made available. For many who didn’t have a progressive Christian radio station like KYMS-FM in Costa Mesa, CA or KCFO-FM in Tulsa, OK , the only way to hear Jesus Music through syndicated shows like Scott Ross, PowerLine or Full Circle with Jerry Bryant and sharing albums like these among friends. Many of the early artists custom LP’s were distributeq by the Sonrise Mercantile Company and available by mail order only like Larry Norman, Children of the Day, Danny Lee & Children of Truth and much of the early Marantha Music LP’s. The big exception was Good News Records, Love Song’s label had distribution through some major national record departments in chain stores like Sears and E.J. Korvettes. I can remember buying the first Love Song album there in Elmhurst IL much to my delight.

As is our policy to feature “songs you just don’t hear on the radio anymore” I’ve selected many significant songs and artists from the above albums that first introduced Jesus Music – plus some very rare live cuts from the 1972 to 1974 vintage that really carry the feeling of the times. Just like Walter Conkrite’s educational series “YOU ARE THERE”, these selections will put you smack dab in the middle of the Jesus Movement. For you newbies who missed it — enjoy. The rest of us can close our eyes because like the man says… “and more sweet memories on SnT Radio”.

1. Tomorrow’s News by Malcom and Alwyn

2. Heaven’s Gonna Be A Blast by Honeytree

3. Johnny by Randy Matthews

4. Think About What Jesus Said by Love Song

5. Jesus People by Barry McGuire

6. Sweet Sweet Song of Salvation by Larry Norman

7. I See Men As Trees Walkin’ by Johnny Cash

8. The Prince Song by the 2nd Chapter of Acts

9. Where Can I Go by Petra

10. Friends by Ernie and Debbie Rettino

11. Sweet Jesus Morning by Mustard Seed Faith

12. He’s The Reason To Go On by The Way

13. Sweet Music by the Pat Terry Group

14. Ain’t You Glad by Michael Omartian

15. Reaching For The Sky by Liberation Suite

16. Jesus Is Just Alright by e Band

17. Light of the World by Parchment

18. Life’s Greatest Possession by Lily Green

19. Living Water by Denny Correll

20. Jesus Came Into My Life by Benny Hester

21. Song for Salvation by Paul Clark

22. Temple To The Sky by Leon Patillo

23. To The Ancient Of Days by Bob Ayala

24. Shotgun Angel by Daniel Amos

SnT will play one song approximately every hour from this list beginning at 12:00am EST Saturday, September 3, 2011.

To listen just login:

Please visit our SnT LIKE Page on Facebook or tweet us #SnTRadio on Twitter.Tell your friends and refer them here
You are encouraged to join the SnT listener community and make a comment or share your personal Jesus Music era memories.

James Burkhardt