I turned 30 last week. Gee…whizz. That’s a big loaded statement to start off my next blog post. Yes, I did turn the big proverbial 3 0 on last week Monday, and after a big long break of just over a month between the last previous blog (Week 34 was for KING AND COUNTRY published online in mid-November) and now, I’ve managed to catch up on a very much needed time of rest, relaxation, and just generally working hard at my work as a café owner and operator. I’ve learnt to slow down a little during my time away, and to remind myself that though this year has been great as I’ve explored a vast myriad of music at my fingertips quite literally (you can search on Youtube for any musical content you wish!); my life wasn’t just music. Over this month when I wasn’t immersing myself into this particular artist and that, I found out how much time I was undertaking the discovery of new artists throughout the year. I was letting this blog series take control of my life, not necessarily consciously, but nevertheless, that’s what I was doing. To put it bluntly, I found a little of my identity in my blog post series this past year. Which isn’t that good. Still, here I am back, and ready to get into yet another year of exploring artists that I believe have made a mark on today’s music culture, amongst people, and shaped music in general. One such artist that I’m about to delve into at the moment, is 1990s and 2000s CCM legend, Carman!

Carman has made a big impact on my life. No…delete that sentence. Carman has had one of the greatest impacts in my life from as early as I know to this very day. If you were to pick one artist that has shaped me as a person and that has managed to sow seeds of hope, encouragement and the love of Christ when I was young, then Carman was the guy. Yes, way back when I was in nappies, and learning to walk, I was listening to music at a ripe young age of…well, I don’t know, but that’s beside the point. What is the point is that in the Christian home and family I grew up in, music as a way of imparting positive and godly values and instilling them in lives such as mine and my brother’s at a young age was almost a non-negotiable for our parents. And which music artist did they turn to for such biblical knowledge, understanding and songs that allowed what we knew about God and Jesus and everything else to soak into our lives from when we were young till now? Why, Carman of course. Born Carman Licciardello (and known by his stage name ‘Carman’) in the mid-1950s, his music quite literally shaped our view of God and who we (myself and my twin brother) are today- he may not be influential at this very moment in music, but throughout CCM and CCM history, as well as the lives of myself and Josh my brother, Carman was very much an artist that indeed is a pioneer, into the category of others like Amy Grant, Larry Norman, Rich Mullins, PETRA and Keith Green. Maybe my comparison to such greats within the CCM industry can seem to some as being a little naïve about the actual real impact of Carman on music, but for me personally, Carman’s influence in indeed second to none. Apart from the Bible and Jesus, Carman was No. 2 in who taught our family around the 1990s (cause that’s when I grew up) about the gospel of Jesus Christ and what it meant to follow Jesus on a daily basis. And for that instilling of the Word of God, I’m proud to rekindle my love, appreciation and respect for Carman’s music as I prepared a little for this blog post this week. Carman may or may not be making music at the moment, but even that is irrelevant. Carman’s impact far goes beyond years active in the industry. Influence and impact are rather more about lives changed and positively altered than the no. of years active in said industry.

Carman’s music was featured heavily during the 1980s and 1990s, and while post-2000, there wasn’t really much album releases from a guy whose niche genre of gospel/story-songs/spoken word wasn’t as welcomed or even expected in an industry that’s ever growing (which is indeed very sad upon reflection), Carman still holds a special place in my heart. Among the first of the artists my parents introduced me to that set me down a path of CCM that opened doors to other artists like Delirious?, Steven Curtis Chapman, Tim Hughes and the Newsboys (to name a few), Carman’s ministry through music was always hard-hitting and ground breaking. He incorporated pop, hip-hop, rock, worship, even spoken word, and a few rap songs along the way, to create a genre that is every way different and maybe even a sub-set of a genre that is only synonymously attributed to him- a Carman genre- maybe his counterpart at the moment who is able to blend in a vast amount of musical styles and genres to form their own, would have to be TobyMac. Ironically enough, both Toby and Carman collaborated on a Carman 1993 radio hit titled ‘Addicted To Jesus’- one of my favourite Carman songs ever, and one that boldly states the gospel, and asks the question as to why people aren’t sold out and ‘addicted’ to Jesus- and what are they addicted to instead! Carman also delves into another themes in other songs, and so while I won’t list out heaps, because that will indeed take a while to read (and also because I don’t want any post of mine from here on end, to feel travelogue-ish), I will still nevertheless ponder and reflect on some, and state my thoughts on a few songs that have impacted me in my walk over the years. Many songs by Carman, for its day, have indeed stretched the boundaries of music at that time, of what CCM sounded like and should sound like, and was acceptable to the public back then and even now. And then there are other songs by Carman that are influential in my own walk with God in a very deep and personal way. And both ways for songs to be influential and impacting- both to people on a personal level, and to the general wider community and the transforming and reforming of musical genres because of such a unique and impacting song/album/artist, both ways are indeed ok, and very much welcomed.

Carman’s body of work was a force and powerhouse back in the day, and since the music has shaped me, and even who I am as a person, it’s only fitting for a tribute, that I undertake and discuss Carman and his music in and around my birthday- and yes, he’s that influential in my life! What better way than to celebrate an artist that has in essence, ‘grown up’ with me, during a period of time that is celebrating my life and the life I’ve led, from birth till now. Maybe some people can call that reasoning egotistical, and maybe they have every right to. But the way I see it is this- for Carman to be discussed in a blog post during my birthday period, when technically, it’s my birthday ‘week’ (you know how families celebrate birthdays, here at our household, we celebrate birthday weeks upon weeks!) (and therefore, I really shouldn’t be doing much during my birthday ‘period’ full stop!); is a tribute and an honour to Carman and the role and impact he’s had in my life. His songs of praise, worship, pop, rock, even story-songs, make for good theatricals and even just listening to them once over will give you an appreciation for an overlooked genre of music currently at this point in the state of music today. Rarely are story-songs appreciated for what they are, and for Carman, that particular style of music formed not only some of his most chart-topping songs of his career, but songs that have impacted me the most.

In essence, Christian music fundamentally has to be about the gospel of Christ- it’s core values and doctrine reminding us all of the divinity of Jesus Christ, dying for the sins of mankind, and rising from the dead to rid ourselves from sin, death and separation from Him. I guess apart from that particular creed-like statement, I guess it doesn’t matter how the music sounds like. Yes, there’s pop, and rock, and worship music, and hip hop and rap and everything else that sings about life, God, the struggle, and what people feel about the current state of life and how they reconcile that with God and His overall sovereignty. But we all have to realise that every music has its place, and even though rock music, or to put it more bluntly, mainstream music, is as sensuous and material-like as it is, we are reminded by Paul in 1 Corinthians 9:19-23, that ‘…even though I am free of the demands and expectations of everyone, I have voluntarily become a servant to any and all in order to reach a wide range of people: religious, nonreligious, meticulous moralists, loose-living immoralists, the defeated, the demoralized—whoever. I didn’t take on their way of life. I kept my bearings in Christ—but I entered their world and tried to experience things from their point of view. I’ve become just about every sort of servant there is in my attempts to lead those I meet into a God-saved life. I did all this because of the Message. I didn’t just want to talk about it; I wanted to be in on it…’ I guess that is the very reason why CCM started in the first place- to reach a world of music, where mainstream hard-hitting secularisation of the music has occurred from the very thing that God Himself created. Someone like Carman ventured into music and created a sub-genre that incorporates quite a lot, and in my mind, has followed in the likes of Larry Norman (famous for his song ‘Why Should the Devil Have all The Good Music?’) to be arguably an artist that has divided and united many (I guess people either love his music or find it corny and cringe-worthy), but on the whole, has created songs that stir up passion, enthusiasm and introspective thought that even to this day, hasn’t really been divulged and discussed amongst the normalised CCM scene, unfortunately and sad to say. Carman and his music stands out, for me in a good way, and for others, I’m not sure, but regardless, Carman and his imprint not only on CCM the genre, but on music as a whole, is something that will be discussed fervently and at length not only now, but for years to come.

Since having his humble beginnings in music during the 1980s, Carman’s music discography stands tall and impactful, even assessing the songs in 2019, years upon years later. And as we look at the plethora of music that Carman has given to us over the years, we can see the vast amount of styles he has had a hand in over the years. There’re the traditional CCM/pop songs that have been the most popular over the years; and Carman has contributed to that particular genre across the years- songs like ‘Revive Us, Oh Lord’, ‘Hunger For Holiness’, ‘The River’, ‘Serve the Lord’, ‘Jesus is the Way’, ‘I Feel Jesus’, ‘Blessed is He Who Comes’, ‘Jesus is the Light’, ‘Lord of All’, and ‘No Way, We are Not Ashamed’, are just some of many, many worshipful/CCM/pop-ish songs Carman has given to us, yet even then, Carman’s worshipful music still feels on a different structure than most, if not all, of the CCM that was being released to the public in and around that particular time period. Carman is a presenter of the gospel- first and foremost, and at times, it may seem as many of his songs, inclusive of the worshipful ones, can seem a little show-off-ish, or maybe even more ‘gospel’ than necessary. There’s a lot of gang vocals, a lot of ‘yess’ and ‘amen’s by the backing gospel singers. There’s a lot of inserting of ‘crowds’ in ‘studio’ tracks, there’s the claps…and what someone could seem to assume, if they’re not part of a certain ‘CCM’ culture, is that the music being presented, as sincere and honest as it really, really is; can come across to those who hear it, as a little ‘fake’. And yet, in spite and through all of the seemingly ‘corny’ and ‘over-the-top’ worshipful performances in many of the songs Carman has undertaken, his music still resonates and still stands tall, at least for me, years later. Yes, there can be a sense of ‘showmanship’ about his songs, but there’s also an earnestness and a passionate side to them as well. We are reminded that not all worship songs and CCM sounds the same or is even structured the same. And that’s ok. And if what Carman is making is showing us that this certain mould of what CCM ‘should’ sound like is slowly but surely being broken down, then Carman’s music, as musically ‘controversial’ as it may be, has done its job right!

What I reckon will be the more memorable songs Carman has undertaken in his discography- that will resonate years and years later (and more years upon that!), are most definitely the story-songs. Yes, the songs where there is indeed not much singing at all, but rather, quasi-rapping and spoken word, and just more of a ‘poetry-through-music’ vibe, as the longer-style songs that Carman has unveiled are in fact the ones that have impacted my own spiritual journey since being a young kid, till now. And with Carman being active in the music industry as long as he has, many songs over the years by this energetic and enthusiastic artist has impacted I’m sure not only my own life, but impacted music at various points through history as well. Songs like ‘The Champion’, an epic 8-minute frame-by-frame story-song, is about the final battle we all know as Christians as the one between Satan and Jesus shown and personified by the death and resurrection of Christ all those years ago. Here in ‘The Champion’, it is presented as a boxing match, with stanzas and the story weaving together a modern re-telling of sorts, of the greatest story ever told which is actually true. Poetically genius, with a lot of metaphors and a maturity that the song has, well beyond its years (the song itself was created in the mid-1980s); Carman’s ‘The Champion’ is not only a pinnacle of his own career thus far, but a snapshot and highlight in Christian music, period. Other songs are not as metaphorical and come straight from the bible- ‘Lazarus Come Forth’ is the story of Jesus raising his dear friend Lazarus from the dead, while ‘Jericho: Shout of Victory’, complete with horns and other brass instruments, is a song with I reckon one of the most underrated and overlooked poetry that the Christian music market has ever seen. It creates a very great picture of what maybe the Israelites were feeling during the time when they were asked to follow the orders to march around a city many, many times, afterwards to blow their trumpets and the wall would be prophesied to fall, and so to capture all their emotion in one story-song is utter genius and a masterpiece. A reminder that I myself can appreciate more story-style poetry-songs than I care to admit, I can safely say that ‘Jericho: Shout of Victory’ is one of my favourite story-songs by Carman, ever. Take a look at an excerpt of the poetry lyrics below, and you’ll see what I mean.

The inhabitants of Jericho were perverted by sin and corrupt,
Surrounded by walls so thick, that chariots raced on top
With ladders, catapults and spearheads readied and blazing in the sun,
The armies of Israel stood waiting for commands of war to come
For thirty-nine years Joshua was trained under Moses righteous hand
And it was Joshua who led nearly three million Israelites into the promised land
Now Moses was dead and the real test came, could he simply follow God’s word?
And do something that to the natural mind would be utterly absurd
Without Moses to ask advice of or an advisory committee, God said,
“The walls will fall just tell them shout, for I have given you the city”
Now God was putting in operation, a principal of war
Setting at our disposal weaponry that drops demons to the floor
Something with tremendous power that assassinates fear and doubt
It’s the high praises of victory, unleashed by a shout
When David played his songs of praise, demons fled from Saul
As Paul and Silas worshiped God, the chains began to fall
It lifts us above the circumstance and lets God’s power flow
The shout of victory binds the Devil with chains that won’t let go
So with the confidence of warring angels, Israel stood stone ready to obey Joshua
Speak to their mountain and shout for God was giving them the city

Excerpt of ‘Jericho- Shout of Victory’- from the album Radically Saved in 1988

The story songs keep coming, and if I were to say everything and anything great about each and every one of them, well, chances are this post could be the biggest one ever…so I won’t. Just know that story-songs are Carman’s specialty, and he does them well. ‘Revival in the Land’, the title track from his 1991 album, recounts in classic Carman story-song format the conversations of what might occur between the devil and his demon minions when they are having their day-to-day conversations, and what might occur and happen when Christians bind and cast out demons and spirits from people, and what may really happen when the devil’s influence over someone wanes because of their acceptance to Christ. It is in some ways a far-fetched story, but nevertheless, ‘Revival in the Land’ is a portal into the world of the spiritual, making people think that yes, there are such things as demons and the evil realm, and what should I do to combat that in the here and now. ‘A Witches Invitation’ is indeed a story-song that is as confronting as ever, as Carman tells of a persona who encounters an actual witch and what happens and transpires from the meeting- maybe the story-song is actually a recount of what happened in his own life, or maybe its just a poetry-song inspired by the happenings of the day- regardless, ‘A Witches Invitation’ allows people to think more about the spiritual realm than they are really thinking about it in real life…and that is a good thing. ‘This Blood’, one of the story-songs where he actually sings rather than raps/speaks, is where Carman showcases a vivid and graphic account into the death of Jesus, and reminds us all that all that Jesus went through was for us humans, you and me, while songs like ‘There is A God’ is a collision between the Bible and science where Carman does his best to remind us all that science in all its grandeur and mighty information is all about point us towards an infinite creator rather than away, and ‘The Third Heaven’, a story-song that speaks about the heaviness of dying and what it is when a soul separates from a body, is by far one of the most emotional songs I’ve heard from Carman when I initially heard it- the story-song itself is about a persona who has died and describes heaven in great detail (using I’m sure Revelations as a good guide for the descriptive and metaphorical moments in said story-song).

Carman’s songs are very unique and there’s never a dull moment in his discography- the story-songs tell us that. But apart from the story-songs and the worship-style songs (that I’m sure if they were remade now with a modern flavour, they’d get a lot of radio airplay), there’s another collection of songs that Carman has introduced to us- songs with a certain theme/atmosphere/musical flavour that is neither CCM or even story-song. Kind of a new ‘Carman’ category. Carman fuses together big-band with story-song in ‘7 Ways 2 Praise’, a song that showcases and recounts the different ways to praise the Lord (towdah- sacrifice, yadah- lifting hands, barouch- to bow, shabach- to shout, zamar- playing instruments, halell- to rave and boast via dancing, tehillah- a combination of the rest), while ‘Sunday School Rock’ harkens back to the 1950s with a quasi-Beatles inspired track (you have to see the unique black and white music video as evidence and proof) and plays into the themes of the Beatitudes as well as the Sermon on the Mount, as the 1950s genre becomes ‘Carman-ised’ with this track, in a good way. ‘Mission 3:16’ (alongside its 10 minute music video) is a harkening back to a James Bond-esque era with Carman playing a similar styled character in the video, as we’re reminded that we all as Christians, are tasked with a mission to share the gospel with people and to make readily available the good news to people around the world- this song and video reminds us that this calling on our hearts is a global issue indeed.

‘Whiter Than Snow’, quite possibly the song that showcases Carman at his most vulnerability and emotion (than I can see in any song during the 1990s), is a 9 minute (yes, indeed that long) prayer of sorts from Carman to God Himself, showing Him all his deficits and feelings, his needs and wants, all the while reminding us all that even if we are at the brink of regret and hopelessness, and even if we are like the persona in a song (who is indeed in a Job-like situation), we are reminded that even in the direst of circumstances, we can be and are made white as snow because of Jesus’s death and resurrection. ‘Step of Faith’ traverses into the genre of country-pop and features country legend and superstar Ricky Skaggs in the duet about taking steps of faith into the unknown, while 1993 classic dance-rock melody ‘Who’s in the House’, in all its corny lyrics and a genre that maybe even now in 2019 is overlooked, is a reminder that Carman can turn around from powerful story-song to the ever-so-niche ‘Who’s in the House’-genre with certain ease, and that shows us real talent. Songs like ‘Are You The One’, ‘Meant for this Moment’, ‘Somewhere Within the Heart’ and ‘Turned On, Sold Out, Hooked on Jesus’ are all glimpses into the kids series of albums and corresponding videos that Carman introduced to us during the 1990s under the titular name of the series, ‘Yo Kidz’, and a reminder that even Carman who has had songs like ‘The Champion’ and ‘Lazarus’ before, can in fact create music that kids can enjoy and ponder as we see the gospel being shown to people of all ages, not just adults.

To be honest, there’s in fact no genre that Carman hasn’t tried, even at least once- ‘Addicted to Jesus’ was a collaboration to popular rap/pop/hip-hop band at the time, Dc Talk, while his collaboration with PETRA that produced ‘Our Turn Now’ created something polarising as a topic such like this divided many- those who said that the message was too forceful for its time, and others who praised Carman for speaking up for the foundational principles of Christianity in schools. 1990s-style rap was alive and well in ‘The Resurrection Rap’, a spoken-word-style rap (more speaking than rapping, but nevertheless, a well-intended attempt at a genre that if done right, is indeed one such genre hard to articulate and accomplish right!) that brings into account the events of Jesus’s death and subsequent resurrection, under the backdrop of rap that at the time was unique and different (but now would have been considered as corny, substance-lacking and kidd-ish), while songs like ‘Great God’ (from The Standard), ‘The Courtroom’ (from Mission 3:16) ‘1955’ (from Addicted to Jesus), ‘No Monsters’ and ‘God is Exalted’ (both from RIOT); all have visually striking and compelling music videos to each accompany equally emotive and profound songs. ‘Great God’ is a song that states in no uncertain terms who God is and the very reasons why God is great, while ‘The Courtroom’ gives a dramatized account of what may happen to a person’s soul after they die, and the tussle and ever-present long battle that occurs for a person’s soul, between Christ and the devil, even after death as this song suggests. ‘1955’ is a song set in the 1950s, presented in and amongst an era of life where racism and bigotry ruled America in particular (and is a gentle and cautious reminder, according to the music video that we can watch below!, that racism still exists in the world today!), while ‘No Monsters’ is a declaratory anthem to rid our lives of the demonic forces that seem to be clouding it on a day-to-day basis, and ‘God is Exalted’ takes the metaphor of flying in an aeroplane to a destination as being the application to what the Christian life and living it fully without compromising and waving looks like. ‘Faith Enough’ was Carman’s heavy introduction into pop-territory post-2000 with a collaboration with up-and-coming (at the time) group ZoeGirl in what is and forever will be my favourite Carman song after 2000, while songs like ‘Just Like He Said’ and ‘Jesus Period’ show signs of Carman we have never seen before- latin pop (a la Ricky Martin or Sharika) and rock (a la U2 or the Rolling Stones) respectively.

In his career thus far, we have seen almost everything- well, maybe not full on rap, but then again, considering when he started and where he is now, that may not happen. Nevertheless, his impact on not only my life, Christian music and even the world need not to be diminished. He appeared in 2 movies in full (the 1995 RIOT movie with 8 video clips of songs from the 1995 movie of the same name, and The Champion in 2001), made a bunch of music videos, and hosted a lot of concerts back in the day. But it was in the mid-2010s where everything changed for Carman- diagnosed with cancer, he was given a finite amount of time to live- I think it was 3 years or so. And then he went to kickstarter to fund an album– and it was that successful funding via his fans that quickly became the second highest successful kickstarter campaign related to music in all of kickstarter history. And so now as we stand here in 2019, Carman’s released a few albums after his cancer diagnosis and successful remission- No Plan B in 2014 and Legacy in 2017. As Carman himself has stated in a recent interview, about what he himself has learnt through his cancer and what has shocked him the most in good and bad ways, ‘…I wasn’t surprised at anything about how or what the Lord did or how He took care of things or how He supplied, because I’ve seen Him do before and when there was no other way to get something done or no other way to provide, He would come through. That’s not a surprise to me because I lived that way. I did the love offering concerts. Every night I walked on the stage, I had $200,000, $300,000 hanging over my head and had no money to pay for it. Every night for years. I’m not surprised at that. That’s how I lived, but I am surprised at who came to assist me, because the people that you thought would help you and you thought would rush to you to help you–especially people that I’ve helped out through the years–didn’t. These were people I helped get started in the industry, people I gave really big opportunities to to get started with their ministry, people who were abandoned by everybody in the business and some people I didn’t even really know that well just came in. I went and bought them suits and clothes and gave them songwriting credits on records that I really didn’t have to. I could have done it myself, but I knew it would give them some money in their pocket from royalties, and it would keep them going and keep giving them something to live on. These are the people that I didn’t hear anything from. I mean nothing. I was just shocked. If that was me and it was somebody that did that type of stuff for me to get started, I would at least be on the phone talking with them and encouraging them and making them laugh or anything just to help them get through, just anything. But I got no texts, no cards, just nothing. Zero. That’s what shocked me, but here’s the other thing that shocked me is the people that did come to help me, to come to my aid, that I had no clue would do anything. These were people I’d never met before, people that I didn’t know how I affected their lives, people that just were willing to do anything, sacrifice anything to just help me get through this. People who donated money because when you go into treatment you’re out of work for nine months and you take anybody and you put them out of work for nine months, kill off all their income, income stream for nine solid months, at the end of nine months your life looks a little different than it did before. People were making donations from overseas, people I’d never met. People from Japan. I was shocked…’

It is in the light of reading this excerpt of the interview that I can gain more of a greater appreciation of No Plan B and its significance in Carman’s life. It is a reminder of the grace and silver lining that comes from a situation so dire and basically, depressing. While currently not that popular in the CCM market, his music for me is still making an impact. But for others…I don’t really know. Many listeners may not know him or his music that well (considering that Carman’s dominance in the Christian music market was during the 1980s and 1990s), and maybe that’s ok- here’s hoping this particular blog can at least get people interested in Carman’s music, even if it is the music of yesteryear. Despite his time away from the music industry, Carman’s presence is still felt, ever since his first album Sunday’s on the Way in 1983. While some could call his music outdated, No Plan B throws away the handbook on how music should sound currently to deliver an album in ‘Carman-style’- complete with choirs, synth-led melodies, raps, story-songs, 80s style ballads and a whole lot of European and Latin American flavour as this new Carman album tries to appeal to both young and old generations alike. ‘Jesus Heal Me’, ‘No Plan B’, ‘Yes, Yes’, ‘God Made Man’ and ‘It’s All In His Hands’ are all personal standouts of mine on one of the 2010s most surprising and nostalgic albums of the decade (in my opinion!), and yet, even with the heavy nostalgia that can be felt in both No Plan B and his new 2018 album/compilation Legacy (both of which have been reviewed here on this site); nostalgia alone isn’t really going to make an artist move on to more successive heights and greater moments of stardom. Popularity wise, No Plan B and Carman in general is sadly not going to stack up against popular artists like Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe, TobyMac or the Newsboys. And with changes in the musical tastes of listeners leaving behind the music of Carman for a more fresh, polished and CCM sound; Carman’s new music from an objective standpoint, isn’t one that’ll convert many listeners who may not have heard his music in a long time, if not ever. But this is not a piece about someone who’s yet to make it in the music industry- with over 30 years of industry experience, Carman’s new music now is just as enjoyable now as R.I.O.T.The Standard and Addicted to Jesus were back during the 1990s when Carman and his popularity were at their peak. Even if his new music doesn’t ‘connect’ as well as his previous material, there’s still something great about Carman in general.

Famous for his songs like ‘Jericho: Shout of Victory’, ‘A Witches Invitation’, ‘Faith Enough’, ‘Revival in the Land’, ‘Serve the Lord’ and ‘I Feel Jesus’, Carman, then and even now, revolutionised the culture and genre of CCM, cementing his own flair of acoustic pop, Latin American influenced songs, story-songs, and a whole lot of other unique instrumentation and song arrangements, on a genre even now still embedded in radio-pop. I can remember even having cassette tapes (yes, I’m that old to remember the predecessors to CD’s!) of albums (tapes at the time) of RIOT, and some of the Yo Kidz children’s collection of songs that were recorded way back during the day. While in hindsight, I may have been ignorant to all the music that was out there during that time (yes, during my childhood throughout the 1990s, I failed to listen to and enjoy albums from artists like dc Talk, Avalon, Newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman and Michael W. Smith- only during my teenage years did I broaden my musical tastes and listen to these artists), Carman was a big influence throughout my primary school years, giving me a great foundation in my faith and walk with God. While he may not be as popular currently in the music industry as he was back then, he is nevertheless still an artist I often listen to even now, and possibly one of the artists currently still active that has one of the most unique music styles of the modern post 1990s music era.

Carman may not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that’s ok. I am reminded through this journey last year and this year, that musical tastes are different from person to person, and what one person’s artist that is influential is another’s that is uninspiring. Simple as that. And for me, an artist like Carman has impacted my life in ways that I’m sure I don’t even know or grasp fully, and that’s ok. His music has been the basis of my own love and enjoyment of music in general and a reminder that we all have this artist long ago that sparks up our own love for music…and continues to do so. Mine’s Carman, what’s yours?

Does Carman make the list for you all when you write your own ‘Best Influential Artists of All Time’ list? Is there any song (other than ‘The Champion’ or ‘Jericho’ or ‘Lazarus Come Forth’) that has impacted you on your journey through life thus far? Let us know in the comments. Till next time!


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