Chris August is not a newbie to the music scene, but he has an interesting beginning. After writing a small album, Ryan Cabrera found him, and got him to move to Hollywood under the direction of manager Joe Simpson. There he went from helping to produce records for Bryan McKnight and Jessica Simpson, to playing the keyboards for Ashlee Simpson on tour. But his real start was when he broke away from secular music and focused on writing Christian music back in his home in Texas. That’s when he released the single “Starry Night” and everything took off from there.
It’s not very often that you find an artist who made it to Hollywood and producing big-time records, who comes back to the heart of Christian music and values, but August did it and his integrity and song-writing ability are intriguing. His album The Upside Of Down is only his second album, but it shows a depth and maturity that are rare and valuable.
He starts out the disc with “Center of it” with an upbeat tempo, and a message of God being in the center of our life; it is definitely a strong single for him, and it’s no surprise that it’s already risen to the top of the Christian charts. The disc keeps its stride with “The Upside of Down,” which has a contemporary drum track and an acoustic guitar. It’s set to be his second single out, and you can clearly see why. The musicianship and message are great and it’s sure to blow up the charts. It also happens to be the title of August’s new tour he’s launching in September.
Worth a mention is “This Side Of Heaven” which has a John Mayer-esque appeal to it. It doesn’t just have a great hook, but I also really like the topic. As humans, there are so many things that are confusing to us, that we don’t understand about why God does the things He does, but August’s point of view is to be content with the fact that we won’t know until we get to Heaven. Touting, “All the things we think we know but honestly we really don’t, this side of Heaven. Save the worry, stop the hate it doesn’t matter anyway, this side of Heaven.”
Then August hits a subject that is almost taboo in the Christian music realm: divorce. However, it’s not a strange topic to August, whose single “70X7″ (released in 2010) was about forgiving his parents who divorced when he was just 11 years old. In “Restore,” he hits a real high mark with his challenges and insights on marriage and how people these days are saying “I do,” but not really knowing if it will be forever. As Christians, we have a higher power on our side, who can fight for our marriage and if we call upon Him, He will restore it. I have to say, this was a great message and I found it so refreshing.
A lot of artists can sometimes hit a sophomore slump, where creativity and quality are abandoned in order to pump out a record quickly so people won’t forget you. Though it hasn’t been that long since his first album, he’s revealed himself to be an artist with true staying power with this second disc and I believe he’s going to be around for a long time.