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Artist Profile - Joel Stein

For this Odessa, MO, native, "Always Forward" is his motto...and the title of his new album.

Joel Stein released his first professionally recorded album in August of this year. Stein's interest in music began in Odessa, where he learned to play the guitar and started composing music, performing in small venues with his high school band. His musical pursuits blossomed at the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he continued to write music and play live with his new college band, and at his church. However, it was not until Stein graduated and moved to St. Louis that he began writing the songs to be recorded on his first professional CD.

Stein began the recording project in earnest after participating in a "music mission" in Trinidad, where two women took an interest in his popular song, "Save the Family." These women donated the money for Stein to record his first track, and he chose David Smith of Icon Studios in Indiana to record his album. With the recording project underway but having no additional money for the rest of the CD, Stein began to fundraise. He came to Odessa for a concert to help pay for recording costs. He credits his hometown for helping to make the CD project become a reality. "I was touched by the support of the St. George community." Read Full Story >>>

A Wretch Like Me, Who Saved And Set Me Free

This morning at liturgy, the cantor directed us to sing "Amazing Grace." (There was no other instruction). As the entire congregation began, there was a definite derailment of the community-building that happened in the song: The entire congregation, sang: Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me... The cantor, however, went with the alternate version (printed in footnoted text): Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved and set me free... The result was cacophonious to the worst extent. People felt like they were competing with the cantor, not being led by him. And while I can understand some people's reservations to the term "wretch like me", these very words were most appropos for the reading today, about Zacheus, a scandalous tax collector being forgiven of His sins. Still, there is a cardinal rule: try to stick to the words on the page--it's what we're all singing from. To be set free does not mean we are to be set free from the constraints of the parish hymnal.

Top 10 Contemporary Christmas Songs

Here is the List of the Top Contemporary Christmas songs, as dictated by the friendly folks at TopCatholicSongs.com. These extraordinary renditions will transform your Christmas spirit. Be sure to check out what other great songs these artists have covered, and visit topCatholicSongs.com today!

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