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The Phantom Tollbooth finally reached the point where we can't do a full review every CD we received.  We thought we'd say something about the best of them but even this proved difficult.  While there wasn't a 5 tock disc among them, there also wasn't a bad disc in the lot.  We used to get a lot of discs where we'd shake our heads and say "I hope them don't quit their day jobs."  They were out of tune, had poor production, or they couldn't play their instruments. Well, things have changed--they all sang in tune, they all have no problems playing their instruments well, all their producers are ready for the big time. We present for your browsing pleasure some Short Bits. Linda & Shari, Co-publishers
The Anselm
Artist: The Anselm 
Label: 12tribe Records  
Anselm has been together for ten years.  They call their music "reflective sub-rock." To us, it sounds like lo-fi with a Sufjan Steven feel to it.  The lyrics are praise and worship.  Interesting debut album. (SL/LL)

A.M. Elevator
Artist: A.M. Elevator 
Label: Indie 
A new  modern rock band from Cincinatti, OH.  The singer has a delivery style that reminds us of Steve Taylor although the lyrics aren't quite as catchy. But still not a bad first effort.  (SL/LL)

Artist: Rich Barnard 
Label: Independent
Rich Barnard is a singer/songwriter American living in London.  We like it--shoe glazer music without the whine.  (SL/LL)

Goodnight Rosebud
Artist: Spencer Bates 
Label: Indie
Spencer Bates is a young, talented individual.  His lyrics are sweetly poetic and thought provoking.  His musical style takes after that of the famous Billy Joel’s fun and light gaiety.  Even you kids will enjoy listening and dancing to _Goodnight Rosebud_.  Let the fun, whimsical talent of Spencer Bates give you a mental vacation. (AW)

Dream and Dare
Artist: The Braeded Chord  
Label: Independent
A pleasant acoustic female folk duo.  Would be a great fit for the Prairie Home Compansion as it has that Americana feel PHC showcases. Nice, light harmonies with Christian-based lyrics.   (SL/LL) 

Raise Up E.P.
Artist: Hunter Brown a.k.a. “Busta Brown”
Label: M2 Productions
A 15 year-old skinny, white, Christian kid from Denver, Colorado who calls himself, “Busta Brown.”  Sounds like a disaster for a rapping career, right?  Wrong. Hunter Brown started rapping at the young age of 6, and nothing can stop him.  Instead of encouraging illegal and obscene behavior much like his secular rapping peers, “Busta “Brown” encourages his listeners to reach for God in an old-school style and way.  Rapping with his entourage, the “J-Squad,”  Hunter raps in front of thousands as he opens up for the famous preacher, T.D. Jakes.  We will see more of Hunter in the near future. (AW)
Artist: Carl Cartee 
Spring Hill Worship Music Group
This was a pleasant surprise.  We figured--another one of those worship leader CDs--but we were mistaken. First, this is a rock style record--heavier than you might expect--and there are none of the usual CCM cliche lyrics.  If you check out his church, pack earplugs. (LL/SL)   

Glen Clark and The Family
Artist: Glen Clark and The Family (The Jesus Village People)
Label: GrrrrRecords
This remarkable ministry's release benefits from numerous JPUSA musicians in Seeds and the Crossing. The album has a strong beginning but unfortunately, falls apart as it continues.  Try to see them live if they are in your area and by this CD to support the ministry. (LL/SL)

Artist: David Linhart  
Label: Independent
This EP is a fundraising project for Hope for the Children of Haiti(HFC).  Unforunately, the disc arrived broken. We don't know what is in it, but it is for a very worthy cause..  (SL/LL) 

My World
Artist: Joanna Martino  
Label: Indie
American Idol Season 2 hopeful, Joanna Martino shows that she is more than any reality TV show by sticking to her morals with her debut album My World. An upbeat pop-rock style, Joanna sings about her relationship with God using songs from well-known contributing writers including, Scott Krippayne, Dan Mukala, Ian Eskelin, Paige Lewis, Chad Cates, Billy Smiley, and others.  These songs are straight to the point, and can apply to everyone’s everyday life.  Joanna Martino is on of CCM’s new rising stars, and her sincere heart shines through her music. (AW)
Worship Under the Stars 
Artist: Fred McKinnon
Label: Highest Praise Productions
An outdoor live worship concert captured on CD & DVD created Worship Under the Stars.  Worship leader, Fred McKinnon leads the gathered worshippers in traditional, upbeat, contemporary original praise & worship songs along with scripture readings from The Bible. A great album to take on a late night picnic.  Just remember to look up and “Worship Under the Stars”!    (AW)

Artist: Sienna  
Label: Tamer Records
Unbelievable  is a good addition to the Christian Contemporary scene.  Sienna is a fresh, young face for young girls to look up to as a good, Christian role model. Her songwriting skills are mature beyond her age, and her lyrics are inspirational and uplifting. (AW)
The Name
Artist: Springhill Worship
Label: Springhill Worship 
Collaborating with several known worship leaders such as Jeff Deyo, the eleven eleven band, Tom Lane, the Booth Brothers and more, Springhill Worship has created a new and uplifting worship CD called The Name.  

Worship touches on Communion, various aspects of God, and intimate worshipful praise from the inner, personal soul.   As you listen to The Name, you will be taken to a higher place in your faith as well as having your musical palette satisfied. (AW)

AW=Amanda Walker 
SL=Shari Lloyd
LL=Linda LaFianza 


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