*”The Jesus Music” is a documentary written and directed by Jon and Andrew Erwin. It explores Contemporary Christian Music from its inception till today through the stories of artists of faith.
The film features Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Toby Mac, Michael Tait, Bart Millard, CeCe Winans, Kirk Franklin, John Schlitt, and others.
Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith serve as Executive Producers on the Lionsgate film, playing exclusively this weekend. The picture gives a fascinating account of the beginning of CCM, which was ignited in the late 1960s off the heels of the Vietnam War, the emerging drug culture, and civil unrest.
Disillusioned hippies were searching for meaning in life since they rejected the ideology of being imprisoned by pursuing the American Dream like their parents. They found acceptance in a little unknown church called Calvary Chapel in California, where the sixties flower children immersed themselves entirely in the message of salvation through Jesus Christ. The film focuses on the pioneers and growth of this unique musical genre across each decade and how the music adapted to the culture at hand through extensive footage and interviews.
One of the most captivating details revealed through archival footage was Reverend Billy Graham’s immense support of CCM artists. He encouraged the come as you are standpoint as a means to gain more souls for Christ. While on the other hand, other preachers like Jimmy Swaggart pushed back on Christian Rock artists like Stryper, who he deemed had Satanic influences.
Former members of DC Talk, Michael Tait, and Toby Mac, who interviewed for the film, recalled their immense success and constant struggles as their prominence grew. Amy Grant also revealed the rough patches throughout her career that she was confronted with when she decided to sing a pop song, her subsequent divorce, and the controversy surrounding her marriage with country music star Vince Gill.
Kirk Franklin adds his testimony on how his chart-topping song “Stomp” took the 90s by storm but faced backlash from the Christian Community. Franklin also addresses the lack of acknowledgment from the Christian community in dealing with the racial disputes currently brimming in our society.
In all, the film provides a hopeful and celebratory outlook on the progression of CCM and how future generations will continue to magnify the message of salvation.
EURweb.com spoke to Executive Producer Kevin Downes about the film.
The Jesus Music opens today, October 1st, only in theaters.