I was struggling over the sound and lyrics of a band called Vigilantes of Love while a Freshman at the University of Georgia.  My friend Joel Brooks finally succeeded in convincing that it is okay for me to look outside the standard “Christian” music genre for good tunes.  He played Shawn Mullins and VOL nonstop on a camping trip we took later in the year and my exclusive hand-holding with the Christian music industry ended. Since then, no song lyrics have lingered longer or more deeply in my mind than those of Bill Mallonee, VOL’s chief architect.  In Faith Without Illusions, I cite Bill with as much regularity as N.T. Wright, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Eugene Peterson.

Bill and Muriah Rose came to Birmingham for a concert at the UCF House last week.  Opening were four young singer-songwriter friends of mine who you have yet to hear about, but who you should certainly hear.  Along with the video of Bill and Muriah performing “Solar System” below, you gotta check out the music of Josh Brown, Justin Cross, Wilder Atkins, and Matt Sanderlin.


Solar System by Bill Mallonee

Matt Sanderlin

Josh Brown

Wilder Atkins

Justin Cross



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