Artist: Jason Harwell
Album: Alive in the Fall
Label: Rebuilt Records
If you like: John Mayer, Bebo Norman, Jason Mraz
Everyday you and I wake up the Christian Music industry is growing by leaps and bounds, faster than you can say, well…“leaps and bounds.” The growth of this industry is outpacing that of nearly every other music segment to date. It is not uncommon for a “Christian” music label to be posting profits that rival that of it’s “secular” counterpart. Sadly though, growth is sometimes not the only thing that the Christian Music industry has become like in her wayward sister. Some music has been made more marketable at the cost of the message, and business practices more concerned about profit margins than the individual artist.
When it all seams so frustratingly adrift (an obvious overstatement by a concerned citizen) we are handed a fresh glass of water with Rebuilt Records written on the front. Jason Harwell, passionate, genuine artist, as well as record label founder of Rebuilt Records. Musically Jason Harwell is without a doubt talented. His clear and sincere vocals, reminiscent of something like Jason Mraz, to John Mayer, and Chris Martin of Coldplay, married to just enough instrumentation, be it acoustic guitar, piano, or subtle percussion, as to support the message of the lyrics without overshadowing the authenticity and honesty of what Jason has to say.
Even with all of Jason’s musical talent it was more than just his compelling sound that won this listener over with Alive in the Fall, but his apparent uncompromising attitude as an artist to any musical camp. The first piece of Jason’s life that the listener is introduced to even before you hit play on the CD is a few hundred word monologue written on the inside cover of the lyric booklet describing the inspiration for content of the album. We become immediately familiar with Jason as if you were talking to a friend, before the first chord is struck. Each song reveals a little more into the life of Jason Harwell, from the first track describing his trip out to CA to start the label, Rebuilt Records, to his return home. Themes of “I’m not about to change who I am to make a dime…” in the track “Color Outside The Lines”, to a beautiful tribute to his Grandmother in “A Nice Day For A Blue Suit”.
Jason Harwell is not only a talented artist, but also the founder of a record label that has an amazing perspective and desire to affect the industry in a way that truly honors our Lord. Unfortunately there is not enough space to write about Rebuilt Records, but I encourage you all to look it up to get an even more intimate look at Jason’s motivation as an artist, and ultimately a minister to the industry.
I might try to sum up the album myself, but I think rather I will let Jason do it in his own words, found in his monologue:
“You are not holding an album full of answers. I simply do not have them. I can only hope to encourage you to seek for yourself with persistence the Author of all Answers. If I can do this, then I have done well. What happens next is up to you. I hope you smell those trees. I hope you hear that voice. I hope it scares the crap out of you. I hope you feel alive.”
— Jason Harwell