Types of Christian / Gospel Music

An intro to Christian and Gospel music

Christian Music used to be something that you only found in church and it came straight from the hymnals. However, in the late '60s/early '70s, the "Jesus Movement" brought the music out into the world and Christian music began to become an industry within itself. Pioneers like Marsha Stevens, Chuck Girard and Larry Norman took the music that spoke of Jesus and merged it with the times.

We've come a long way since. Now Christian music is found in so many different styles it is the only genre of music that is defined by its lyrical content.

Carman
Carman. Carman Ministries

Adult Contemporary Christian Music offers a pop flair, but is delivered in a softer, lighter style. However, since the modern pop elements are still there -- sometimes interspersed with folk sounds, which are back in favor with college-aged listeners -- Adult Contemporary isn't restricted to just the older folks.

Popular Adult Contemporary Artists

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Christian Bluegrass

The Isaacs
The Isaacs. Gaither Music

Christian Bluegrass is intricate and technically difficult, belying the stereotype of "mountain music" as being slow and simple. Some of the best pickers I've ever heard were bluegrass musicians.

Popular Bluegrass Artists

  • Alison Krauss & Union Station
  • The Easter Brothers
  • The Lewis Family

 

pureNRG
pureNRG. Fervent

Artists like Carman, Sandi Patty and Steve Green are more Adult Contemporary, but they have released projects specifically for kids. Then you have music that is 100% kid-friendly, like songs from the popular Veggie Tales, The Cedarmont Kids and The Praise Baby Collection. And let's not forget the "tweens." Jump5 was the first band that came out specifically aimed at the pre-teen group. Since they disbanded, PureNRG and The Rubyz have worked hard to fill the gap.

Popular Kids Artists

Youth Leading Youth - Young artists leading the way
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Point of Grace
Point of Grace. Word

Country music, lyrically, is about real life. And for many, real life includes heartbreak, as well as the faith that gets them through it. Yes, country music's sub-genres "honky tonk" and "outlaw country" are more about drinking and thumbing your nose at the "establishment," but today's country music is less outlaw and more Godlaw.

Popular Country Artists

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Jason Crabb
Jason Crabb. Springhill Music

Inspo blends pop, contemporary, AC, hymns, and even praise and worship, without the corporate worship elements. Artists from several of the Christian music styles have recorded inspirational albums, making the inspo genre full of variety.

Popular Inspirational Artists

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Phil Keaggy
Phil Keaggy. Phil Keaggy

Many people have asked how instrumental music can be labeled as Christian, since the basis for the entire Christian music genre is the lyrics. The answer to that question, at least my answer, is to look beyond the music into the heart of the musician.

Popular Instrumental Artists

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Christian Metal / Hard Rock

Falling Up
Falling Up. BEC

From the underground days of the Resurrection Band of the late 1970s to the 1980s when Stryper put Christian Metal on the map, the genre has twisted, turned and grown. With several styles of metal, such as melodic metal, classic metal, speed metal, thrash metal and screamo available to metal-heads, it is absolutely possible to find a metal band that fits your taste and glorifies your Savior.

Popular Metal / Hard Rock Artists

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Natalie Grant
Natalie Grant. Curb Records

Using secular music terms, Christian pop contemporary could easily be described as "Top 40." Pop music meets soft rock and voila! -- Pop Contemporary!

Popular Pop/Contemporary Artists

Top Christian Pop Bands
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Kari Jobe
Kari Jobe. EMI

Praise and Worship is music that is commonly found in contemporary churches of today. Short and easy to sing (and remember) choruses that repeat several times make the style perfect for corporate worship because even people who aren't familiar with a particular song can sing along with ease after hearing one or two repeats of the chorus.

Popular Praise and Worship Artists

Top Worship Artists
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Dove Awards Praise and Worship History
10 Popular Praise Songs That Will Get You On Your Feet More »

Group 1 Crew (2014)
Group 1 Crew. Word

Artists using a rap style to share their faith reach places that other styles could never enter. Unlike secular rap, which frequently glorifies sex, drinking, violence and drugs, Holy Hip Hop focuses on The One who can deliver you from those things.

Popular Christian Rap Artists

Top Christian Rappers
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Jeremy Camp
Jeremy Camp. BEC

Christian rock, much like its secular counterpart, has several sub-styles within the genre. Modern rock, alternative rock, indie rock, punk and southern rock are all well represented, bringing much to like to the masses. Using electric guitars, passionate vocals and drum kits beating out killer back beats, Christian rock was a way to share the Message of Hope to people in churches who wanted more than traditional hymns and to those outside of the church that didn't know Jesus.

Popular Modern / Alternative Christian Rock Bands

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Top Christian Rock Bands
Essential Christian Rock Albums More »

Gaither Vocal Band
Gaither Vocal Band. Gaither Music

Southern gospel music today ranges from the traditional four-part harmony quartets to a blend of country and bluegrass.

Popular Southern Gospel Artists

  • The Martins
  • Gaither Vocal Band
  • Karen Peck & New River

Top Southern Gospel Groups
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The Blind Boys of Alabama
The Blind Boys of Alabama. The Blind Boys of Alabama

Urban Gospel hit the big time via quartets. Most of the early groups were composed of all males, but there were a few female groups. Huge choirs eventually replaced the quartets in popularity and were soon joined by smaller groups, led by strong directors like Kirk Franklin. As younger fans discovered the joys of Urban Gospel, the genre added another facet in the form of the modern R&B sound.

Popular Urban Gospel Artists

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Top Urban Gospel Albums
WOW Gospel Series More »