Tagged: steven curtis chapman

L’Angelus continues to awe fans, audiences

I’ll always have a special place in my heart for L’Angelus. You remember L’Angelus, the Rees siblings who grew up in Lafayette and have family and throngs of fans throughout the area.

Paige, Katie, Steven and Johnny Rees, who are now in their 20s, are as talented as they are good looking. Their mix of Cajun, zydeco, Motown, fiddle tunes and other energetic sounds have won them fans from Miami to Los Angeles. The musicianship and vocal harmonies on their “Sacred Hymns” and “O Night Divine” CDs are second to none.

The Rees family now lives in Nashville, but comes home every New Year’s Day for a big gumbo and dance. They kept the tradition going with a big gathering Jan. 2 at the St. Peter’s Church Hall in Carencro.

L’Angelus won me over back around 2005, when the William Morris Agency came a calling. This is the same talent agency that made megastars out of Mel Gibson, Julia Roberts and other major entertainers.

The agency was ready to make L’Angelus the next Rascal Flatts — if they would just be willing for a makeover and drop the Cajun thing. The Rees family, who are devout Catholics, said thanks, but no thanks. They were staying true to their faith, family and culture.

Their integrity is now paying off as L’Angelus is touring with Michael W. Smith. Not familiar with Smith? He’s only sold 13 million albums and recorded 29 No. 1 hits, 14 gold albums and five platinum albums as one of the world’s top Contemporary Christian artists. He’s even been one of People magazine’s “Most Beautiful People.”

In 2011, L’Angelus opened for Smith in symphony halls stretching from St. Louis to Los Angeles. As always, they left audiences and reviewers awestruck.

One particular review, titled “L’Angelus band — the next big thing?” is making the rounds to Christian music web sites and radio stations across the country. Author Jeffrey Totey of Examiner.com caught one of L’Angelus’ Christmas concerts with Smith and used such words as “pleasant surprise” and “brilliant” to describe this “little known Louisiana quartet.”

Totey wrote, “The four are incredibly fun to watch play. Katie has a smile that won’t quit. She tends to step back a bit from Paige, who tends to whip her hair in all directions. Stephen makes it clear that he doesn’t play a violin — he plays the fiddle. And Johnny, the quiet one, hides behind his drums set, but plays like a mad man. In addition to the instrumentation, they harmonize their voices beautifully. They play “Ca C’est Bon,” one of their most popular hits, with delight as if they are playing it for the very first time and they alternate between English and French seamlessly.”

In July, L’Angelus rejoins Smith for the 2012 Cruise of Canada trip. Worldwide recognition is nothing new for L’Angelus. In 2006, Billboard magazine selected the band as one of six finalists in the Independent Music World Series. Last summer, they shared the stage with the Pope at the World Youth Conference in Spain.

Congratulations and continued success to L’Angelus. Thanks again for proving that good things do indeed happen for those who stick with faith, family and culture.

Herman Fuselier is a writer and broadcaster from Opelousas. Contact him at bboogie@bellsouth.net.

Australian Christian Song and Artist of the year honored by TRAA


SONG OF THE YEAR

There’s no denying that Peter Furler has had a big year in 2011 with the release of his debut solo album On Fire. And now, the lead single Reach has topped The Rock Across Australia (TRAA) Top 100 Song Chart nabbing the honor for most played song on Australian Christian radio in the past year.

The former Sunshine Coast singer who now resides in America previously won the award in 2007 for the song Something Beautiful while fronting newsboys, one of the industry’s most successful bands in Christian music.

Furler’s infectious 2011 hit song Reach dominated the top spot on TRAA for eight consecutive weeks, accomplished 30 weeks in the survey, and spent three quarters of its chart life in the Top 10.

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Another Aussie, NATHAN TASKER made a triumphant return in 2011 and the first taste of new music came in the form of Something Beautiful (Grace) and Love Is The Compass – the first two singles from his landmark album Home. Both songs landed at #5 and #6 on TRAA’s annual song chart earning Tasker the crown as Artist of The Year – the most played Christian artist of 2011.

Jason Ingram (Ten Avenue North, Rush Of Fools), Rusty Varenkamp (Sanctus Real, Michael W Smith) and Charlie Peacock (Switchfoot, Audio Adrenaline) produced Tasker’s songs.

The Sydney born singer who previously garnered song and artist honors in 2006. He now lives in Nashville, USA.

The Rock Across Australia’s 2011 Top 100 Songs and Top 50 Artists charts are available online: www.therockacrossaustralia.com/annual/TRAA-111231-Top100.doc

PREVIOUS TRAA HONORS

2009 Song of the Year Get Back Up – tobyMac
Artist of the Year newsboys

2009 Song of the Year Closer To Love – Mat Kearney
Artist of the Year Brandon Heath

2008 Song of the Year This Is Home – Switchfoot
Artist of the Year Britt Nicole

2007 Song of the Year Something Beautiful – newsboys
Artist of the Year newsboys

2006 Song of the Year Like You Love Me – Nathan Tasker
Artist of the Year Nathan Tasker

2005 Song of the Year Gloria (All God’s Children) – Paul Colman
Artist of the Year Bethany Dillon

2004 Song of the Year Beautiful – Bethany Dillon
Artist of the Year Jars Of Clay

2003 Song of the Year (There’s Gotta Be) More to Life – Stacie Orrico
Artist of the Year Stacie Orrico

2002 Song of the Year Purified – Michael W Smith
Artist of the Year Michael W. Smith

2001 Song of the Year These Thousand Hills – Third Day
Artist of the Year Paul Colman Trio

2000 Song of the Year Shackles (Praise You) – Mary Mary
Artist of the Year Paul Colman Trio

1999 Song of the Year There’s No Power in Pity – Cliff Richard
Artist of the Year dc Talk

L’Angelus band – the next big thing?

Many who attended one of Michael W. Smith’s Christmas Concerts in December 2011 had a pleasant surprise. In addition to the fine presentation of Mr. Smith and full symphony orchestra, his special guests were the little known Louisiana quartet, L’Angelus. Combining Cajun music with classical may seem like an add choice, but instead, it was brilliant. Good thing too as the group had to do some heavy lifting during some of the concerts as Michael battled with laryngitis.

Pronounced “Lawn-Jay-Loose,” the four siblings began performing in the mid ‘90s with the help of their mother, Linda Rees. Back then, Linda Lou and the Lucky Four, performed at hundreds of county fairs, rodeos, coffeehouses playing mostly country and popular tunes from the ‘50s and ‘60s. Today, the group has ventured on their own and play more Cajun fare. The band consists of Katie (27) playing the guitar, Paige (26) the bass, Johnny (24) the drums and Stephen (22), the fiddle, swamp pop saxophone and harmonica.

The four are incredibly fun to watch play. Katie has a smile that won’t quit. She tends to step back a bit from Paige, who tends to whip her hair in all directions. Stephen makes it clear that he doesn’t play a violin – he plays the fiddle. And Johnny, the quiet one, hides behind his drums set, but plays like a mad man. In addition to the instrumentation, they harmonize their voices beautifully. They play “Ca C’est Bon,” one of their most popular hits, with delight as if they are playing it for the very first time and they alternate between English and French seamlessly.

In 2006 L’Angelus was selected by Billboard Magazine as one of the six finalists in the Independent Music World Series and the group has been gaining international attention ever since. Before they embarked on the Christmas tour, the group was a featured guest at the World Youth Day with the Pope in August 2011. (To see a sample of their performance, click on the video below.)

L’Angelus’ next performance will be at the New Year’s Cajun Party at St. Peter’s Church Hall in Carencro, LA this weekend. In July, they will team up again with Michael W. Smith and Laura Story for the 2012 Cruise of Canada trip.

To learn more about L’Anglus and sample their music, visit their website.