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Music & Meaning

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Music and Meaning is a captivating, cinematic podcast written and hosted by Grammy Award-winning music producer Charlie Peacock. Charlie shares evocative, in-depth stories of his intricate dance of serving both the church and crafting the popular songs the whole world sings. By analyzing the soundtrack of our lives, Charlie, skillfully and artistically teases out its profound social and theological meaning. Reflective and whimsical, Charlie shows how music transcends mere sound, becoming a mirror to our times, a testimony to our shared humanity, and a sign and symbol of our deepest joys and needs.

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Music and Meaning is a captivating, cinematic podcast written and hosted by Grammy Award-winning music producer Charlie Peacock. Charlie shares evocative, in-depth stories of his intricate dance of serving both the church and crafting the popular songs the whole world sings. By analyzing the soundtrack of our lives, Charlie, skillfully and artistically teases out its profound social and theological meaning. Reflective and whimsical, Charlie shows how music transcends mere sound, becoming a mirror to our times, a testimony to our shared humanity, and a sign and symbol of our deepest joys and needs. Music and Meaning is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Original Music and Editing by David LaChance and Charlie Peacock Mix Engineer: David LaChance Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode of "Music and Meaning" with Charlie Peacock, we dive into the story of his signing of the Grammy Award-winning band Switchfoot, a pivotal moment in Christian and mainstream rock music. Charlie recounts his inspiration from 1996, challenging the conventional 'crossover' approach in Christian music. He shares his vision of creating music for all, leading to the discovery of Switchfoot's demo tape. The episode navigates the challenges of introducing Switchfoot to Christian audiences, focusing on the song "Chem 6A" and its broader implications on faith and art. Celebrating the 20th anniversary of Switchfoot's pop chart-topping influential album, "The Beautiful Letdown," Charlie reflects on community, trust, risk, and the transformative power of music. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode of "Music and Meaning” Charlie tackles the headline topic of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and its impact on music.  He kicks off with Elon Musk's AI warnings and the tech industry's temporary pause on advancements like ChatGPT-4, then draws an intriguing parallel between AI's unchecked growth and the biblical Tower of Babel, posing sharp ethical questions. He reminisces about his early days of tech adoption as a young music producer, from Moog synthesizers to digital samplers and drum machines, emphasizing how he learned these tools came with an ideology of their own. He got played, before he played them. Charlie suggests AI is no different. Highlighting AI's involvement in a Beatles' song revival, Charlie drops a C.S. Lewis quote and champions the irreplaceable human imagination in all creativity. The episode wraps with a call for wise AI governance, urging a humanity-first approach in technology's integration with creativity. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode of Music & Meaning, host Charlie Peacock offers a narrative trip through the many ways Jesus has been represented in pop music: explicitly, implicitly, genuinely, and in mockery.  He discusses Jesus Christ Superstar, the rock opera that brought a contemporary Jesus to a new generation. This leads to a look into the '70s perspective of Jesus as a symbol of authenticity and rebellion, covering tracks from Norman Greenbaum, James Taylor, The Velvet Underground, and Black Sabbath, to name a few. As he moves through the decades, Charlie reflects on the evolving depictions of Jesus in music, from controversial metal bands in the '80s to Tupac Shakur's '90s rap, on to Kanye West's "Jesus Walks" in the 2000s, and much more, including Taylor Swift, The Killers, U2, and Lauren Daigle. In his own words, "I'm just shining a light on the persistent motif of Jesus in pop culture. Some musicians are simply namechecking Jesus. Others have interwoven the Jesus narrative into their music with curiosity and care." The episode wraps up with Charlie sharing his personal ethos regarding the mention of Jesus in music (and he might even be caught singing a little bit). Finally, he leaves us with a 50-song Spotify playlist that highlights a few of these diverse musical critiques of Jesus, the co-opting of his name, as well as tributes, praise, and true artistic reflection. The playlist offers listeners a second opportunity to soak up Jesus's significant impact on pop music titles and lyrics. Contemporary interest in who people say Jesus is, through music and entertainment, is alive and well. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode of Music & Meaning, we take you on a sonic sojourn. We're dialing back the clock to the dusty scrolls of St. Augustine—the original bad boy rock star turned philosopher-saint, a proto-Kendrick Lamar with parchment and pen, not a playlist. Now, picture Augustine with a pair of Apple AirPods nodding to today's Top 40. What does he hear? Beats that drop harder than Roman empires and lyrics that scratch at the eternal itch of the human heart. Augustine's own lyrics, his confessions, had it all: pride, sex, sin, and salvation—the same stuff fueling our hit parade today. Listen as Charlie and his co-host, St. Augustine, sample the charts and the lyrical stories we tell each other and the world. It's confession time. Bend a knee while we bend your ears. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode of Music & Meaning we give props and respect to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, a groundbreaking musician and Jesus follower who merged gospel and rock music. In a time when the deck was stacked against her, Sister Rosetta Tharpe stood tall and delivered gospel performances that could turn a skeptic into a believer. Her profound legacy was finally acknowledged with a 2018 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction. Sister Rosetta's role as an architect of rock guitar and the true pioneer of gospel rock is unassailable. Bearing witness is producer/songwriter Tommy Sims (Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton) offering his take on Tharpe's influence. And if that's not enough, we're taking a musical pilgrimage to a Nashville recording studio. Here, we'll meet session guitarist, Jerry McPherson, who will break the code on Sister Rosetta's iconic guitar sound. Tune in, turn up, and let's get schooled in the art of gospel rock by the source, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode, we interview Leah Payne about her new book, God Gave Rock and Roll to You. First question: "Is this true? God is responsible for rock music?" Enter historian Leah Payne, Ph.D., to provide the church history lesson. With host Charlie Peacock, Dr. Payne guides us through a fascinating labyrinth of spiritual and sonic convergence. Our odyssey commences at the dawn of the 20th century amidst the fervor of Pentecostal Revivalism. The story and soundtrack show how predominantly white evangelical Christians, fueled by the holiness movement, patriotism, and sobriety, inadvertently set the stage for rock music and the Church to find mutually beneficial common ground. This unlikely fusion has a name in history: contemporary Christian music. God Gave Rock and Roll to You is a well-researched history lesson but also a cautionary word. The story forecasts the Church's continued pragmatic use of music, appropriation of fame and fashion, our present societal angst and division, and the binary, strongman politics that divide us even now. We are reminded that every movement has its architects, advocates, and dissenters. Love, empathy, wisdom, and learning from history help us decide which one we will be. Credits: “Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today: Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by Raed Gilliam Original Music and Editing by Charlie Peacock and David LaChance Mixed by Mark Owens Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Special guest: Leah Payne https://www.drleahpayne.com/ Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Four On The Floor

Four On The Floor

2024-02-2732:02

Welcome to a special episode of Music & Meaning, in which host Charlie Peacock welcomes not one, not two, but three music industry guests! Listeners get to hear from: Tracy Gershon, entertainment consultant, music publisher, and host of Sirius XM’s Y’all Together Now Rissi Palmer, recording artist and host of Apple Music’s Color Me Country Swagg R’Celious, Grammy-Award-winning producer, songwriter, executive, and professor Their conversation covers the 2024 Grammy Awards, including the performances by Tracy Chapman and Luke Combs, Joni Mitchell’s appearance, and Victoria Monáe winning Best Artist of the Year. They discuss Taylor Swift’s announcement of her new album during her acceptance speech, Jay-Z’s speech about Beyoncé, and how the Grammy’s handle gender and race. The group also talks about Black artists in country music, Universal Music Group pulling their songs off of TikTok, and Usher’s Super Bowl performance. The conversation also touches on artificial intelligence in the music industry, how artists make money (or don’t), and their favorite musicians. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In this episode, host Charlie Peacock, fields soul-stirring questions from our listeners with in-depth answers and music examples. He's joined by guest musicians, former Motown Records drummer Aaron Smith and the Grammy and Oscar-nominated songwriter Sam Ashworth. We take you on a seamless audio journey of insights and inventions, including the story of Charlie recording Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jackson Browne, the spiritual nature of goodness, Northern California punk rock ruminations, Nashville songwriting, pop music beat making, the 1960s San Francisco band The Beau Brummels, how a song about monkeys at the zoo remains an evergreen metaphor for the human condition, dreaming impossible and possible dreams, and the beautiful wisdom of following Jesus as a spiritual practice and blueprint for life and artistry. In this anecdote and music-rich episode, providence and interdependence are front and center, offering shalom, revealing meaning, and allowing for plenty of mystery.  “Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by Raed Gilliam Original Music and Editing by Charlie Peacock  Mixed by Mark Owens Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Special guests: Aaron Smith & Sam Ashworth Information about Charlie's Elements Producer Pack and book is available at charliepeacock.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Four on the Floor

Four on the Floor

2024-03-2644:31

In this special episode, we highlight Women's History Month (March 2024) by featuring host Charlie Peacock in conversation with a panel of Nashville's best, up-and-coming women songwriters: Erika Daves (Daves Highway), Jasmine Mullen (The New Respects), and Abby Siler (songwriter, Integrity Music). All three singer-songwriters are committed to loving God and people through music, serving the Christian church, and creating the songs the whole world sings in country, pop, R&B/Soul, indie lo-fi pop, and more. In this lively, insightful episode, we learn how three young singer-songwriters harmonize their faith with their artistry, navigate the music industry's highs and lows, and stay committed to loving God and people—fueling their creativity. They delve into the challenges they've faced as women in a space too often controlled by men while revealing how female role models (including mothers), women in music history, and the power of mentorship keep them safe, sane, and hopeful for ever-expanding opportunities. Amid discussions on music, gender equality and diversity, our guests highlight the transformative shifts they've witnessed and the initiatives and people that spark hope for a bright future. As we celebrate Women's History Month, this episode is a melodious tribute to those at the forefront of blending Christian spiritual depth with musical innovation. From dream collaborations to the daily rhythms of creative inspiration, join us as we listen to the hearts of three women who are not just making music but making a difference. Explore more on our guest artists here: Erika Daves  Jasmine Mullen  Abby Siler  “Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by Raed Gilliam Recorded at Lasting Media Group, Nashville, TN Mixed by Mark Owens Original Music by Charlie Peacock  Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Information on Charlie's latest books and music is available at charliepeacock.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Heart In Motion

Heart In Motion

2024-04-0954:281

Amy Grant's Heart In Motion soared to the top of the Billboard charts and into the hearts of millions. Host Charlie Peacock weaves a narrative that's part celebration and part surprise. He reminds us that this Album of the Year-nominated pop masterpiece is still as fun as it was transformational. It's a moment to reflect, with a touch of playfulness, on the choices that reshaped Amy's career and the dreams of many young artists. Could future artists love the Christian church and create the songs the whole world sings? Yes, indeed. They could and would. Heart In Motion blazed the trail. At the hallowed Sound Emporium Studios in Nashville, Tennessee, we sit down with a trifecta of musical maestros, including Brown Bannister, Michael Omartian, and Keith Thomas, all Grammy Award-winning record producers. This trio didn't just produce an album, though. They created a cultural phenomenon—one applauded and denounced. Unphased by the criticism, Amy and this trio of producers created a love letter to pop that has been cherished across the generations. Who doesn't want to sing "Baby, Baby" in the shower or dance around the kitchen to "Every Heartbeat?" This episode is as "behind-the-scenes" as it gets. For example, did you know that "Baby, Baby" almost didn't make the album—that Aretha Franklin was going to record it instead? Yep, that sort of stuff. So, let's roll the tape of Heart In Motion, spin some tales, and untangle the chords of its legacy. Join us as we laugh, ponder, and maybe even sing along to the rhythm of an iconic album that continues to move and groove us thirty-plus years and countless heartbeats later. “Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today 
Executive Production by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens 
Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper
 Associate Production by Raed Gilliam and Leslie Thompson Interview Recorded at Sound Emporium Studios Mixed by Mark Owens
 Original Music by Charlie Peacock  Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Information on Charlie's latest books and music is available at charliepeacock.com Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Uh oh. AI is giving music consumers the apps to make their own tunes—or at least make ABBA sing like chipmunks. In today's show, Charlie rides a rollercoaster of emotions. He loves to play with the new tech but has the blues over the effortless nature of modern music-making tools. With a few text prompts, anyone can create a hooky pop song in 60 seconds—easy as ordering a latte—you don't even have to spell Tayler Swift right, let alone know music theory. Contributing to today's episode are music educators Dr. Matthew White, Associate Professor and Chair of Jazz Studies at the University of South Carolina, and Thavius Beck, Assistant Professor in Electronic Production and Design at Berklee College of Music. They reveal how musical academia has evolved to encompass classical/jazz proficiency and digital innovation. However, what constitutes essential music literacy is still being debated. Susan Stewart from the Recording Academy also tells us if AI-composed music gets to sit with the cool kids at the Grammys. Spoiler alert: there's a human dress code. Special musical guest, bassist, and singer/songwriter Scott Mulvahill exemplifies the merger of old and new schools, blending his mastery of upright bass and songwriting with cutting-edge technology. In summary, this episode challenges listeners to consider the implications of some mind-blowing technological advancements for both current and future musicians and music consumers who increasingly engage in creating music themselves. Charlie weaves engaging discussions with poignant "in-the-studio" examples and invites us to reassess the essence of musical talent, imagination, and creativity in the digital age. The big, meaningful question? Does easy access to making music enhance or undermine the true art of music and the culture that loves and supports it? Get comfortable, adjust your headphones, and let's decode whether music's new production tech leads to a satisfying crescendo or a cacophonous catastrophe. “Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by Raed Gilliam Mixed by TJ Hester Original Music by Charlie Peacock  Additional studio and remote engineering by Bridget Ashworth Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Information on Charlie's latest books and music, including his own "drag and drop" producer sample pack, is available at charliepeacock.com Special guests on this episode: Dr. Matthew White, Associate Professor and Chair of Jazz Studies, the University of South Carolina; Thavius Beck, Assistant Professor in Electronic Production and Design at Berklee College of Music; Susan Stewart, Sr. Managing Director of the Songwriters & Composers Wing for the Recording Academy; and musical guest, bassist and singer/songwriter, Scott Mulvahill. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
Charlie Peacock interviews iconoclastic recording artist, filmmaker, and educator Steve Taylor to discover how artists sustain a life of invention and reinvention. He wonders, is this path of discovery and creativity only for entrepreneurs and artists? Or, is something going on with this way of being that's applicable to all of life, from music to marriage? “Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by McKenzie Hill Edited by Leslie Thompson Original Music by Charlie Peacock Mixed by TJ Hester Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
With music a proven border-crossing phenomenon, musicians are the world's ambassadors, setting the stage for sonic and social mutual respect, collaborations, and partnerships. One such story is that of the song "Way Maker" and the artist who created it, Nigerian vocalist and songwriter Sinach. The song, originally made popular in the United States by Leeland, has crisscrossed the globe repeatedly, becoming a Christian worship music standard for many cultures. Our guests discuss how a song reaches such ubiquity and what it takes to steward a song that loves to wander into hearts and voices anywhere and everywhere. The conversation (recorded at Nashville's Sound Emporium Studios) begins with a song by Nigerian musician King Sunny Ade, one of Charlie's West African musical influences. In turn, Sinach reveals some of her American music influences. Throughout the episode, Charlie weaves the story of border-crossing and neighbor-love as a way of being, revealing the musical and spiritual interplay between people, the places they call home, and Jesus—the Way Maker of the Christian faith. Integrity Music executives, Vice President Mark Nicholas and Director of A&R Gilbert Nanlohy figure in prominently, including a discussion of Gilbert's Indonesian musical heritage, and Mark's perspective on the community-partnership focus of Integrity Music's global mission. The episode wraps with Charlie checking off an item on his bucket list—sitting down to his Fender Rhodes electric piano for an impromptu jam on one of Sinach's new songs, "Victory Is My Name." Nashville meets Nigeria, indeed! In closing, a reminder that our show theme, "Sound of the Room," performed by Charlie and bassist John Patitucci, is now available in its full-length version, everywhere music is streamed. Here are two options for you: Apple+ Spotify. Presave Sinach's new music Follow Sinach on Instagram to learn more about her new music "Music and Meaning" is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by McKenzie Hill Edited by Leslie Thompson Original Music by Charlie Peacock Mixed by Mark Owens Show theme, "Sound of the Room," composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Sinach's music used by permission, courtesy of Integrity Music Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
In the final episode of our first season of Music & Meaning, host Charlie Peacock reflects on his unexpected journey into podcasting despite facing a head-banger of a neurological disorder called central sensitization. He discusses the podcast's origins and objectives, emphasizing that our aim is to offer a backstage pass to the musical and spiritual aspects of his multifaceted artistic life. We gratefully revisit highlights from the flagship season, underscoring our commitment to the seamless integration of musical artistry and meaning. The podcast tackles diverse subjects with equally diverse special guests, including music industry insiders, academics, and award-winning musicians, producers, and artists. This episode also features a medley of Charlie's music and productions, showcasing the depth and width of his artistic work. We hope you'll hear it as an analog and inspiration for the podcast's present and future goals.  As one season ends and we prepare for the next, we encourage our listeners to catch up on all 14 episodes. Please share your support for Music & Meaning with others and help spread the word. We've created social media graphics so you can easily proclaim your affinity for and connection to Music & Meaning. Download and start posting your enthusiasm today. Finally, stay tuned for Charlie's upcoming projects, including a new memoir (Roots & Rhythm, 02.04.25) and a full-length album. We are honored to premiere a song from the upcoming recording, which Charlie wants you to know "is not quite finished." That's okay. Neither are we. Charlie Peacock is a Grammy Award–winning, Billboard chart–topping music producer, composer, and recording artist. Named by Billboard’s The Encyclopedia of Record Producers as one of the 500 most important producers in music history, Charlie is a cofounder of the Art House, Wedgwood Circle, and founder/director emeritus of the commercial music program at Lipscomb University. Charlie has produced music for film and television, including A Walk to Remember, Chris Cornell’s “Misery Chain” from the soundtrack of 12 Years a Slave, and “Hush,” the title theme to the AMC drama Turn: Washington’s Spies. His books include the recent collaboration with his wife, writer Andi Ashworth, Why Everything That Doesn’t Matter, Matters So Much. Charlie is the senior music editor for Christianity Today and creator/host of the CT podcast Music and Meaning. Charlie and Andi have been married for nearly 50 years and have two grown, married children and four grandchildren. Music and Meaning is a production of Christianity Today Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper Associate Produced by Leslie Thompson & McKenzie Hill Original Music by Charlie Peacock Mixed by Mark Owens Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci Learn more about your ad choices. Visit podcastchoices.com/adchoices
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