• Album Name: Speak
  • Artist Name: Jimmy Needham
  • Release Date: 2005


Speak was one of the brightest and most socially conscious Christian pop albums of 2006. Jimmy Needhamrecorded his debut while studying history and philosophy at Texas A&M University. Quite pleasantly, he dresses his poetically crafted verse for the common man in down-home blues guitar. His roots rock makes you feel like you're sitting alongside him out on the front porch on a warm summer afternoon. In much the same way as the Dave Matthews Band in the mid-'90s, his acoustic earthiness is practically irresistible -- particularly in response to the heavily produced mainstream sounds of his contemporaries. Needham has the soulfulness of Keith Green and the youthful vigor of John Mayer. In his own words, music isn't worth listening to if it doesn't make you want to repent or worship. To that end, the lyrical calls to action on "Fence Riders," "Wake Up," and the title track are hardly sugarcoated. His voice is crystal clear, and his guitar tells a story of its own. There are traces of Maroon 5, Jason Mraz and even some Clapton in there. Needham isn't the first to introduce roots rock in the post-grunge era, but he is one of the most likeable. This album showed lots of promise and dug deeper than most.