How THE JESUS MUSIC Shows The Brokenness and Faith of Christian Musicians
By Movieguide® Staff
From its start-up in the 1960s all the way up to the present day, the genre of faith-based popular music has seen escalating interest and monetary gain in recent years.
From brothers and directorial duo Andrew and Jon Erwin, THE JESUS MUSIC was backed by some of the genre’s most renowned talent with Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith assisting as executive producers.
The Erwin brothers have their cinematic “roots in this music,” Andy explained in an interview with Billboard. Grant and Smith, who previously worked with the Erwins under direction for music videos, wanted to be a part of the doc ever since the brothers brought the idea to their attention.
Big names still in currency in the modern CCM sphere, like TobyMac, were more than willing to sit down and have the difficult conversations that this documentary seeks to bring into the light. Controversies, band break-ups, personal brokenness, and emotional scars have been dredged up.
Movieguide® notes the distinguished history behind the titular genre:
In 1972, Jesus Music got a huge endorsement from the Reverend Billy Graham, who spoke to 200,000 people at a Jesus Music festival in Dallas, Texas. The rest of the documentary interviews other major stars from the 1980s, 1990s and the last 20 years.
THE JESUS MUSIC is an impressive overview of a pop culture phenomenon. It documents and captures the spirit of its subject. It also shows why Christian music continues to be popular, despite some of the criticism it’s received from inside and outside the Church. THE JESUS MUSIC is a stirring document of an important part of today’s Christian life. In the end, as one song lyric says, “It’s all about Jesus.”
Many of the musicians involved feel the same way.
Singer Rebecca St. James said, “[A]s Christian music goes forward, and as music goes straight to platforms, there’s more opportunity than ever before for great artists that also have a very sincere love for Jesus to get their work out there.”
A number of CCM artists involved with the movie admitted to their flaws in life and their dependence on Jesus Christ.
“We’re in a world that doesn’t know that much about Jesus,” TobyMac said. “I want to be part of anything where we’re letting people know about Him because I want to be of service to Him.”
Newsboys’ Michael Tait said: “You see the rub of wealth and the personal problems spilling out onto the stage. Because it turns out that we aren’t perfect.”
TobyMac would be among the first to admit that he is only human, that he has his moments of trial, and that he has responded to such trials with varying degrees of love.
“I’ve spent my whole life letting my music speak,” TobyMac told The Christian Post. “Music comes from my experiences; my pain, my beautiful days, my struggling days, and then seeking refuge. So, I’m more than happy to pull the curtain back and say, ‘This is who we are…’”
THE JESUS MUSIC doesn’t veer away from the difficult tropes and tragedies found in the lives of CCM musicians and in the genre itself. This documentary offers a glimpse into the difficulties of a primarily white-led genre and the trying family dynamics in the artists’ lives such as Amy Grant’s divorce and the loss of Truett, TobyMac’s son, who died at age 21.
THE JESUS MUSIC is in theaters now.