These are artists and albums that changed my life or became part of my artistic identity, not just my favorite or most listened to
  1. DCTalk - Jesus Freak
    The first Christian album that go toe to toe with anything else. Made my teen years. Christian kids had never heard grand music that talked about God before. At least not in a good way. This single album fundamentally changed Christian music. Before hand, most Christian music sounded like a Nashville knock off of something else. After Jesus freak, the Christian music industry began to create its own sound. And it was ok to do so.
  2. Billy Joel - 52nd st
    Songs that changed my life in college, and became part of my songwriting. "Honesty," "my life," "52nd St.," and more. This kind of storytelling got into the way that my brain thought, and you can see it in the songwriting of my college years.
  3. Billy Joel - The Stranger
    Between "just the way you are," "scenes from an Italian restaurant," "everybody has a dream" to "she's always a woman," this album made me into a piano man during college. Most of all, it made me think of new ways of playing chords, and stretching the boundaries I had grown used to while creating music.
  4. Switchfoot - Hello Hurricane
    Perhaps not the most artistic, but I believe the best created album made by one of the most creative bands in history. "Mess of me," "always," "your love is a song," "enough to let me go," and the powerful "sing it out" made this an influential album to me.
  5. Bon Jovi - Keep The Faith
    I remember the first time I heard this album, driving in the backseat of my friend Tony's car. No single album affected me lyrically and even spiritually than this album. For me, the message of the album was anchored in the 10 minute guitar mountain, "Dry County"
  6. Coldplay - Rush of Blood to the Head
    This album sold over 20 million copies worldwide for a reason. There is nary a critic that finds something wrong with this album, and many listed as one of the best of all time. "The Scientist" was by far the most impacting, but is there a song on this album that cannot be listened to over, and over, and over, and over again?
  7. Rich Mullins - A Liturgy, A Legacy & a Ragamuffin Band
    For any Christian artists out there, you understand Rich Mullins' place in musical history. One of the few artists who literally lived of the words he wrote, and was one of us… No, intentionally beneath us. From "Here In America" and "Hold Me Jesus," to the clever and subtle "Color Green" it seemed every song was as one track was, my "Creed."
  8. U2 - War
    A throwback 33 years, the album "war" left an imprint on me that few U2 albums ever could. Perhaps the excellence of these tracks have led me to have an open heart to everything else ever produced by U2. "Two Hearts Beat As One" and "40" are my favorite.
  9. Les Miserables - The musical
    As a songwriter, this and fiddler on the roof are the two most impacting sets of music in both style and content. I used the influence of both in creating several musicals myself, and scoring for various events and musical pieces. I consider the story of Les Miserables to be the best of all time. I consider the lyrics and melody of each song to be the best of all time.
  10. Radiohead - OK Computer
    Some may be surprised by this, but I consider OK computer to be the precursor of all rock music after 2000. Some call it one of the greatest albums of all time, and with songs like "Karma Police," "Lucky" and Paranoid Android," there were few who didn't hear it at some point on the radio, in parking lots or movies throughout the late 90's. Without this album, bands like Death Cab, Coldplay, The Black Keys, The Strokes or My Morning Jacket may never have become well known or even formed.
  11. Michael W Smith - Freedom
    Growing up in a Christian home, Michael W Smith was the anchor to what made me a musician. While i2Eye might have been my favorite album, Freedom - his first foray into instrumental music - might have been what made me want to write bigger, score emotions and fall in love with the instrumental genre.
  12. Matt Redman - Where Angels Fear to Tread
    Released in 2002, this was hardly my first experience with Matt Redman's poignant songwriting and unique melodies, but it was the album that affected me the most. It may have not even impacted my songwriting more than "The Father's Song," but it hit me more at that time of my life.
  13. Elton John - Yellow Brick Road
    As one of the greatest albums of all time, this doesn't take much exclamation. My first listen happened during my jazz phase, and it helped to keep me from spinning out of control, anchoring me to what makes a good melody. No one had done it as good as Elton, and few have come close ever since.
  14. OneRepublic - Dreaming Out Loud
    Nearly every track on this album is as good as the last, but the timing of this album allowed it to become seared into my life because of circumstances I was going through. "All I Need," "Come Home," "Prodigal," and "All We Are" became anthems in my life.