Todd Carter Koeppen
Fans of Christian music, take note: We have an artist that not only breaks away from genre cliches but is just as accessible and uplifting as praise and worship radio has to offer.
Washington State-based singer/songwriter Todd Carter Koeppen takes a refreshingly different approach to Contemporary Christian Music (CCM), writing songs with the vivid imagery and third-person narrative of a powerhouse novelist. In “Sinj Went Runnin,'” Koeppen writes about a child in Cambodia whose parents had died and he was left with Buddhist monks. Dressing him up in a monk’s garb and cutting off all his hair, they placed him next to the Buddha and tried teaching him their ways. However, it all felt wrong — and he split. Koeppen’s lyrics are both poetic and thrillingly dramatic: “Across the miles he feared no fall/ He fled the temple robes and all/ A blur of orange chasing the call.”
That’s not the kind of songwriting one often hears from Christian artists; sad to say there isn’t much quality control with the most of the product representing spiritual rock. Judging from his vocal style and musical eclecticism, Koeppen’s biggest influences are probably secular yet he has found a way to take those artistic inspirations and utilize them in a Christian context.
Koeppen’s slower numbers are his best, especially the lovely title track and the lush, dreamy “Where Were You.” On “Forever,” Koeppen lets his voice soar, and one can imagine white doves bursting from chapel doors.
Despite the mellowness of the music, this is no easy-listening record. Koeppen isn’t afraid of entering darker territory, from the mother who drowned her child in “Where Were You” to the abused Christian students of “Back to Jerusalem.” Nope, this isn’t “You Light Up My Life.” And thank God for that.
Todd Carter Koeppen: www.toddcarterkoeppen.com