362. Defend Your Joy – The Echoing Green
DEFEND YOUR JOY (1994)
The Echoing Green
Named after a poem by William Blake, The Echoing Green is a pop/synth/techno band that made great inroads into the world of Christian dance music and electronica with a decidedly more commercial and pop approach. That to say that band leader Joey Belville knew how to write a pop song and infuse it with modern technology without losing the song amongst the computers and synthesizers.
The genre has also been noted for highly sexual and depressing themes. But Belville was one of the most positive songwriters in any genre, heavily influenced by his faith and the joy it creates. The prupose of this album was a call for christian to defend the gift of joy they are given and to walk by the Spirit. These same theme repeat over and over on this wonderful project.
I was a sales rep for Frontline/Diamante in the 90’s and for a short while they needed someone to cover the New Mexico area for the company. It was a quick flight from LA to Albuquerque, so I added it to my territory. My first appointment was with some kid named Joey who knew everything about Christian music. I remember pitching him this album and he lit up and ordered a truck load. He saw the shock on my face and started to laugh – something he often would do. Laugh that is. I did not know that he was the same Joey that is the Joey of The Echoing Green.
He remained one of my favorite accounts not because of his music knowledge or large orders, but because Bevlille has an infectious and joyful personality and it clearly permeates the music he creates. Even the melodies are upbeat with a clearly positive feel. 2nd Chance deals with God’s grace and forgiveness despite our failings and our penchant for being the prodigal.. Defend Your Joy, a Depeche Mode like tune, is a call to Christians to stand up for truth and not to let the world take their joy away. Riki Michele makes an uncredited appearance on the chorus.
In every cutting edge genre someone will come along and claim the mantle of taking it to the masses by making it more palatable and accessible. The Echoing Green does just that with this release as melody remains front and center and the song remains the key.