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Music / Charlie Peacock

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''These are fortunate days to be making music, and to be listening for it as well. Music is a child of good.
It is the language of deeper things, wide grooves and thick back-lit poetry glowing with the energy and fire
of word and rhythm, melody and meaning.''
— Charlie Peacock, 1996

Charlie Peacock (born Charles William Ashworth) is a singer-songwriter and record producer from Yuba City, California. He is best known as being the producer for Switchfoot and The Civil Wars, as well as writing Amy Grant's song "Every Heartbeat." As a producer, he seeks to move artists away from the Contemporary Christian Music ghetto, as he feels that artists should be able to have faith but be marketed to a secular audience.


Peacock's musical style in his own records is quite diverse and falls somewhere in between the Christian Rock, Pop, and Jazz genres.

He started his musical career in the early eighties when he was a part of the secular Charlie Peacock Group. The group released one album during this period, No Magazines (1981). In 1982, Peacock converted to Christianity after a bout with alcoholism and during this time was a founding member of the new wave band Vector.

In 1984, Peacock released his debut acoustic-pop album Lie Down in the Grass, to much critical acclaim. He continued his musical career throughout The '80s and released a New Wave Self-Titled Album through Island Records. Peacock released three albums independently in the late 80's: the West Coast Diaries Volumes One, Two and Three, which consisted of recorded material from his touring band and solo projects.


Peacock released gospel/soul albums in the early 90's, which included grammy-nominated The Secret of Time (1990) and Love Life. (1992) Love Life was a controversial album due to it mixing Intercourse with You and God-Is-Love Songs, blurring the line between sexual and spiritual love. It also contained Peacock's best-known song, "In The Light," later covered up by dcTalk.

In the mid-nineties, Peacock genre shifted again towards alternative and folk rock. He released Everything That's On My Mind (1994) and Strangelanguage (1996), the latter of which which blended several musical styles including jazz, alternative rock, pop, electronica, and world music.

After a 20th-aniversary tribute cover album, Full Circle (2003), Peacock decided to leave the Contemporary Christian Music genre and focus on jazz, his lifelong passion. He has since recorded two jazz albums, Love Press Ex-Curio (2005) and Arc of the Circle (2008), the latter with the saxophonist for The Flecktones and Dave Matthews Band, Jeff Coffin.


In addition to producing the artists listed above, Peacock has been a successful producer for many independent artists through his organization The Art House in Nashville, which has produced Sarah Masen, Out of the Grey, the 77's, and Aaron Spiro, among many others.

Charlie Peacock's music contain examples of the following tropes:

  • Audience Participation Song — He frequently invites the audience to sing along, this was taken to extreme with "Whole Lot Different", when the audience sung the chorus for an entire hour after the show had ended.
  • Bigger Than Jesus — Inverted in "One Man Gets Around" as a sort of Take That!, when Peacock refers to Jesus as "the one more famous than The Beatles"
  • Breakup Breakout — Peacock's career only really kicked off after he left Vector.
  • Christian Rock — Many of CP's lyrics contain references to Christianity.
  • Cover Album — Tribute Milestone Celebration album Full Circle, a 20th year anniversary album in which many friends of Peacock re-recorded his songs. It also contains two original songs.
  • Creepy Circus Music — "The Last Hurrah"
  • Distinct Triple Album — The West Coast Diaries. Volume Two is a Live Album, Volumes One and Three are original material.
  • '80s Hair — In The '90s, he finally got a new hairstyle.
  • Executive MeddlingTown Hall was originally a Charlie Peacock album to be released by A&M records, but they declined to release it, so CP moved over to Island Records and released it as a self-titled album.
  • Genre Roulette — Charlie Peacock said about Strangelanguage, "Strangelanguage is a funhouse mirror of all the music I've ever admired and loved: quirky jazz, noisy cranky guitars, pop singles, world music, old school analog treatments and more."
  • Genre ShiftOnce an Episode. Every album sounds different and incorporates different genres of music.
  • God-Is-Love Songs — Both inverted and subverted with Love Life. "Kiss Me Like a Woman" is likely the first Christian song about foreplay, and mentions both sexual love and spiritual love.
  • Greatest Hits Album
  • Grief Song — "My Father's Crown"
  • Hard-Work Montage — Done in musical form with "This Is How The Work Gets Done."
  • Homage — "Lady Soul/Aretha In The AM" is an homage to Aretha Franklin.
  • Humans Are Flawed — The song "Human Condition" laments the human condition.
  • I Am the Band — The Charlie Peacock Group.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends — Played straight in "Dizzy Dean Movie" but subverted in "It's Gone, It's Over" where Peacock comments that many of the friends he has had over the years have drifted away due to time passing.
  • "I Want" Song — "In The Light", the artist's desire to be more like God.
  • I Will Wait for You — "Dear Friend," where a bride has been waiting for years and years for her groom to come back.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art — Done with the West Coast Diaries cover art.
  • Intercourse with You — "Kiss Me Like a Woman"
  • Listing Cities — "One Man Gets Around"
  • Long Title - "Music I Like to Write That Nobody Ever Gets a Chance to Hear"
  • Lost in Translation - Song of the same name, In-Universe example
  • Missing Song — "Young In Heart" and "Love Doesn't Get Better" were two songs on the A&M re-release of Lie Down In The Grass in 1985, but were never included on that album again on any subsequent reissues and never made available in digital form.
  • New Sound Album — This often happened. The Secret of Time was a transition from the new wave/pop rock sounds of the previous albums to gospel. Everything That's On My Mind was a transition to Rock. Love Press Ex-Curio was a transition to Jazz.
  • "Not So Different" Remark — "Whole Lot Different/Whole Lot The Same," sung from the perspective of a Christian to a non-believer.
  • Out-of-Genre Experience — Done with a track that's actually called "Experience" in the album Secret of Time. "Experience" is seemingly a hip-hop/rap track, but The Secret of Time is more of a R&B/gospel album. This is also done with "Human Condition," a folksy country-sounding track on Lie Down In The Grass, an otherwise acoustic pop-oriented album. Though the guitar predominantly used in "Human Condition" briefly appears in a few other songs on the album.
  • Piss Take Rap — As mentioned above, "Experience" on Secret of Time. "One Man Gets Around" was covered by dcTalk along with Peacock for the 2003 Tribute/Cover Album.
  • Pride Before a Fall — "Big Man's Hat"
  • Record Producer
  • Self-Backing Vocalist — Used rarely.
  • Shoot the Messenger — "Message Boy"
  • Signature Song — "In The Light" is his most famous, but he usually also plays "Big Man's Hat" and "Lie Down In The Grass" at most of his concerts.
  • Spoken Word in Music — "Heard It Another Way"
  • Stage Name
  • The Alcoholic — Peacock is a recovered alcoholic and often gives references to it in his music. "Till You Caught My Eye" is basically the story of his recovery and conversion. "Big Man's Hat" briefly mentions that he "[drank] like a goldfish."
  • The Cover Changes the Gender — Sara Grove's cover of "In The Light" for Full Circle.
  • The Cover Changes the Meaning — Peacock always loved the song "Mrs. Robinson," and after he covered it for West Coast Diaries Volume 3, he stated that he believed that the forgiveness of Jesus was a valid way to look at Mrs. Robinson's situation.
  • The Not-Remix — "Lie Down In The Grass" was remixed for the Self-titled album and "Big Man's Hat" was remixed for The Secret of Time.