"Say This Sooner" has made the leap from MySpace cult to rock radio. Gillespie gives a Johnny Cash chug-a-thunk rhythm a pop-punk makeover, adding speedy drums and an unshakable sing-along chorus.
Unlike the quasi-Christian rockers in Evanescence and Creed, Gillespie doesn't ditch his faith. A confessional titled "Dirty and Left Out" shouts Jesus' name, with Sunny Day Real Estate mainman Jeremy Enigk contributing backing vocals. In addition to sacred love, Gillespie's got rock in his heart. In cuts like the title track, he self-harmonizes on choruses that suddenly drop out to just a piano or acoustic guitar, then come back twice as loud. Southern Weather is a bright forecast for a long crossover career.