I’ll admit it, I’m pretty much a perfectionist when it comes to the musical aspect of worship, or for that matter, anything musical.  When it comes to concerts I’ve performed, very few live up to my expectations.  That’s to say, when the band does not feel like it’s really ‘gelling’, I can become very frustrated.  Apparently, worship happened last night, according to others.  Here, however, is the worship-confessional I cut with our Tech guy, Chris, immediately after walking off stage.  This one is being dual-posted at both Chris & I’s sites.  Enjoy.

Inside Out Worship/Tech Confessional – October 8, 2008

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This has been a good week.  I call it a good week because it was a week chock full of me doing what I was made to do: worship.  Yes, that should happen ALWAYS – we should all live there – but I, personally, find a heightened sense of God’s presence when I’m worshiping in community and with song.  

First, My wife & I led our church’s Wednesday noon prayer meeting.  Pulling from an assortment of old favorites like “Consuming Fire” & “Give us clean Hands“, a few newer ‘prophetic’ songs from IHOP, and an original chorus by my wife, we spontaneously led various numbers interspersed with and flowing from the prayers being offered up in the room.  I’ll be honest – I find that degree of spontaneity personally challenging (though, I’ll admit it: my wife LIVES THERE), & I was a bit unsure of whether or not we really ‘connected’ to those in the room.  I found hope in the fact that, at least from my own heart, God was worshiped, and I received a number of kind remarks about it later in the week.  That’s an area I’d like to grow in, but God graciously showed His face to us in spite of my weakness.

Later than night, we had a special INSIDE OUT Sr. High service with an extended time of worship, which I co-led with one of my youth leaders, Aaron.  His worship leading is energetic and infectious and most definitely connects with his peers, and I love to see younger leaders stepping up to the plate.  Though it wasn’t the single most passionate/expressive Wednesday night we’ve had so far this school year (there have been weeks that I wondered if we’d go ‘pentecostal’), the Holy Spirit was clearly present, and hearts were changed.  First, Aaron led the opening set of “My Glorious” (Delirious), “One Way” (Hillsong United), and a powerful song he introduced to our youth the week before – which, I might add, I’ve been pulling for since I heard the demo – “Glorious One” (Fee).  What’s more interesting, HE LED FROM THE BASS – and did it very well.  My personal favorite from his set is Steve Fee’s “Glorious One“, as it’s such a good balance of Biblical truth and personal response, packaged in a powerfully melodic chorus, yet at the same time it’s very easy to pull off (unlike his other awesome, but nearly unreplicable, “All because of Jesus”).  Later, following a time of sharing & testimonies, I continued our corporate singing by re-introducing our youth to the infamous “Healer” (which I love even more BECAUSE of the controversy: the song feels even deeper knowing the real story behind it), “Jesus Paid it All” (a favorite at our church, especially among our youth), and sent them home with a challenge, much like Fred delivered on SSCC’s night of worship, to reach our community, with “God of this City“.  Overall, it was a truly exciting night as I looked out over the room and saw a mix of indifferent (dudes who are merely there to pick up chics – at least they’re coming and hearing the Word and seeing authentic worship) and those truly moved (at least 4 groups were huddled up, praying, and in tears).  I love Inside Out and am proud of what goes on there week by week.

 

And this portion is ‘participating’ in Fred’s Sunday Setlist blog.

Lastly, I was in the rotation to lead for this past Sunday morning as well, which is always a joy.  Our Sunday AM musicians are professional, friendly, and a pleasure to work with, so rehearsal is rarely a chore (though even the best band has their moments, I admit it).  I was particularly excited to have my wife on both keys and singing alto for this morning!  Thursday night’s rehearsal was one of the smoothest I’ve ever had to date, and seemed to zip right by, and Sunday morning – apart from me forgetting lyrical phrase (along with EVERYONE ELSE) from one song – went spectacularly.  The band played almost flawlessly, the congregation was fairly responsive and seemed to be connecting with the songs (pockets folks stood and raised their hands of their own initiative), I personal felt ‘connected’ to God and our congregation as a leader.  Our set started off with Tim Hughes’ “Happy Day” – one of my personal favorites – after which I welcomed everyone to church, and dove into a 2 song set of “Your Grace is Enough” (Maher/Tomlin) and “Mighty to Save” (Hillsong).  Though I am by no means a servant of Hillsong – there is particularly much in their lyrics that I question at times – this song in particular deserves recognition and use among churches of every flavor: the lyrics are powerful proclamation and intimate response all wrapped up into one, and the melody is infectious.  I wouldn’t mind singing this song every week, personally.  After an far-more-intense-than-usual sermon by David mostly about trusting God in our current financial climate, we had communion, during which we sang “Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)” and Tomlin/Redman’s classic reworking of a great hymn, “The Wonderful Cross“.  Sadly, we ran short on time during our first service and had to cut our closing song, but for the 2nd service we responded with “Though I Will Trust You“.  If anything were to have gone better on Sunday, I think I should have considered my words more carefully – somehow, I had given what I was going to say that morning little thought, and found myself digging for the right turn of phrase at times, but I don’t think that was too distracting, thankfully.

All in all, it was a wonderful week.  Thank You, Father!

I wouldn’t be lying if I said – which I will, and am about to – that I have checked iTunes at least weekly since I discovered it (about 4 years ago now) for literally ANYTHING by the great Australian alternative rock band, Midnight Oil.  Known best for their 80s mega-hit “Beds are Burning“, most do not know, however, that lead singer Peter Garrett is not only a former surfer, and a social activist, but also a Christian, and currently serving full-time in the various areas of the political sphere down-under.  As some have asked; “Do you remember what it was like to listen to music with a message?”  Midnight Oil were like the Australian U2 – and fans of the Cure, the Church, the Clash, or the formerly mentioned kings of Anthemic Brit-rock should most definitely explore their catalog.

A great place to start is their compilation, 20,000 WATT RSL, but my personal favorites are BLUE SKY MINING, and DIESEL AND DUST.

If you’re going to be scanning singles, check out; “Beds are Burning”, “Blue Sky Mine”, “Dreamworld”, “Underwater”, “Jimmy Sharman’s Boxers”, “King of the Mountain”, “Golden Age”, & “Forgotten Years”.  Here’s hoping that Midnight Oil return to the music business soon!  ENJOY!

This one is a bit different… hope you like.

And now for something COMPLETELY DIFFERENT!

My stack of c.d.s to review has grown taller than is manageable, so in a desperate attempt to knock out some reviews, and promote a few dear friends, here’s is my ‘Triple Play’ review special!


McKendree Augustas
A View for Opened Eyes
(c)2008 

My brother-n-law – and one of my best friends – has accomplished quite a lot since he moved to Nashville a few of years back.  He’s toured with Jeff Deyo,  Britt Nicole, and is currently on tour with SonicFlood, and in the midst of the madness he still made time to write and record a debut cd worth being very proud of.

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what to compare McKendree’s sound to.  He’s got the ghostly electronics of Radiohead, the wide open atmosphere of Coldplay, with the pounding piano of Ben Folds, and the worshipful lyrics of John Mark McMillan, and at least a peripheral awareness of emo-guitar, all mixed into a creative, original, & refreshing debut.

By far the stand-out is “Beautiful“.  The melody line is original enough to keep you guessing, but still has hook.  The chorus is simple and singable.  The music builds slowly, with the addition and subtraction of instruments sometimes from one line to the next.  With the right people behind it, combined with a good music video, I’m convinced it could be a hit single – not only in ‘Christian’ radio, but a ‘cross-over’ hit.  Yes, it’s that good.

A few other stand-outs are are the two corporate worship songs; “Attention“, & “Strength to Carry On“.  Though the first verse of “Attention” is a bit hard to grasp at first, the rest of the song is the sort that a whole room of people can quickly latch onto, as is all of “Strength to Carry On“, which I’ve already led at our youth service.

There are some places that may lose the casual listener.  For one, the intro song – “Proemial” – is likely going to turn away some, particularly those not already familiar with McKendree’s more accessible songs.  That said, this c.d. is only a glimmer of what he is capable of (I’ve heard it ALL), and is a shimmering sign of what is to come.  

A View…” is well worth picking up, and will leave you wanting to hear more from McKendree in the future.

 


David Herndon
Into Danger / Out of Rescue
(c)2008

I would be lying if I said that I expected to be blown away from David’s 2nd c.d.  David & I have been friends for a few years now – we’ve sung on worship teams together, & I’ve long been familiar with his music.  Though there were a few good songs on his debut c.d., nothing there really moved me.  In comes “Into Danger / Out of Rescue“, and I must confess: my jaw was wide open during the whole first listen.  This was David Herndon?!

The melodies were memorable, the song-writing catching, his vocal delivery is absolutely convincing, and most of all, the lyrics CUT DEEP.  I was already nearly in tears before finishing track one.  “Into Danger…” is David’s “Time out of Mind” (Bob Dylan) or “Yankee Foxtrot Hotel” (Wilco) – production-wise, an alt-country masterpiece, and as far as songs are concerned, a very solid, and challenging collection that makes me proud to say “I know that guy“. 

The most note-worthy song is “Church or a Brothel“, which – by title alone – brings up issues many will be uncomfortable with, and asks questions which society as a whole often shy away from.  My personal favorite, however, is “Reflection” – an alt-country performance that, oddly enough, rings with subtle shades of mid-80s Tears for Fears, and the Police.  It’s that sort of genre-bending creativity, and the strong production value, that makes “Into Danger…” so worthwhile.

Personally, I hope to hear David pursue this direction even further, but until then “Into Danger…” has been – and will be – a permanent fixture in my car’s c.d. collection.  That’s where I keep my favorites.

 


Matthew Perryman Jones
Swallow the Sea
(c)2008 

As I’ve written about before in this blog, there was a time a few years back when Matthew & I used to occasionally play out together in the Athens/Atlanta area at places like Eddie’s Attic & the Bean’ry, and he’s the fellow who introduced me to Indelible Grace’s music (he appears on most – if not all – of their cds).  He’s a gentle spoken man, a strong songwriter, and has an absolutely beautiful voice.  

I was excited to discover earlier this week the release of his 3rd studio full-length, “Swallow the Ocean“, and though the whole c.d. has not yet grabbed me, it holds promise, and a few singles which have already probably made it into my ‘favorite new music of ’08’ list.

The first song of note, which I’ve featured on this site before,  is “Save You“, which has already enjoyed some popularity as an iTunes single, after appearing in a number of popular prime-time television shows.  The song is simple, and lovely, bringing to mind what Coldplay might have sounded like if Chris Martin had been raised in the southern USA.  My personal favorite is “Without a Clue“, which show-cases a nice piano hook, and great lyrics that look back on the romantic naivete’ of youth.  With it’s anthemic chorus, it’s hard not to note U2’s influence on Matthew’s otherwise southern acoustic folk style.

Though I’m not yet sold on the whole disc – his debut was so fantastic that it’s hard not to judge all his later releases by that standard – it definitely contains a few ‘must-download’ singles, and if my guess is right, will prove to be a worthy investment as a full-length as well.

Here’s hoping I get to gig again with Matthew in the future.

That’s all… I hope I’ve been of service to direct you towards some great new music that will move your soul.

Now, to be entirely honest and fair, I must mention that neither Matt Redman nor Eoghan Heaslip (my two  favorite songwriters) have released new c.d.’s yet this year, so the playing field is pretty much wide open.  However, if I were pressured to pick my favorite CD of new music produced for use as corporate worship so far this year, it would be Sovereign Grace Music‘s COME WEARY SAINTS, hands down.

After their powerful 2006 release, VALLEY OF VISION (from which I used no less than 4 songs in various corporate venues), I had truly resolved that they could surely do no better.  Apparently I was wrong.

It’s not that the production hits me square between the eyes – in fact, there are even a few moments where a synth sound strikes me as a bit ‘cheesy’.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s a good sounding c.d., but I would have done things differently in several places, given my personal tastes.  And it’s not so much that the performances stand out, though everyone on the disc performs to the top of their ability, and I’m more than happy to hear Jonathan Baird of West Coast Revival take the lead more often here.  It’s not the edgiest worship release of the year, nor the catchiest (though, there are a few tunes that indeed have the hooks), nor the loudest, or even the hippest.

What sets Come Weary Saints apart is the lyrics.  And oh, what lyrics!  Here’s the deal, this is an entire worship c.d. written to a very good and sovereign God from various depths and experiences of brokenness and pain.  How does that settle with you?  The lyrics are doctrinally precise, yet still felt rather than thought – which is an accomplishment, indeed!  Some songs are cries of the heart – psalm-like it their honesty – and others are songs of rejoicing, even from the depths near despair, where trusting God is the only option left.  Even as I write this tears are welling up in my eyes – my mind grabbing themes which have given me much comfort in the passing months since I first listened to this disc.

Sure, not every song will connect with every listener.  The musical styles are varied, and there are one or two that I still have not connected with.  That said, this is not only an important c.d. for 2008, but in my book, an essential one.  Please pick it up, for your own sake.

For a good cross-section of what’s in store, check out the following samples on iTunes:
Hide Away in the Love of Jesus
Every Day
Through the Precious Blood
Healing in Your Wings

In case you didn’t know about this, if you haven’t followed their career very well, it’s worth checking out:

Honestly, production-wise their earlier work doesn’t have the ‘teeth’ I wish it did, in hind-sight – I actually prefer live versions of many of those songs off of their debut. And yes, if you have at any time in your life been a Jars of Clay fan, the consistent quality of their output means that there are surely fan favorites that are not included (I’m still in shock that the songs “Good Monsters”, “The Eleventh Hour”, “Collide” aren’t on here). However, if you’re already a bit more familiar with their work, and want a wee bit more ‘bang’ for just a little more ‘buck’, you may want to look here:

No, not ALL of these songs are ‘essential’, but it is a very solid collection.

That’s enough ‘reviews’, though.

I remember the Summer after my Junio year in college when a friend of mine (who was also their good friend – I think he was in the studio at some point with the band for all of their first 3 or 4 cds) pulled out a little demo called “Frail e.p.” and asked us to listen. At the time it didn’t really strike me as fantastic – we had been working in the studio on our first c.d., so we were feeling pretty over-confident about ourselves – but they were a good band, and pursuing some of the same ‘edge’ that my band at the time, Set on Edge, were toying with. We (both bands) were still playing coffee-house style venus (shortly there-after we would move up to ‘bars’ – they would move up to ‘stadiums’), so we talked on numerous occasions about doing shows together. In fact, at one point our drummer told them they might consider “opening for us sometime”. In hindsight, that’s quite funny. Through a strange set of circumstances involving one of the their sisters, two singles on their debut full-length ended up being produced by Adrian Belew, the lead singer and one of the guitarists of King Crimson, from whom – oddly enough – I had purchased an electric guitar just a couple years before (he lived in Cincinnati at the time). Belew’s touch took Jars of Clay’s sound into top 40 land, and one moment we were making phone calls to still try to finalize pulling together an elusive gig together, the next minute Jars of Clay were the opening act for Sting (you may have heard of him?), and totally in a league of their own.

Since then I’ve bought all of their c.d.’s, and I’m proud to say that they’ve done some really fine work. On occasion I’ve slipped back stage – some of them vaguely remember me. I’m fascinated also by how – in spite of how different our ‘careers’ have been, how our ‘theological journeys’ parallel each other very closely: the signs of that in their songwriting may be one of the reasons I’m still drawn to them, as they always seem to speak to me where I am. As it goes, the world moves on – times change. The largest audience Set on Edge ever had in one room was 3,000, and we only sold a little over 4,000 cd’s in our time – Jars, let’s just say, has done far better.

Sometimes it’s odd to look back over your life – not bad, but most definitely odd. That said, pick up one of these two discs. I think you’ll be very glad that you did.

I’m going to start a new series today. Given that I have written so many reviews over the years, at least half of which were for publications that are no longer available online, I’m going to reprint some of the highlights. Today’s is of my old friends in Jaspergate. I loved their music so much that I eventually asked them to join my own band. Patrick ended up being responsible for a large part of the lead guitar work on A Story to Cling To. He’s awesome.

________________________________________________________

Patrick and Dawn Davis, the creative and musical core of Jasper Gate, are no strangers to their trade. Patrick, a local guitar instructor and a DJ for NPR, graduated from UGA with a degree in music, and can be heard playing on such productions as MTV’s The Real World. His playing is professional and restrained, a far cry from the oft “wanking” of the young upstarts. Dawn, a local voice instructor and a part-time model, has been singing live for over 10 years. Since ’92 they have released two full-lengths CDs together, an unknown number of cassette EPs and songs for compilations, and have performed nationally with such varied acts as the Dead Milkmen and Sixpence None the Richer. Jasper Gate have been around the musical block a time or two, and it shows. Read the rest of this entry »

As I prepare my second official post in the “Apologetics as Worship” series, I have a special announcement which is highly relevant to all interested in apologetics.

The movie EXPELLED will open in movie theaters around the country this Friday, April 18th!

Don’t be confused: Expelled is NOT a ‘Christian movie’, though it is being ‘marketed’ to people of faith (not just Christians) because the subject matter affects us, particularly in the academy.

The issue: Darwinism has become so entrenched at the University level that as a scientist to even QUESTION Darwinistic Evolution can cost you your job. Note: these scholars are NOT Biblical creationists, though most are ‘theists’ (many believe in God), but their doubt of Darwinism is on Scientific principles, not religious ones. Well, EXPELLED is a light-hearted (as much as one can be light-hearted about such an issue) look at the problem through the eyes of none other than the infamous Ben Stein! I’ve heard they’ve made it as un-academic and accessible as possible, given the subject matter, and that it’s actually an entertaining view that makes you think.

Personally, I’ve gone to conferences with, and met most of the scholars interviewed in this film – they are brilliant men who’s theories are turning the Scientific community on it’s head! I have one whole half of a book-shelf dedicated to their published work. I am thankful these ‘darwin-doubters’ are doing such dangerous work.

If you’re local to St. Simons Island, I’ve heard Island Cinema’s will be showing the film this Friday on its’ debut! Folks, this is an important film – I encourage you ALL to see it.

For those of you who enjoy deep thinking and in-depth Bible study on tough theological issues, I’ve been engaging the excellent book (one of my favorites) over at my other blog, SUFFERING & THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, a collection of challenging essays by solid Christian thinkers who have each suffered uniquely, who came together to speak to the Desiring God National Conference in 2005.  I’m finding my own thoughts on these subjects challenged, and deepened, and hope to continue ‘reflecting’ on this book chapter-by-chapter all the way to the end.

If you’d like to dive in, here are the posts to date:

INTRO & CHAPTER 1 (10 aspects of God’s Sovereignty over Suffering & Satan’s hand in It)

CHAPTER 2, PART 1 (All the Good that is ours in Christ)

CHAPTER 2, PART 2 (All the Good that is ours in Christ continued)

Be encouraged to discuss…

blessings!

Musical Flashbacks

March 11, 2008

So, I was eating with my family at Outback this past weekend, when I suddenly noticed a powerfully catching riff quickly above me coming from the speakers – I quickly excused myself from the table and moved around the room until I could better hear it. I was not wrong! It was “It’s a shame about Ray” by the Lemonheads – a song I used to have in regular rotation on one of my 3 different college radio shows back in the early 90s! As soon as we got home I went on an iTunes surfing fest from my early college days, and was engulfed by so many original, and fabulous melodies that I just had to share them, especially in light of my recent blog on Excellence & Creativity in Worship. Read the rest of this entry »

Wow.

March 3, 2008

Wow.

Read the rest of this entry »

So, I’m apparently finding it hard to keep up.

A couple of the Saint Lewis band-members had been nagging me to check out a few new worship artists, saying that they were ‘over Hillsong United’, and were now listening to Planetshakers and Generation Unleashed.  I didn’t think anything of the comment until today I stumbled across both bands on iTunes and thought I’d give them a listen.  WHOAH!  How’d I miss this?

Honestly, I’ve not yet listened all the way through, nor have I inspected their lyrics (I don’t introduce new material that is unScriptural or terribly unbalanced, no matter how good it sounds), however my interest is most definitely peaked.

Here are both bands latest available releases from iTunes.

From what little I’ve heard, I think I like Generation Unleashed better than Planetshakers, but that could easily change.

So, have any of you heard (or heard of) these folks?  What do you know?  What do you think of them?  Why have you been holding out on me?  Please comment this one…

thanks

New R.E.M. Alert!

February 13, 2008

Alert!  Alert!  R.E.M., arguably the 2nd ‘biggest’ band in the world in the past 25 years (behind only U2), who have one of the highest paying record deals in history ($80,000,000!!!), and who have not only been one of my major musical influences through the years (their c.d. GREEN is untouchable in my book), but is also my ONLY major musical influence for whom I have spilled their lead singer’s coffee – R.E.M. has a new c.d. out, and what I’ve heard of it is SMOKIN’!

Here’s the new single…revel in it’s awesomeness:

I’ve known about IHOP (International House of Prayer, KC) since they were about a year old. I discovered them around the same time that God so kindly reminded me that He was NOT a duality, but a Trinity (Hello Holy Spirit!), thanks, in part, to my friend Don Williams‘ book The Person & Work of the Holy Spirit. In fact, one of my ‘living heros’, Sam Storms, is connected to their ministry in many ways since the beginning.  I didn’t listen to any IHOP music until Misty Edwards debut, Eternity, was released in ’03. Since then a number of my friends have gone to IHOP for various periods of time, I’ve explored a lot of their music, alleviated a few of my more serious doctrinal concerns (which, I found also were quite justified in their early days), and found that Mike Bickle’s view of the end-times is quite interesting and attractive, even to a ‘partial-preterist‘-leaning fellow like myself.

Well, though IHOP related artists have released some very powerful c.d.s in the past few years (see the fore-mentioned Misty Edwards, Jason Upton, or Isa Couvertier), much of which I LOVE for times of personal worship, most IHOP material is simply not practical for even the most adventurous contemporary congregation. That being said, I think IHOP may be moving in the right direction with their newest release, IMMERSED.

Heather, our Youth Vocal Coordinator, who – I believe – I may have introduced to Misty Edwards’ music myself a number of years back, has done a great job at keeping me up-to-date on all-things IHOP. This week to dropped into my hands a few samples from IMMERSED and I couldn’t believe what I was hearing – it was CLEARLY IHOP, yet with corporate worship potential! My absolute favorite was “Stir up the Flame”, but another stand-out was “Shine on Us”. The songs are singable, melodic, & Scripture-based, and the music is captivating. Thank you Heather – now I need to buy the whole disc!

Be encouraged to follow the above links to explore this new release, which should also be available on iTunes soon. I think it’ll be worth it if you do.

Yesterday was one of those ‘highlights’ for me – a day where, from morning till sundown, I felt as though my every step was perfect.

In the morning I went to church and led the Rush Hour (Jr. High Youth Group) band, including a brand new guitarist who had never played with us before (apart from a rehearsal), and it was GREAT. Not only was the worship time intimate – the youth in the room seemed engaged, and during the quiet moments I could hear voices from every corner of the room, but the band sounded great, especially the new guitarist. I love leading worship, but even more-so, I love seeing young musicians ‘get it’, both spiritually and musically. It just lights me up to see a kid step up and DO IT, and do it well, even! It was a good morning.

After church, I spent the afternoon in the studio with my wife singing background vocals for my brother-n-law’s forthcoming c.d. (for whom my wife is the booking agent, so if you’d like him to play somewhere LET ME KNOW). He’s working under the name McKendree Augustas, and the new tunes are sweet. I’m excited to hear the final product, which should be mixed later this week.

Finally, in the evening, I got to open for David Herndon at his c.d. release party. Given the nature of the songs he was playing that night, I decided to be ‘Set on Edge‘ for the evening, instead of ‘Saint Lewis‘. I usually rely upon a group of excellent musicians, but instead focused on spicing up my acoustic parts a bit and did it solo. I not only felt very good about the performance (there was a great audience there – I’d guess 300+ showed), got many compliments, and sold a few cds, but also got in a number of great conversations, and for me those conversations/relationships is what good music really comes down to: a conversation between me, the listener, and God.

Yesterday was one more day that makes me consider doing some really crazy things to enable every day to be like that. The thought of one day leading others in worship, training musicians and worship leaders and seeing them step into their own, writing songs that move people’s hearts and the heart of God, playing live, and recording – well, that just sounds like Heaven on Earth to me and leaves my head spinning.

Yesterday was a good day. 😉

I’m a strong supporter of independent musicians and songwriters, and though these old friends of mine aren’t quite as ‘independent’ as they were when we first met, I’ve really been listening to them a lot recently and wanted to spread the joy a bit. Read the rest of this entry »

I take great joy in tracking down new worship songs, as it provides for me new opportunities – fresh words – to worship God with privately, and sometimes new tunes to guide our youth upon a path towards seeing God more fully. Here are a few of my more exciting discoveries over the past few months: Read the rest of this entry »

Since the year is coming to a close, here are some of my favorites for 2007:

Read the rest of this entry »

4 A.D.

December 7, 2007

During one of my recent times randomly surfing around iTunes looking for new music (as I am prone to do), I stumbled across an incredible set of compilations from one of my favorite bands in college: Cocteau Twins.

Read the rest of this entry »

I recently was chosen to review a Christmas c.d., but I’ll have to be honest with you: I’m not a really big fan of Christmas music. There are a few artists/albums which I enjoy, such as Over the Rhine’s Snow Angels, Jars of Clay’s Christmas Songs, and Bruce Cockburn’s Christmas, but generally I find Christmas music either stale and overused, or just ridiculous and annoying. In light of those critiques, Savior: Celebrating the Mystery of God become Man – though not a spotless gem – is indeed a breath of fresh air, and has been spinning almost continually since I received it over a week ago. Read the rest of this entry »

Matthew Perryman Jones

November 28, 2007

For all of you U2 & Coldplay fans out there, my old friend Matthew Perryman Jones‘ music is FINALLY available on iTunes! He and my old band, Set on Edge, used to occasionally play together at the Bean’ry in Athens, GA, and Eddies Attic in Decatur, GA. Read the rest of this entry »

Sadly I don’t have time for an in-depth review, but I do want to give a heads-up on two new ‘worship’ releases.

First, a disappointment: I’ve long been a fan of the Desperation Band from New Life Church. Songs like “I am Free”, “Amazed”, “Beauty of the Lord”, and “Rescue” have been some of my most oft-used, and favorite corporate worship songs these past few years, and I even enjoyed their last c.d., though I didn’t end up using anything from it in our services. Read the rest of this entry »

I got to play electric guitar (the delay, wah-wah, & distorted type) on “All because of Jesus” by Steve Fee last night during walk-in music.  Yeah, other stuff happened, and we worshiped God, and had fun games, BUT…
…I got to play electric guitar last night, and if I may say so, I ripped it up!

That was SO MUCH FUN!

Discuss. 😉

It’s been a GREAT year for new music. Here are a few songs, newly available on iTunes, that I’m really digging right now. Read the rest of this entry »

I realize that this is a bit late in the game, as this c.d. had come out a couple of months ago, but I can’t pass on commenting on it. Read the rest of this entry »

For those who missed it, please read part 1 first – at least the intro – before diving into this blog. Otherwise, here are 3 more:

The One I LoveREM
Blood & RosesSmithereens
Prayers for Rain
The Cure Read the rest of this entry »

After re-watching the REM video from yesterday’s blog, and due to recently starting to record a new c.d. with my wife as Saint Lewis, it really made me step-back and personally reflect on the songs that have really had a long-term impact on my songwriting Read the rest of this entry »

Sojourn Community Church

Holy smokes, where in the WORLD did THIS Worship c.d. COME FROM? Read the rest of this entry »

Crowder has a Remedy

September 25, 2007

I’ll admit it. I don’t have the new David Crowder c.d. I honestly can’t afford it (meaning, that it wouldn’t be wise to buy a c.d. while one of my cars is missing its transmission). This is, however, the first David Crowder c.d. I have ever really ‘anticipated’. Why, do you ask? Well, I could tell from the outset that Crowder had done enough experimentation on the last few c.d.’s and was probably ready to settle down and record a semi-accessible collection of worship music, which – having heard it in its entirety through various online sources – this is. This is Crowder ‘cleaned up’ – discarding any mid-song silliness, or between song, seemingly early-Pink-Floyd inspired, madness. Just beautiful, well written, well arranged, well produced solid worship music. Praise God – that is what I was waiting for! Read the rest of this entry »

Today I heard Jennifer Nettles’ newest song on the radio while driving in to work. At first I didn’t recognize her voice (she’s the lead vocalist of Sugarland), but was immediately taken with the song. When I heard her name, however, a huge grin came across my face. You see, I remember when Jennifer was one of ‘us’ – not a ‘rock star’, but a struggling musician in the dingy rock-clubs of Athens, GA. At the time I was new to town, and ‘the new guy’ at the Flagpole music journal. There was a c.d. that had just been released that was so terribly un-hip that no one at the Flagpole would touch it with a ten foot pole: Soul Miner’s Daughter “The Sacred & Profane”. The staff there encouraged me to tear it to bits, and sincerely – it was bad. However, in the midst of the average musicianship, mediocre songwriting, revolting sexual imagery, and poor production there was a shimmer of something beautiful: there were moments where the lead singer, Jennifer Nettles, showed a spark of life that suggested something more. Read the rest of this entry »

For my personal growth and development as a worship leader I’ve been doing a lot of reading these past few months. These books are my personal ‘top picks’: Read the rest of this entry »

This is the last of my machine-gun fire Worship TextFessionals: 3 in 4 days!

Last night was our first ‘normal’ INSIDE OUT meeting of the Fall Semester. INSIDE OUT is the High School youth ministry of St. Simons Community Church. Read the rest of this entry »

In an attempt to keep our youth worship ‘cutting edge’ and relevant I have our youth musicians & vocalists, and those connected with the various musical aspects of our youth environments, suggest new songs and, combining it with a few picks of my own, have all involved vote on which ‘new’ (sometimes, as is the case with this list, ‘new to us’) songs we will introduce over the next 4 – 6 months. Well, the results are in, and if you’re a worship leader and not familiar with these songs, I suggest you open up your iTunes and CCLI’s SongSelect and start downloading tunes and chord charts immediately! Here they are, in order of popularity… Read the rest of this entry »

Stand in Awe

I admit it: I missed much of the ‘contemporary worship’ movement at first. A few bad experiences had led me to grow quickly untrusting of the whole enterprise, and I spent from ’96 to ’02 singing primarily hymns, and on occasion – when feeling really edgy – re-worked hymns. It was the lyrics of Matt Redman’s incredible Where Angels fear to Tread that changed all of that. Not only was it a guitar driven rock record that came out of the gate with both guns firing, the lyrics were thoroughly Biblical, and almost hymn-like in their depth and beauty. I was playing leading “Blessed be Your Name” almost a whole year before it hit radio, as well as the incredible “Lord, let Your Glory Fall” and “Wonderful Maker”. To this day Redman is an inspiration to me and I purchase his records without a second though as soon as one is released. Read the rest of this entry »