I discovered Ryan O’Neal driving (“Sleeping at Last”) in the middle of the night over Monteagle on our way home from Christmas vacation last December. He is the best Christian-worldview lyricist I’ve ever heard. This song “Bad Blood” is an incredible word-picture of redemption off of his newest EP “Atlas: Darkness.” I get chills when I hear the first three notes of the song now that I know where it’s going.Read More
I’m very excited to finally be able to tell you that the Gospel Coalition is releasing the album “Songs for the Book of Luke” and that they included a song I submitted for the project called “Authority of Christ.” The album is a compilation of songs submitted by worship leaders and pastors around the nation that are all inspired by the Gospel of Luke. My friends David Ward and Eric Schumacher of reformedpraise.org (soon to be thousandtongues.org) also have a song on the album called “Not in Me.”
You can hear a sample of the recording, see a couple of different ways to play the song, and download the chord chart there. I’ll write more about the song and the writing process when it’s not the busiest week of the year!Read More
Did you know that there are thousands and thousands of churches around the world whose weekly services include the exact same four scripture passages? Lectionary-based worship services rotate through large portions of the Old and New Testament in four years’ time. It’s a practice that I admire purely from the standpoint that the congregation is getting a comprehensive diet of the Word of God over the long haul.
Dennis Allen, a long-time song and musical writer here in Nashville, had a great idea: why not resource these churches with songs that are tightly based on each week’s four scripture passages? He and his wife Nan are beginning to do just that at songsforthechurchyear.com. And, beginning this Easter season, Dennis has asked me to join them!
Here are the songs for the Easter season (which, until I began working on this project, I did not know lasted until May 19!). I wrote the music for the following:
“Peace Be With You”
“The Lord Is My Shepherd”
“You Will Receive Power”
“Children of God”
You can listen to each of these here along with the rest of the songs for the Easter season. You can also order the demo, a track, the sheet music with copying permission and the Powerpoint file all in one package for any or all of the songs.
I think Dennis is on to something here – resourcing churches with a practical and worshipful way to help their people engage with scripture and commit it to memory as they study it each week together. And these songs are not just for lectionary-based services…each one can have its own life in the corporate worship of any church looking for scripture songs that are congregationally-friendly.Read More
I am very excited to announce the release of “Songs of the Redeemed.” Recorded live at Grace Community Church over two days in October of 2012, we released it Sunday during our 20-Year Anniversary Celebration. I’m extremely pleased with how it turned out – it truly captures the feel, energy and warmth of our congregational worship. It includes some familiar songs, some originals, and some hymns with fresh arrangements. All of the songs are meaningful to my home church and our corporate life.
Click here to read more, listen & download.Read More
So, maybe I have been under a rock here in Nashville, but I had never heard of Kate York before James Childs tweeted about her latest EP. So, because I trust James’ musical recommendations, I gave it a listen. When I find myself saying out loud how great a song is, I know it’s good!
I’ve listened through fully twice, so this may be a premature post – it’s possible that upon further listening the sheen will wear off. But these lyrics and melodies are beautifully written and many of them are well-suited to congregational worship with a folksy bent.
If you don’t have Spotify and can’t use the nifty player above, click here to view this album in iTunes.Read More
I remember the first time I heard a Matt Maher song. I was almost home and scanning through radio stations. I stopped at a song that sounded interesting, only halfway noticing that it was on a Christian station. The chorus caught me…”And love will hold us together, make us a shelter to weather the storm; and I’ll be my brother’s keeper so the whole world will know that we’re not alone.” I remember thinking what I always think when I hear a Christian artist that catches my attention – “Way to go! Who is this guy?” Thankfully, the station did the rare courtesy of telling me his name after the song.
Now, two years later, I’ve just taken the time to get into his music, and I’m ashamed for having waited so long. I’ve listened thoroughly to two of his albums, “Alive Again” (iTunes)” and “The Love in Between” (iTunes).” The first is about half congregational, half more personal songs, and the second is almost all on the more personal side. The melodies are fresh and catchy, the arrangements are beautiful and powerful, and the lyrics are consistently strong. Though I hear he’s Catholic, he must be on the evangelical side – his emphasis on grace and the gospel is evident, and I have found myself in tears many times because of it.
In one of the most well done tandems I’ve ever heard, Matt pairs “You Were on the Cross” (Spotify link) with “Christ Is Risen” (Spotify link) in the middle of the album “Alive Again.” Sean Adams, a teenager who leads worship for our youth group at Grace, sang “You Were on the Cross” for our Good Friday service, and then we introduced “Christ Is Risen” on Resurrection Sunday.
So, press the play button below to hear what I first heard, and then go ahead and find a way to listen to worship songs like “Sing Over Your Children” (Spotify link), love songs like “New State of Mind” (Spotify link), and convicting songs like “Every Little Prison” (Spotify link). It will be well worth your listen.
Side note: If you don’t have Spotify, you should take advantage of it – free access to millions of songs with Facebook interconnectivity that allows you to play the songs your friends are listening to. It’s also legal.Read More