Archive for the 'Hillsong United' Category


Sunday Setlist Aug. 30th – “BEST” Ever!

So this week I was terribly busy prepping for leading worship at River and for our normally scheduled youth activities then we got the rest of the equipment for the FireStudio and wanted to install and set that up as well. SO CRAZY! I think most of my struggle came from wanting to do what I wanted to do for music on Sunday instead of shutting up and listening to the Spirit lead me because once I did that everything came together! Here’s how it went down:

True Love – Phil Wickham – E
Happy Day – Tim Hughes – C

Morning Music:
O, for 1,000 Tongues to Sing – Crowder – G
How He Loves – Crowder – A
I Love You Lord – ??? – D
Jesus Paid it All – Kristian Stanfill – A

Offertory: Your Name – Phil Wickham’s version with Paul Baloche – G

Communion: None But Jesus – Hillsong – C

Closing song:
In Christ Alone – Matt Papa – E

So…YEAH…that’s a lot of songs for us! But it was terribly fun. The team killed too! We just had electric, bass, drums, 2 backing vocals, and I swapped from acoustic to electric and back. The two backing vocals were students and I actually had picked None But Jesus for them to sing together for Communion and when we got to practice once said “OH, I LOVE that first acoustic song on there!” So I had them sing True Love as well 🙂 It was awesome seeing these two girls take it on like that!

The next thing you might notice are keys. This past year not leading worship, I’ve really become aware of how a key can kill any idea of me singing on Sunday morning or promote me to really sing out. I also noticed that when I just show up to church, I haven’t warmed up or practiced or done anything to help promote my ability to sing THEREFORE when I lead I need to be uber-aware that I’m singing with a bunch of people just like that! So I dropped the keys for How he Loves, Jesus Paid it All, and In Christ Alone. I’ve got to say, I was pretty anxious about that decision and whether the songs would sound flat or dull but they didn’t and it proved to be a great decision because WOWZERS I heard people singing out!

Lastly, the theme of the morning was where God really showed up! We had a guest preacher this week and that’s always hairy because while my advice was to “pick songs on the name of Jesus and the transforming power of His name. And I’d really like Your Name done” that’s a real wide berth to operate under. However, the songs and the message were 1 huge arrow pointing towards Jesus and it was like we sat down side by side and handpicked all the songs together to highlight portions of his message. I guess we did by allowing the Holy Spirit to work us 🙂
I had 2 “themes” I was working: the love of Jesus showcased by 1,000 Tongues and How He Loves that transferred into a response song with I love You Lord and focused on the cross: Jesus Paid it All. What was ridiculous was how perfectly that set everything up and In Christ Alone was a great exclamation point for the day.

I’m still reeling on the morning and how it went but I’ve rambled long enough. More on that this afternoon.

As always check out the rest of the Sunday Setlists at Fred‘s Blog Carnival!


The Joint – Hillsong United a_CROSS//the_EARTH Tear Down the Walls …nuff said!

Hillsong United. New CD. Enough said! We reviewed a_CROSS//the_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls so sit tight and enjoy!

United Tear down wall

Hillsong United – a_CROSS//the_EARTH: Tear Down the Walls

Get it everywhere but it’d be sweet to kick Eminem off the #1 spot and boost United to the top of iTunes so go get it there!

Conner Byrd – Yours truly, stick around here

I’m going to assume you’ve heard of the worship CD churning machine called Hillsong. I’m not going to assume you’re aware that Hillsong United is the “Youth Band” segment of their team because (I’ve said it before) the lines seemed to have been blurred over the past 2 years as to who’s making what. WELL the line is no longer blurred! With a_CROSS//the_EARTH it is clear that United is back to making music for the Youth. We’ve got an official introduction from the ‘under 21′ worship crew (you might have picked up In a Valley By the Sea but you probably didn’t) but here we have some of that crew making their big time debut. It’s great to have some fresh voices and such on such a stable and incredible team like United! I do dare you to count how many times you sing/yell “Woah oh Oh oh!” Haha, I mean but it is for a corporate setting and what gets you going more than yelling!
As always, you get your money’s worth with 12 tracks in a live setting that’s pushing you from one song to the next as if you’re really there!

Bottom Line:
This CD’s not for your typical church worship setting. It is however for your youth setting! Yours Forever is what I’ve been talking about in regards to Post-RockBand-Worship-Music! It’s busy, it’s loud, it’s anthematic, it’s what I see the multitude of youth who have ravaged these games on their consoles at home craving for in the church. However, the great thing is that there are also tracks like the sweet and beautiful Soon that is angelic. And of course everything inbetween!

Rating: 4.5 out of 5!

Must have:
Yours Forever – yes its ridiculous and over the top and it’s exactly why I love it! Soon – it’s everything that Yours Forever isn’t! Freedom is Here – for it’s Angels & Airwaves vibe. You Hold Me Now – I just love the chorus lyrics and how they roll off my tongue! King of All Days!! Yes, King of All Days is a must have!

Church Songs:
Depends on your church. With your congregation, you might not be able to get away with all of them :) But these are definitely worship songs. I’d start you with: King of All Days, No Reason to Hide, Oh You Bring is a delicious worship tune that just sits there in your pocket, and Soon…mmm….Soon.

Alastair VanceGo to Live to Worship

I’ve always been excited about the release of a new Hillsong United album and this time was no exception.  However, on my first listen through the songs the only word I had to describe it was ‘bleh’.  After a few listens there are some definitely some gems on there but for the most part my thoughts about it are still ‘bleh’ (ref:

The album is energetic, the style is spot on and it sounds really great, but to be honest I was a little disappointed.  I was really listening out for some ‘killer’ songs I could use in church but nothing really stands out or connects with me immediately.

Here’s a question.  Am I being too much of a consumer-focused Christian expecting that immediate worship high?  Or are Hillsong manufacturing albums simply to meet consumer demand rather than a natural outpouring of their hearts?  Or both?  Hmmm.  🙂

Bottom Line:
Fist pumping pop, sung with attitude and lots of WhaaOoO, oOo OoO and Yoooo.  OK, now I’ve had enough.  I’m going back to listen to Aslan Worship again (ref:

Rating: 2.5 out of 5!

Must Have Songs
The gems I talk about are King Of All Days, Oh You Bring, Soon and Arms Wide Open.

Church Songs:
All the songs are crafted for contemporary worship, so if you like the song, use it.  Remember one thing.  Your task as a worship leader is to lead people to that place where they are released to worship God uninhibited.  Therefore, when introducing new songs pick songs you connect with and believe will encourage that.

Joel KlampertGo to

United? Who in the world…Well if you haven’t heard of United then you are currently living under a rock or in a “VAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!”. Folks they are back and with a new live CD. Complete with more Woah’s and ooo’s that may make you think 90’s RnB and boys 2 men are back.
I listened to this CD a few times at first after i got the pre-release and I was having a real hard time getting into it. Nothing really jumped out at me and I have no clue why. However I am glad I didn’t throw it on the shelf and give up on it cus it has some real gems that don’t disappoint. I am still working through this CD many listens over now, but I encourage you to do the same.
I think ultimately with a band like united who has basically shaped worship into their own mold and everybody on the planet is trying to mimic their sound that a new CD comes with preconceived expectations. It is really hard to listen to this CD and not have every one of their other ones in your head.
It still has that signature United sound, but I am excited to see there are trying new things. It was really needed.

Bottom Line:
If you love worship then you need to listen to this CD. I urge you though pretend this is a new band and listen to it like that. Listen to the heart of it and get trapped by the spirit. If you go in with thinking you will have an entire CD of what we have had before then you will miss the gems. The gems are my must haves.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5!

Must Haves:
King of All Days has a brilliant Chorus. I love the redone version of Desert song. That song gets me every time. Tear Down the walls is epic. My first listen the only song that gripped me was Soon. If you are not a United fan buy this CD just for that song. It’s worth it. Your Name High reminds me of U2 and I absolutely love this song. Yes even though it is chock full of “O’s” it is awesome. Last but not least is Yours Forever. This song has a new feel for United and it’s kinda off the wall. It’s a great youth service song and WAY over the top. Reminded me of the Raconteurs.

In Church:
This is a tough call. Depending on how adventurous your church is, if you have 35 guitarists, and killer vocalists most of these songs can be done. I am pretty sure I will attempt a few, but most of these would work best in a youth/college setting. I think on this CD United really made it clear the age group they lead.


Sunday Setlist Feb. 22nd – 3 Churches in 1!


Not only do I bring you what they did at River today but I went to Ecclesia in Houston and Rae went to Trinity in Lafayette so I bring you the Sunday Setlists times 3!!! 

I’ll spend most of the time discussing Ecclesia since I was physically there and because it’s the one that resounds with me the most! But keep reading for the others as well. I’ll try to keep this strictly to the music so I won’t ramble too much 🙂 

1. @Ecclesia
The band make up was acoustic, electric, keys, bass and drums with a lead vocal. More than enough to get dangerous and just enough to be excellent! 

  • Prelude – Band played and sung song (I don’t know the name and we missed 1/2 of it)
  • Welcome and greeting – I LOVE the greeting at the beginning!!!
  • Here is Our King – Crowder – A
  • Come Ye Sinners – 6/8 time signature swingy feel
  • How He Loves – John Mark McMillan
  • Offering and Announcements
  • Special song – I See You (Amazing song that I’m trying to find!) 
  • Sermon
  • Band played and sung during communion
  • I think Tasting Forgiveness was slated to be played but b/c of time they must have scrapped it

When they struck up with Here is Our King out of the greeting, I immediately got giddy. It’s one of those songs that our church either loves or finds tricky to sing and therefore is discouraged to play so I only get to do it with the youth or out somewhere else. I was surprised to find that they kept it in the recording’s key. It was a bit high but man we belted it out 🙂 They followed pretty close to the live recordings version but added a double dose of Majesty at the end that was sweet!

What’s truly hilarious is that when I went back and found what they played last August when I was there, these next 2 songs were there! I remember it was the 1st time I’d heard How He Loves live and I remember thinking what a cool version of Come Ye Sinners! I was really surprised because I love Robbie Seay’s version and this being his church is completely different! 

Well Come Ye Sinners was again, refreshingly great and How He Loves has become the theme of our Youth Group lately! I played it last weekend at church, they played it at the retreat this weekend, and then we get it here at Ecclesia! For some reason though, this morning singing it out something special really happened. I’m not sure if it was all the exposure to it or what, they pulled it off better than the recording and really settled in it and we all just went for it! It sounded like everyone was singing out! 

I See You is a magnificent song so more on that when I can find it! 

What was really exciting was hearing the students’ reaction: they LOVED it! I purposefully wanted to go somewhere that would have been different from the retreat and they loved the worship, the sound, the songs, the whole thing. That was awesome! 

2. @River: 

  • Bless the Lord – Laura Story
  • Come Ye Sinners
  • Tender Mercy 
  • Amazing Grace/My Chains are Gone
  • Prayer and Greeting and Announcements and Offering
  • Sermon
  • Communion
  • Closing – Clean Hands

I don’t know if in fact this week we had electric or not. I’m sure we had mandolin and a couple back up vocals. This was the second week in a row doing Bless the Lord which is the latest new song introduced to the congregation. 

3. @Trinity: 

  • Forever – Tomlin
  • Hosanna – Baloche
  • In Christ Alone – Matt Papa
  • From the Inside Out – Hillsong United
  • Everlasting God – Brenton Brown

When Rae first gave me the song set, I was really giddy! What a selection of songs! 
Tomlin’s live version of Forever is nuts! Matt Papa’s In Christ Alone is the perfect contemporary/hymn song! From the Inside Out is easily one of my most favorite United tunes! Everlasting God is such a solid familiar song!

I got …eh…from Rae. Something was missing. Nothing popped, lack of energy, they all kind of ran together and sounded the same. were some of the things I got from her. This frustrates me because I know as a worship leader it’s frustrating to do songs that are so familiar and perhaps really familiar to the band and keep them fresh and creative. I think for Rae (because it’s true for me too) knowing those songs and loving them so much and hearing them not pulled off like you’re familiar to is distracting. 

Unfortunately, it sounds like she and I had opposite experiences this morning: I heard the intro riff to HIOK and got giddy excited and then lost in the music! She heard Forever and got interested and then deflated by the music. 

How was your Sunday? All a part of Fred’s carnival of Sunday Setlists! I LOVE the banner this week so I stole it 🙂 Unfortunately, Fred doesn’t know who we’re stealing it from so if it’s yours: THANK YOU! and speak up so I can give you some link love!


Sunday Setlist Nov. 16th – Youth Style!

Tonight we had another Youth worship service and it was wicked sweetness!!! Here we go: 

  • Tell the World – Hillsong United
  • We Won’t Be Quiet – David Crowder*Band
  • Never Let Go – Crowder
  • activity to wrap up our Road Signs series
  • Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
  • How He Loves – John Mark McMillan

Today was just super special in so many ways but for the purpose of this post, I’ll restrict it to these songs 🙂 

I’m beginning to think that not all Youth led worship services require the most boisterous and wild and crazy songs there are. I’m finding we have as much, probably more, on the mid to low tempo songs. I think it’s because we’re in the adult sanctuary and it kind of gobbles us up and it just seems silly to go bananas in there…or I just don’t have alot of wild and crazy students…but I find that hard to believe. 

The special songs of the night were the last 3. 
It was our first time playing Crowder’s Never Let Go but after I intro-ed it, I heard a student go, “HEY! They play this song on KLove!” It was pretty funny. This is a special song for me and most of us here. I heard Crowder wrote this in response to Hurricane Katrina. Well that’s a subject near and dear to our hearts here in Louisiana and I’ve been dying to play this tune. I gave it the feel off the live Remedy Club Tour CD, but picked it on the guitar rather than on the piano.

I’m SO GLAD I don’t play Marvelous Light for the adults and that I do have some semblance of crazy students. They love ‘lifting their hands and spinning around!’ It’s my most favorite thing to do! However, note to anyone leading this song on guitar and spinning around in the process: ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS pay attention to where your guitar cable is. Otherwise you come dangerously close to ripping your guitar off your shoulder or wrenching the cable right out of the guitar 🙂  

How He Loves…So much to say about this song that I’m leaving it for another post. It’s beautiful, it fit my ‘hurricane theme’ for the night! HAHAHA. And the students responded. I blew out my voice on “When I think about the waaaaay!” going into the last Chorus but I did NOT CARE! It was crazy awesome. 

I absolutely love doing worship with students. It’s much more raw and it’s so cool to see students trying to figure out how to worship! However, I did realize that I need to approach this with as much diligence as our morning adult services. We’re doing some pretty complicated stuff and I’ve taken for granted the quality of musicianship from my few “adult” musicians that step in. My goal has been a way to engage the students IN and WITH worship. And I’m resting on the crutches of some of the adults for the sake of busyness and laziness on my part. I need to remedy that for next time. 

How was yours? 

Fred’s carnival is already underway! Get involved!


Sunday Setlist Oct. 26th – I’m baaaack!

Yesterday was my first time back in the saddle leading worship for our adult service and it was the first time it was awkward! For the first time it felt like I was in someone else’s living room rearranging the furniture. Haha. Regardless of that, it was great being back with the team and playing with everyone and engaging in worship with them! Here’s what we did: 

  • Prelude– Worship segment from With Hearts as One DVD from United
  • Blessed Be Your Name ala With or Without You – Matt Redman/U2 – A
  • God of Wonders – Tomlin style – G
  • Cannons – Phil Wickham – G
  • O, for 1,000 Tongues to Sing – Crowder – G
  • OfferingGrace Like Rain – Todd Agnew – E
  • ClosingJesus Paid it All – Kristian Stanfill – B

So, it appears my affection for the Passion crew stood out here 🙂 Hey, I only get to do this so often! Everything went real smooth so I’d like to just highlight a few points so I don’t bore you going wildly longwinded: 

  1. Blessed Be Your Name ala With or Without You – If you’re not doing this then you’re truly missing out! The chord progression is the same and having the bass and drums start out the W/or W/O You groove that becomes the backbone of the song is incredible! 
  2. The Call to Worship – Our worship leader loves starting with a ‘Call to Worship.’ I think this is pretty cool but we’re constantly trying to make it more effective because it’s like pulling teeth to get people in the sanctuary on time. This week I tried the Worship segment from United’s new DVD and tying it in with Blessed Be Your Name hopefully encouraging everyone to an atmosphere of worship regardless of how they’re feeling: tired, distracted, restless, etc. 
  3. Introducing new songs – This will be a post all in itself but I intro-ed Cannons this week by introducing the chorus and then starting in with the whole band. I LOVE this song! 
  4. College football affects church – There was a night and day difference between our 9am and 10:45 service’s reaction. I’m pretty aware already that it is the 10:45 service that is much more receptive to songs like we played today but this was probably the most drastic difference in participation that I’ve seen. AND it was probably the most consistent the band has played between the 2 services as well. I think the 9am crew were still asleep and grumpy from yesterday’s debilitating loss.
  5. Use YOUTH – I used a high school student from our youth group to play bass with me this morning! IT WAS AWESOME! We’ve played together for various camps and at youth group now for about 2 years but it was just awesome to see this student showing up early for practice on Thurs. and Sun. and to have him learning the music, and to have him KILLING IT! I’m scared for what he’s going to be like in 5 years! 

Join in with Fred’s Blog Carnival for more!


The I Heart Revolution – What it is

Today’s music news comes a big bigger than normal. As most of you know, I’m a recent United junkie. So the buzz about I Heart Revolution has been getting me stir crazy for information on what this new project United has been working on really is all about. I’m a bit behind it seems but I finally have the story straight and if it’s something you know nothing about please watch the new trailer and then continue reading, I promise you won’t regret it. In fact, it may be the most significant thing you do today.

The I Heart Revolution very simply is 3 things:

  1. A double disc CD sampling worship that United has been a part of over the past 2 years from all over the world. Admittedly, they say it’s rough in some parts but it’s the beauty of unity that this piece will capture. The beauty of the worldwide church united in worship from the States to Africa to Down Under to across the Pond. Worship erupting across the globe to new songs and old. Release date in April I believe.
  2. A double disc DVD documenting the entire journey. Its release date is June I believe. The good times: passion, love, worship and the bad times: hunger, poverty, devastation. Inspiring and challenging this DVD will serve as another ramping tool to the 3rd piece of this project which is:
  3. The Movement. United will do their best to set up a platform to unite the local church in what they’re doing to local churches across the globe in what they’re doing. In essence, giving the local church a connectedness and sense of being in the global church kind of way. I can’t say it any better than Joel himself:
    And this is what will decide whether we’re a part of generation of hype and good intentions – who sung the songs and talked about making a difference but with little action.. Or whether we can truly say we were a part of global revolution.. A movement of passionate people who laid down our own personal agendas for the good of others and the cause of Christ..

One of the most encouraging and inspiring thing I have been a part of discussing with my students was after a 9th grader asked my why he was blessed to be living where and when he was living right now when there are students and children in our own country and obviously in Africa and Central America who have it so badly. I think this I Heart Revolution is incredible and I love what United is doing with the situation and placement God has given them.

This will be something I foresee me talking much about in the future 🙂

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