Archive for the 'Worship' Category

29
Sep
09

The riverkidstuf promo video is here! Check it out!

Spread the word! riverkidstuf is this weekend and the 1st Sunday of every month following!

I know I’m still in the amateur stage creating images in Powerpoint and saving them as jpegs but I am wickedly pleased with how this turned out!

and yes that is me in the black shirt 🙂

31
Aug
09

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:

Prelude:
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!

24
Aug
09

Sunday Setlist Aug. 23rd – 3rd Guitarist!

It’s been like FOR-EV-VER since I did a Sunday Setlist but I only try to do them when I’m leading (which will be this weekend!) or in this case a special scenario where I get to play with one of my heroes! But first, the songs:

  • Prelude – Amazing Grace (My chains are gone) instrumental
  • Starter – Open the Eyes of My Heart
  • Come Ye Sinners
  • Your Grace is Enough
  • Mighty to Save
  • Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)
  • Offering – Offering – Paul Baloche
  • Communion – noodling
  • Closing – My Hope is You

The second service an audible was called swapping the order:

  • Come Ye Sinners
  • Your Grace is Enough
  • My Hope is You
  • Mighty to Save
  • Offering
  • Communion
  • Closing – Amazing Grace (My chains are gone)

Interestingly enough they both worked. The second though did close the service more in line with the message that morning.

So I might be using the term “hero” a bit loosely but Kevin Smith is a phenomenal musician (and you can buy his music here on iTunes) and who used to play in bands that I looked up to when I was wet behind the ears trying to do it in college. I end up finding a church that has his brother on drums (really a hero of mine! I ❤ Bubba Fong!) and I’ve gotten the tremendous opportunity to play with his other brother on percussion and now finally with Kevin. So it was a fun morning simply with that happening, but also because I got to play 3rd guitarist and sing back up! I mean 3rd guitarist! That’s the best place to sit! Adding ambiance and thickness, there isn’t a whole lot of pressure b/c you could quite possibly not do anything and it not really be noticed but if you do play just right then it sets the place over the top with that added little bit of: hey what was that? I LOVE getting a third guitarist! When I lead it makes all the difference in the world for me and this time I got to be that guy for Kevin and our team.

So not a whole lot of special happening with the songs, all familiar ones but some cool stuff happened. Open the Eyes, I got to use the Phaser (set to stun of course.) We played a funky fresh version of Come Ye Sinners, I think it might have been in Dm? Your Grace was awesome b/c I again used the Phaser in the choruses for the “woh woh woh” thing happening and I got the lil lick in the prechorus breakdown. Mighty to Save just cries out for 3 guitars! Acoustic, the lil chimey thing, and the wah. I got the wah.

So thick weekend especially because we also had drums and percussion! Besides the fact that they were brothers and the percussionist knew how to be a percussionist with a drummer! Oh man, nothing worse than a percussionist who doesn’t know how to percussion with a drummer 😦

AND worship happened! Kevin does a great job of leading people to worship and even getting off the mic to let them sing. It was a good morning. Thank you Lord for letting me be a part of it.

This coming week, I’m in the driver’s seat! So, Sunday Setlist will be back again! Make sure you check out everyone’s mornings with Fred‘s incredible carnival at Sunday Setlists each and every week though!

20
Aug
09

It’s all about rhythm!

Call it what you like, I’m  musician so I’ll call it rhythm possibly even “groove!” I’ve noticed my life taking a different rhythm lately. Tonight was a huge example of that! For years the rhythm of my Thursdays were something like 10-12 hour days sticking around church all day because it was too much of a hassle to leave and go home and come back again for worship practice. Feeling spunky I might get a Smoothie around 5:15. Getting home around 9:30 or so I’d grab some left over dinner and eat on the sofa catching up with Project Runway and The Ultimate Fighter with Rae. It’s not something I thought about…it’s just what I did.

Well, tonight was the first time I did that in quite some time. I felt like I was dying on the way home! I was tired, cranky, hungry (I even had my Smoothie!), even disoriented (see crazy tweets!)

SO WHAT IS RHYTHM?!? You know it, even if you can’t describe it. It’s when you find yourself tapping your foot, bobbing your head, or jumping up and down. It’s a particular pattern of a beat or accent that recurs over time.

As with a song, our lives find a certain rhythm. Tonight’s irregular pulse in the rhythm I’ve found my evenings has had me notice a few things that have become rhythmic in my life that I am certainly grateful for:

  • My new mornings: I’m trying to save some $$$ and am really using my own coffee maker instead of trucking to St. Arbucks so much! It’s given me some pep in the morning b/c I am certainly NOT a morning person!
  • My new soundtrack: there is a sudden influx of some great music in my life but none more entertaining than my good friend David Loti’s new solo project Amalgam. Chloe asks for it every morning on the way to day care and has become special to the both of us singing along to his crazy songs!
  • My Wednesday Men’s Small Group: It feels new only because I missed so much in the Summer because of camps. This group is the source of my sanity and an audible voice of God’s wisdom speaking into my life each week by some great men!
  • My new attitude: Rae says I must be man-strating because I’m in this crazy cleaning craze! Cleaning the house, my desk, and my office at church! It’s nuts! Sounds silly but I’ve even been cleaning up around here! (Notice the “Under Construction” sign above?) My Google Reader is streamlined and working insanely well!

I’m sure there are others. This has been a great exercise to take note of what’s going on around me. I’m looking forward to a new one that Rae and I will be tackling with Mud next month in reading through the New Testament in September!

What about you?

30
Jul
09

Hillsong’s Video Blog Tour

Blog Tour Ecard

In celebration of our latest Joint review and the upcoming new Hillsong CD/DVD release dropping next week, they’re leaking some incredible videos on some incredible blogs so go get ’em!

Start here with Los and Brooke Fraser’s stunning I Will Exalt You

Then here with Tony and No Reason to Hide

Then with Ben and You Hold Me Now

Then Pete with We Will See Him

I think Fred‘s next

29
Jul
09

The Joint comes back with Faith+Hope+Love by Hillsong

Hi. Remember us? 3 guys who review new music for you to feast your giddy little ears on?
Well we’re back with a new release from Hillsong and an additional blogger! WOOHOO!

Faith+Hope+Love

Pre-order it here at Amazon

Guest Mike Mahoney!Go to Mikeymo’s Place

Synopsis: Disclosure: I listen to, and play, a lot of Hillsong music. Hardly a week goes by in our church that there’s not a Hillsong tune somewhere in the setlist. There’s so many of them! And while I listen to both live and studio albums, my preference (and Hillsong’s strenght) is the live worship CD.

Faith+Hope+Love is right in Hillsong’s wheelhouse. This has everything one could want in a live worship album: intimate moments, worship anthems, and musical themeatic consistancy. You can put this in an feel like you are at a worship service, even though it was recorded at three different venues. What’s more, this album combines the talents of Hillsong’s main worship band with the youth band Hillsong United. So you wind up with the talents of “mates” like Joel Houston, J.D., Darlene Zchech, Reuben Morgan, Brooke Fraiser, Mia Fields, and Nigel Hendroff all on one record. It’s like a Hillsong All-Star game.

Bottom Line: That said, there’s only a few songs that seriously “pop” out for me personally, but the record is consistantly good throughout, and has several songs easily converted to congregational worship. And there is enough musical variety here to please a great many people, and a great many worship moods. This album certainly keeps the bar high when it comes to live worship albums, and should be in anyone’s collection.

4 out of 5!

Must Haves: “God One and Only.”  – I’ll admit to being a bit of a United junkie, and this is the kind of worship anthem I like.  “I Will Exalt You” – Two words: Brooke Fraiser.  “Yahweh” – I’m a sucker for Reuben Morgan worship anthems, and this is a good one.

In Church: As stated, we are very used to doing Hillsong and United songs, so some of these will be easy for us.  “God One and Only” for sure.  “Yahweh,” “Glow” stand out for me, but almost anything on the record will work in a worship setting.

Conner Byrd – Stick around here

Synopsis: I can’t believe I’m saying this but I LOVE THIS CD! Now, Hillsong has had a slow burn on me. I’ve only joined the bandwagon in the past few years and probably because they’re starting to graduate some musicians and they’re sound is (as I’ve “complained” about in the past) is becoming blurred between what Hillsong and Hillsong United is. This release also shares musicians as well as songs between the two camps but I absolutely love it.

I split this CD into quarters: Tracks 1-3 have an awesome flow starting off with a Unitedish opener and rush through to Glow with it’s in your face swing. Tracks 4-6 hit the worship stride with each song being 7+ mins. Tracks 7-9 pick it back up again with a United Cover. Track 10 stops you immediately, the most stunning track of the CD and sweeps you through to the final track witch is another United cover and probably one of my most favs!

Bottom Line: For fans of Hillsong United but wanting more congregationally friendly worship for “big church” this is such a solid release! Get you some! It’s got something for everyone and a great flow for a worship CD!

4 out of 5!

Must haves: His Glory Appears is one of those stop you in your tracks songs (harkens to Soon.) Glow is a fun swing song! I Will Exalt is my favorite +7 minute song 🙂 You Hold Me Now is such a killer song as well.

In Church: Again, I think that Hillsong’s releases are more “big church” friendly and this is a worship CD so if you’ve got the talent then you’ve got the songs!

Alastair VanceGo to Live to Worship

Synopsis: It wasn’t that long ago when we reviewed the latest Hillsong United album.  This new album from Hillsong shares a song (No Reason To Hide) with the United album.  The album sound is certainly not as ‘rowdy’ as United’s.  Instead it is more of the signature Hillsong sound we’ve heard over recent years.

The album starts off great, then kind of slumps.  There is a little peak a few songs near the end, but not enough to revive the rest of the album for me.  It kind of slips into neutral with no drive.  Don’t hate me, I’m just stating what comes to me listening to it.

Maybe they need to bring Mike G back to write some killer songs?  Just a suggestion 🙂

Bottom Line: Have Hillsong hit the end of the road?

3.5 out of 5

Must Have Songs
:
The First And The Last – great start to the album.
It’s Your Love – My favourite track on the album.
No Reason To Hide – Ok, I’m not sure I liked this on United’s album, but it stands out above the other tracks here.
His Glory Appears – nice song, but not sure how it would work congregationally.
You Hold Me Now – I like the song lyrics.

In Church: The First And The Last, It’s Your Love, You Hold Me Now

Joel KlampertGo to Klampert.com

Synopsis: A live CD from all things Hillsong? Sounds good to me. This CD brings in Alumni vintage crew with some of the united crew further more confusing the heck out of us listeners. Which band is which?…and…How do they have so much time to write, record, tour and be in two or three different. I barely have time to pee myself.
Any way it is a classic Hillsong CD with classic Hillsong sound, but some added twists.
I came at this CD a tad worried because the joint just reviewed Sojourn with the highest rating and I was not too keen on last United CD.

Bottom Line: 3 words folks! Brooke Fraser Ligertwood. Seriously can she write a bad song? I swear I would listen to her sing menus at Dennys.
While I came listening to this CD a tad worried I was so surprised that while I am sick of the Hillsong sound this CD was awesome. Pulled me right into worship and got me centered on Christ. Rueben Morgan, Brooke, and Joel are brilliant and they shine on this CD.
This CD has a wall of sound kind of feel that makes you feel like you are right there worshiping with them

4 out of 5!

Must Haves: Actually many on this one, but a few major standouts for me.  I love “For your Name” what a great song and awesome lyrics. Almost anthem like.
“Yaweh” is a great song by Morgan. When “I will Exalt You” came on the ipod I had to click repeat 3 more times. It took me a while to actually get to the songs after it because Brooke’s voice and heart and worship was so captivating. Glow is a real cool song as well. I love “His glory Appears”

In Church: For Your Name, Yaweh, I will be doing “I will exalt you” in a few weeks at a multichurch prayer meeting, His glory appears is a great communion song.

12
Jul
09

DCLA 2: Saturday Morning

Blogging about DCLA is crazy tough because there is SO much happening here! Yesterday morning had us in a room with 800ish students broken up into small groups of about 8 students. Some of our students were Group Leaders and this was one of the highlights of the day for them! Meeting and sharing life with 7 other students from across the country! That morning we learned about our identity. That was God says about me is the most truest thing there is about me!
Afterwards, we had an hour or so to play. I was going to buzz the vendor circles and then get some work done and then play some ping pong. Instead, I barely made it through the vendor line! Joe made fun of me for not knowing a stranger and talking to everyone! I didn’t even realize it took that long but the crew here is amazing! Compassion, Invisible Children, Me.Glad, To Write Love On Her Arms, My Broken Palace, Blood.Water.Mission, many colleges and seminaries, and many more! I had 2 things against me:
1. My cool Toms shirt on. Toms, we love you and wow what a conversation starter!
2. My ability to have a conversation with a brick wall 🙂 So yeah, an hour flew by!

I had to run to Duffy Robbins breakout session about Straight Answers in a Crooked World. Ole man is LEGIT! Wow. Hilarious and insightful! Reasons we make bad desicions:
1. We have a bad compass
2. When we have bad company
3. When we have bad comprehension
How we make good decisions:
1. STOP and look at where you want to end up
2. LOOK for the lie
3. LISTEN to the word of God

Then it was straight to the prescreening of the new movie To Save A Life due out in theaters January 2010. Full review soon. Still processing.

WOW. All that before our night session!

(Posted via iPhone)

11
Jul
09

DCLA 1: The First Night

DCLA officially kicked off last night with a roaring session from 7:45-11:30! It was intensely insane and amazing fun! There’s probably more like 5k students here rather than the initial assumption I had of 9k but that’s still nothing to balk at. My initial reaction to Youth Specialties: THEY GET IT!
3 stages set up through the middle of the auditorium where speakers, bands, comedians, and painters are constantly changing between!
Huge video screens on the side wall so you don’t miss a beat!
Various communication forms! We’re roaring through the story of the Bible and we went from: Spoken word- worship- speaker- video- speaker- special song- on repeat like every 10 or 15 minutes or so! 3 hours of info packed and packaged in a way that had us remembering and talking about it all night long!
Not only are large group sessions intense but they understand the value of small groups. The other learning sessions are labs in which students get mixed up into groups of 8ish, have a student facilitator and an adult who shepherds 4-5 groups.
And the quality! Francis Chan? Yes please! Starfield? Ok cool! Kendall Payne? OMG! The videos? Like Jib Jab meets Apple! HI-LARIOUS! And 3 words: The Skit Guys! Man my cheeks hurt from laughing so hard! And those are just the ppl I knew. The rest of the group is just as dynamic.

Last night had us cruising from Genesis up to the Minor Prophets. Seems like the theme is Creation-Redemption-Restoration this year that goes hand in hand with the DCLA DNA of Be. Love. Serve. REPEAT. I’m so excited to get this grand overarching theme of the Bible! Even more so for the students. I know I didn’t get a grand sense of a Biblical theme until much later than high school!

So far I’ve met one fellow Twitterer, Jeff, and have 2 more on the agenda 🙂
If you’re out there hit me up. Pics coming soon! Pray for us, this has the potential to be an incredible experience for these students, maybe the most memorable of this year…their high school experience.
Amen and WOOHOO!

(Disclaimer: Mobile uploaded post from my iPhone so don’t bash my grammar! Haha)

24
Jun
09

The Joint returns! Highest rated review yet: Sojourn Music Over the Grave

It’s been a while so let me remind you, The Joint is a collaborative music review by yours truly and 2 other bloggers whose opinions I highly value! Hopefully, you the listener will get a great indication of whether or not you should fork our your hard earned $9.99 for the CD or not.

COMMENT ON ANY OF THE 3 BLOGS THAT REVIEWED THIS CD
AND BE ENTERED TO WIN YOUR OWN COPY!

Sojourn Music

Sojourn Music – Over the Grave

Pick it up here now.

Alastair VanceGo to Live to Worship he’s got a new banner that’s wicked cool!

Synopsis:
Wow!  Hot on heels of On The Move by Aslan Worship is another amazing worship album from Sojourn Music – Over The Grave.  From the very first song (Warrior) this album oozes quality.  I love the contemporary, bluesy rock sound of the album while the lyrics remain rock solid.  While not every song could easily be played the way Sojourn perform it, there is plenty of material on here to suit everyone.

Bottom Line: I hope we keep getting great albums like this to review on The Joint.  It’s new, fresh and totally engages you in worship.  A substantial addition to my music collection!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5!

Must Have Songs:
Over The Grave is full of great songs, but there are a few that I just love.
Warrior (this is my favorite song on the album – what a great sound!), Living Faith, How Long, Only Your Blood (reminds me a little of a Keane song), Reveal Your Love, Over Death (slight Jars of Clay feel), Refuge, We Are Changed,.and Saviour King.  Hang on – that’s nearly every song on the album.

In Church: Only Your Blood, Over Death, Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed, May Your Power Rest On Me, Saviour King.

Joel KlampertGo to Klampert.com

Synopsis: Can the words fresh and Ancient really go hand in hand? Sojourn makes you think with this CD because every song is from the Hymn writer Issac Watts yet they created one of the most refreshing CD’s I have heard to date.
I have been a fan of Sojourn since I was introduced to their Advent CD and later Before the Throne, but this one is an absolute achievement. Within seconds of pressing play on my iPod I was floored and had to even post to twitter ” HOLY COW!!” If you don’t have the same reaction then you need to check to see if you have a pulse.
This is a CD of hymns. Sojourn is very different than other artists that do “modern” hymns. They dont just make it faster and tag on a chorus. They create a whole new song and it becomes modern and rich.
This Church is Chock full of talented artists and musicians. The production was done in-house By Neil Robins. Let me tell you I can’t remember when I have heard a better-produced CD.

Bottom Line: I could literally go on for hours about how revolutionary this CD and how rich it’s theology is. How amazing the sound is and how cool all of the vintage instrumentation mixed with modern sound is…But I won’t.
The “bottom Line” is this. This CD is the best CD of 2009 hands down. And if you could only have one CD to put on your shelf this year. You had better pick this one up!
Rating: 4.5 out of 5!

Must Haves: Please don’t take this as a cop out, but I think every song on this CD is a must have. My favorites are: Warrior (OH MY!!), How Long (was waiting for guest solo from ZZtop), Only Your Blood, Over Death.

In Church: I’d say try them all. The vocalists are SO good on this CD that it may be a little daunting, but with some key changes I think every song on this CD has a place in church.

Conner Byrdstick around here @ WorshipCity

Synopsis: What I love so much about Sojourn’s CD Over the Grave is it’s personality! This was my introduction to Sojourn music (I had to ask the guys what exactly they were? Church? Band? Worship Team?) Sojourn Music is a dynamic group of musicians that make up the worship team there at their church. And a dynamic bunch they are! I believe there are 4 different lead vocals, there’s the blues, driving acoustics, raunchy electrics, beautiful piano, soulful gospel spiritual, pop and somehow they pretty much pull it off!! It’s truly impressive! AND the professionalism in the recording is spectacular as well. It doesn’t get much better than this. It should be mentioned that this music is all inspired and taken from hymns from Isaac Watts. I don’t know a single one but they’ve done an incredible job of taking some difficult subject matter that doesn’t crop up in modern worship music so much and mash it with their worship styles and create this experience that totally works! If I’m honest…I’m typically not a fan of these projects. They come off like Blended Worship Services. Trying to please everyone while aggravating anyone! But something special happens here.

Bottom Line: There’s a little bit of everything in here for you! You want blues? You like Mayer or Brewster? Got it! You want gospel spiritual chain gang revival? Got it! You like Tower of Power? Check! How about some throwback 70s rock? Oh yeah. What’s great is hearing some of the band’s obvious influences while at the same time not loosing their own identity! I swear I hear Silversun Pickups’ Lazy Eye in the beginning of Over Death!
Sojourn has done a fabulous job of creating seemingly simple songs but being smart about their layering and in doing so keeping it creative and interesting. I also love that despite having obvious vocal talent we aren’t bombarded with constant backing vocals! This team is obviously conscientious about crafting their music and not just bludgeoning us with everything they’ve got. THANK YOU SOJOURN!
Rating: 4 out of 5!

Must have: Opening track Warrior is just sick! HOW LONG! Ugh! Raucous and obnoxious and awesome! Over Death not only drives with the acoustic but has “monster” and “damning” in a PRAISE SONG! Come on people! Honestly only Refuge and Savior King haven’t grown on me. The first is a bit too CCM and the 2nd..eh.

In Church: It’s a worship project! So…all!?!?! I suppose a worship leader would just need to be wise about which songs fit or don’t fit with his or her team and makeup. Chords and lyrics are available on their site. I think Reveal Your Love isn’t as congregationally friendly and I think Alas! (while I dig it!) would get stale without a team that’s able to pull it off. Let’s not forget this is a church worship team but they’ve set the bar HIGH! So dig in leaders and take some pride in what you do and get on it!

Over the Grave Album Cover

The Joint has it’s highest ranked CD so far! Sojourn Music’s Over the Grave gets a combined 4.5!
Apparently the ‘best’ songs as mentioned by all 3 of us are:
Warrior, How Long, Over Death, and Only Your Blood.

Don’t forget to comment here or on the other 2 guys’ blogs to hopefully get picked to get your own copy! It’s not even on iTunes yet people!!

27
May
09

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

Synopsis:
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

Synopsis:
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: http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/bleh).

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: http://www.myspace.com/theaslanworship).

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 Klampert.com

Synopsis:
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.




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