Posts Tagged ‘Hillsong United


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 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? 

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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! 

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This Day in Music – OVERSEAS INVASION!!

Today we are blessed by some insane music being released! It makes me want to have a accent SO BAD! We have Hillsong United releasing part 1 of The I Heart Revolution: With Hearts as One and we have Kingdom of Comfort, the brand new release from Delirious! Top of the mornin’ to ya laddies!! Where to begin? Oh where to begin?

Delirious cover Delirious: Kingdom of Comfort – I think there are probably two types of people in the Christian community:
1) Those who love and adore Delirious and named their first born either Martin or Stu G
2) Those who respected what Delirious did for praise and worship and Christian music in general but ya know, it’s just not my bag baby.

Well, before the Live at Willow Creek release I had always been found under group #2. It shifted something for me and with the release of Kingdom of Comfort I’m now firmly under group #1. Hey Rae, how about naming our kiddo Stu 🙂
I don’t have a wealth of knowledge from previous releases (except the live one already mentioned) but Kingdom of Comfort slays me! Right off the bat, the lyrics of the opening and title track have me sold as it is! The disc is fluid and vastly creative. Having a copy of their live sound I can firmly imagine the glory these tracks would create live!

United’s cover Hillsong United: With Hearts as One (I Heart Revolution) – CRIKEY on iTunes you can grab this 30 track live recording behemoth for $13.99! I don’t care if you like United or not that is a STEAL! It’s like a United Best of! The simple concept of The I Heart Revolution has me stoked about what’s to come! There’s no review needed here. 30 United tracks all found in one place, yeah you already have them live but not like this! Do you have Fire Fall Down in Spanish? Fuego de Dios?! This is just nuts! Go get it.


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 🙂


Worship Pre-textfessional Jan 27th

I’ve got to get better at these. They’re so much fun, I keep wanting to do more but don’t get around to it and therefore never do anything. That’ll stop soon:

  • Oh, for a 1,000 Tongues to Sing – G – Crowderesque
  • Forever – A – Tomlinesque
  • All Creatures 2 – D – Crowderesque from Illuminate
  • Lead Me to the Cross – A – Hillsong United
  • Post communion – Holy is the Lord – G or A (haven’t decided yet) – Tomlin

On paper, I’m much more ashamed of my choices. I should probably do this way out in the beginning of the week. I might choose differently.


3 Concerts. 3 Weeks. Hillsong United was a great finish!

Wow, I am so pleased that after seeing Switchfoot and co. in an arena rock venue like the River Center, Lifehouse at the college club venue like the Varsity, that United was no disappointment playing at the church venue at Bethany South! Those guys were amazing. I’m going to try and not talk about the management and organization of the event but that may creep out and I’m just going to apologize if that bit of negativism creeps out.
So on to the night. Here’s the songs from the evening:

  1. An Introduction
  2. The Time Has Come
  3. Take it All
  4. My Future Decided
  5. Look to You
  6. More than Life
  7. None but Jesus
  8. Inside Out
  9. Savior King
  10. Joel Houston/Dino Rizzo/Bobbi Houston/Offering
  11. Break Free
  12. Joel Houston’s message
  13. Mighty to Save
  14. Hosanna
  15. Shout Out to God
  16. Salvation is Here
  17. Tell the World
  18. Solution

Honestly, the night didn’t seem like the tour for the All of the Above CD. We only had 5 songs from the new CD and as we got into the last few tunes after Hosanna, I was getting really antzy! Point of Difference nor Solution had been played and I couldn’t believe it! I did notice a change in the line-up. Their normal drummer was replaced with a younger dude with a crazy afro and a sweat band. I could be mistaken but only Joel Houston, Reuben Morgan and the guitarist on our side of the stage even looked familiar! We were missing Marty Sampson for sure and I’ve never really noticed the bass/keys/and far stage guitarist 😦 All that to say, perhaps that’s why we didn’t get too many new tunes? These cats were right on, no doubt about it! But it makes me wonder.

All of the energy, lights, media, enthusiasm, hype you’d expect at a rock concert with the attitude and focus towards God! It was a great thing! The mere opportunity for students to experience a night of worship like this with a thousand other students is worth it’s weight in gold! The United crew’s chemistry and maneuvering between songs to create a mood for worship was incredible. I’m not a huge fan of real directional worship leaders but even that didn’t irritate me last night. It was done really well!

Lastly, I will forever want to open every Youth Service with An Introduction! It’s quite possibly the most killer way to open a show! The lyrical depth of the new material should be published in book form for people to ponder and meditate on! Seeing and singing Solution was stunning! And I want that dude’s job who simply runs around the stage dancing and sings like 3 songs max!! HAHAHA!

Sound geeks: WOW! The mix was pretty killer. I probably could have used a bit more guitar but I always say that 🙂 The drums and bass were prominent in the mix (not something I’m used to in church venues,) the vocals cut through, the acoustics were there when they needed to be, the keys were angelic!, and the guitars…oh the guitars. Unfortunately/fortunately, the sounds coming from those 2 guitarists (especially the one in front of us playing through the Strat/Blue Jr. combo LIKE I DO!!!) was dreamy! Absolutely dreamy! My goodness, I don’t know how many times I got goosepimples or surged with absolute glee over the sounds that guy was churning out of that magnificently blue Strat 🙂


This Day in Music – United Live TONIGHT!

HillsongUnited All Of The Above

I’m so jacked! 3 “concerts” in 3 weeks! Wrapping up my 3 week fiesta nicely is a free night of worship from the United crew! United did a dirty trick and re-released All of the Above again but this time with a DVD, so despite already having it, looks like I’ll be buying it again. Plus, they have a new ‘Next Gen EP‘ available only online or in Australia that has some cool tracks that I’m hoping to pick up tonight! We already do two songs off the new CD and I’m really excited about hearing the actual artists’ live version. That’s always fun!

The only downside is that I’m afraid it’ll be obnoxiously over-crowded like last time. Healing Place Church is sponsoring it but because their sanctuary isn’t large enough to accomodate the largest Youth Band in the World they’ve teamed up again with the other mega-church in the area: Bethany. Unfortunately, their sanctuary isn’t large enough to accommodate a FREE night of United to everyone interested. Last year it was utter chaos. You now have the cities two largest youth groups getting in before anyone else (obviously filling up all the center front seats) and so many people that the volunteers staffing it get all antsy and crazy. I honestly was hoping they’d charge this time around or find a bigger venue. This isn’t the case so we’ll get their early and hope for the best!

I know you non-musicians are probably sick and tired of music talk by now but don’t worry it’s almost over 🙂

Anyone else in the Baton Rouge area coming?

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