You are currently browsing the monthly archive for February 2008.

I try to put a lot of independent artists up here on The Blah Blah, but today’s group is just about as far from that as you can get.

The problem is that I really do like a lot of mainstream bands as well as independent stuff.  And when it comes to worship, there are a few really good independent worship groups that I know of, but there’s a lot more mainstream worship out there.

And when it comes to mainstream worship bands, Delirious? really needs to be included in a series called Worship Wars.  As original innovators of the worship rock genre, they began what all worship bands after have tried to emulate in one form or another.

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This article isn’t as old as the last one I posted, but it is from last August.  Check out an interview with Robbie Seay Band on Wrecked for the Ordinary here. The band is one of my favorite worship groups, if you can call them that.  Some of their songs are obviously in the worship category but others are just about life and God.

Anyway, the interview is pretty good, and I especially liked what Robbie had to say about art:

Music is part of art, and art is an expression. And we want to do that to the best of our ability. But also, art is provocative. A good painting should be provocative, and a good song should lead you to something else, tell you a story, push you in certain ways, offend you, or comfort you. I think that when we don’t do that, what’s the point? What’s the point of art that doesn’t move you in a certain way?

I play bass on my church worship team, and last night one of our worship leaders posed a question about what songs we would say are the quintessential praise and worship songs.  He defined a praise song as one you’d clap to and a worship song as one you’d lift your hands to.  I disagree with the distinction between praise and worship as such, because I don’t think it’s in the Bible, but I understood what he was asking.

Anyway, I named off a couple songs that might fit the bill and I realized that, for me, there has to be an experiential connection with the worship.  I want to feel moved in some direction, in a real experiential sort of way.  That’s what defines good worship to me – I’ve gotta feel something.

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Sorry for the tiny photo to the left.  It’s the only one I could find of Leonard Jones on-line. 

Anyway… Leonard Jones is a worship leader from MorningStar Ministries (Rick Joyner’s church), and whether you really get into worship music or not, you gotta check him out.

Jones is an amazing musician, but what sets him apart is his ability to lead his group to jam on a song, changing tempos and rhythms, exploring all possible directions, and then coming back to the foundation, all going wherever God seems to be leading.  When Leonard Jones does worship music, you can’t just sit back and think, “Oh, what a nice song.”  You get ministered to, whether there’s singing going on or it’s just music.

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I stumbled across this five-year-old article the other day that I thought was interesting enough to pass on.  Perhaps you were on the ball five years ago and you read it way back then, but I was not.

So go read the article, and then come back and read my thoughts.  (For the lazy or overly busy, the synopsis is that techno music wizard Andy Hunter discusses using techno music in a worship setting.)

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Sorry for the late post today.  I was up early this morning (1 am) filling in for a friend of mine on his paper route, so my life is a little off-kilter now.  I’ve never done a route before, and I told him I could handle both of his so he and his wife could go to Florida for a few days.  It’s a lot harder than I thought.

Anyway, let’s continue on with the Worship Wars!

I first heard today’s group, Merchant Band, play in Madison, Wisconsin, as part of a regional OneThing young adult conference put on by IHOP-KC.  No, not the pancake IHOP, the prayer IHOP.

The band is awesome.  Not amazingly new or anything, but just passionate worshipers who happen to also be solid musicians.  They remind me of a fresher, younger Delirious? before they became an icon.

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Moving on with another post in the Worship Wars…

You may never have heard of today’s artist, Aaron Strumpel, but some of you will be relieved to notice that his name looks a lot like that tasty breakfast delicacy, strudel.  I don’t know about you, but it sure makes me feel better.

Aaron Strumpel is one of those worship guys that you should know.  His songs are simple.  They’re heartfelt.  They’re real.  And they’re catching on with the emergent guys, which means Aaron’s only gonna get more and more popular.

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In my post on the David Crowder Band, Todd Fadel of Agents of Future left a comment in which he finished up by saying: “Does the concert context [of the worship music scene] put anyone else off?”

Man, what a way to end a comment.  Does it seem weird to have fan clubs for worship leaders?  Does it seem odd to use the same systems to promote worship music as to promote rock stars?  Does it seem a little off that people go completely nuts for the newest CD by their favorite worship leader?  Does it seem unusual to hold up a few select worship leaders as idols to pursue?

Short answer: yeah.

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Welcome to the first post of Worship Wars!

I like to imagine the story that goes along with the picture to the left going a little something like this:

Bob Ross walks into his studio and flips on the normally subdued lighting, only to be blasted back in time by intense rock-star quality stage lights.  He grabs the nearest keytar and lifts his hands in rage.  “Where are my happy little trees?!” he bellows.

Then he wakes up sweating in bed, only to realize it was just a dream.

Bob Ross was the highlight of my childhood.  That is possibly why any white man with an afro is a little closer to my heart.  Perhaps this is the reason that David Crowder has, for a long time, been one of my favorite worship leaders.

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While my head is still spinning (in good ways and bad) from a weekend retreat with our High School students, and my brain is still ticking through thoughts of pulling off a Christian indie festival in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, I thought it would be a good time to take a break from it all and talk about something much more calm.

Something easier.  Something tamer.

Worship music.  As far removed from Pete Townshend smashing his guitar on-stage with The Who as you can get (see pic).  Right?

Wrong.  Man, everybody’s got their opinions on what is acceptable and what is unacceptable when it comes to worship music.  Some swear by hymns.  Others complain if you do anything older than the late 90’s.  Others just want instrumental stuff, while next to them are the guys who cry out that it can’t be worship without words.  Some want everything on-key and beautifully arranged to usher in God’s presence, while others want their worship to be loud, sweaty, and raw.

Anyway, I’m gonna take a few posts (maybe a week or two) and talk about worship music, introduce you to some of my favorite worship bands, and even bring up some worship bands I don’t like who deserve recognition (cuz I’m nice like that).

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I wasn’t gonna do a post at all today, since I’m sick with a cold and have a ton of work to do, but I wanted to put this out because it’s something I’ve been thinking about recently.

I live in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, located right between Madison and Milwaukee, and not a lot goes on here, so I’ve been thinking how it would be awesome to organize a Christian indie music festival, getting together a lot of the bands I’ve come into contact with through The Blah Blah and elsewhere.

I think I could easily get at least a dozen groups to perform, and I’m sure I could get more once the word spreads.  We’d have cool workshops, your standard indie merchandise booths, food, etc.

I’m even thinking I might be able to raise enough money among local businesses and organizations to put it all on for free, or a least a reasonable cost.

The thing that’s holding me up right now is coming up with a cool name.  The church I’m a part of here put on Godstock back about 10 years ago, but that gives a different feel than I’m going for.  Tomfest out on the Pacific coast has a cool name.  Pitchfork down in Chicago has a cool name.  I’ll need a cool name here.

So, any artists out there who would want to come and perform or do workshops?  Anybody have ideas for cool names?  Anybody think they’d travel to Oconomowoc for a day or two of festivities?

Important Note

These MP3s are here for sampling purposes and to help spread the news about some sweet bands you may not otherwise know about. Support the artists by buying their MP3s and CDs and attending their shows. If you're a musician and don't want your MP3s on here, let us know and we'll take them down. In the interests of promotion and not robbery, all MP3s are taken down after a week or two, so if you wanna hear stuff, either come around often or pay for songs.

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