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I’ve been doing the Worship Wars since way back in mid-February, and I think I’ve gotten tired of it, so this will be my last post in the series, at least for now.

And what better way to end the Worship Wars than with Enter the Worship Circle?

I’m not a huge fan of the primary Enter the Worship Circle series of albums, but I respect Ben and Robin Pasley as musicians and I love their heart to worship.  Besides, when it comes to hippy, gypsy acoustic worship music, no one does it better than the original Worship Circle crew.

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Here we are with another post for the Worship Wars!

I’m not gonna be able to do justice to Keith Green with this post.  I was up working late last night and accidently slept in this morning, so I’m running late.  I’ll have to do a quick little post, when I should do something much bigger and better.

If you don’t know Keith Green, then read up on him here at Wikipedia, but I assume that most of you have heard of him.

In case you were wondering, Keith’s awesome hair is not the only reason I decided to name The Blah Blah after the coffeehouse where Keith Green first began playing music, but it is an important one  (see here).  Just feel the Bob Ross influence.  Mmmm… happy little trees.

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I’m finally back from a week off from blogging.  As I explained here, part of my inability to blog for a while was busy-ness, part was computer problems, and part was burn-out from blogging every weekday for over half a year.

I’m thinking of taking a break for a couple weeks, once the Worship Wars are over, so I can get back into regular life, but today… let’s look at Red Mountain Church!

Red Mountain Church is a church based in Birmingham, Alabama, that places an emphasis on worship, particularly through hymns reworked to modern music.  Read over their website to see their vision for their church and their city.  It’s pretty cool stuff.

Anyway, they’ve got a pretty large body of musicians at the church who have collaborated to release five albums of those reworked hymns, and I think you should check them out.

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Since I’ve been doing this blog for a while now, I’ve already posted about a number of noteworthy worship groups.  Rather than revisit all of them individually, I thought today would be a great day to put up a couple of songs by each of them.  Get it all done in one day, you know?

These guys each deserve a whole post of their own, but I want to get this thing moving along with the Worship Wars so I can go on to other things.

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If you think of hippy drum circles and acoustic guitar when you think of Enter the Worship Circle, you’ll be surprised with their Village Thrift side of things.

Village Thrift is Ben and Robin Pasley, Todd Berger, and Ryan Lott taking songs that Enter the Worship Circle could easily have done, but stripping them of all that makes you think ETWC and filling them in with techno samples, DJ mixes, and funky electronic sounds.

It’s not the best electronic / techno I’ve heard, but it’s some of the most original and most anointed for worship.

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I want to ask all you guys (and gals) a question today: What makes good worship music?

For me, I want to feel some connection with God in the music.  The words don’t need to make sense.  Heck, there don’t even need to be words there.  The music can be a little boring or weird.  As long as I feel a connection to God, I’m happy.

It usually helps if the music is good, but if it’s overly complex or interesting then I can sometimes focus too much on the music and not on God.  It also helps if the lyrics aren’t overly confusing, but if they’re too lame, then I may end up paying more attention to that than God too.

I guess, ultimately, what makes good worship music is a good worshiper.  If my heart is ready to worship God, it doesn’t matter how weird, bad, boring, complex, or simplistic the music is – I’m gonna worship Him.

It’s easy for me to get critical of worship music – especially now that I’ve been getting into the indie music scene in the past few years.  The indie scene is filled with music snobs, so if you don’t fight it, you can become one too.  The truth of the matter, though, is that God can, and does, use mainstream music (yeah, I know, can you believe it?).  God doesn’t seem so bent out of shape about how good the music sounds or how well-thought-out the lyrics are.

So, if I’m more snobbish than God when it comes to music, that’s a problem.  If God Himself would walk into the room, play some worship music, and I would stand back thinking, “Hmmm… sounds too much like something I’ve heard on Christian radio.  I don’t like it” then I’ve got a problem.

Now, the debate becomes “Would God even play worship music that sounds like stuff on Christian radio?”

Anyway, what makes good worship music for you?  The lyrics?  The music?  The message?  The feeling of it?  The energy behind it?

Today in the Worship Wars I’m bringing in one of CCM’s favorite worship groups – Shane and Shane.

I know, it’s pretty shameful to have so much CCM stuff on this blog lately, but the indie worship scene really is pretty slim.  I’ve still got more indie guys to pull in, but some of the CCM worship stuff deserves your attention.

I first heard of Shane and Shane years ago, but it took until last November before I finally gave in and listened to them.  I figured that since they were CCM they had to be lame.

Well, they’re definitely not making “cool” or “artsy” or “indie” worship, but the songs they’re doing are amazing all the same.

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Delirious? fans should be getting excited – their new album Kingdom of Comfort is due in stores on April 14th, and it sounds really good.

Talking about the album, their MySpace says:

It’s here. Well, almost. The tenth, the boldest, the most personal and least comfortable Delirious album you’ve ever heard. Kingdom of Comfort is the album that bands like this never really make. By now it should be business as usual – working the formula and churning out the classics. But not for Delirious. Kingdom of Comfort is the result of two years of hard times and challenging experiences; of trips to the homes of those whose entire possessions can be packed into a shoebox; of finding life and hope in the darkest of places; of the morning after the five-star dream; of waking up and knowing that life can never be the same again.

The songs I’ve heard so far are really good, getting back to some of the passion and energy that made the band great back in the day.  They really do seem to be born out of deep soul-searching and challenging experiences.

…In other news, Delirious? fans can get 2 free downloads off the new album – God is Smiling and We Praise You – by signing up for free membership with The Living Room. I’m sure you’ll get spammed a little, but I think it’s worth it.  Delirious? promises to keep putting more free stuff up all the time, too – MP3s, videos, photos, and hopefully small Kenyan monkeys.

Taking a complete worship turn-around from the last band I posted about (Delirious?), today I give you one of my favorite musical groups of all time, the Psalters.  They’re crazy worshipers, insanely talented musicians, and radically devoted Christians.  If you haven’t given them a listen yet, I think you’ll really dig ’em.

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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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