There's something about music that gets into the heart like nothing else can. Songs express the overflow of the heart's desires and one person's song can inspire, influence and teach others. I've not bought any new music in over a year - and £15 got me these (thanks to the generosity of some friends). I've recently acquired some newly released worship music from four different churches.
Each is born out of their own situation and their church's journey and I'll not attempt to critique them, only to commend them with a few thoughts.
City Sounds comes from City Church Bristol (newfrontiers). I was given a copy of this CD. It's really half an album, of home grown songs produced by the team from Phatfish and it has all the quality and the kind of sound you'd expect from that. Good music with lyrical richness. Our favourite track is probably Into the Light. Good music for a drive up the M5.
Rend Collective's Campfire is an intruiging idea - an album recorded around a campfire, the idea of a community gathered. I wonder if that's more a concept than a reality - can you get sound quality like this round a campfire? I like to think so. The sound is Mumford-esque and full of surprises and the feel of a cool gathering. I love the track Movements and the re-work of Be Thou My Vision and you get the folky version of 10,000 reasons which I've enjoyed singing in church & CUs. This album made me smile as I walked down the street.
Hear the Sound was also given to me. This is a live album from Freedom Bath + Bristol. The songs Freedom and Hear the Sound both quickly got into my head. The music is immersive and stirred my heart to worship as I fell asleep night after night. Uplifting music, simple lyrics consistently inviting me to enjoy the freedom I have in Christ. Probably my favourite of the four albums.
Let it be known is the latest Worship Central (HTB) album. It's another live album which is a great approach for worship albums. In style it's about as far removed from Rend Collective as you can get... as far as a Northern Irish beach is from the style of central London. Let it be known track with its dance beats and rap has been the most sticky track for me so far along with Guardian (a mix between I am sailing meets Graham Kendrick's We Believe). - and inevitably some of these songs will have a wide usage.
I'm glad that new songs are being written - and that these four albums only represent a little of that. My friends Matt Giles and Olly Knight are worth keeping an ear out for too with songs that flow from their lives and their churches.
We are the singing people. We have much to sing about.