For a young hard working man, Erik Michael earned a steady, comfortable income in sales as well as achieving a platform in music and ministry many might envy. However, life has a way of peeling away what symbolizes our security. Soon, Erik met an empty refrigerator each night. The choice to pursue helping a church plant while supporting himself with contract work stripped away his independent streak. His pride was punctured. With the weight of life’s circumstances on his shoulders, “Why God?” became an honest prayer. This all came to a point when reversing circumstances in life plunged Erik from platforms of rising notoriety to the shadows of hiddenness and insecurity. Feeling the fire Where before he was surrounded by friends and colleges and seemed to be on track to be taking the Christian music world by storm, he had now found himself betrayed and left alone with nothing but his broken pride and empty expectations. Life is fair in that one day we all experience the heat of fire under us. It doesn’t matter whether we caused all of it, part of it, or none of it. If we are fortunate, we each face our fragility. We might whine, live in denial, or minimize such periods in life. Or, we may very well find peace in embracing the good that a refining heat has…
I attended the 2018 Winter NAMM show, skipping a year after a long run–which is like being thrown into a time machine ahead four years. As a worship leader, I am always looking for things that will help me and my tribe improve our craft and delivery of music ministry. This is the largest trade show in Southern California so one could spend a lifetime reporting on new and improved gear. I met innovators who are passionate about improving the life of music creators like us. Without these artisans, perhaps we would become stale and not grow our skill or match the zealousness of these incredible business people. I am going present just a small snapshot of some interesting and useful gear for today’s church musicians and worship leaders. My focus lands more on the keyboard/synth world as I know there are too many out there with their pedals and such. The VOX Continental Keyboard The Vox Continental Keyboard is what I would like to call a “Nord-buster” for the church worship team with a competitive price for gear that may also be an improvement. At MRSP of $1999 for a 61-key and $2399 for a 73-key model, this vintage-looking beauty simplifies live playing. The drawbars are digital but feel intuitive and analog. The keys feel just right, with good action good for both piano…
From time to time I indulge in sharing music that many of you might not hear about in the main industry. Indie worship projects are as good or better than anything produced by major labels. Here is an example of a recent release. I have to say I love the new album Songs in the Key of the Congregation by Rick Muchow, worship coach, songwriter, and former worship pastor at Saddleback Community Church. Rick’s music company is named appropriately “Encouraging Music”–a label easily attached to the years of encouragement dished out by Rick to worship leaders and congregations all over the hemisphere. Encouragement isn’t always the easy words one gives. Rick pulls us deeper with this project just as he does in his mentoring. Beyond all that Rick brings to the table, it is musically produced with excellence and the tones and sounds are as modern as anything out there. With the modern worship flavored hymns such as “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” and “How Great Thou Art” as well as “Building My Life On Your Word (Solid Rock)” we find an appreciation with passing on to new generations timeless songs of our faith. These hymn arrangements are approachable but fresh. It is not hard to see my church using all of them this year. What is even better are the originals. “Do What…
I have enjoyed being part of worship and music ministry in the local church since the days I used to develop Kodak Kodolith slides projected over a cyclorama curtain. The changing colors and the sharp, crisp slides were all in analog, including the spelling errors! The Saturday night ritual of developing in my darkroom-closet was quickly terminated upon the purchase of our church’s first digital projector. Then, the horrors of PowerPoint as applied to congregational singing commenced.
The twice Grammy-nominated Small Town Poets are a Georgia based alternative rock group. This is their second Christmas release and the quality and musicianship still shines on this their seventh studio recording. The blend of pop/rock hooks, original songs, and ancient Christmas carols offers a surprisingly cohesive project. Christmas Time Again is something that will not annoy the holiday cynic while delighting the biggest fans of Christmas.
A very well-produced track captures the stadium-filled praise from Time Warner Cable Arena this past August in Charlotte, North Carolina. Elevation Worship represents a thriving local mega-church that has heart for their community yet they surely have something in their worship expression that blesses the greater Body of Christ! This much anticipated project stands out amongst the growing number of modern worship releases for that very reason. You cannot deny the authenticity that something grown local brings. Thankfully, the exponential growth of their franchise has not watered down the passion from Elevation Worship’s earlier releases.
In our family of four there are more than four devices constantly engaged on WiFi at all times. There is an iPad, three smart phones, and four laptops that may be simultaneously logged into our home network and connected to the Internet. A teen friend may visit and bring at least two devices. Protecting my family from pornography content ranks high on the list, so when I had a chance to review a product that might address content filtering for my home I was happy to take it up.
Charlotte, North Carolina has a
local church producing a God-sized wake across the country with a
growth to over 9,000 members in less than six years. People are coming to Christ every week at Elevation Church and to see God’s hand on this church is exciting. Captured in this is their worship team’s musical offering “Nothing is Wasted” that is released today. I have to reveal that I met these guys and fell in love with their enthusiasm for God.
Chris Tomlin’s latest “Burning Lights” releases on January 8. It proves to sizzle in production, songwriting, and satisfies with seasoned delivery you expect from Tomlin and crew. Every track is well done.
Yes, you see the tacky decor already being sold at Walgreens in the seasonal aisle. But, if you want something without cheese and full of cheer, get the Smalltown Poets CHRISTMAS CD! It’s a non-monochromatic collection of traditional reworks and surprisingly tasty originals. A lot of Christmas CDs go too big or become silly covers. This truly is a musical work worthy of your listen, especially if you already are a Smalltown Poet fan. To add to to the cheer in this post 5 FREE DOWNLOADS are being given away on this blog on Friday! All you have to do is leave a comment. If you Google+, tweet or Facebook, you get put in the drawing for each additional plug! That’s it. Here is where to listen and get this CD!