One World One God: A Night of Live Worship (Ken Reynolds)
From Ken’s myspace page:
Recorded live at Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, Michigan, One World/One God is the soundtrack to Ken’s unique calling. It’s a culmination of both his musical and personal passions. It’s a celebration of diversity and also a proclamation of God’s desire for unity among His people.
And once you hear the strains of a sitar on the opening track, you realize that Ken is going in a fresh, original direction of worship. One World/One God showcases styles from funk, to gospel, to straight-up worship, to Earth, Wind, & Fire horn-fueled soul. And let’s not forget “La Buena Vida (The Good Life),” a Latin-flavored rave-up featuring Dove-nominated artist Lucia Parker.
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From the opening instrumental “One World Overture” to the closing “Spoken Prayer/One God Reprise” this live worship album is filled with soulful, gospel infused, passionate and energetic live worship.
In the same vein as Israel Houghton and Tye Tribbett, this recording matches funky grooves with tight vocals and reminds me a little bit of Kirk Franklin but definitely blends the gospel sound with some funk and world grooves for a fresh sound.
Glory: A choir driven song that opens the album up with high energy and fast paced modulations as we move through the song. The groove is undeniably one that will at the very least get your toes tapping. The arrangement is tight and the musicians are laying down a solid, but funky foundation for the vocals to soar on. This one might be tough for smaller teams to pull of and the singability for the average church congregation might be a little tough. Overall, it’s a great song of praise!
Not Ashamed: Upbeat and singable. The verses and choruses are catchy and easy to sing. It’s more of a driving gospel/rock sound. Most church worship teams will be able to pull this one off as is or modify it to suit specific church stylistic leanings. Definitely recommended for corporate worship settings.
Stand Up: A short but repetitive phrase driven groove that build intensity to the end. Really feels like a chorus more than a full song. It’s definitely a “crowd participation” song. Alone it might not work in a corporate setting, but I think it would be a great tag/ending for another full song.
La Buena Vida: An energetic Latin groove. Lucia Parker sings guest vocals on this one. From the start of this song I wanted to get up and celebrate “The Good Life!” One of my favorite parts is the unison vocal chant. It carries me to an open-air stadium for a world soccer match. It’s a positive celebratory song based on Romans 8:31. If your worship band is skilled in funky Latin grooves this would be a great song to introduce to your congregation. It’s Its also a great way to introduce a diverse “flavor” of worship into your gathering (especially if you have Spanish speaking members). Definitely recommended for corporate worship settings.
Let’s Dance/La Buena Vida Reprise: A fun, percussion driven instrumental break and reprise of La Buena Vida.
Fill This Place: Slowing down the pace a bit with this one. Beautifully arranged strings accent this song and give it a smooth feel. Vocally, this one is singable. A lot of unison during the verses and powerful harmonies on the choruses. Musically, there’s a few more color chords that give the song a slight gospel feel, but regardless of your church’s style leanings, this song is translatable to any style, from gospel to unplugged acoustic. I’d recommend this one as a transitional song from the more upbeat songs of a worship set to the slower ones.
I Am/I Give You My Heart: Starts off with a time of “free” (spontaneous) worship where the singers are singing freely then moves into the repetitive chorus. The harmonies are smooth. The song builds in intensity focused around singing about the “Great I Am.” A few modulations might make this a little tougher to pull off for smaller church teams, but the repetitive nature of this makes it a great option to break into in more of a spontaneous driven worship set. Moves into the familiar I Give You My Heart.
Lord You Are: Another slower tune. This one focuses on the holiness of God. Another beautifully arranged string section. I’m not sure if the strings are on site, if it’s a track, or if it’s a keyboard player but it is really nice. This one might be a little tougher to pull off in a corporate worship setting as is, but can definitely be modified.
Persuaded: Bringing back the funky grooves on this one. Kind of a shuffle driven groove complete with some slaps and horn section. Vocally it’s driven by the female voices in the choir. Reminds me a bit of a gospel sound from the early 90s. Definitely doable for the team that has some funky gospel chops.
Persuaded Reprise: Brings back the same groove but with some sweet guitar shredding. Song fades out. Then in comes some beautifully soulful, jazzy piano work leading into the next song.
Your Will: Piano/strings driven slower soulful song. Depending on your church’s style leanings this would be a great song for a slow set. It’s a beautiful arrangement combining a sweet, worshipful sound with some tasteful runs and licks. The lead vocal is soulful and gritty. Several key changes in this one, give it some great forward momentum, but the modulations can be omitted to simplify for congregational worship.
Highest Praise: Rhythmic snare work gives the song a percussive, yet moderate driving groove. More of an acoustic sounding song. Utilizes several modulations as well. Could definitely be adapted for corporate worship.
One God: Piano driven intro is beautiful. The lead vocal is smooth. The overall feel of this song definitely has an urban gospel feel to it. but the beauty of it is that is also has a very straight forward rock sound to it as well. It’s beautifully written and arranged. I’d recommend a simplified version for corporate worship.
You Are My God: This one reminded me a little bit of Turn It Around or You Are Good by Israel Houghton (stylistically). We do a lot of music like this where I’m at currently and it will translate well into corporate worship if you’ve got a team that can rock the funky grooves. I love the God focus as well. Definitely recommended for congregational worship.
Your Faithfulness: From the start of this one I immediately loved it! I’m a sucker for compound meter (3) so I connected with this one right away. It has more of a 6 feel which you don’t hear a lot in gospel. Which I love because out of all of these songs, this is probably the one that I feel like the majority of churches from every place on the style spectrum can do exactly as it is without modification. Great song!
The Call/One God Reprise: A spoken prayer that moves into the One God reprise.
My Thoughts: Overall this is a solid live recording. The musicians are tight. The grooves are impeccable. The vocals are smooth and the harmonies are beautiful. I personally enjoyed the string arrangements and the perfectly placed acoustic guitar and piano work.
If you like funky grooves and lean more towards a gospel flavor stylistically, just about every song is usable in congregational worship as is.
If you lean more towards the acoustic driven or rock flavor stylistically there are a few that will work as is (Your faithfulness, Not Ashamed, and possibly Highest Praise). That being said all but one or two can be easily modified and simplified to use for congregational worship regardless of your stylistic leanings.
Personally, I thought the use of upward modulation was a bit heavy handed, almost every song had a modulation in it, with several of them having a handful of modulations. Stylistically this works song to song, but as a whole I got a little weary of thinking, “How many times can you change keys in one album?” But like I said, this seems to be more consistent with the gospel sound sound generally so I don’t mind. If you adapt some of these songs for a worship setting that leans more to a less funky style, you can easily lose the modulations and keep it simple and easy to sing along with congregationally.
From start to finish, I have to say that this is a great live recording. Good strong lead vocal. Great arrangements.
My Favorites off the Album: Not Ashamed, La Buena Vida, Your Faithfulness, You Are My God