Once again we’ve put together a great panel review from The Worship Community members forum members.
Background from (Chris Vacher) chrisfromcanada.com:Over the past year and a bit I’ve been spearheading this thing called WorshipRises (facebook|twitter). I’ve mentioned it a bunch of times on the blog and you may be familiar with it. Basically we’ve been gathering Canadian worship pastors/leaders together to develop worship resources for & from the Canadian church.
It’s been amazing to see the response to this thing so far – we’ve had 3 writing days attended by a total of about 50 worship leaders from every kind of church/worship expression you could imagine. Young, old, men, women, white, black, hispanic, conservative, charismatic – it’s been incredible. At our last writing day we were very fortunate to have Paul Baloche and Jared Anderson join the 32 worship pastors/leaders who were there in attendance.
Here are the reviews, thanks to all who contributed!
After a peaceful walk and a great breakfast this morning I settled in to listen to a new four song Ep entitled Worship Rises from a group of Canadian worship leaders and pastors. It’s their hope that this collection of songs will help the Canadian church establish their own worship voice.
I was taken by the opening song, Everlasting Light with its memorable phrase ” Oh how bright you shine” and the warm acoustic guitar on the verses. This was countered by a wonderful hand clapping energy in the chorus.
The pulsing Holy Are You God was the only offering with a female voice, but it speaks just as strongly as the others. This song also featured some nice male counter melodies on the closing chorus. A spiritually lifting and confessional song, that like the other three songs offered here, is sung [vertically]directly to God.
My favorite, in the tradition of guitar driven anthems, was the last song Worship Rises. I loved the power and fullness of the bridge and the repeated offering to God “All glory, power and praise may it rise up…” This will definitely make its way onto one of my music plans in the near future.
Though there’s nothing new here, there are four good, easily accessible, songs for corporate worship. Each song is scripturally sound and would compare favorably with any of today’s worship favorites.
Eddy is the Worship Leader at Gloria Dei Church in Huntingdon Valley, PA. As a songwriter he has composed for film and recorded various CD’s. He’s taught music and religion in the Lutheran educational system for over twenty years.
Worship Rises offers up 4 songs penned and recorded by various worship leaders from our neighbors up North. This project is a homegrown effort that began with a ‘songwriting day’ and grew from there, and represents the output of a long and fruitful collaboration process.
The highlight of this offering is the title track Worship Rises, which encourages us to offer our lives as an offering of worship. It is a driving rock anthem that definitely stands up to the latest offerings from the ‘bigs’. Melodically, it is diverse enough to translate into other styles such as a more gospel or country presentation. I could definitely see this song becoming a staple in contemporary worship settings.
Maker of My Heart offers us a nice built-in cry declaring “I’m alive in You…” and offers a very personal worship experience centering around how Jesus, who made our hearts now draws alongside us. It offers a more light rock vibe.
Holy are You God and Everlasting Light are the two tracks that round out this EP. Each offers us accessible choruses, plaintive melodies, strong lyrics, and smooth performances.
Overall, the production quality is top notch, as well as the vocal and instrumental performances. There are arrangements with counter melodies and descants which will provide options for variety in presentation.
This EP does not stray far from the tried and true path of most modern worship music. It definitely goes for accessibility, built-in cries, and personal experiences, and does not delve too deeply theologically. It delivers a package with great production quality, solid lyrics, and a great accessibility that belies its humble origins.
Mark Snyder is a small-group lay worship/songleader at PalmCroft Baptist Church in Phoenix, Arizona, and also served as a children’s worship leader for over 10 years at Calvary Chapel churches. As a songwriter, he has composed and offered many songs at the local church level. He works as a software engineer.
This group of Canadian worship leaders in the Worship Rises EP GOT IT! They inspire me because they are worship leaders who got together, wrote songs, and recorded them. Personally, I share their vision of connecting local worship leaders to make an impact in their community. So, I’m excited and honored to have the opportunity to write a review for them.
The first song, Everlasting Light, reminds me of the Newsboys. Personally, I like the Newsboys because they have some of the best melodic choruses in Christian music, and their audience easily connects with their melodies. The same is true with Everlasting Light. The chorus connects well, both lyrically and melodically. I love the a-capella bridge with the clapping leading back into the chorus. I couldn’t help but picture a congregation participating with the worship in the song.
In “Maker of My Heart,” I love the chorus, “I am alive in you; I will survive in you” and the bridge “I’m not alone, I’m not abandoned; I’m not forgotten, I am yours.” For some reason, the bridge sticks out to me. How many times do believers find themselves in a situation where they feel like they’re alone, abandoned or forgotten? It’s always a refreshing reminder to know we still belong to our King despite our circumstances.
Holy Are You God is beautiful. The part I like the most is the counter melodies. While the female vocal sings “Holy are you God,” the male vocal sings, “I will lift up my hands.” Since I’m a sucker for effective counter melodies, I fell in love with it immediately.
Worship Rises is my favorite song in this set. It seems to summarize the other songs. The phrases “May our lives be to you, Lord, an offering” and “may our songs be prayers of praise before our King” share my heart in worship. As a songwriter, I constantly find myself seeking God’s face in crafting lyrics, and asking God if what I do blesses him. Thus, my heart connected with that prayer immediately.
All four songs in this collection reveal the group’s heart for worship. As a matter of fact, I found myself worshiping at first listen. I even had to let it soak in a while before I could begin writing this review. Yeah, I find it that good!! Every song is easily adaptable to most worship services, and I can see any of these songs used in most setlists. Kuddos to the Canadian worship leaders who put this together. I am blessed beyond blessed to be a part of a panel to review their musical offerings. May the Lord globally use them as a testimony to the heart of many believers in His church. Way to go, Worship Rises!!
Melanie Siewert is a Christ follower, wife to a wonderful man of God, and mother of two incredible boys. She has several years experience mentoring high school worship bands, and desires to continually write music for the Lord’s church. Her passion for music accompanies her passion for making Christ known.
I consider myself blessed to be able to listen to and review the album, “Worship Rises”. I am always encouraged when men and women and God are willing to put time and effort into a project that will bless others. What better way than to lead people into worship with music?
“Everlasting Light” –This is a very catchy song with a great sound. The rhythm and timing might be a little difficult for congregation singing, however. I love the melody and bridge. Upbeat yet not bubble gum pop.
“Holy Are You God”-Good for taking people to the throne…it reminds me of the angels and elders in Revelation. Catchy, repetitive phrases make it easy to sing. I appreciate that there are several vocalists in this song, each carrying a melody or harmony that blends into a pleasing whole. This is not done often!
“Maker of My Heart”- This song brings in the congregation early on with the repeating phrases. It’s an uplifting, hopeful song. The chorus is easy to sing, catchy. The lyrics are deep and heartfelt, and the theme is very accessible.
“Worship Rises”-I love how the song starts out a little empty instrumentally, then builds. It’s very dramatic. I also appreciate how this last song ties the entire set together. This is a powerful worship song with a beautiful ending.
Overall, this album took me on a journey of worship, praise, and contemplation with overtones of joy and hope. I can imagine these songs sung and loved in any church that appreciates modern worship music. The production was excellent, as was the musicianship. Every aspect of the album was strong, from the songwriting to the vocalists and instrumentalists. I will definitely be worshipping with this album in the future.
Kim Castro is a lover of Christ and family. She is a worship leader and songwriter hailing from central California. Her heart is to obey the Great Commission and to serve others as God leads.