Getting old has its ups and downs. Being an old worship leader is kinda’ the same. Lately, I’ve been thinking about how I can do a better job of encouraging and helping young worship leaders to do their job with excellence and devotion.
The ‘worship primer’ element of today’s post isn’t a few songs, but much bigger recommendations. Back when the “contemporary worship” movement was young, there were some folks who made huge contributions to the landscape of the American church. So today I’m recommending a few worship leaders who deserve to be heard. If you’re a young worship leader, check these folks out. You’ll be better for it
Style: Mellow, West Coast acoustic worship; heavy keys with excellent rhythm section; passionate, smooth vocals.
Output: Primarily long-playing live worship records that often featured improv moments.
Why You Should Listen: There’s nobody smoother than Fitts. His ability to introduce songs, pray and speak words of encouragement and praise while leading is like nobody else. If you struggle with being relaxed while leading, this guy is the master.
Style: Blend of piano-led worship band and choral; unassuming vocals; nice instrumental breaks and excellent modulations.
Output: Tons of records, some live worship projects and other big orchestral productions; a few solo studio projects but mostly live.
Why You Should Listen: Don is not a drummer, but he has consistently had amazing drum grooves and percussion elements in his songs. Moen’s music may seem plain to some but listening to the choices by his drummers and programmers is a clinic on how to play drums for congregational worship.
WINDS OF WORSHIP
Style: If you’re leading any songs by Passion, Hillsong or Elevation, you owe a great deal to Vineyard’s Winds of Worship series. These records captured live worship within highly charismatic churches and were typically centered on modern rock electric guitar with a strong keyboard/pad foundations.
Output: Each record was a little different, but the output was overwhelming. Probably three live records a year.
Why You Should Listen: Winds of Worship (and Vineyard Music in general) proved that compelling, creative worship could happen without a lot of production. These records were simply played and simply recorded and somehow managed to stand out as great worship moments.
Take some time and check out this stuff. Some of it may be dated, but there’s a wealth of experience here that we could ALL benefit from!