Hello, and welcome to my website, The Church Drummer! Thanks for visiting. I hope you enjoy it and get a lot out of it! Don’t hesitate to leave your own comments, but, please also remember to be courteous! Whilst this is a public forum, it is one that seeks to promote the worship and glory of Jesus Christ both in content and attitude. Thanks for your co-operation and enjoy the site!
Here’s the link to part 1 if you missed it:
All Sons & Daughters – Live
Earlier on this year I bought their 3rd EP, ‘The Longing’ and saw this on the cheap on Amazon MP3, so bought it. This has been one of my favourite worship albums of the year. A folky album without being annoyingly like Mumford & Sons, more like Of Monsters & Men, with a bit of a Nashville feel to it. I really liked this album from the outset. And for once on a worship album, the opener, ‘Brokenness Aside’ is beautifully quiet and vulnerable. Usually when there is something like that on a worship album, it lasts for 1:32mins approx before the kick drum thumps in. But it doesn’t happen here. And its so refreshing! I love the swells from the organ and guitars in this album too, and its mixed very well. A great album. The male-female duo vocalists blend well and it has the feeling of an intimate, slightly-larger-than-a-coffee shop gig. Oh, and a nice version of ‘Nothing But The Blood’ as well. Recommended songs: ‘Oh How I Need You’, ‘Rising Sun’, ‘Oh Our Lord’, ‘Called Me Higher’, ‘Reason To Sing’, ‘My God My King’. Rating: 9/10.
Hillsong Young & Free – We Are Young & Free 9/10
Absolutely loved this album, from the upbeat songs like ‘Alive’ and ‘Wake’ to the mid-beat numbers ‘Lifeline’, ‘Love Goes On’, ‘End of Days’ and ‘Back To Life’ to the downbeat ‘Gracious Tempest’ and ‘Sinking Deep.’ One of the finest Hillsong offerings in recent years. Its not very ‘rich’ theologically but is a great, upbeat album which covers many aspects of the Christian life.
Keith & Kristyn Getty – Live At The Gospel Coalition
Also a favourite album of mine from this year. I really enjoy the Getty’s material, and Kristyn has a nicer voice than other common co-songwriter Stuart Townend. This slightly rockier album (of course its still Celtic folk, though, don’t worry!) packs a punch at points, with brilliantly-written hymns sung the whole way through. Accompanied by some of Nashville’s finest session musicians, the album really speaks of high quality musicianship. The drums are thumping in this, with some brilliant, musical and supportive playing from Dan Needham. 8.5/10
Elevation Worship – Nothing Is Wasted
I bought the deluxe 25-track live and studio version of this album from Amazon MP3 for only £5.99. From Steven Furtick’s Elevation Church, these guys are polished and well-produced. Lyrically the songs are solid. But they don’t sound much different to NewLife, Gateway, Soul Survivor.Or Hillsong for that matter. Actually, some of it is so similar to Hillsongs ‘Cornerstone’ album. Why do so much sound the same? Same big guitar sounds, multiple choruses, massive drums and big build ups. Are we so reliant on formula nowadays in modern contemporary worship? Didn’t interest me that much to be honest, although not a bad album. Rating: 6/10. Noteworthy songs: ‘Great In Us’, ‘Be Lifted High’, ‘Open Up Our Eyes’.
Darlene Zschech – Revealing Jesus
Darlene’s back with a new album. I was quite impressed with this album. She’s of course a pioneer in Christian contemporary worship music, but she still stays with the times in this album. The opening tune, ‘God Is Here’ lyrically is typical of Zschech, all about drawing near to God’s presence. It is also quite typically Hillsong, upbeat, guitar and drum driven, with plenty of ‘woahs’. Good song though. At 6:04mins it is quite long, too (not a criticism, its enjoyable), about 2mins longer than your average Hillsong Live opener. Other enjoyable tracks include ‘In Jesus Name’, ‘Your Name/Cry Of The Broken’ (Your Name originally a Paul Baloche song) and ‘Jesus At The Center’ (Israel Houghton track). Former Hillsong drummer Rolf Wam Fjell plays on this record and sounds great. 7/5/10.
The Digital Age – Evening: Morning
This David Crowder Band breakaway album came to my attention online. It’s pretty good overall, and has Crowder-influences as well as some slightly heavier tunes. It does miss that unique lead vocal of David Crowder, but, overall a good, creative batch of songs. 7/10
Bethel Music – Tides
When I first heard ‘Chasing You’, musically I enjoyed it. Lyrically I had to do a bit of thinking. Do we chase God because He hides from us? To me it felt backwards. I thought God reveals Himself to us. The story of Salvation. I also thought, to a new Christian seeking God this might be baffling. But then I realised it was about ‘God’s treasures’. Clever, current and musically strong song that wouldn’t be out of place in the charts. It’s a good start to a rather brilliant album from Bethel. For me, the best songs on the album are ‘Forever’ and ‘For The Cross.’ Brian Johnson can write some great songs on the cross. 8/10.
Other good albums:
Martin Smith – God’s Great Dancefloor – Step One and Two 7.5/10
Enjoyable tracks throughout both albums, including the title track, ‘Song of Solomon’, ‘Awake My Soul’ and ‘Waiting Here For You.’ Martin Smith is enjoying a renaissance of late and these albums are pretty solid. I went to see him on tour this year and thought he was great live.
Hillsong Live – Glorious Ruins 7/10
Having been quite disappointed (by their standards at least) by the previous few years of Hillsong Live releases, ‘Glorious Ruins’ surprised me. Yes, it definitely still has the ‘Hillsong’ (ie. big ‘whooahs’, U2 guitar riffs and 16th-note tom fills) stamp on it (why shouldn’t it though?), but there are also some signs of a shift away from the ‘Hillsong’ style . Some tracks are longer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing either, like the title track, but it does feel like it takes an age to kick into gear. Thankfully its surrounded by better tracks like ‘Man of Sorrows’ and ‘Always Will.’
Matt Redman – Your Grace Finds Me 7/10
‘Your Grace Finds Me’ is the difficult follow-up album to the superb ‘10,000 Reasons’. Similar to it (it was recorded at the same event), it has the beefy opening track ‘Sing & Shout’, followed by the more mid-tempo ‘Your Grace Finds Me’. My personal favourite, ‘Mercy’ is a beautiful track, and so is the closing one, ‘Benediction’. ‘Wide As The Sky’ is also pretty good. Solid overall.
Sovereign Grace Music – Grace Has Come : Songs from the Book of Romans (Special Edition) 7.5/10
Another good offering from Sovereign Grace Music. Musically solid, theologically rich and cheap to buy (£5.90 from Bandcamp!), I really enjoyed this. ‘The Gospel Was Promised’, ‘Nothing In All The Earth’ and ‘Judge of the Secrets’ all great tracks.
Ah the predictable ‘end of year review’ blog post! On a serious note, I’ve never done this and I wanted to write an article about some of the most-well known and some not-so-well known Christian albums released that over the past year I’ve come across. I say the past year… I mean, a year or so…give or take…some were released in late 2012. Here’s Part 1.
*a brief note: I am not taking a swipe at any particular band or ministry. I am just trying to critique music in general, according to my taste.
A Blog from the past:
A Culture Of Honour 14/11/11
A lot is said about the term “a culture of honour,” a phrase most-commonly associated with Bethel Church in Redding, California. The basic principle is taken from Philippians 2:3 ” Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves” and seems to be a vital part of the Church. Bethel Church gets a lot of praise (and criticism) from different areas, but whatever your opinion of the Church is, you can’t argue that here in Scotland we could use that theme a lot more. In Scotland, we’re more well-known for putting each other down, discouraging others, and frankly afraid to compliment or honour our peers because we think they’ll get big-headed. Whilst that may happen on occasion, I believe it’s rarer than we Scots care to think. As Christians we should love each other deeply. After all, Jesus did say “Love your neighbor as yourself (Matt 22:39).” That means to honour them! Encourage them! Not only Christians, but people we work with, friends, family and people we meet in the street! It seems to be a simple yet powerful tool. And this is not something I’m trying to preach, because I’m not very good at it myself. But I want to be. Because people need to hear that they are loved, cared for, good at things, gifted, have a hope and a future, but yet will face trials and tribulations. Yes, its ok to correct and rebuke, but surely there’s far more room for a culture of honour in these days! I love the verse coined so often by my minister in Stornoway, Tommy MacNeil “God honours those who honour Him (1 Sam 2:30)” but God also honours those who honour others!
The Church Drummer Videos, January 2012 Sessions. Posted on Vimeo and YouTube: here’s a mixture.
YouTube Channel: Brian Macleod
How Great Is Our God
Blessed Be Your Name
Hosanna (Praise Is Rising)
Shout To The Lord
Mighty To Save:
My Drum Solo:
No one would mistake Ned Flanders, the goofy next-door neighbor in “The Simpsons,” for a polished televangelist like Joel Osteen. But over the past two decades the zealous cartoon character has become one of the best-known evangelicals on America’s small screen. With Americans spending exponentially more time on their sofas watching television than in pews listening to sermons, this is no insignificant matter.
In the inevitably intertwined world of religion and commerce, it’s only natural that the man portrayed as “Blessed Ned of Springfield” on the cover of Christianity Today magazine should have his own “new testament.” And so he does. “Flanders’ Book of Faith,” by “Simpsons” creator Matt Groening, is a slim, illustrated entry in the show’s “Library of Wisdom” series.
For years, the TV show’s writers, fiercely protective of their reputation for irreverence, denied that they were in any way sympathetic toward sincere belief, as embodied by the Flanders character. But releasing the book under Mr. Groening’s name puts an imprimatur on that kind-to-religion interpretation, long held in younger evangelical circles.
A fundamentally decent true believer, Ned is firmly in the theological tradition of Mr. Osteen,
It’s been quite a few months since I’ve written or done anything in my website. I’d like to now state that I’m back in business and will be sharing my thoughts over the next 8 months how I feel about worship, my personal experiences, as well as future plans for more drum instructional videos and methods.
Since my last proper post, I’ve toured America, joined a couple of bands, recorded some great records, got engaged and am now working in full-time Christian music ministry. But all of that will be shared properly later.
Dear Dr Dawkins,
Forgive me for writing you but I am really frustrated. You see, I read your book, The God Delusion(great title but of course it does just open itself to the rejoinder in the title above — which I am sure many others will pick up on). There was so much in it that I could identify with and yet so much that was to my mind just simply wrong. I would love to discuss it with you, or with those who are your disciples, but I’m afraid that I am not an Oxford Don, I don’t have access to the media you do, and I am not part of the Establishment. Therefore it is very difficult to dialogue about these things. And of course you have stated that you do not discuss with ‘fundamentalists’ or those who would be stupid enough to disagree with you. Apparently you want ‘intelligent’ conversation and anyone who believes in revelation or supernaturalism is de facto non intelligent, therefore not worth discussing with. Given that the subject you are so vehement about is the whole question of supernaturalism and whether there is a God or not, do you not think it is kind of loading the dice to only discuss with those who already share your presuppositions?
As a Scotsman writing this, my typical stance on the England football team at a national tournament is to support anybody BUT England. And I’m afraid I still stand to that. However, there’s a voice within me saying that I would quite like them to do well because I like Roy Hodgson and the way he plays, but another voice quickly creeps back saying, “but the players are cheats, we would never hear the end of it, and plus, the media attention would be terrible.” Moving away from topic slightly, though (and sorry if you thought this was a football-only post), I was watching a video preview for the England v Italy game for tonight and something Martin Keown said hit me:
Bishop T.D. Jakes is one of the most fascinating characters modern-day Christianity has seen. Recently, he was invited to participate in ‘The Elephant Room.’ The format “features blunt conversations between seven influential pastors who take differing approaches to ministry. No keynotes. No canned messages. These are “the conversations you never thought you’d hear.” All conversations are moderated by James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel and Mark Driscoll of Mars Hill Church.” The following is from Trevin Wax’s blog post on The Gospel Coalition website, when Jakes was questioned about his view on the Trinity: orthodox or modalist?
Elephant Room 2: Live-Blog Session 4
Title: “Ticket to Ride”
What are the “majors” of Christian doctrine that cannot be diluted or denied for a person to be a Christian? How can we help one another move beyond the bare minimum of accepted belief, to a pursuit of robust, soul-satisfying, biblical substance? How should we relate to those who do not yet embrace the benefit and priority of sound biblical doctrine? Is there a difference between a person in error and a wolf in sheep’s clothing? What benefits derive from keeping the majors on a separate list and not letting the ‘minors’ divide us? Is it possible to love the truth without compromise and still work passionately for unity?
Speakers: T. D. Jakes and Mark Driscoll, moderated by James MacDonald