Here’s a new song that we are going to learn this weekend at New City Fellowship.
This song was co-written by Israel Houghton and Darlene Zschech. It’s the single from Israel’s latest recording, “Alive in Asia” but Zschech seems to have released it earlier with a more HIllsong-y rock vibe.
What I love about this song:
- Infectious groove and ear-wormish melody
- Bold proclamation of God’s commitment to his people and his kingdom (Romans 8)
Stuff that I’m not going to worry about:
- maintaining Houghton’s EDM pop vibe on the recording (because we’re just not that kind of band)
- maintaining the recording’s unison only vocals (my people harmonize even when I tell them not to)
- performing all 6 1/2 minutes from the recording
I went through a period of doing a TON of Houghton’s music. It’s always fun and for the most part, theologically solid despite his connection to Joel Osteen. For me, his songs have been the bridge between CCM style worship and contemporary gospel which is exactly what a multicultural evangelical church needs. If you haven’t incorporated these yet, you should check out his other songs like:
- You are Good
- Friend of God
- Again I Say Rejoice
- There’s a Lifting of the Hands
- Jesus At The Center
- Saved By Grace
- Who Is Like The Lord
- Highly Exalted
- Moving Forward
Stuff to remember when attempting Houghton’s songs with a congregation:
- His voice is at it’s best in the alto range and so his recordings are going to pitch the songs accordingly, so either give the melody to the altos or bring the key down at least a whole step – or push it up a 3rd and drop it an octave. Just be careful about losing all the intensity
- His songs often work well in a white worship setting or a black worship setting (Friend of God is a good example) so if your group is made up of mostly white, rock musicians, you are going to have to work hard not to lose the gospel vibe.
- His songs are simple and so to make them more interesting, the recordings throw a lot of stuff into the form to constantly change things up. You have freedom to simplify these song forms to make it more “congregational” if you need to, so don’t let all those hip details from the recording make you over-think things.