12 years of worship music

Posted: October 30, 2007 in worship

In 1995, a guy named Chris in my dorm let me borrow a Vineyard worship album entitled “Glory and Honor”. It’s pictured here. That album includes in the original release of the song “We Will Dance” by David Ruis…a popular song for several years. The song is over 10 minutes long on the album, which I loved. If you’ve been in church or around any type of contemporary worship over the last 10 years, there are probably 4-5 songs on the album that you would know.

For me, this borrowed album was the beginning of my love of worship music. I began buying almost every new Vineyard album that came out…and they use to release a new one every 3 months. Soon I was buying/listen to Davis Ruis, Brian Doerkson, Sonic Flood, Hillsong, Tony & Donny, and Matt Redmon.

Then, in 1998, the Passion series began. Amazing stuff. I have every Passion CD and love every one. David Crowder and Chris Tomlin, two of the core Passion members, have gone on to sell millions of their own worship albums. Worship music subscription companies formed, sending out new CD’s every so often to minister who signed up. Contemporary Christian artists all began releasing their own worship albums…mostly made up of songs written by other worship artists. By the early 2000’s, Vineyard Worship – which was really the best stuff coming out in the 1990’s – was hardly relevant anymore. Other styles began to grow…grunge worship, rock worship, ska worship. Labels like Wow and Worship Together began releasing worship albums with 20-30 songs, all the most popular songs of that particular time or place.

Here’s the weird part for me. In the last couple of years, other than Chris Tomlin and David Crowder, I don’t know of any new worship music that’s caught my attention. I’ve not really heard, seen, or bought anything new that’s really pulled me in the way Vineyard and Passion did. Maybe I’m just not paying attention. Maybe the worship music craze that seemed to last about 10 years has faded a bit. Maybe the style is headed in a different direction – back to more traditional sounding stuff (?) – and I just haven’t noticed it. What I know is that the worship music I’ve been belting out in my car (I’m a pretty enthusiastic worship driver) is the same stuff I’ve been listening to for quite a long time.

So help me, if you will. If you’re a fan of worship music, what are you listening to? What’s worth buying and listening to again and again? What album or artist first got you listening to worship music? What song do you love to sing loudly in your car? Who, if they were leading worship somewhere, would you drive 3 or 4 hours just to be a part of it?
  1. Meriam says:

    I just got some stuff to review because our youth bands stuff is stale and our bass player rolls his eyes at any Tomlin or Crowder. (I threw away about 50 cord sheets of stuff that should never be sung again in my vicinity.) I got the album “Glory Revealed,” lots of Mac Powell, kind of blue-grassy. Also iWorship:24/7. It’s got a lot of variety. Aaron Shust is pretty good, too.

  2. Rodney says:

    You’ve seriously got to check out Tim Hughes’ Holding Nothing Back CD…great stuff in there.

  3. jason says:

    I think my wife may actually have Glory Revealed…I just haven’t taken time to listen to it really thoroughly…not familiar with iWorship 24/7, think I can check it out at Cedar Springs?

  4. jason says:

    Thanks man – didn’t Tim Hughes write “Here I Am to Worship”, possibly one of the greatest worship songs ever?

  5. Erin says:

    I sure do have the Glory revealed CD, and I LOVE IT!

  6. greg says:

    Have you heard any Hillsongs United? Find whichever album has “The Stand” and “From the Inside Out”. That’s a pretty stellar album.

    I’m with you though… I haven’t heard a lot recently that I’ve enjoyed. Do you have Bill Wolf’s album? It’s actually awesome.

    If you like old hymns set to new music, the Indelible Grace series (www.igracemusic.com) is also fantastic… some of my favorite stuff. Lyrically challenging and musicialy satisfying. That sounded like a description for a snickers bar.

  7. jason says:

    thanks G…funny thing…I was recently reading some old blogs on Bill’s site, and found one where you and he were throwing down a pretty good verbal bashing about Chris Tomlin. It was pretty funny.

  8. x-ray chick says:


  9. jason says:

    rodney – went to mckay’s last night and picked up Tim Hughes “Holding Nothing Back” for $3.95 AND his “When Silence Falls” cd for 95 cents (yes, that $4.90 for both cd’s). They are both really good…there’s actually a few songs on When Silence Falls that I already knew, but didn’t know Tim Hughes wrote them.

  10. kaly says:

    well me and my hardcoreness likes family force 5, and by the tree isnt so hardcore but still is amazing.

  11. Anonymous says:

    If you haven’t gotten any of the “Enter the Worship Circle” stuff, you’re really missing some great raw worship. My particular favorites are Enter The Worship Circle 1 & 3, though 2 has some great stuff as well. 4 is due out real soon and I’ve already heard some stuff from it and cannot wait for the rest of the project!

  12. Anonymous says:

    hey im tony of tony and donny. it blessed my heart to see us included in your list and to know that you are still persuing worship in such a strong way. somy of the newer stuff has completely lost me. am i old or too simple minded. i long a little bit for the days past. one thing is sure, God is worthy to be worshiped, however we do it. tonymccray2000@yahoo.com

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