Paul Ryan at the CICW is editing a songbook of Praise and Worship songs to be published by Faith Alive. He asked me to make suggestions for songs that could be added to the collection. Below is a short list of songs that I think are the best of the genre, but which don’t often get included in Top 100 lists. You can hear a quick demo of each song by downloading this MP3 file. (Watch out, it’s 25 megs!)
THE CREAM (praise songs that I stand behind musically and theologically–it’s a short list!)
Amazing Love – Graham Kendrick
I know it’s a bit dated, but I think it’s a solid song theologically and could have some musical longevity.
Give Thanks to the Lord – John H. Morton
I picked this up from a weird song collection from Lorenz. This song is joyful, but not trite.
Holy Lord – Steve Bell
I’ve used this at COS for our “Guitarchestra” day. It’s a nice combination of upbeat folk and liturgical text.
I Will Hide Your Word Inside My Heart – Paul Field
Paul Field has a great kids praise CD. This is one we’ve used at COS frequently. I stack this guy up against fellow Brit Keith Getty any day.
Jesus Draw Me Ever Nearer – Becker/Getty
Speaking of Getty, here’s one that bears his trademark Celtic feel, but it hasn’t been overplayed on radio and in congregations.
Kadosh – Elisheva Shamron
Don’t know anything about the composer, but a Dutch student introduced me to the song and I love it. It’s mesmerizing.
Nearer than Before – Jim Crowan
I’ve used this over and over, and it always works. It’s got a classic melody in the lines of Seek Ye First, and the words have a simple sincerity.
Purify My Heart – Jeff Nelson
You probably know this one. I think it’s better than the “other” Purify My Heart. It makes a great confession song.
Ready My Heart – Lois Shuford
I love this song! Shuford is virtually unknown, but this song is a gem. And where else can you find a true Advent song in the P&W repertoire?
Restore My Soul – Andi Rozier
The first part is based on the tune “The Water Is Wide.” Great song of confession and dedication.
Salvation Belongs to Our God – Adrian Howard and Pat Turner
I think this one is under-rated. I wrote a new arrangement for the New Testament Songbook to bring out the classic rock anthem feel that I hear in it. It was getting overplayed 10 years ago, but I think it’s ready for a revival.
The First Place – Matthew Westerholm
I would stack this up against anything by Getty or Tomlin. It’s a fantastic song. Added bonus: serious Reformed theology.
Throw Down Your Crowns – Glenn Kaiser
The singer from Rez Band did an acoustic worship album. I’ve always like this one. It may need some finessing with the piano arrangement to make it work in a hymnal context, but I think it’s worth considering.
What the Lord Has Done in Me – Reuben Morgan
I don’t know that he meant to do this but he wrote a really good baptismal song. We used it at COS a few weeks ago during the confession on a baptism Sunday, with confession readings scattered throughout.
SONGS I’VE USED TO GOOD EFFECT
Build Your Fire – Eltzroth: nothing earth-shaking, but it’s a good dedication song along the lines of “In My Life Lord Be Glorified.”
I Will Sing Praise
Psalm-like language in a rockin’ package.
My Soul Finds Rest – Dan McGowan
This was extracted from a choral anthem. I’ve used the chorus (My soul finds rest) as a sung response with a reading from Psalm 72 (?). It’s kind of the pop answer to the Taize chorus.
They used to use this at the close of every student-led Sunday Eve P&W service at Northwestern, like “My Friends” is used at LOFT. It’s simple, but it never really ends, which lends it well to repeated singing.