If you are involved in church music at all, you know there’s a deep divide between “traditional” and “contemporary” music. Don’t get me wrong, the ugly worship wars of the 80s and 90s are mostly over, and people generally see the value in having a wide variety of worship materials. However, the musicians themselves come from very different places: the “traditional” musicians are classically trained note readers who rarely improvise, and the “contemporary” musicians are more comfortable working from recordings and making music off the page.
Part of my mission is to be a bridge between these two worlds. Whenever I find a song from the contemporary world that I think could work in a traditional setting, I make a point of arranging it for non-improvising musicians.
The latest is a four part arrangement of Andy Piercy’s “Comfortable Words.” Andy was part of the band After the Fire, which had a huge impact on me as a teen. (What was not to admire? The were Christians, English, and played New Wave!) Andy and I have become friends in the last year and led a Psalm songwriting workshop together, where Andy sang this song in morning prayer. I thought it would make a good crossover song so I wrote a quick arrangement of it. Nothing fancy, just something a pianist or choir could use to lead the song: PDF.