Music can get stuck in ruts where creativity drops and artists seem to be writing songs in some formulaic tradition. No one is willing to really push any boundaries or break any rules. The songs become predictable and the genre is boring. For me that was Christian worship music in the late 90’s into the early 00’s. Then I stumbled upon the David Crowder Band.
The first song that I remember off the album was O Praise Him. I remember first hearing it on the radio and then soon after during worship at the Wesley Foundation at Georgia College in Milledgeville. The sound was fresh and new: combining electronic influence into worship music was new in 2003. The band continued to make several new and inventive albums experimenting with various styles and were several years ahead of today’s hipsters by tinkering with folk music and banjos.
The power of that song was not so much what is was but what it did to me: it made me actually want to listen to Christian music. I had really given up on the genre as boring and I wasn’t spending much time outside of church engaging with Christian music and honestly when I did listen to it I was going back to DC Talk’s Jesus Freak and Jars of Clay’s debut album. Those albums had also been groundbreakers opening up the a heyday in Christian music.
I guess what I loved, and still do, about that early David Crowder Band album was the artistic risk and creativity. The willingness to do something new, to try a different sound, or to enter into a new style is refreshing. Our lives devoid of creativity begin to feel dry and stale. Life without art, life without people expressing ideas in new ways feels dreary and worn. I am thankful for the artist who can salvage the best of the old and infuse it with new life and in doing so offer us a new perspective of lens through which to view our world.
Every so often the status quo needs to be ruffled and space created for new and different. This is not unique to worship music but universal. Metal and Rock needed Nirvana and Country needed Chris Stapleton. We need people and groups and will refine the genre, take it back to its roots, and infuse it again with new energy and life. Even now David Crowder Band is old news with a style that has become somewhat stale as other groups mimic their sound and style. However, new artists are already offering new perspectives and adding to the chorus of our praise.