Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fresh Songs, Fresh Voices To Jumpstart The Year

I grew up listening and singing church hymns played only with the accompaniment of an organ.  At that young age I struggled understanding how the hymns were written and the only thing my mind (and heart) remembers is the melody of each song. Nevertheless, they are timeless as their message which I treasure to this day.  

Thirty years in retrospect, my music appreciation included the likes of Maranatha!, Carman, Steven Curtis Chapman, Papuri Singers (local singers from the Philippines), Trisha Amper (another local fave), Amy Grant, Don Moen, Hillsong, various Christian rock bands, and contemporary pop singers.  The list can go on with new genres spreading like wildfire to satisfy the ever music-hungry Christian groups. 

Songs are essential for worship.  King David was not only noted as the "boy who had a lethal stone throwing ability" but he was a musician and poet.  His music genius did not only top the commoners' billboard chart but it captivated the ear of a king - King Saul.  The book of first Samuel, chapter 16 verse 23 writes: 

"Whenever the spirit from God came on Saul, David would take up his lyre and play. Then relief would come to Saul; he would feel better, and the evil spirit would leave him."

Songs prepare our hearts and minds to worship God.  They also soothe our tormented souls from the worries and anxieties of this life. On the countless times we've opened our  bibles to find comfort and answers, Christian and gospel songs have made indelible marks of God's words with melodies that resound in our hearts.  This uplifts the soul and enables it to commune with its Creator.

As much as I like the traditional, new songs and voices have made me literally "sing a new song" (Ps. 96:1) . I would always cling on to a song that has the following:

1. relevant biblical message (a line which you could easily associate with a favorite verse in the bible)
2. how the lyrics initiate and enjoy a conversation with your inner self
3. tune recall (Next gen's LSS)

Yesterday, while browsing over New Release, Jason Castro was featured as Artist of the Month.  The new funky vibe of Castro's "Only A Mountain" inflated a thought balloon over me: "Dreadlocks and singing go well together." The words were simple yet it was anchored on Matthew 17:20 emphasizing on our faith.

Favorite lines: 

This is only a mountain
You don’t have to find your way around it
Tell it to move, it’ll move
Tell it to fall, it’ll fall

Over the radio a few weeks ago, a local Christian station played Jamie Grace' "Hold Me" which I heard the first time.   The words are so simple that I got transported into my own timeline when I just got a pen and started scribbling free flowing thoughts into words.  I just had regrets why I didn't gave myself a chance on the guitar.  Jamie Grace sure looked and sounded good in one. By the way, it was a feat with TobyMac who intros with a reggae feel to the song. 

Favorite lines:
I love you more than the words in my brain can express
I can't imagine even loving you less

Lord, I love the way you hold me
Whoa, oh, I love the way you hold me
Whoa, oh
Oh, I love

They're young and they sing in the expression of both vocals and musical instrument. These songs and fresh voices have proven that Christian songs can be "cool" in this time of age.  Besides, when you have experienced the love of a saving God, nothing can ever stop your heart from singing.  One can never get out of tune!

I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me. Ps. 13:6