I’ve been involved in several churches in the East Tennessee area; and each has their own circle of worship artists that they pull from for worship music. In my time checking out and listening to these artists being in these different communities, here are 10 that are definitely worth investing in!
- John Mark McMillan – I’m so pleased to have been introduced to this man’s music. It’s real, honest, raw and so worshipful. His band sounds so organic and live on the recordings – no over production, just solid worship down in your soul.
– Best known for “How He Loves”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “The Medicine.”
- Matt Papa – While you may be deceived by such a radio-friendly single like “Open Hands,” Matt Papa can seriously throw down some hard-driving and heavy worship making you wonder if it’s okay to both rock & worship this hard. Yes my friends, indulge yourselves in the glory.
– Best known for “Open Hands”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “Hallelujah, Our God Reigns”
- Misty Edwards – Most certainly the queen of non-traditional worship writing, if she wasn’t so humble to decline such a title. It’s 100% intimacy with Jesus and longing for His return with an incredibly progressive sound. What a tremendos leader she has become for those longing to be closer and more spiritually in touch with the Creator.
– Best known for “You Won’t Relent”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “Garden”
- Jesus Culture/Kim Walker Smith – If there was ever a poster band for the worship revolution happening in America, it would be Jesus Culture. Consistently releasing live album after live album of powerful worship, glorifying God has never been so energetic and alive. Fueled by the great song-writing and worship-leading of Chris Quilala and unmistakably powerful voice of Kim Walker-Smith, you cannot afford to pass this band up.
– Best known for “How He Loves”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “You Are My Passion”
- Bethel Live – While in danger of being lumped together with Jesus Culture, Bethel Live goes deeper and more intimate in worship than most bands dare venture. With wonderfully written melodies with intimate & worshipful lyrics, and humbly terrific mixes on their live recordings, Bethel Live has gone deeper and even released an instrumental album Without Words. Perhaps when we silence our tongues and enjoy the beauty of Him through music will we be more enlightened by His presence.
– Best known for “Closer”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “Be Lifted High”
- Daniel Bashta – A surprisingly rich sound from this singer-songwriter with an organic sound and orchestration. Finally do I feel that the talents of string musicians are being utilized with intricate and quick writing behind the unique voice of Daniel Bashta. So happy to hear group singing, large uncompressed dynamic shifts, and… wait.. is that a glockenspiel?
– Best known for “I Want it All (Just Give Me Jesus)”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “Praise the Invisible”
- Audra Lynn – Certainly a student from the school of Misty Edwards, Audra brings her own flair to the authentic worship scene with progressive 2 & 3 part songs ranging from pop, experimental, and some sample-heavy characteristics. While there’s seemingly something for everyone in her music, it’s not intentional. You can tell it’s all from her heart and personality directed towards the heart & personality of God.
– Best known for “Yet I Will Sing”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “Prologue – At Last”
- Gungor – I’ve had a love/hate relationship with this band for the reason that Michael Gungor is achieving the progressive ideal of worship that I’ve always had. Genre shifting, virtuosity, non-traditional chords, chromaticism, and worship that takes place beyond the book of Psalms. At times I think I’m listening to bluegrass… other times symphonic metal. Way to switch things up and keep us on our toes with our hands raised high!
– Best known for “Beautiful Things”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “Wake Up Sleeper”
- Antioch Live – Antioch Community Church based out of Waco, TX has certainly been the epicenter of church planting. With plants all over the world, it’s as if the world descends on Waco every year for World Mandate – a conference of worship, testimonies, art, and leadership from some of the most selfless missionaries in the world. The music and worship that comes out of this is a breed all its own – taking elements from Jesus Culture, Hillsong, and Misty Edwards. This is incredible live worship & musicianship with song-writing themed differently each year. Each World Mandate album from Antioch Live has it’s own mood, feel, and energy that has to be heard to be believed.
– Best known for “Restoration”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “You Satisfy Me”
United Pursuit – I might tease that these guys are the kings of 4 chords, but it’s so undeniably tasteful, worshipful, and all out goodness. Such a great combination of good orchestration & songwriting without overproduction. Definitely a good sense of community in Christ with the group singing here.
– Best known for “Set a Fire”
– For your listening pleasure, check out “Fill Me Up”
- We Are Not Performers, We Are Apostles | A Dream (johnnynewman.wordpress.com)