William McDowell

As We Worship Live

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On gospel singer/songwriter William McDowell's ambitious two-CD set As We Worship Live, by far his favorite word is "generation," a word he repeats time and again in his songs of praise & worship. "Give us your heart for this generation," he implores God at the outset. Nowhere does he quote President Kennedy's inaugural address, "The torch has been passed to a new generation," but he might as well have, since he is claiming to speak for a new generation of Christian worshippers. On their behalf, he tends to convey the same old message in the same old terms, but he emphasizes the significance it has to a younger audience. "This is a generation of world changers," he declares in "Give Us Your Heart." In his introduction to the song, he compares himself to David, called to fight Goliath, but he defines the Goliaths he intends to fight as poverty, homelessness, loneliness, and abortion. McDowell is a soft-spoken preacher and a smooth-voiced tenor singer as he takes the traditional call-and-response leads over his choir. But this musical prayer session is anything but sedate; rather, it is a call to action. And as far as McDowell is concerned that action is being inspired by God in contemporary terms. "He wants to download His heart to us so we can go and change the world," according to McDowell, who seems ready to lead his congregation out the church door to do God's work, as the singer/preacher perceives it.

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