Worship: Songs From The Heart Of David Worship And Warefare Conference

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If Peter Gabriel led worship music, he might very well have cooked up a delight like Worship's opening track, "Oh, Jah!" Constructed around exotic yet simple percussion of vaguely African textures, the song is a call to Yahweh, urging Him to rise in His glory, drive away the enemy, and inspire His followers. The supple song winds for about nine and a half minutes and ends among the cheers of thousands of worshiping people; two and a half minutes of applause and exhortation break into rhythmic clapping, and the band cooks up a fine and fervent coda - a mandolin-led hoedown which is almost as thrilling as what came before (and somehow manages to fit). This is one of the great pleasures of the MorningStar series, and exemplifies what the worship team does so well: following the lead of the Spirit, and, in humility, accepting that the leading may well come from the congregation. Country favorite Ricky Skaggs is credited with instrumentation, but Leonard Jones and Matthew Donovan clearly dominate this disc; Jones leans, as always, toward a spunky pop ("Oh, Jah!" notwithstanding), and Donovan toward a mainstream CCM sound. Their songs are strong enough, generally, to make these things work almost in spite of themselves: Jones' "Dance into the Land" is performed with the uninspired competence of a Toto or Starship record, and Donovan's "Creator of the Universe" continues his string of songs which come uncomfortably close to Manilowism. Still, not a song on here fails to raise genuine emotion and point toward real communion, and you're hard-pressed to find better recorded worship than the triumphant "God of Peace," Donovan's soaring "Rise in Me" (which feels like it fades out too quickly), or "Oh, Jah!"

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