Thought it would be good to share who are music influences are. What music has influenced the way you play, what you listen to and how you engage musically with God?

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I don't have a favourite worship band or feel particularly influenced by individual people or styles.  Usually something jumps out at me, and it can be any style, contemporary or written a few hundred years ago and I think 'I can do something with that'.  I don't however choose songs I think I can sing well, but think about whether a congregation could sing them or whether they could be used for quiet ministry.  I absolutely love arranging songs, thinking about harmonies and letting them develop. 

I do prayer about the songs I choose, even to point of asking the Lord how He wants them done, so in all honesty, God is my biggest influence.

Further back, before modern worship music began, I was probably influenced for worship playing by Achor, Adrian Snell (or more strictly, his guitar player in The Passion live version) and somewhat by Noel Richards. I did play in a band that covered Delirious stuff, but mostly because it was contemporary, rather than for pleasure. I've never had worship heroes, and it seems a concept at odds with worship.

As for musical influences, with one exception, none of them have come from church although some of THEIR influences started in church as gospel players before heading into blues, and it's unusual to hear playing in a church setting that I'd want to emulate. The exception was a chap called Dave Gillard, who I had the pleasure to meet several times and helped me see that there's a song within the song waiting to get out.  Otherwise my inlfluences tended toward the heavy rock early on, but also tempered with a liking for reggae and ska rhythms and an enjoyment of funking things up, and this hasn't really changed in 40 years.

Engaging through music is interesting, because I'm quite aware that music can drive the emotions far more overtly than the Holy Spirit usually does (listening to certain Gary Moore tracks could move me to tears, for example) so it tends to be about the meaning, more than the music. The downside of that is that I've sometimes wanted to introduce songs by a certain well known Irish worship band because of their words, but discovered that musically they were quite unusable in a church setting.

'The downside of that is that I've sometimes wanted to introduce songs by a certain well known Irish worship band because of their words, but discovered that musically they were quite unusable in a church setting'  Um, that's interesting Toni as normally it's the other way round, and it's the words that are unsuitable or inappropriate. Could you expand a bit as to why you feel they are musically 'unusable'.

I was thinking about influences last night, and although not influenced by worship bands, I got to thinking that as a little girl in the sixties absolutley loving the harmonies of the Mamas and Papas (Monday, Monday) and the Hollies and such like. 

Hi Lorraine: the tunes were very 'characteristic' in a folk-ditty style, full of stop-starts and with odd phrasing that in retrospect wouldn't have sat well for a congregation. They were OK to listen to in the context of a recording or performance, but would have made people very self-conscious when asked to sing such things. The band recognised this as an issue, and I've read that their subsequent album was written differently to make their music more accessible for worship use.

Thinking about the words, they might have been a bit challenging in some contexts too, but seemed to express things very well for me.

Lorraine Doswell said:

'The downside of that is that I've sometimes wanted to introduce songs by a certain well known Irish worship band because of their words, but discovered that musically they were quite unusable in a church setting'  Um, that's interesting Toni as normally it's the other way round, and it's the words that are unsuitable or inappropriate. Could you expand a bit as to why you feel they are musically 'unusable'.

I was thinking about influences last night, and although not influenced by worship bands, I got to thinking that as a little girl in the sixties absolutley loving the harmonies of the Mamas and Papas (Monday, Monday) and the Hollies and such like. 

Hi Toni,

Thanks for replying.  It now makes sense why the songs wouldn't be ideal for a congregation to sing.  It's good though that they have adapted their style to make it more acceptable for worship.  Nothing wrong with either style, just clever of them to do both : ) 

Sorry another question....what is challenging about the words?  Thanks again.

I wasn't going to get specific, but it's probably easier that giving circuitous explanations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbdJXKqVgtg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cprV3TZet0g

Thanks Toni.

Toni said:

I wasn't going to get specific, but it's probably easier that giving circuitous explanations:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbdJXKqVgtg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cprV3TZet0g

I imagine a lot of suitability in a church setting is dependent on the varied congregations we are a part of. I love "Build Your Kingdom Here" along with most of Rend Collective's material, but have been hesitant to use it. I heard it used in a small country church on Canada's east cost, where celtic/folk music isn't out of place, and it was well received. Granted they changed it up musically a tad with 1 acoustic guitar, 1 bass and a set of bongo drums. In my urban context, the song has worked, but it's used sparingly. "My Lighthouse" also works here which is strange considering we are about 1000km away from any such structure on Canadian soil. 

I have been very much influenced by Hillsong, more specifically, Brooke (Fraser) Ligertwood, Joel Houston, Reuben Morgan and Marty Sampson. A lot of their writing resonates with me. How they lead worship has also been an influence. On North American soil, it's been Chris Tomlin, Jon Egan and Glenn Packiam (New Life Worship/Desperation Band). It's been more than the music, though. In various seminars it's the heart behind the music that has attracted me to these Christian musicians, pastors and leaders.

Robin Mark, Paul Baloche and Darlene Zschech have helped restore my faith that contemporary Christian music can be meaningful, powerful, interesting, Bible-based, and singable.  And that crazy guy from Denver, Jon Egan -- that it can be wild and fun!

Oh man, I'm not sure that we have enough time LOL. I have a lot of favorites, but I'd not necessarily consider them influences. For example, I very much enjoy and appreciate the band Skillet, and they even did a worship album that I enjoy listening to and there's no doubt about their hearts and intent with the project. It's amazing. But I don't play like that, not now and probably not ever, because it's not my style. I will listen to almost anything that is positive, uplifting, relatable, and not crude. Honestly in my area, and with my 30-40 year old vehicles, the Christian stations near me just don't have enough power to come in clearly all the time, so I rarely get to listen to Christian music when I'm out of the house. I stick to country, it's not always perfect, and occasionally I decide to dim the radio for the next few minutes because I'm not fond of whatever's on, but most of it isn't bad. A few real gems like Carrie Underwood, who gets to sing things like "Something In The Water," and do duets with Michael W. Smith for Christmas specials, I love those moments. When I'm home and online, it's an indescribable mix of Christian Rock, Christian Contemporary, Southern Gospel, Country, Classic Rock, Blues, ... with a lot of lesser known and unsigned artists in that mess. When I put everything onto my terabyte drive, uploaded to my iTunes library, it told me it would be able to play non stop for 8 days, and I've downloaded more since. And had no way to upload my cassettes and vinyl collection so far lol. I think that covers my answer to what do I listen to. It's a lot to list. I steer away from any form of Rap/Hiphop, (though I do enjoy me some DC Talk!) 

As for influences, I grew up really admiring Buddy Greene, so I'd consider him an early influence, both vocally and lyrically. I always liked his guitar style, and wished that I could pick up the harmonica a little more naturally than I can. One day I'll get there I'm sure. I've especially recently been working on developing his touch to my guitar work, fingerpicking a little more and using more "proper" chord structure than the "good enough for sunday morning" cheater chords. Hard habits to break but I'm doing it. I also Love just about everything that David Crowder does. As a singer, songwriter, and musician, he just really inspires me and he has an awesome heart for worship. A lot of musicians have some deep dream to be on stage with their idolized artist, with him, I'd love to just sit in a living room with him for an hour and worship, or write, or talk, or do whatever the Spirit moved us to do, because he's just such an amazing man of God. When I was first starting to play acoustic on my church worship team at the ripe age of 15, our church did a LOT of DCB material. So as I was really forming as a singer and guitarist, his material REALLY rubbed off on me. I have people tell me constantly that I remind them of him, which is on one hand flattering and on the other hand frustrating, because I'm really not trying to. That's a big part of why I've been trying to NOT spend as much time listening to other musicians lately, I'm in the process of writing an album and I want my own interactions with the Lord to be the inspiration, not what I had coming out of the speakers all evening. There's a balance to it. I also deeply admire John Mark McMillan, for many of the reasons that I mentioned about Crowder, but he's more of a wordy lyricist than David, (or he can be), so while I really love Crowder's ministry/worship/music in that order, I can sit and listen to John kind of as a poetry, or a sermon, with music behind it. What he does with words is stunning and I love that about him. I also very much idolize Bebo Norman for his gentle down home approach; he says what he wants to say, what the Lord wants him to say, but he wraps it in such a beautiful musical package that it soothes my soul even if the message is heartbreaking. I've got all his music and it really sticks with me when I listen to it. There are countless artists that I admire, and as I said in the beginning, even more that I listen to, but I'd say that those 4 are the ones that I could point to and say "You shaped me as an artist." I try with all my might not to emulate, but if I'm honest when I listen to my own recordings, I feel like I can tell. 

In closing, there's also a few that I adore, that drive me nuts because I'm fixated on them musically. Great people, great musicians, awesome hearts for the Lord... but I'll put it this way: I fear that if they led worship at my church I'd be too distracted by their music to really get into worship lol. Phil Keaggy is one of them, probably the most notable. My mom and dad used one of his early vinyls for their wedding music, I grew up knowing about every song he wrote, (right there with Buddy), and his albums along with Glass Harp are just maddeningly good. Seen him (and them) several times now, easy since I live a stone's toss from their home town. His guitar work is just out of this world. I'll never try to play like him, because, well... I can't LOL. A couple other names might come to mind later, if they're an adequate face-palm moment for me I'll come back and post another comment then. Meanwhile, don't want to crash your servers by writing a book :D 

Early on in my music leading experience I really wanted to be Kent Henry.  Not so much for his music but for his "spirit". He led with a lot of freedom and sensitivity and, even though our personalities are very different, I really wanted that "anointing".  I wonder what ol' Kent is up to these days...

al

www.everydaypraise.com

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