Today's Praise: Trio blends old, new on latest CD
Worship music is all about lifting voices in praise, and Phillips, Craig and Dean seem to know exactly how to make the lifting easy.
The trio just released its third installment of a worship trilogy that’s designed to get the faithful singing. “Let the Worshippers Arise” includes a few new songs but concentrates on presenting new versions of already-popular music.
“From the outset we wanted people to hear songs that … are familiar and they can hear our interpretation of these songs,” said Dan Dean, who joins with Randy Phillips and Shawn Craig to form the group known for its blend of harmonies and upbeat adult-contemporary style.
“We haven’t selected as many original songs because we want people to sing along,” Dean said.
To come up with its mix, the group checked the stats on which songs are most popular in contemporary worship services. If worshipers were singing it, they wanted to record it, said Dean, who’s also pastor of Christ Temple in Irving, Texas.
As a result, we hear new versions of “You Are God Alone,” “In Christ Alone,” “My Redeemer Lives” and “Making Melody” that contain fresh bursts of energy. And the disc opens with “Friend of God,” a song that isn’t as familiar but is likely to gain popularity.
One of the disc’s new songs is the title track, written by Michael Ferrin and discovered during a contest on Phillips’ local TV show.
“Man, we fell in love with the song,” Dean said. “… I hear a lot of passion in that song.” The soaring vocals in “Let the Worshippers Arise” embody the philosophy behind the disc — whole-hearted praise.
The disc’s formula appears to be working because it debuted last week at No. 7 on the Billboard “Heatseekers” chart.
If some of the performances exhibit extra energy, it may be because of the trials Dean and his wife, Becky, experienced during the disc’s development.
A car accident broke Becky’s neck and left her bedridden for about three months. “Because God helped us, she didn’t experience any paralysis,” Dean said. That struggle worked to strengthen the couple’s faith.
“When people are going through difficult times one of the greatest issues is an issue of trust,” Dean said. “When something like this happens you start thinking: ‘Why did this happen?’ … Yet in the middle of this you reach a point where you say, ‘God, I don’t know why this happened but I trust you.’ … Trust God. He will help you through difficult situations in life.”
The feelings generated by this struggle carried over to the CD. “The passion with which I sang on this album was definitely influenced” by the difficulties, he said.
A final note: Dean was eager to express his support for U.S. troops.
“I have a real special place in my heart for the military. … My father is a disabled veteran in World War II,” he said. “These guys love their country and really sacrificed,” the singer said.
Today’s Praise is a roundup of news and reviews from the contemporary Christian music industry. E-mail Brian Bowers at: firstname.lastname@example.org