I’m always on the look out for new music that no-one has heard before, but rarely do I achieve this. With streaming at our finger tips, there are plenty of new bands and artists that we listen to each week that are truly brilliant. As a worship leader I’m often keen to include lesser known songs into my set list to give a broader perspective of songwriters to the church. So, in light of this I’ve decided to review three artists that I think are worthy of your ears. Each has a feature song and a link to their Spotify album/EP.
Danny O’Callaghan: Son Of My Father
If you’ve been to David’s Tent in the UK, then you’ll definitely have heard this man’s name. This long awaited EP carries the same intensity of seeing O’Callaghan lead worship live. It’s all in, it’s passionate, it’s prophetic. When listening to these songs, all you want to do is immerse yourself in the experience, as if you’re in the room with Danny and the band. You could see them recording all in one big room and creating this incredible vibe. The drum tone and reverb-ed guitars (which have a very distinct sound throughout) carry the core of Danny’s sound, but there’s piano and vocal effects which add such edge.
It’s hard to pinpoint which song is a favourite, but I’m landing on “Ashes.” It’s dark, vibey and showcases Danny’s lower register. The song transitions through the gears beautifully without getting too big too soon. I love the line “Hope is rising from the ashes” as a statement, and with this the song transitions, then breaks open. I could listen to this all day.
Sons Of My Father – http://spoti.fi/2qmg15h
Tom McConnell: Every Nation Under Heaven
What’s not to like about Tom McConnell, the friendly bearded Northern Irishman? I’ve had the privilege of getting to know Tom over the last year or so, and we ended up co-writing a song that’s appearing on my new record.
Tom’s EP “Every nation under heaven” is a four track folk/ acoustic worship recording. His voice is excellent throughout – crisp and clear – with haunting background vocals (likely sung himself).
There’s something quite poetic about his writing style, one that is rich in lyrical content, which encourages the listener to re-wind and re-think what is being sung about.
My favourite song on the recording is “Boldly to approach” which takes you through a percussive beginning (perhaps referencing Gotye’s “Somebody I Used to Know”) to simple but profound chorus’ and once again the haunting backing vocals. You can see how this song can lead people in worship either personally at home, or in a church setting.
Every Nation Under Heaven – http://spoti.fi/2rWVWUB
Josh Gauton: As The Waters Rise
Josh Gauton of Worship Central released the EP “As The Waters Rise” in 2016 and since seeing him live a few months back, the EP has been one of the few albums that have remained in my car.
It’s becoming more rare to see a three piece play live, and yet Gauton achieved a sound that matched much of that of the EP. If boxed into a genre I’d describe him as indie/ alternative with high airy vocals, and tasteful use of arpeggiated synths and Moog.
The favourite from this EP is “Smokes And Mirrors.” As a songwriter, often my favourite parts of songs are the pre-chorus’ simply because they allow heightened anticipation for the chorus to break open. As with all the material on this EP, the use of space in the tracks significantly aid the songs. It’s tempting to over produce when you’re in the studio, but Gauton holds back, choosing only the best instrumentation to define his sound.
As The Waters Rise – http://spoti.fi/2rX3Sow
Whatever your music taste, there should be something here for you. Have a listen, comment, and share. And most importantly, listen to what God has to say to you through the music.