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Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Beneath the Covers

Tonight I spent quite a few hours putting together the songlist for the 3rd quarter at Westwinds. I know, I know, I’m on vacation. But, I really do have fun doing it because I sit down and listen to A LOT of music for a few hours when I put it together. Plus, it was girl’s night out so . . .

I am really excited about the lineup of covers/feature tunes for this quarter. Alanis Morissette, George Harrison, Dan Wilson, Tom Petty, Carrie Underwood, Counting Crows, Lenny Kravitz, Coldplay, Duran Duran, The Black Crowes, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, and the list goes on.

I even had some folks from Westwinds weigh in on the decisions via Twitter.

As I was wrapping up the list, I started reminiscing. I am coming up on 15 years of “professional” ministry soon. Over the last 15 years I have been able to cover some pretty incredible music in church.

I believe music—whatever “category” you put it in (style and/or genre)—should stand on it’s own merits. I have never done a song because every other church is doing it. I have never done a song simply because it is labeled “Christian” by someone.

Music is more than a “tool” to be used by the church.

It is a celebration of life. It is a story. It creates a mood. It presents a scenario. It conveys emotion. It stirs the soul. It asks questions. It hurts. It rejoices. It reminds. It performs heart surgery. It messes with you. It is like an old friend. It hopes. It empathizes. It is a dialogue. It speaks when poetry cannot speak alone.

In my mind, it is a shame to simply look at songs as a “setup” for a message. It is a shame to force-feed music into a theme. Sure, if a song works well for a theme you should consider it but, not just because of what it says—because of how it feels. Sometimes a song will “say” what you want it to say but it will feel all wrong. Sometimes a song may not be your “perfect fit” but it feels so right. Sometimes a song will not be anywhere close to your theme and you should still consider it.

So, I went back through the years of covers/features and made a list of some of my favorites. I will post more later. Here are the first 50 that I checked off the list because they jumped out at me as favorite moments.

1. You Might Think by The Cars
2. Yellow by Coldplay
3. Wishlist by Pearl Jam
4. When Love Comes to Town by U2 and B.B. King
5. What I’ve Done by Linkin Park
6. Weather With You by Crowded House
7. The Heart of the Matter by Don Henley
8. That Kind of Love by PFR (ummm, with Joel Hanson singing it with me)
9. Ten Cent Wings by Jonatha Brooke
10. Tempted by Squeeze
11. Stop this Train by John Mayer
12. Stand by R.E.M.
13. Pride and Joy by Stevie Ray Vaughn
14. Pride (IN the Name of Love) by U2
15. No One Knows by Queens of the Stone Age
16. New Year’s Day by U2
17. New Routine by Fountains of Wayne
18. Neil Young Heart of Gold
19. Mr. Jones by Counting Crows
20. Move Along by All American Rejects
21. Livin’ on the Edge by Aerosmith
22. Live Like You Were Dyin’ by Tim McGraw
23. Like a Stone by Audioslave
24. Life in the Fast Lane by The Eagles
25. Let There be Love by Oasis
26. Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters
27. It’s Love by King’s X
28. Honesty by Billy Joel
29. Home by Foo Fighters
30. Hole Hearted by Extreme
31. Hard to Handle by The Black Crowes
32. Gimme Shelter by The Rolling Stones
33. Get Rhythm by Johnny Cash
34. Fool on the Hill by The Beatles
35. Falling Slowly by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova
36. Everyday is a Winding Road by Sheryl Crow
37. Everybody wants to Rule the World by Tears for Fears
38. Do You Realize by The Flaming Lips
39. Dig In by Lenny Kravitz
40. Come Sail Away by Styx
41. Come on Over by Rob Thomas
42. Come Alive by Foo Fighters
43. Clocks by Coldplay
44. Bright Lights by Matchbox Twenty
45. Breathe (2am) by Anna Nalick
46. Boulevard of Broken Dreams by Green Day
47. Baptized by Lenny Kravitz
48. Always on Your Side by Sheryl Crow and Sting
49. A King and a Kingdom by Derek Webb
50. (Tell Me) When God Will Speak by Billy Mann


This post is part of Watercooler Wednesday over at Ethos. If you have any creative bone in your body, you should join the fun!

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