Some ten years ago a friend of mine handed me a burned copy of David Crowder Band’s Can You Hear Us? I admit I wasn’t too fond of it initially. I assumed they were just another band coming out of the UK and could have sworn Crowder’s accent originated across the pond. An accent, yes, but a Texan one.
Every worship CD I purchase — and even those people would burn for me, back in the days before you could simply, and legally, send me a YouTube link — I evaluate based on primarily one criterion: Is there something I can use for Sunday morning worship? Over the years, Crowder has produced only a handful of songs I’ve used in worship services, but I include him in my Worship Influences series, because his music has been the background for many of my private worship times.
I’d just bought my first MP3 player back in 2002, a 128mb clip that resembled a pedometer and could hold about two CDs worth of music, including Can You Hear Us? In the mornings for a season — probably the summer when it was warm at 6 am — I would sort of prayer walk around our neighborhood. I’d walk about 45 minutes or so. The soundtrack for most of those mornings was David Crowder Band’s music. Something about their music has consistently drawn me into worship.
I haven’t used much of their/his music because a lot of it is difficult to sing, due to strange syncopated rhythms and awkward leaps. Some of the ones I have included over the years are:
- Our Love Is Loud
- O Praise Him (All This for a King)
- No One Like You — mostly with our youth band
- Only You
- Here Is Our King
- Wholly Yours
But I came to appreciate Crowder’s creative approach to songs, not just churning out mediocre songs we could sing on Sunday, but digging deeper and creating interesting, exciting music, though not too odd it couldn’t serve as ambiance for personal worship. Crowder invited the synth back into the worship band and not just for string pads and the occasional B3. He liked the analog rigs and arpeggiators and anything that wasn’t a preset on your Yamaha or Roland. Still, his band was a rock band with plenty of distorted guitars and heavy drums.
Somehow Crowder made due with a less than adequate voice, one that I found myself at times emulating. (Cindy asked me one time rather rhetorically, “Why are you trying to sing like him? Your voice is better.”) Despite his vocal handicap, he could work a song with dynamics and intensity alone. A great example of this is his “Glory of It All,” which is probably my favorite Crowder song. Some other favorites that I never used as congregational songs include:
- All I Can Say
- Come and Listen
- O God Where Are You Now
- Open Skies
One of my greatest regrets (musically speaking) is that I never saw David Crowder Band. They concluded their final tour a few months ago. I heard theirs was always a great show. I’m not sure what Crowder will be doing, but I suppose the music he produced will keep me going in private worship for quite a while longer.
Join me next week as I take a look at a guy who could sing a bit better than Crowder.