In the worship music scene, one doesn’t think of Denver as a hotspot. Los Angeles, maybe. Nashville, of course. Atlanta, yes. Texas towns, probably. But Denver? No.
I hope that changes. I’m not necessarily desirous to see Denver get put on the map for this stuff, but I believe in the reality of independent Christian artists anchoring their music in concrete by making albums. It’s part of the big picture of how church music will sharpen itself over time in the modern age.
In this regard, I’m pleased to point my readership to a terrific album from a fellow Denver worship leader and friend, Chris Martin. Before I tell you about the album, let me tell you about Chris. He is a worship leader at Aspen Grove Community Church here in Denver (Littleton, to be specific). Chris is one of the “new breed” of worship leaders that I’ve been talking about from time to time on my blog. He’s a worship leader and recording artist that isn’t so much interested in rock-stardom as he is in loving the Church and seeing her formed through worship. He has a theological head on his shoulders. He and I were recently talking over coffee about a small worship conference in our town this past year which included a few big names. Let’s just say that Chris wasn’t no chump. He was willing to talk about what was good and formative, but he also was quick to sniff out for his team of attendants bad theology, bad philosophy, or less-than-stellar biblical reasoning. I admire his passion for worship, and I applaud his heart for biblical integrity.
Today is a beefy, 7-track EP, set in an indie-pop-rock style. This isn’t necessarily a full-blown “worship album,” as, from my perspective, some of the tracks are more suited for solo performance than congregational singing. Nevertheless, it’s produced well and mixed well. One of my favorite tracks is his arrangement of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” interestingly set in a 5/4 meter with Band-of-Horses-esque drumming and sliding electric guitar work. I also appreciate the confessional and humble stance of the album as a whole. Chris sets the tone for the gospel to be large. In “I Need You Now,” he’s done a creative job of turning Romans 7 into a beautiful sung confession, as verse 1 and the chorus record:
Loving You and loving the world is all I’m supposed to do
My spirit craves, my flesh is weak – I cannot choose
Doing everything I hate – show me what is true
I cannot do this by myself – I need you to
Break me down from my ways
Raise me up from this grave
You’re the only one who saves
I need You now
My salvation and my hope
You are everything I know
I can’t make it one more day
I need You now
I’m grateful, too, that Chris gives voice to suffering in “Even When,” whose chorus sings:
I’ll worship You
Even when the storm hits
Even when the ground splits
I’ll worship You
When all I have is taken
When all I am is broken
I’ll worship You…
The most driving song on the album is “Glorious Jesus,” whose first verse highlights Christ’s kingship and worship-as-response:
Nations rise up and shout your name
People will bend their knees to pray
Giving response to revelation
Your consuming presence over all
Your kingdom established never falls
The songs that we sing tell of your glory
If you give Today a listen, you quickly notice one thing about the content. It’s not superficial. It’s not me-centered. It is yet more evidence that modern worship is moving in a new direction and that young worship leaders are looking for worship which is more God-exalting and Christ-centered.
You can get Chris’s album digitally or physically here. You can also get it on iTunes.