Light Up the Sky

I’ve done my share of cursing the darkness of crummy contemporary Christian church music. And I’ll likely do more before I’m through, since it’s not as if things are getting better.

In the spirit, however, of lighting a candle instead, why not light up the whole sky? That’s what one of my favourite Christian singers/songwriters/guitar players/worship leaders, Jon Buller, does on his new album of that name: Light Up the Sky.

I encountered Jonny B first as he led one of the best worship bands I’ve ever seen at The Meeting Place, an avant-garde church in Winnipeg in the ’90s. He went on to tour with his band trying to help people understand worship better, not just how to sing super-easy songs forty times in a row and identify the mind-numbing state that results with religious ecstasy.

And he even had your servant show up to give three–yes, three–lectures on a theology of worship at the tour’s end: a seminar he ran at a Christian college in Winnipeg. Imagine! “Theology” and “worship leading” in the same place at the same time!

(Best part of that gig for me was not the speaking, but the sitting in with Jonny and the band on an irresponsibly growly blues. My Brethren forebears cursed me from the Empyrean, I’m sure, for all the distortion I put on my guitar for that one.)

Since then, he’s moved to Vernon, BC, and taken on regular church work. But the rockin’, tourin’ musician lives on, and this latest CD is awfully good. (Friend Roy Salmond, producer extraordinaire, put the thing together; smoky-voiced Carolyn Arends shows up, along with Starfield’s Tim Neufeld; the only thing missing is, well, me: But I cost too much. Just kidding. Please ask me next time, Jon. Please.)

So check it out and buy it. You’ll thank me later, as you inevitably do when you do what I tell you.

And here’s a promotion for the blessed folk in the Winnipeg area who can attend:

0 Responses to “Light Up the Sky”

  1. Jon Buller

    My humble thanks to you John for your kind words and encouragement! And yes, a place for you to sit in on the next Jonny B CD – we’ve got to do it, although you are right, I may not be able to afford you…

  2. Spencer Capier

    If Stackhouse plays more than two tracks on your album he gets tenure in your band. It’s an Academic Union thing. Just warning you Jon… Not that it would be a bad thing per se.

  3. Doris Goheen

    My favourite Christian musician is John Starnes who is doing a concert Saturday night at the Lakeshore Pentecostal Camp in Cobourg Ontario. The place will be filled to capacity as usual. He comes there every year and is loved by all.

  4. Jon Buller

    tenure, hmmm…I hadn’t thought of that…John Starnes…will have to check him out…also didn’t think of it until now but check out the clever alliteration in the first sentence!

  5. Isaac Whiting

    I have only heard one song by John Buller to date, Meet Me in the River. Our annual North American Baptist BC youth camp used it this year as the theme song, sort of. Really good. Will definitely check out more.

  6. Corey

    Great to hear. I find it sad that the Christian music industry has marginalized straight-talking, deep-question-asking artists like Derek Webb and yet have full accepted the latest popularity-seeking bands whose lyrics have no theological content at all.

    I am a music leader at my church, and I’m constantly frustrated by the available material. I typically have to write my own stuff if I want more than “praise.”

  7. Kate

    Our praise band leader sometimes takes old hymns and rearranges them for guitar and piano. If you have ideas for songs suitable for lent, please post them! (That is my own personal pet peeve – lent needs mournful minor keys!)

  8. Jon Buller

    I recorded Jesus Priceless Treasure, from a Lutheran hymnbook. Might fit the bill for you, if so find me and I will email an mp3 to you…

    Jesus, Priceless Treasure
    Text: Johann Franck; trans. by Catherine Winkworth
    Music: Praxis Pietatis Melica; harm. by J.S. Bach
    Tune: JESU, MEINE FREUDE, Meter: 665.665.786

    Jesus, priceless treasure, source of purest pleasure, truest friend to me.
    Long my heart hath panted, till it well-nigh fainted, thirsting after thee.

    In thine arms I rest me; foes who would protest me, cannot reach me here.
    Though the earth be shaking, every heart be quaking, Jesus calms our fear.

    Thine I am oh spotless Lamb, I will suffer not to hide thee
    As for not beside Thee

    Hence, all thoughts of sadness!
    For the Lord of gladness, Jesus, enters in.
    Those who love the Father, though the storms may gather, still have peace within.

    Sin and hell in conflict fell with their heaviest storms assail me;
    Jesus will not fail me.

    Yea, whate’er we here must bear, still in thee lies purest pleasure,
    Jesus, priceless treasure!


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