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: