The new CD is finished! “UP” is our first full-scale worship project and the new tour is going to be very interactive. Many of the songs are taken straight from scripture and a few traditional hymns are included too, so this is really an album of Psalms, Hymns, and spiritual songs! Here is a rundown of the tracks:
Power and Might – This original rocker kicks off the album with an emphasis on how God is revealed in nature. The Bible says, “The heavens declare the glory of God”, and that God is revealed through that which is made. This song gives God glory for His creative work...and His redemptive work.
Step by Step – Karen and I did a bit of a word study in the book of Psalms on the word “Steps” and how God guides our steps. The catchy chorus hearkens back musically to our “gospel” days and the verses are straight from the Psalms.
Love the Lord – This is a song by Lincoln Brewster straight from Matthew 22:37. This is the greatest commandment and this infectious song is sure to help it get stuck in our heads.
I’d Rather Have Jesus – This is the traditional hymn we all grew up with, but recorded in a very non-traditional way. It is a very dynamic arrangement that is very contemporary in its style yet definitely keeps the lyrics and message front and center.
Psalm 100 – No surprises here, this song comes directly from...Psalm 100. It is one of my favorite psalms and one of the first I ever memorized in school. It is easy to sing along with and maybe can help you memorize it too!
When I Survey – I love traditional hymns. We don’t sing too many of them, but every once in a while, I record one just because of the great lyrics and nostalgic feelings they bring from my past singing them in church. This one is very special. I did not realize it until the final mix. Karen’s vocal here, I believe are the most pure and emotional performance she’s ever given. When I was mixing, I had added some background vocals, but after listening to it, I felt I was just intruding on a very personal moment. So this song is just Karen, a piano, and a cello, and a heartfelt look at the cross.
You are There – We have, in the past, recorded some very good praise choruses, but were kind of lost in the shuffle and not really known for what they are. You are There is from the “Last Man Standing” album but is remixed with some changes. Here, on this CD, this song takes on a new life as a praise chorus.
Names – This was a fun song to write. Karen and I took a list of all of the names of Jesus throughout the Bible and wrote three verses using nothing but those names. Fortunately, we found enough that rhymed to make it work. The first verse is Christ the shepherd, the second verse is Christ the redeemer, and the last verse is Christ the conqueror. The style reminds me of Last man Standing.
Let Everything That Hath Breath – We have always been fans of the band Petra. In fact, my writing is probably closest in style to Bob Hartman as anyone, so, to record a song by Petra seems like the most natural thing to us. This song is not a sing-along praise chorus like most of the others, but the theme is that of praise.
Weak – The album closes with a praise chorus from the “Flawed” album that, like “You are there” got lost in the shuffle and gets to shine here.
I think that these vocals are the best we have ever recorded. We really pushed ourselves vocally and did things that are not usually in our ranges. I hope you all like the result. I can’t wait for you all to hear it!
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Bill Itzel has been a worship leader and singer/songwriter for 26 years based in Westminster, MD. This is a blog about congregational worship and the latest news in the The Itzel's ministry.