In a blog recently brought to my attention worship leader Dan Cogan writes about his journey away from contemporary music. One of the reasons he cites for the change is that “the content of hymns is almost always vastly more theologically rich…
“Rather, the theology in the hymns is typically more sound or healthy than much of contemporary worship music. As I said earlier, contemporary songs engage our emotions more often, where the hymns engage our hearts by way of the mind.” (http://www.dancogan.com/my-journey-away-from-contemporary-worship-music)
To which I reply: have you listened to the Body & Soul: A Worship Collective CD?
Headed by Jeremy Zeyl, part of the folk roots trio Isabelle Gunn, Body & Soul: A Worship Collective is a theologically-rich, musically-relevant worship experience which engages the heart and soul as well as the mind and emotions. Recorded over two nights late last year at the Talbot Street Church in London, Ontario, the two-CD set features a worship team made up of musicians and singers from churches in London.
Some history is in order. Body & Soul has its roots in Jeremy’s 2013 CD Heidelberg: Songs from the Catechism, released in celebration of the 450th anniversary of the Reformed teaching. And one of the reasons for Heidelberg‘s release was to create a new body of worship material for churches to use.
Body & Soul is the latest step in Jeremy’s journey to bring theologically-driven music to the masses. While Jeremy may be the driving force behind the project, it truly is a team effort. Writing credits also go to Jeremy Jongejan (electric guitar), Janelle Lightbourne (vocals) and Brian Van Arnhem (bass).
While some contemporary worship music displays a theological shallowness, Body & Soul certainly doesn’t. What other contemporary worship songs recognize the imagery of the Old Testament Tabernacle with the life, death and resurrection of Jesus (“Jesus Our Tabernacle”)? “The poignant “Lord, Are You There?” echoes the question many of us ask when life is difficult, while acknowledging that God is in the silence. And “Not My Own” is a musical version of the first question and answer in the Heidelberg catechism.
Musically the songs run the gamut from Jeremy’s folk-roots stylings (“They Were Waiting,” “I Am Not My Own”), country (“Nothing in Creation”) and gospel (“Jesus Our Tabernacle,” “Jesus My Red Sea”). The collective works well together, with no single person outshining the other. Highlights include vocalist Janelle Lightbourne’s rich vocals on “Jesus Our Tabernacle” and “Jesus My Red Sea” and lead guitarist Jeremy Jongejan’s work on “Nothing in Creation”.
Body & Soul doesn’t suffer from the production flaws many live CDs have. It’s a clean and crisp with a mix that melds the vocals and instrumentals into a cohesive whole. It’s truly a listening pleasure.
Whether you like songs that make you think while you listen to them or just enjoy excellent worship music, Body & Soul: A Worship Collective is for you.
For more on Body & Sould: A Worship Collective, check out http://www.bodyandsoulcollective.com/#body-and-soul-event