Wake Up – Available Now

Wake Up is out now.

A five track worship EP marinated in dance, pop and rock with some ambient and experimental seasoning, for anyone tired of the same old worship music sandwich.

Available now to order from Bandcamp, iTunes, Amazon, Play and other stores.

Tracks included are:

  • Wake Up
  • Whom The Son Sets Free
  • When The Waters Rise
  • Come To The River
  • Don’t Sleep

Wake Up has already received some great reviews and recommendations including these:

This EP is radically different from anything Jonny has released previously. It blends elements of dance, pop and rock music to provide something really unique – and it works amazingly…I love how Jonny has in a short space of time changed his whole sound. This proves he is a versatile songwriter and producer. I am so impressed with this EP and I can’t stop telling people about it. This is a dance electronic inspired piece of wonderful worship music.  Full review from louderthanthemusic.com

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Jonny Shepherd is back with dynamic worship music, this time in a whole new musical vein – electronic, euro-pop sounds with meaningful lyrics and heartfelt passion for God. From the artwork to the guitar sampling to the sweeping musical landscapes, the Wake Up EP can serve as a positive intro to worshippers to the buzzing and popping sounds of the digital age while meeting God on your knees…or dancing. I love it! Ken Steorts, President of Visible Music College, Founding Guitarist of Skillet

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Jonny consistently inspires me. In a crowded industry, and as an independent artist, he continually finds a way to release vibrant music with genuine passion and sonic integrity. Jonny’s latest release ‘Wake Up’ is both innovative and invigorating. The heart of this EP is rooted in worship, but covers fresh and contemporary musical ground. Jonny is a friend, an inspiration, a pioneer, and someone you need to check out!  Ryan Baker-Barnes, Worship Pastor at Revival Fires Dudley

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A different direction for Jonny, Electronica worship music, well worth checking out.  Contemporary sounds and a brave step, think Owl City and William Orbit with worshipful lyrics.  Wake Up, breaks the walls of the contemporary worship music genre.  Ian Yates, Elim Sound
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All tracks written, recorded and produced by Jonny Shepherd.  Additional production and mixing by Matt Cotterill.  With thanks to Adam Collins.  Spoken word by Alan Scotland.

 

Worship Songwriting – Tip No.2 – Lyrics – The…

Screen Shot 2014-01-18 at 16.32.06In writing a pop or rock song…in fact any genre except congregational worship songs…anything goes.

You can write from any experience, any viewpoint, use any language or emotion that you see fit.  Worship song writing is very different.

While there is no standard to measure your lyrics against in secular music (although it is clear that both good and poor lyrics are written), in worship song writing we HAVE to measure our songs lyrically against one single plumb line that exists.  The Bible.

While experience, emotion and world view can clearly influence our lyric writing, they hold very little real value in the scope of worship songwriting if the lyrics are not theologically sound and watertight, as measured against Truth.

Biblical Truth trumps experience/emotion/view point EVERY TIME

 

Our congregations theology is based more on the songs we sing than the preaches we hear.  Your responsibility as a worship song writer is great.  Measure your songs constantly against Truth.  Find a church leader to check the lyrics for you.

Please hear me clearly – there is a place for experience/emotion/view point – as long as they are aligned with the Bible, and used carefully.  A vague song about ‘feelings’ will dissolve into insignificance when stood next to a theologically pure exaltation, that builds faith, teaches Truth, reflects the nature God, praises his works or remembers the redeeming work of the cross.

 

John 4 v24 – “God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth” (italics mine)

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Worship Songwriting – Tip No. 1 – Self Critique

Good worship songwriting is critical in playing a part of the Church’s growth, health and maturity.  It is a big responsibility.songwriter_with_guitar

One really important process that has helped increase the standard of my songwriting is that of self-critique.  In my experience it is sometimes difficult to find the right people to really say what they think about your new song.  You will have the friends who will say ‘that’s nice’ or sometimes people who will try to say something constructive but might not have the musical experience or even language to be truly helpful.

So self-critique.  It will take you from average or good, and stretch you to excellence.  Take time to learn how to do it, it is an essential tool in your pocket.

I almost never write a good song in an hour or a day or a week.  Even if I think it’s great, returning to that song after a period of time always begins to reveal the weaknesses in the initial writing.  Don’t be blinded by the feeling that “God gave me this song”, or “that will do”.

Yes God may have sparked the song in you, but he also requires you to walk a creative journey towards excellence.  It is often the quiet voice in the back of my head, that there’s something better than what is down on the piece of paper – I can either ignore that voice, or strive for something more.

What about you?  How do you evaluate the songs you’ve written?

The next blog looks at the critique process that I use, starting with lyrics