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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.

 

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SWALK (Sealed With A Loving Kiss)

Worship is not music.  We know that.  Worship is a full-life offering, encompassing all our living.kiss-lips

I was thinking recently as to what our Sunday morning sung worship times should look like, and decided one of the best pictures I could come up with was SWALK.  Do you remember the times when you were at school and that girl or boy that you quite fancied dropped a letter into your bag when you weren’t looking with the letters SWALK written carefully across the sealed envelope?

Sealed With A Loving Kiss.

Your heart would jump and skip at the gesture as you pulled the envelope open to see what romance might be indicated inside.  You would tremble slightly reading the words, and fumble over your choice of actions in response to this move.  After all, you’re only 8 years old, and you can’t afford to take her to Macdonalds yet.

The real message is contained in the words of the letter.   The seal of a kiss on the envelope is a beautiful gesture, yet not as important as the message inside.

And this is the same in our worship.  Your whole life is the ‘love letter’ to God, and the words it contains are by far the most important thing.  Your sung worship is simply the seal over the letter inside.

What value is it to God if your envelope is sealed with the kiss of Sunday morning 10 top worship songs, yet the paper inside remains blank?  Your love letter, your life, is truly what God desires to read – let it be a poetic journey of passion, dedication and sacrifice that encompasses all your living.

Then, and only then, let it be sealed with your song.

 

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What’s The Deal With “Crown of Praise”?

Crown of Praise started with the small idea of releasing small “chapters” of music. Where recording a whole album can be prohibitive because of the costs involved, I’ve decided to explore releasing music in smaller bite size chunks. Crown of Praise will be the first in a series of “chapters” over the coming months.  Here’s a little detail about the project…

I have loved making Crown of Praise.  I have challenged myself lyrically and musically to be even more creative than I have been before. The emotive sounds of the orchestral elements floating over the piano and acoustic guitars really moves me into worship, and I really hope that it helps you in your personal worship times too.

This first little ‘chapter’ of planned EP’s contains two brand new songs, a new recording of an old song called My Reason and an instrumental.

Praise You For The Blood is a song where I wanted to capture both the reflective nature of acknowledging our sin and shortcomings before God, and the celebratory nature of rejoicing in the grace we recieve.  The song explodes half way in with joy, and seems a wonderful way to open the EP!

My Reason is a number of years old, and I have led with this song many times.  After being pushed by my church leader to re-record the track, I decided to try a new take on it, changing the time signature of the song, chord structure and ambience completely compared to the ‘rock’ approach I had previously used.  I think it works brilliant with the piano track laid down by David Skoppek, and the song still moves me into worship all these years later!

Crown of Praise contains some of my favourite lyrics and thematically follows My Reason with an understanding of our very lives purpose is in the worship of God.

Finally, the instrumental When We See Him finishes the EP allowing the music to inspire your worship rather than words.  The simple repeating melody line throws all sorts of imagery in my head that…well it’s better you just take a listen and interpret it for yourself!

I am on a faith journey where I don’t have a regular job, but I believe God is calling me to write and record worship music for the Church and I want to be faithful in that.  Often money is a barrier in doing what we want to do, and certainly recording music can be a very expensive venture, that can take months or even years to break even on costs.  But I guess that is the nature of a ‘faith journey’ – there has to be an element of the impossible to allow you to put your faith in higher powers.

So please pray for me as I journey – for melodies and lyrics that inspire and encourage the Church…and for resources to do what I believe God is calling me to do. I hope you enjoy this little project and join me in crowning Jesus with your worship.  Download here.

I offer you this crown of praise, formed of my heart, my life, my days
'Surrender' fashions precious jewels and 'sacrifice' the gold for you
And here my alabaster jar, where lie the treasures of my heart
When 'gratitude's' too weak a form, I pour myself, my life, my all

The words of man cannot convey, my debt of love, my breadth of praise
For every hymn and melody, but a token of the love I bring
From time where cells began to form, you watched within my mothers womb
And reason you composed my frame, that I may live to raise your name

I do nor fear the day I die, for you my God are by my side
And final breath won't cease my song, for this symphony has just begun

All blessing, all honour is yours, forever and ever amen
All glory, all power is yours, forever and ever amen
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Taylor Swift Being Prophetic? – Part 2

This post is best read in the light of Part 1 which is here.

Part 1 dealt with the music we listen to, and trying to make a consious decision over where we take our moral-food from…what do we digest into our bodies…what nutritional diet does our soul feast on…

This morning, a news story has emerged about an actor called Angus Jones.  Angus is a highly paid performer, starring in one of Americas most popular sitcoms Two And A Half Men.  The controversy surrounding the article is over his declaration that the entertainment program consists of ‘filth’ and that continuing to act in the program is incompatible with his christian beliefs.

Check out a news story HERE or watch a clip from his interview below.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=AcZL87J8-xo

This is a brave move from a young guy, who is risking his £200,000+ an episode salary and future working opportunities because he has decided to make a stand for Truth and the moral standards of living set out in the bible.

Having never watched Two And A Half Men, I cannot personally comment on the content of the program, but isn’t this a refreshing stance?

Taylor Swift commented that the songs on the radio are raising this generation, surely the TV is a natural ‘add on’ to this.  If todays moral values of compromise are soaked into the core of our daily TV diet, as well as our music, is it no surprise to see the downward spiraling of generations into ‘not loving your neighbour’, ‘everyone for yourself’ and ‘if it makes me feel good then it must be OK’.

What surprised me is the furious backlash people have had to Angus Jones comments.  Check out the comments at this bottom of this page to read just a few of them.  Where it’s become forbidden to speak out against Islam, suddenly it’s become OK for Christianity to be the easy target.  Because a young man takes a stand for good morals, no compromise and biblical Truth, this is taken as a ‘christian rant’ by a ‘deluded celebrity of limited intelligence who believes in fairy stories’.

Jesus is the only hope!!

I challenge you to also view Angus Jones’ comments in context with his full testimony (which the news outlets have conveniently ignored).  Part 1 and 2 are below.  But before you do, note this quote from Angus from the interview:

“The name of the game right now is compromise…according to the bible, when that happens we’re no longer standing for anything…no longer on the side of the Truth…pick your side now, and you need to be 100% for that…you need to be 100% or nothing at all.”

Part 3 of this blog series is HERE.