The Hillsong-ization of worship music ?

Discussion in 'Worship Service Players' started by PastorJay, Sep 16, 2019.

  1. PastorJay

    PastorJay Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,241
    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2014
    Location:
    California
    I was at a team meeting a couple days ago for a men's leadership retreat I'm speaking at next week. I had a brief conversation with two members of the worship team in which they both expressed the opinion that Hillsong is ruining worship music--at least for those of us in small churches.

    Their contention was that you can play, sing, and lead most Tomlin, Redman, Vineyard, etc., style songs with one or two acoustic guitars if that's all you got. But for the newer Hillsong material you need a big band with lots of pads or recorded tracks.

    I was thinking about that yesterday morning (and again last night at the homeless shelter) as we were leading worship with a "band" that consisted of two guitars and piano on Sunday morning (bonus that the new pastor plays piano) because young drummer was out of town and two other people didn't show at last minute--because life. One of them had to teach Sunday school that morning. The other was sick.

    We don't do any of the newer Hillsong music. Although Tomlin, Redman, and Vineyard seem to make frequent appearances.

    So, anybody doing any of the newer Hillsong or Bethel music with a small band and no tracks or pads?
     
  2. blille

    blille Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,169
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2016
    Location:
    Bay Area - California, USA
    I've done Bethel and Hillsong with a normal setup of guitar bass vocals keys drums a lot. But you gotta have keys. In the track there may be 7 guitars and 4 keyboards but you can cover with just one of each for the main motives, beyond that nobody will notice or care. Definitely not God.
     
    Jakeboy and telepraise like this.
  3. GearJammer93

    GearJammer93 TDPRI Member

    Age:
    17
    Posts:
    18
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2016
    Location:
    nevada
    That's because 90 percent of their music is lyrically weak. And you end up with great sounding music with no substance which makes it harder to play without the big band. On the other end of the spectrum you can play Redman, Tomlin or hymns with just a guitar because it's really about the words and not the sound.

    Sent from my LGLS992 using Tapatalk
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  4. studio

    studio Poster Extraordinaire

    Posts:
    7,466
    Joined:
    May 27, 2013
    Location:
    California
    Chris Tomlin songs are most likely written on a single guitar,
    and that simplicity would translate to whatever is effective
    for the rest of us mere mortals!

    It's easy these days to get caught up in the notion
    that more is more. A simpler approach to a complex
    song is always a welcomed relief.

    [​IMG]
     
  5. mRtINY

    mRtINY Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,887
    Joined:
    May 7, 2015
    Location:
    Orygun
    You can always rearrange the song to work with what you got.... The question is: "How good is the song, stripped of it's orchestration?"
     
  6. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,137
    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Location:
    Alaska
    We've played those songs with very little instrumentation. I personally love the challenge that it presents. You are correct, if you try to take on the most bombastic of their arena rock numbers without doing a lot of background work on your own, it is likely going to be a train wreck.

    I watch a lot of live music on Youtube, and I'm particularly drawn to reimagined music (sometimes covers, sometimes the original artist) and I stumbled across this busker again the other night. This is a really powerful performance, and miles away from the original. Its just a voice and a guitar, a lot of talent and a little bit of effort.


    I don't think we need to be as talented and creative as this artist (I'm not even remotely close). But I think its worth the time to at least do a little bit of hard work necessary to get somewhat close in our Sunday music. I agree with @mRtINY, a particular song may ultimately be impossible to represent with the musicians you have. You may not feel it enough to find it, if that makes sense. But most all of the Hillsong stuff I'm familiar with has the bones of an acoustic song hiding within them. This very topic is one reason that I love playing music in church; they may be other people's music but there is still lots of room for creative license. It all comes down to how much work you want to invest in it. Honestly, when I'm home alone, I like to bang around on the guitar anyway so mangling a song to see if I could use it in the future isn't a bad way to waste a Saturday afternoon while watching college football anyway.

    You'd be surprised by what you can get away with using only an acoustic guitar and a mandolin. Or maybe a banjo.
     
    Jakeboy, Jhengsman and mRtINY like this.
  7. JuneauMike

    JuneauMike Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    4,137
    Joined:
    May 5, 2015
    Location:
    Alaska
    If one of your guitar players decides to pick up a bass instead, you've got yourself a proper band.
     
  8. Jim W

    Jim W Friend of Leo's

    Posts:
    2,293
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2003
    You don't need to sound like the recording. In my opinion it is better not sound like the recording.
     
    Jakeboy, SBClose, stevekolt and 3 others like this.
  9. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    3,392
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Location:
    DC Burbs
    You all would be shocked at how we play this stuff. Keys (piano only), 12 string acoustic, 6 string acoustic (me), sometimes bass, sometime euphonium, clarinet, some violins. Always a mixed bag folks. We don't sound anything like the recordings. Usually it works but we did get talked to about it being too "strummy" last week.
     
    Ascension and soundchaser59 like this.
  10. black_doug

    black_doug Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,791
    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2004
    Location:
    Toronto, Ontario, Canada
    Hillsong has been making keyboard-based music for a while now. Remember Russell Fragar?

    We included the Hillsong "New Wine" yesterday. You might say it's the song of the month. Our mother church is doing it and we sang it in our small group last week.

    Yesterday we had our usual team with acoustic, bass, drums, synth, and me on my Tele. No tracks and just minimal pads from the synth.

    Here's a live version, with a string section. (I don't hear much guitar though.)


     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  11. telepraise

    telepraise Tele-Holic

    Age:
    63
    Posts:
    581
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2017
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    I think part of what is behind Hillsong's format is their target venues. Unlike Tomlin, I'm guessing they don't often play churches or smaller auditoriums but rather, larger stadium type venues where they're on a round stage presenting a 300 degree presence. More guitarists and singers will help all the audience feel engaged. When I listen, I don't really hear all the acoustic guitars or the secondary singers. Their instrumentation isn't that complicated: one acousitic guitar you can hear sometimes, two electrics, a piano, and synth keys really cover it.

    What really strikes me about a Hillsong concert is not the musicians, but the audience. They are truly engaged in a worship experience. The sound of several thousand people singing in unison in a big space like that is reverent experience, for me at least.

    If the worshippers in a small church are feeling unfullfilled because their worship band doesn't sound like Hillsong, then they're looking at their church the wrong way. Smaller churches are a tight-knit community built on relationships with each other as well as Christ. There's no way a stadium filled with people, or even a mega church service with thousands in attendance can ever complete their life in the same way. Just my 2.5 cents.
     
    Jhengsman and dougstrum like this.
  12. 985plowboy

    985plowboy Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,905
    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2012
    Location:
    South Louisiana
    I can dumb down anything.
    I think it's my spiritual gift.
     
  13. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    1,226
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Location:
    Birmingham Alabama
    And this was going to be my suggestion also. All this drenched in reverb 7 guitars playing super simplistic little repeating parts stuff is a challenge for a small band. Many of these songs however have decent bones when you strip all the junk off to work with. We just strip um down and play them more straight forward.
    Example is In the River here oh how I hate the weddle diddle repeating part at every turn around but strip it down and play it more straight forward and it takes on a different life.

    Here was ours from my old Church
     
    PastorJay likes this.
  14. GoldieLocks

    GoldieLocks Tele-Afflicted

    Posts:
    1,736
    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2005
    Location:
    Abbotsford B.C.
    I liked Hillsongs 25 years ago. And have ignored them ever since.
     
    Jakeboy, soundchaser59 and CapnCrunch like this.
  15. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    1,226
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Location:
    Birmingham Alabama
    We just strip the song down and run it bare bones.
    Here is New Wine with just me on guitar Wes on keys our drummer and singers no pads track or anything else. Many of those songs work well stripped back if you work with them just a little.
     
    black_doug likes this.
  16. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    1,226
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Location:
    Birmingham Alabama
    This is our So Will I. Again stripped back no tracks no pads acoustic electric bass keys and drums.
     
  17. Ascension

    Ascension Tele-Afflicted

    Age:
    61
    Posts:
    1,226
    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2012
    Location:
    Birmingham Alabama
    Can relate LOL may be somthin in that ol bayou water LOL. Bio family from Red Stick born in New Orleans here so---.
     
    985plowboy likes this.
  18. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    851
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    Up The Creek
    What does that even mean? I hope it isn't how it sounds, but please clarify.
     
  19. Flat6Driver

    Flat6Driver Friend of Leo's

    Age:
    46
    Posts:
    3,392
    Joined:
    Jan 14, 2013
    Location:
    DC Burbs
    It is. One of the players with the 12 string played a little too aggressively with a double strum pattern. It was a faster song.

    It's a little frustrating but oh well.
     
    soundchaser59 likes this.
  20. soundchaser59

    soundchaser59 Tele-Holic

    Posts:
    851
    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2010
    Location:
    Up The Creek
    I respect your team's efforts to cover these tunes, so that being said I have to also say......this is exactly the kind of music that makes me and my wife not want to go back to a church. Personally I can't stand Hillsong stuff. Hard to explain so I'll refrain, just my opinion, but it doesn't inspire me at all. I guess we are just weird that way, but we don't get the least bit inspried by Chris Tomlin either, so take it with a grain of salt....
     
    Jakeboy likes this.
IMPORTANT: Treat everyone here with respect, no matter how difficult!
No sex, drug, political, religion or hate discussion permitted here.


  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.