Only a few weeks into the new year, we dubbed 2017 "The Year of Worship" because of the high volume of worship projects that quickly began to fill the release schedule. Unsurprisingly, that title has held true all the way into October, where we currently find ourselves with a brand new wave of tunes.
With so much worship music being released, it's likely impossible to listen to all of it. So where do you dive in? To help with that, in celebration of Southville's new release Freedom's Tree, we've rounded up eight recent independent worship releases you ought to hear.
1. SOUTHVILLE - Freedom's Tree
What began last year in a coffee shop as an effort to involve the whole church congregation in the worship experience soon morphed into what is now SOUTHVILLE's debut album, Freedom's Tree. Narrowed down from an original pool of a hundred songs by more than 20 different local church writers, the 10 tracks on this album balance elements of both acoustic and synthetic styles. Featuring a fresh sound, Freedom's Tree is a project composed "by the church, for the church."
2. Higher Vision - For Your Kingdom
Based in a 12-year-old multigenerational congregation just outside Los Angeles, Higher Vision has taken the cultural and artistic diversity of their church and crafted it into their debut worship album, For Your Kingdom. Painting a sonic picture that ranges from heartfelt ballads to high-energy dance tunes, Higher Vision's goal for this project is that it wouldn't just reach those in their congregation, but also those who don't yet know Christ.
3. Thine Worship - Tread Upon The Heights EP
Comprised of husband/wife team Ian and Lisa McGlynn, Thine Worship exists solely to lead the Church before the throne in songs to the King. Short but powerful, the three songs on their debut Tread Upon the Heights EP were crafted as a reminder that "God is sovereign and that we are called to worship Him, even if sickness burrows in the body and vibrant hope grows faint... when a day becomes a season or injustice holds its ground."
4. C3 Live - Love So Wild
San Diego-based C3 Live offers high-energy, transformative modern worship with their latest release Love So Wild. Recorded live at a special night of worship at C3 Church, Love So Wild features a string quartet and harpist alongside C3 leaders and original songs penned by members of their team.
5. Urban Rescue - City Sessions (Live In Los Angeles)
Recorded live at the Swing House Studios in Los Angeles, the mix of old and new songs found on Urban Rescue's City Sessions album came about earlier this year when they stripped back to the basics of their calling, bringing revival to their city. The band's third album yet first live recording, City Sessions features a few guest artists as they worked intentionally to bring life to raw song ideas with an approach of "bringing people into worship as a process instead of an outcome."
6. Robert Pierre - Nothing Without You Robert Pierre's fourth solo project and return after six years, Nothing Without You, is a collection of songs co-written by Pierre with friends from around the country. A dynamic album that "reflects the heart and soul of the worship leader Robert has become," Nothing Without You is the result of hard work poured into every element to make this his most compelling album yet.
7. Momentum Music -- Hope Has A Name EP
Florida-based Momentum Music is a worship team focused on making the music go far beyond Sunday morning. That mindset bleeds into their debut EP, Hope Has A Name, through songs that "serve as spiritual markers in the journey of our church and God's work in His people."
8. Cherry Hills Worship - Cherry Hills Worship
Two members of the latest incarnation of CCM pop outfit Avalon are at the forefront of this Colorado-based group of worship leaders and musicians, Cherry Hills Worship. Serving at Cherry Hills Community Church in the South Denver area, Amy and Jeremi Richardson's collective released their self-titled project to share what God is doing in their midst. Finding itself in the space between the vocal-powered Avalon and the congregational anthems of Bethel Music, Cherry Hills Worship is full of passionate heart-cries to God.