Nashville, Tennessee is known for being Music City--serving as a hub for the global recording industry and being the undisputed capital of the Christian and country music industries. But in addition to being the place where the vast majority of your favorite Christian music is recorded, Nashville is becoming a burgeoning hub of top-notch church-based worship releases.
Of course, in a city full of top-notch touring and studio musicians, it's easy to understand why Nashville-area churches have some of the most dynamic and talented worship teams. But until recently, the rest of the world hasn't really been privy to the unique praise communities that have developed there.
Inspired by the recent release of Nashville Life Music's Shine On Us Part 1, here's a look at seven Nashville-area worship bands (six of which are church-based) you need to get to know.
THE BELONGING CO.
The Belonging Co. started as a Tuesday night gathering to minister to artists (who are usually out on the road during weekends), and now has become a vibrant, three-service church community. Not surprisingly, the nearly five-year-old ministry--founded by alums of Planetshakers--has some loyal artists in its ranks. Some awesome Christian artists are part of the worship team, including Cody Carnes, Kari Jobe, Natalie Grant, Danny Gokey, Britt Nicole, Meredith Andrews and Sarah Reeves. The Belonging Co. released their first album, All The Earth, with a bunch of those names, in 2017.
NASHVILLE LIFE MUSIC
Nashville Life Church was founded by Alvin Love and his wife, CCM legend CeCe Winans-Love, and the pair have developed a culture that encompasses enthusiasm, authenticity and unity. That culture (and CeCe's musical background, obviously) translates into the worship movement of the church, called Nashville Life Music. A culturally and racially diverse group of worshippers unite for some epic uptempo, energetic praise that defies typical worship genre conventions. You'll find a mix of gospel, pop, soul, R&B and rock with NLM's debut, Shine On Us Part 1, as well as appearances from Winans and another sold-out member of the congregation, Byron "Mr. Talkbox" Chambers.
LONG HOLLOW WAVE
Long Hollow Wave is the youth worship movements of Long Hollow Baptist Church in Hendersonville. Exciting, uptempo electronic pop carries catchy and memorable hooks about loving Jesus. The group, signed to Dream Worship, released All For You in 2016, and Upside Down in 2017. One of its worship leaders, Caitie Hurst, recently was discovered by Centricity Music, and now joins a roster that includes Jordan Feliz and Lauren Daigle. There's also Long Hollow Worship, the more adult contemporary style worship that also released two projects in the last couple of years: 2016's The Word and 2017's You Are Faithful.
While Gateway Church Franklin isn't affiliated in any way with the Gateway megachurch in Dallas that is a powerhouse of worship music, this much smaller community has some serious chops of its own. With incredible worship leaders such as Michael Farren, Alisa Turner, Tricia Brock (Superchick) and more, there's a ton of experience and lots of heart at this decidedly personal Franklin church. Gateway Church released its first record in 2014, and has released albums yearly since then. In 2016, they rebranded as Churchouse, and their most recent project was last year's Fighting For Us.
Born out of the Monday night, Nashville-based college ministry, MyLocal, Local Sound is a worship pop band that fits in nicely with the likes of Hillsong Young & Free, Bright City and Mosaic MSC. Debut EP WWJD hit last year, and Local Sound was nominated for The Next Big Thing in the 6th Annual WE LOVE Christian Music Awards. They also caught the attention of the Outcry Tour, joining Jesus Culture, Lauren Daigle, Bethel Music and Chad Veach on the road.
CROSS POINT CHURCH
Cross Point Church, known to some as CrossPoint.tv, is a multi-campus ministry that, together, is one of the Nashville area's largest churches. They've been busy cultivating a vibrant worship community--led by Director of Worship Culture Mike Grayson (of MIKESCHAIR!)--but as of now, they've only released one single. "Living Hope," a live original recording led by Creative Arts Coordinator Cheryl Stark, released earlier in 2018. We're hoping the Lauren Daigle/Ellie Holcomb-like vocals are just the beginning of more great music to come from this well-resourced movement!
Marcus Hathcock is the Executive Editor of NewReleaseToday.com, a husband to Savannah, father of three and a worship leader living in Boise. He has released an EP, Songs For Tomorrow, and occasionally blogs at mheternal.com.
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