David Crowder: Stuff Christian Bands Like

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I have worked in & around Christian music and worship music since 1982. I am a guitarist of 30+ years, and musically I keep a very open mind.
While I think U2 is a world-class, future hall of fame level band, deservedly so, but I must respectfully disagree with Crowder & Hogan's opinion that "everyone wants to be U2". I play in the Austin msuic scene, and I am constantly rubbing shoulders with a lot of excellent musicians of all ages and from places all around the world, who play jazz, funk, blues, country, rock, metal, etc, etc, but I have yet to meet even one who wants to sound like U2.
What I think the U2 phenomenon in praise & worship represents is the church's penchant for latching onto musical templates that have a wide appeal to a more modern audience, yet are safe and non-confrontational for playing in church services, and then holding those narrow templates up to it's artists as "the way it should be done", to the exclusion of many other meaningful and rich musical styles.
When Sting went solo from the Police back in the early/mid 80's and started his pop/jazz phase, many CCM artists of the day jumped all over that style and began crafting their own "versions" of Sting's solo work, a la Nothing Like The Sun. When Bruce Hornsby came out with his piano-driven pop/jazz on "The Way It Is", once again CCM artists flocked to that sound and several clones ensued. When these stylistic clones emerged, they flooded CCM & christian radio and they were "the template". It's a cycle that repeats over & over.
Obviously the "Unforgettable Fire/Joshua Tree/Achtung Baby" era U2 sound looms large over the praise and worship scene today and it's easy to see why it's so popular. It's a very dynamic, ethereal, edgy (pardon the pun) style that has a lot of across the board appeal. However it is simply the same thing all over again, a pattern that CCM has adopted and will beat to death until the next thing comes along.

Where does jazz, classical, folk, country, reggae, blues, soul, funk, metal, fusion, something new that dares venture outside the lines fit into P&W, or is that even welcome? There is life outside of U2.

Musically speaking, I think you guys need to get out a bit more.

This is a strong opinion I know, but I welcome some real discussion on this point. Please email me if you want to.

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