Sunday, February 22, 2015

#80 DRAW ME CLOSE - Kelly Carpenter


Wow, it's not very often that I'm 'blown away' by something I find out, but that's definitely been the case this week as I started my research for this week's song, Draw Me Close by Kelly Carpenter. You may not have heard of Kelly Carpenter, but according to CCLI, Kelly Carpenter wrote this song in 1994. I'm giving him credit, even though the version of the song we're using is listed as being by Lindell Cooley and Andy Park on the Winds of Worship 7 CD.

And the Winds of Worship 7 CD is the very thing that blew me away this week. But before I get into that, a little background, if you don't mind the rambling(1). If you read the Who Am I? tab at the top, you'll recall that I entered the full-time youth ministry in 1999, and at that time had virtually no experience at all with modern worship. Fortunately, as a newbie, I had a bunch of people who supplied me with tons of music that had been a part of the modern worship scene throughout the 1990s.

(1) My regular readers know that multi-paragraph ramblings are just a part of this blog. But at least this time the rambling actually has something to with the song I'm reviewing, instead of a 3 page missive on why the time-travel in the Terminator movies is all wrong. But hey, now that I think about it, if John Conner was...NO, let it go, Andy, let it go.

So, in my research for this post, I was trying without my luck to find the version of this song that I have on my iTunes, the version that I was gifted way back in 1999, and have been listening to all these years. Finally, after watching 47 different youtube versions of Draw Me Close, I  found out that the version I wanted was off of the Winds of Worship 7 CD, from Brownsville. Man, I can't wait for the day 4 or 5 years down the road when Google implants a chip into everyone's head so that I can just go to youtube and think what I want to see instead of having to search for it.

So, I pranced on over to the Vineyard resources page(2), and found the Winds of Worship 7 page. I checked to make sure that version of Draw Me Close was the correct one, and I decided to stick around and listen to clips of the other songs - and THAT'S when I was blown away. I've never owned Winds of Worship 7, but much to my surprise, I already have about half of the songs.

(2) Sometimes I like to prance, so sue me.

As I mentioned before, even though I wasn't a part of the worship explosion in the 1990s, I can look back and see that Vineyard music was leading the way. But even though Vineyard was the standard-bearer in the 90s, their sound JUST misses the sound of real arena rock type modern worship ushered in by the likes of Delirious, Sonicflood, Passion, etc in the late 1990s/early 2000s.

But when I listened to clips of the songs from Winds of Worship 7, I was blown away but what I believed to be a historical marker that was laid down by this album. Even though if you listened to it today it would still sound like good, albeit dated, 1990s Vineyard stuff, you can REALLY see the seeds of the 21st century modern worship. It's almost like listening to rare Beatles recordings from 1962/1963 and being able to imagine what was to come. (Ok, maybe it's not 'like' that, but it's analogous).

The one thing I like about winter is when my little kitties snuggle up with the big ones for warmth.
In the Criteria tab, I said that I was going to somewhat arbitrarily define 'modern worship' as beginning with the Cutting Edge CDs by Delirious. After hearing the clips form Winds Of Worship 7, I can safely say that this album is another place where I might start my definition of modern worship. I also listened to Winds of Worship 6, and while it's very good, it seems to me that Winds 7 was where they became 'modern', and you can really hear the difference between 6 and 7.

The first 5 songs on the album are great, in addition to Draw Me Close, you have The Lord Almighty Reigns, which is a pretty cool rockin' song for church music at the time. They do Darrell Evans' classic Let the River Flow, and an upbeat version of In The Secret, which 4 years later Sonicflood rebranded in their awesome version that you might know as I Want To Know You.

The third song on Winds Of Worship 7 is called Holy Love, by Andy Park, and it has the distinction of being the single hardest song for me to rate while I was compiling this list. I REALLY like this song, and it comes up all the time on my iPod playlists and while I'm in the car. However, even though it's a great song, it gives off a 'late 80s/early 90s  church music' vibe that's hard to shake, and doesn't seem 'modern'. While I was ranking the songs, Holy Love seemed to be there at every turn, waiting for me to give it a spot on the list. So, is it on the list? I'll never tell.

My personal Draw Me Close Story
Back in either 1999 or 2000, I was doing my own thing in the youth ministry, but I was still going to Alan Potter's youth ministry to help out. One night during our worship time, Draw Me Close was being played (we used CDs at the time). I was just singing along and watching Beth and Em so I knew the proper time to raise my hands, and this line came on the CD:

"You're all I want, you're all I've ever needed".

I have no idea why, and still don't to this day, but I just started crying when they hit the chorus and sang that line. As the tears kept coming, I couldn't even say if it was sorrow or joy. The funny thing is, I don't remember anything special going on before coming into worship that night, and to be honest, I really don't have any "from that moment on..." great revelations to share either. But I do remember that particular moment, and it's something I'll always have, even if I'm not sure what happened or why it happened.

Yep, Draw Me Close is a wonderful song. I wouldn't be surprised if I find another best worship songs list and this song is in the top 20 or maybe even top 10. It's an enduring classic that deserves to be listened to a few times a year. It's all the way down here at #80 because it just barely makes the cutoff time-wise, and it sounds a tad bit pre-modern based upon my once again admittedly arbitrary definition. Plus, there's just a TON of GREAT songs to come on the countdown. Which reminds me...

My blog is charting better than Apple stock.
What you see above is an actual graph of the readership of this blog over the last month (yea, I know, right?). What I've done is read all the 'How to Increase Your Blog Traffic' posts and I'm getting the word out multiple places. I've believed from the beginning that the idea of a Top 100 worship countdown was a good one, and if some random guy sent me an email and said he had a top 100 worship songs list, I'd click it.

So, first of all, thanks for coming and visiting, and also thanks for staying. According to my stats, visitors tend to read a bunch of pages the first time they visit. But what this means for me and the blog is that the vast majority of those who read this blog have never met me, and I need to take that into account. For example, who's Alan Potter? Who are Beth and Em? And why isn't it Em and Beth? (I think you know why, Em - try harder next time).

Anyway, what I've decided to do is give a 'State of the Blog' address before we get to song 75, I'll do a video post updating what's going on and to introduce myself to my new viewers. There may even be cats. But if you can make it 3 or 4 more songs, you'll actually get to meet me live and in person in video form. Prepare to be massively disappointed!

Oh, and one more thing - I've also gotten a lot of people subscribing by email. If you get this blog in your email box, you'll probably want to click the blog title right at the top of the message and read it in the browser rather than in your email. If you're wondering why you can't see some words, it's because, as you can see, this blog is written on a black background, and your email probably has a white background. Plus, they don't send the video by email.

And now, the video for Draw Me Close. Enjoy.

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