"It's almost like God is trying to redefine the whole Christian music industry," Don Moen of Integrity Inc. told USA Today in Friday's edition. A bit effusive, perhaps? The author of the piece is no less so. "The proliferation of new worship music rivals the 19th century spread of religious songs such as Blessed Assurance across frontier America and the Depression-era gospel tunes by the likes of Precious Lord composer Thomas A. Dorsey and Albert Brumley, who penned I'll Fly Away," writes Brian Mansfield.
The 1,589-word story, which appeared as the lead of Friday's Life section, has some interesting notes. There's the story of how Carolyn Winfrey Gillette's rewriting of O God, Our Help in Ages Past became a worldwide sensation (although isn't that more a hymn? If you're going to dichotomize, stick to it). And kudos for noting the role of Promise Keepers and other pan-denominational events in spreading certain tunes. But Mansfield also argues that there have been two waves of praise music: one launched in the 1970s, "when California-based Maranatha! Music started licensing new songs from England," and a second in 1993-94, when the songs Shout to the Lord and I Could Sing of Your Love Forever were released. Huh? As popular as those songs were, they weren't the "Rock Around the Clock" of worship music. Also, Vineyard Music Group, which has been as important as Integrity and Maranatha in developing and promoting worship music, doesn't even make an appearance in the article.
Overall, it's a nice article—if you read it online. In the print version, the article's credibility snaps like a guitar string once you read the caption under the giant photo of Michael W. Smith—who's identified ...1
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