WAKE UP & Speak, Brother

Wake Up and Speak, Brother

Since moving to Rugby, one of the (many) things that has struck me is just how there seems to be a huge hub of creativity in the town and the surrounding areas. There are artists, writers aplenty and an absolute orchestral overload of talented musicians, songwriters, singers and more. You can’t turn around without discovering more new music, or hearing a new song or few.

What’s even more surprising is the QUALITY of the material – we’re not talking about stuff you listen to, politely nod and then issue that “well, that was…nice” comment. I’m talking about genuinely great music. Lyrics that have depth and meaning. Singers who are passionate about the music and the art, not compromising to become “The Next <insert name here>”

And that leads me onto two connected, but very different, artists. The first one is a worship leader at our church and a genuinely great guy (no, I’m not creeping!) – Jonny Shepherd. I came across Jonnys music a few years ago, before we’d ever even contemplated moving to Rugby, through somewhere like the NoiseTrade website. I picked up a free copy of his “New Day” album and really liked what I heard, so signed up for the mailing list and kept a distant eye on the music he was producing.

When we started to look at Rugby as our new home I got one of his email newsletters through and, much to my utter disbelief, saw that he was not only based in Rugby but also at the very church we were looking into.

Jump forward to now and I’ve gotten to know Jonny a bit and we’ve started to build up a cracking friendship.

Well, that’s all “nice” but what about the music. Well, those on facebook will have seen me push his last EP (Crown of Praise) rather a bit, and that contained some really good music on there – including an instrumental piece that is so good to lean back with eyes closed and listen to. And he has a new EP coming out at the end of this month!

It’s a simple task to nip on over to bandcamp and pre-order the EP, for which you get the title track “Wake Up” as an immediate download and WOW – this is such a different track. Electronic beats and pumping bass coupled with some really strong lyrics. I’m a little biased as it is clearly influenced by Ezekiel and the valley of dry bones that is in the old testament – and that is one of my favourite passages!

Watch the teaser video for the EP below, and then pop to bandcamp and place a pre-order to make sure you get hold of, what promises to be, a great set of new songs!


And here’s the seamless segway across to the second part of this post. When I signed up to join the worship team at New Life, Jonny and I got together at Costa Coffee in Rugby so that we could get to know each other a bit more and in the process he introduced me to a band who were, at that time, called the “James Herring Band”. With hints of Jars of Clay, Mumford & Sons etc I was immediately hooked by their music. During the performance James announced that they were renaming the band and were relaunching as “Speak, Brother”

At a local “Worship Hub” event, I went along to a guitar workshop with James and got chatting to him about music, life and various other things and found him to be such a down to earth, humble guy who is passionate about God and about crafting music that is original and personal.

On May 19th the band launch their debut single, “Dry Bones” – hmmm, ring any bells?, and on the 18th their is a launch gig at a local pub which the Mrs and I will be attending. Keep an eye on their website, follow them on facebook, and take a look at the below video recorded at one of their performances. Then, on the 19th, pick up a copy of “Dry Bones” – it’ll get your feet stomping, your head bobbing and you’ll be singing the chorus for days!


Three words that shook the universe

 The End

There are three words that are amongst the most powerful ever spoken. Whilst there are other candidates for the top spot, these three words shook the universe to the heart. 12 letters that broke the grasp of hell and rewrote our future and destiny.

It is finished.

So simple, but with them being uttered as Christ hung on the cross they would signal a complete change to mans relationship to God.

No longer would satan have a claim to our souls.
No longer would we need to live in fear or regret.
No longer would our past dictate our future.

The book was rewritten and those three words, which contain within them the heart of Gods plan, brought an end to our seperation from our Father.

Do you grasp the earth-shaking power of those words? I think the answer to that, if we’re honest with ourselves, would be “sometimes”

It’s easy for us to grasp the eternal outcomes, maybe because we can’t fully envision what that enternity is, but the immediate outcome is so easy for us to lose.

“It is finished” means that the sins I committed yesterday are dealt with. It means that the stain of my past is removed. It means that, through grace, I don’t need to be afraid of letting God down by sinning in the future.

Now I’m not saying that it’s a carte blanche to descend into hedonism and debauchery, it’s not, but what it does mean is that those oh-so-human slip ups are dealt with. They are done. The slate has been wiped clean of all that we have done, and all that we will do because IT IS FINISHED.


See His love nailed onto a cross
Perfect and blameless life given as sacrifice
See Him there all in the name of love
Broken yet glorious, all for the sake of us

This is Jesus in His glory
King of Heaven dying for me
It is finished, He has done it
Death is beaten, Heaven beckons me

Greater love no one could ever show
Mercy so undeserved, freedom I should not know
All my sin, all of my hidden shame
Died with Him on the cross, eternity won for us

Such love, such love
Such love is this for me

(c) Tom Lockley

One to watch: The Digital Age

Band: The Digital Age
Website: http://thedigitalagemusic.com
Twitter: Mark / Mike D / Jack / Bwack
YouTube: http://youtube.com/thedigitalagemusic
Facebook: http://facebook.com/thedigitalage

It’s been a while since I’ve done a music review (sorry!) and then two come along in one evening! This is slightly different but I thought that these boys from Waco, Texas, deserve a bit of a Preview and are definitely worth having on your radar, twitter feed and youtube subscription list – not forgetting your list of favourite websites of course.

When the David Crowder*Band ended in January there were plenty of us who mourned the loss of a group who pushed the boundaries in terms of sound, technology, musical complexity (and simplicity) and also managing to fuse classic songs with new material and some real quirkiness thrown in for good measure.

It seemed to be a recipe that no other group could duplicate, and anyone who tried would surely be a pale imitation.

Then along came the announcement of a new band called “The Digital Age” – made up of the *Band part of the David Crowder*Band 😀

Continuing the “rockumentary” series of video blogs they launched the new band, deciding that they were “better together” and over recent months they’ve been working together on a new studio and posting some tasty rehearsal videos that really look good enough to drop the rehearsal tag.

Of the first two to be posted one was the great classic hymn “How Great Thou Art”, and it gave me chills to hear – resonating oh so well with my heart for a mix of the best of church history and modern worship (read my blog here for more.) The sound was that warming familiar sound we’ve come to know and love from such a talented bunch of musicians who have such worship-filled hearts, but it is also different. With the distinctive vocals of David Crowder taken away it has allowed for a surprisingly rich and diverse lyrical performances and the overall sound is recognisable but with enough of a difference to make you second guess yourself.

There are now 4 rehearsal videos out, “All The Poor And Powerless” being the other classic from the first pairing and then “After All (Holy)” and “Oh My God/I Am A Seed” taken from the last DC*B album. They are all worth viewing, over and over again. Repeatedly. Seriously!

With the promise of more videos and some released music coming you definitely want to get on board and join The Digital Age! Trust me, you won’t regret it.

P.S. Enjoy the 4 Rehearsal Videos below 🙂


Music Review: “Dubbed and Freq’d” TobyMac (and others)

Title:Dubbed and Freq’d (a remix project)
Artist: TobyMac (and others)
Genre: Rock/Hip-Hop/Dance

iTunes / YouTube / Spotify


  1. Made to Love (Telemitry Remix)
  2. No Ordinary Love (G-Man Remix)
  3. Showstopper (Capital Kings Remix)
  4. City on Our Knees (Golden Snax Remix)
  5. Tonight (Capital Kings Remix)
  6. Hold On (Telemitry Remix)
  7. Get Back Up (Broke Remix)
  8. Boomin (UTB Remix) (Featuring Shonlock)
  9. Lose My Soul (Shoc Remix)
  10. Captured (KP Remix)
  11. Ignition (Hot Wired Remix)
  12. Start Somewhere (X-Zach’d Remix)

Review: Taking well-known, and well-loved songs, and submitting them for a remix treatment can be a risky prospect. There are those who cherish the originals and cannot bear to hear any other version than the definitive first one. There are remixes that can miss the meaning and heart of a track, leaving an incoherent mess that doesn’t flow. There are remixes that are nothing more than ramping up the drums’n’bass, adding a techno beat and looping the odd lyric.

Then there are remixes that make you sit bolt upright and re-assess the songs you know so well and hear them in a new way, maybe even picking up on the significance of lyrics that you know but never fully grasped.

For TobyMac fans a remix project is an exciting prospect, especially following the previous remixes of the “Momentum” and some of the “Portable Sounds” albums.

“Dubbed and Freq’d” takes tracks from “Portable Sounds” along with “Tonight” and hands them over to a bunch of folks to work their magic.

Now I must confess to being rather nervous as to what people would do to some of the tracks, especially as “Tonight” is a personal anthem of mine and “City On Our Knees” really stirs my heart… but there was still that excitement – especially as it is a new TobyMac release (although I really am getting desperate for a new full-on album – which I’ve just found out is coming out in August!!!!)

Kicking off with the classic “Made To Love”, mixed by Telemitry, you’re greeted by the familiar tune that’s become a popular concert anthem coupled with some nifty electronica and, yes, some added D’n’B – but that’s not a bad thing. It’s not overdone, and it doesn’t overpower the track. It’s a fresh twist that cleanses and refreshes the palate ahead of the audio feast that lies ahead.

“No Ordinary Love” has been given the Red Bull treatment, with an added dose of steroids. The track is faster, more clubby, and I honestly couldn’t tell you wether I prefer the original or this one. It’s seriously good and the vocal treatment, and added little riffs, elevate this song to a “No Ordinary Love 2.0”

The crowd-bouncer “Showstopper” is given a bit of spit-and-polish, but not as extensive an overhaul as several of the other tracks. It would be great at concerts though, just giving a new and exciting face-lift to really keep the fans on their toes.

The first of the big tests comes in track 4, “City On Our Knees”. It took a little while to grow on me as I’m afraid I fall into the “cherish” category with some songs, and yet this is a genius piece of work. Stripped back in many areas, and giving the vocals a real emphasis, this is ideal for a chillout session and also as a bit of a prayer-time backing. Yes there’s the ever-present D’n’B which won’t be to everyones tastes, but for a different twist on prayer music this really would work well – especially with youth or the young adults.

Without the vocals of Skillets John Cooper, the Capital Kings remix of “Tonight” probably represents my least favourite of the new mixes. It’s not that it’s bad, or even that it’s different to the original – it’s just lacking the added depth that came with the additional vocals from the Skillet frontman. It’s a good track that deserves its place on the collection, but it is the weakest in my opinion. Add in the original vocals, and return the punch that the original had in the chorus, and I really think this would be a masterpiece.

I’m not going to go through each of the remaining tracks individually in detail as the first 5 really do give a good sample of what to expect. So here’s a quick run through of some of them:

“Boomin'” – a chilled out, laid back version that almost contradicts the “Boomin’ out your stereo system” chorus but works in a really surprising way.

“Lose My Soul” kicks off with some sweet piano and is almost a ballad – one to add to a chill playlist!

“Start Somewhere” is full of swoops, sweeps and synths to begin with before kicking into an almost random mix of higher-tempo bits, alvin & the chipmunks lyrics in part and a staccato backing that ties in nicely with the whole “shots we’ve fired” vibe. Can’t help but think there’s a musical elephant in parts of it as well (take a listen and you’ll see what I mean :-D)

Would I recommend this? Oh Yeah! You can’t go wrong with this. Yeah some of the tracks don’t fully work, but your mileage may vary… at the end of the day this is another cracking remix project and deserves a place on your rotation!

Score: 4.5/5

And after all…

In the midst of all the house move preparations and DIY chaos (more on that soon!), I’ve found a need for a simple connection with God. Through all the busy-ness and noise, just a still small voice before the throne of God.

There’s a song on the last David Crowder Band album (Give us Rest) called “After All (Holy)” that immediately moves me through the wonder of creation and the universe and into the throne room of God. The imagery of the almost hypnotic lyrics within the verses bring a stark and vivid sense of scale to everything and then the song moves into the most simple of choruses, just singing “Holy”.

That got me thinking about worship, something I love. Music stirs my heart and soul and can connect me to God in amazing and wonderful ways.

There are songs that proclaim biblical truths and foundational faith. There are songs that can paint pictures, consuming the mind and imagination in such a way that your only focus is on worship. There are songs that are musically brilliant and complex, that take you along for the ride. There are simple songs, that just declare one or two truths and can absorb you within the reiteration.

I find it fascinating to look at scripture and consider the worship we see in there. The book of Psalms is a glorious library of praise and worship that comes from the hearts of people experiencing all of the human emotions we know – love, hurt, despair, loneliness, desolation, depression, awe, wonder, majesty, fear, abandonment and more.

The Psalms can be simple, or a rich tapestry full of fine stitching that calls us to examine closely and really look at the detail.

But after all that… we can look at Isaiah 6:1-3

“It was in the year King Uzziah died that I saw the Lord. He was sitting on a lofty throne, and the train of his robe filled the Temple. Attending him were mighty seraphim, each having six wings. With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.

They were calling out to each other,
“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Heaven’s Armies!
The whole earth is filled with his glory!”

The angels in the throne room of God aren’t singing complex exaltations. They aren’t delivering speeches in song.

They are simply singing “Holy”

And after all… that’s sometimes all that needs to be said.