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  Come Now is the Time: Winds of Worship
Artists: Various Winds of Worship series leaders
Label: Vineyard Music
Times: disc 1: 12 tracks / 61:32 minutes; disc 2: 13 tracks / 66:25 minutes

Here's another Vineyard compilation that, at first glance, may leave the prospective buyer as worshipper, worship leader, listener, and/or praise and worship music follower befuddled by just reading the titles. For those who have previous collections, it's tempting to say "I already have umpteen zillion versions of "Come Now is the Time to Worship," "Lord Reign in Me," "Holy," "In the Secret," "Holy and Anointed One," "Your Love is Amazing," and almost all of these songs!" Yup, many of these titles are entries from previous sets such as More Love, More Power (1998) through Draw Me Close (2002).

Hold the phone. There are incredibly unique themes and tones with Come Now is the Time to Worship: Winds of Worship_ First and foremost, it's very important to note that this collection is culled from the Winds of Worship series. Readings from the Touching the Father's Heart series or individual worship leaders or Vineyard groups are quite different.

Over its span of history from the first volume (Song for the Bride) through the (represented on this set) 17th volume (Refiners Fire), Winds of Worship is always live, with the audience as a huge part of the performances. Check that word; these are not "performances." These recordings are worship events. That's the tonality of the Winds of Worship series. In contrast, David Ruis' kickoff to the Vineyard Voices series, Every Move I Make is a worship project that does not include audience participation in its recorded form. Here's the instant thematic glue to the Winds of Worship series: there are 25 tracks in this compilation, and in each song, the audience is clearly visible (visible! the mark of a good audio recording!).

Unique tones? The first disc includes more of an intense edge to it, specifically Nigel Briggs' "I Lift My Eyes Up" (one of my favorites from Live from London) Vineyard UK's "Holy" and "Draw Me Close" (the latter is definitely not the Touching the Father's Heart version) and David Ruis' and Monique Tute's "Faithful One." (Youth worship leaders alert! Sneak this CD into youth church, and don't let the kids see it, although the cover is so neat that maybe they won't notice it's a Vineyard project, hence thinking it's not hip music. It is!)

The second disc includes more introspective, beautiful worship songs, completing the overall tone of this particular project. Of the aforementioned Ruis project, for those who want an audience present in one of his worship songs, "Sweet Mercies," with worshippers as an integral part, is included. Along with many songs noted, there's "Show Your Power," "Let Your Glory Fall," a sweet _Live from Australia_ rendition of "More Love More Power," and a 25-year-old classic, "Isn't He," from Live from Sweden.

The only problem--and it's a big one--is the fact that many of these songs have indeed been on other Vineyard compilations. Vineyard worship leaders are writing and performing new music that will be classics tomorrow. Come Now is the Time to Worship is perhaps where Vineyard should take a rest and wait awhile before releasing another compilation from its classic (Winds of Worship and Touching the Father's Heart) series. Signs of growing thin are apparent here, although this two-disc set is incredibly pleasing.

Chord charts are included on this hybrid Windows/Macintosh disc, compatible with older versions of operating systems through XP and OS X.

Olin Jenkins    January 22, 2005



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