- The EP Live At 4th Avenue was recorded live, capturing three special moments during worship at the 2022 Writing Worship conference.
During the 2022 Writing Worship conference in Franklin, Tennessee, the EP Live At 4th Avenue was recorded. It captures three moments during worship sessions at the conference. The EP features three songs. The first two are collaborations between Writing Worship, Brave Worship, and The Halls, and the last is a worship standard from 2012.
Track one, Always Better/ The Nights Gone (Joy is coming) features Brave Worship, whose mission is to build up the heart of women, songs, and kingdom for this generation and beyond. Track two, Meadow, features Brave Worship and Emily Weeks, a singer, songwriter, and worship leader from Franklin Tennessee. Track 3, Worthy Of It All, is a worship standard.
Music and Production
The album was recorded spontaneously to capture special moments of worship during the conference. The production is solid given its spontaneity. The vocals come through sharp and clean while the instruments stay back, supporting the songs as a whole.
When it comes to musicality, the backing stays conservative, lacking any real creativity by the backing musician you would hope to hear in a live album. That being said, I appreciate the recording keeping the slight imperfections and inflections in the performance that gives live music so much character and life. As you know, that is something I think makes live recordings so much more interesting and superior to sanitized studio recordings. So, well done!
Thoughts and Analysis
Normally, I would break down the album into sections like Worship Function, Accessibility, Biblical Faithfulness, and so on. But, given the origin of Live At 4th Avenue, I think it’s better to approach the EP within its context. The songs come from spontaneous moments of worship in a conference setting, with the goal of helping worship leaders learn, grow, connect, and refresh.
The first track Always Better/ The Nights Gone (Joy Is Coming) starts strong with a solid piano and guitar intro. Not linked to any specific scripture, the lyrics reflect more spiritual language. The chorus repeats the lyric, “It’s always better to take refuge in the Lord.” Then moves into repeating the lyric, “Better than princes, better than Kings, better than riches, better than anything.”
The performance relies on a great deal of repetition and has a wandering theme. Since it’s paired with Nights Gone (Joy is Coming), which also leans into heavy repetition, the theme of the piece is difficult to pin down. Overall, the song is fine but a little all over the place.
The second track, Meadow, is just the opposite. The theme is focused and accessible by the worshiper, as shown in the chorus lyric, “Every time I take a breath, may it bless you, may it bless.” This is in response to the lyric, “My heart has found its meadow,” denoting peace found only in the lord.
Musically, the song starts with a contemplative piano backing, then adds a simple string line and guitar arpeggios that stay well back. This gives the accompaniment depth. The melody starts with unison vocals, which adds to the prayerful feel. The vocals then move into simple harmonies while the backing stays reserved.
The third song, Worthy of It All, was written by David Brymer and Ryan Hall in 2012. It has a long track record. Led by Hall, it was captured, unedited, and considered a culmination of the conference experience and the EP.
Live at 4th Avenue is an excellent example of a large worship experience. This style of worship seems to be the focus of the worship industry, so it fits well into the genre. These songs would probably not be accessible by smaller, more average-sized churches, but I don’t think they were written with those in mind. Overall it’s a great live worship addition to the modern worship pantheon.
Meadows is a wonderful, prayerful experience.
Repetition, as with most large live worship experiences, is an issue.
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Christopher Watson is an author of six books, both fiction and non-fiction. He is also a musician and composer with a B.A. in Music from Azusa Pacific University. For several years Christopher led worship at The Springs Church while attending Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas Texas. He's been involved with worship in a number of churches in California and the Pacific Northwest both as a musician and in production and technology. Now he lives and writes in Washington State with his amazing wife, wonderful daughters, and highly intelligent dog, Ellie Mae.