Shane and Shane – The Worship Initiative (Vol. 14)

WellHouse Records

Release Date: October 27th 2017

Reviewed by: Joshua Andre

Shane & Shane– The Worship Initiative Vol 14 (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Worthy Of Your Name
  2. Build My Life
  3. Lamb Of God
  4. Here’s My Heart
  5. Death Was Arrested (feat. Sam DeFord)

Formerly from Fair Trade Services (home to artists such as Phil Wickham, MercyMe, The Afters, Sara Groves, Hawk Nelson, Micah Tyler, Newsboys and Jasmine Murray), mainstay and veteran worship leaders Shane Barnard and Shane Everett (known as Shane & Shane) are one of the most heartfelt and honest worship artists I have ever had the pleasure of hearing. With a career spanning more than 15 years, the duo have been wowing us time and time again with the stellar worship leading and near-flawless creative songwriting that put them on par with other noteworthy singer/songwriters such as Andrew Peterson, Nichole Nordeman, Sara Groves, Jason Gray and Audrey Assad. Though the band have recorded album after album of all-original material, it is only in the last number of years that their focus has shifted a bit. Sure they still record original albums, yet I reckon right now their ministry lies in the Worship Initiative, a movement funded through kickstarter. An online resource centre, with devotionals, podcasts, instructional music teaching videos and as well as online music chords avaliable for all of the songs on all of the Worship Initiative albums, it is the songs on these albums that are quite remarkable. Their mostly all covers. Yep, you could say that Shane & Shane has turned into one of the greatest worship cover bands of all time (sorry Phillips Craig & Dean), but while that’s true, it’s so much more. The Worship Initiative is a ministry, and their heart is firmly rooted in showing us listeners the best renditions of worship songs they can ever record. And their best is very exquisite, just read our review of The Worship Initiative Vol 12!

A couple of volumes later is Vol 14 of The Worship Initative, which released in late October. I wanted to review Vol 13, but you know, life happens, and time constraints, and prioritisation made me reviewing Vol 13 literally impossible…but from listening to the Shanes pour their heart out in these most recent 5 worship melodies, and I knew I had to review this EP. Even if it’s just a quick overview. Because let me just list these songs, which once again have been recorded, errily similar to the originals. Worthy Of Your Name, Build My Life, Lamb Of God, Here’s My Heart and Death Was Arrested. Originally recorded by Passion, Passion, Vertical Worship, Crowder and NorthPoint Inside Out respectively; and all of these worship anthems being very prominent on the radio and impacting in listeners’ lives over the past few years; there’s nothing really to be said about these songs. Not that they are bad. Rather the opposite. Not that they are drastically unique, the opposite as well- the Shanes don’t really stray far from the original in any of their covers- and while that could sound like they aren’t taking risks musically, it could also mean that they are banking on their familiarity and their flawless worship leading to draw listeners in. And draw me in they did.

All of these 5 songs, on their own, are quite exquisite and sure to be timeless classics, and with the Shanes leading worship with these five melodies, I can safely say that this is one of my top worship EP’s of the year. Especially “Worthy Of Your Name”, “Lamb Of God” and “Death Was Arrested”; this is an EP you all need to check out. No questions asked. Nothing more to say. Just amazing stuff, nothing short of brilliance here. Maybe it’s a testament to Shane & Shane for their worship leading, or maybe it’s a testament also to the original artists, what have created inspiring, explosive, authentic, honest and personal melodies, able to be sung by anyone, and still with the same effect. Nonetheless, there’s something special about every Worship Initiative album, yet something a bit more special about this instalment.

The Worship Initiative Vol. 14 is a must have for anyone who appreciates and enjoys worship music, and enjoys listening to cover tracks that are as comparable, maybe even more so, compared to originals. The band’s commitment in creating the best versions of popular worship songs today, in order for more and more people to be drawn into the kingdom of God, is never more on display than on this EP, and it’s clear Barnard and Everett are not finished yet. While Shane & Shane may not be recording any original material any time soon, their passion and heart for Jesus cannot be denied, as every song on Worship Initiative Vol. 14 oozes love for our Father and Maker, and Friend. No idead if The Worship Initiative will end, or if this is what they will be doing for the foreseeable, or even far future, but whatever the case, I will be happy, because the Shanes are crazy talented. It doesn’t take a genius to know that fact. Well done Shane and Shane for these songs, can’t wait for the next volume (Vol 15 next year?), whenever it arises!

3 songs to listen to: Worthy Of Your Name, Lamb Of God, Death Was Arrested

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: Bethany Barnard, Phil Wickham, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Hillsong UNITED

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