The Worship Initiative
Release Date: January 17th 2020
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- All Hail King Jesus (feat. Sam DeFord) [JEREMY RIDDLE]
- Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me (feat. Bethany Benard) [CITYALIGHT]
- How Great is Your Love [PHIL WICKHAM]
- King of Kings (feat. Davy Flowers) [HILLSONG WORSHIP]
- Jesus, You Alone (feat. Dinah Wright) [HIGHLANDS WORSHIP]
- Stand in Your Love (feat. Jon Abel) [BETHEL MUSIC]
- The Way (New Horizon) [PAT BARRETT]
- Yes I Will (feat. Hayden Browning) [VERTICAL WORSHIP]
- Hallellujah For the Cross [CHRIS MCCLARNEY]
- Great Things [PHIL WICKHAM]
Shane and Shane don’t need any introduction. They’ve made a name for themselves over the years, initially under Fair Trade Services, but it was since 2014, that their ministry really started to shift and take focus. Since 2014, the duo launched the Worship Initiative Website, online toolkit and worship resource program alongside various albums of cover worship songs (songs that are popular in churches around the world) that have released at periodic times throughout the last few years. Often at times Shane and Shane record the worship songs in a much better structure and atmosphere compared to the original recordings…and that is ok. Shane Bernard and Shane Everett; both of whom make up this duo, have been undertaking this ministry for a while now (since 2014) and have since amassed 17 volumes (14 full length albums and 3 EPs) full of worship covers. Let’s just say that every worship song you could think of, they would’ve done a worship cover of it within one of their 17 volumes. And most, if not all of them, are comparable to the original. For even though the duo created quite a name for themselves prior to 2014 under Fair Trade Services and then Inpop Records before that, Shane and Shane’s decision to create worship music arrangements independently and deliver their own renditions of worship songs, are what I reckon they’ll be remembered for, into the future. For when they unveiled The Worship Initiative in 2014, and the albums that followed; that’s when they really asserted themselves as a premier cover worship band (yes, in my opinion, usurping Phillips, Craig and Dean as my favourite worship cover band…ever!). And so fast forward to today. The Worship Initiative Vol. 18 released not too long ago, and this album (and much of Shane & Shane’s worship album discography) is a must have if you are a fan of modern worship music, or if you want to hear and be reminded that worship songs are more than just the artist singing them- and these Shane & Shane covers are proof of this. Much of the duo’s worship cover discography, though they are covers, are some of the most heartfelt and emotive worship song renditions I’ve heard, out of anyone. Even if you haven’t contributed to their kickstarter campaign (of which many of the songs and albums are released to patrons earlier than the general public), the songs can still be enjoyed either on Spotify or either through purchase on iTunes or Amazon.
As with a fair amount of their worship cover albums and EPs previously, Shane & Shane have enlisted a fair amount of their friends to come sing on the songs and albums alongside them, and while on The Worship Initiative Vol. 17, both Shane’s were absent, here on this new cover album, Shane & Shane contribute to a fair amount of the album. Alongside Shane & Shane, contributing to the album, is Shane Barnard’s wife Bethany (originally pop/CCM artist Bethany Dillon), alongside other singers (who have sung on Worship Initiative albums previously) Dinah Wright and Davy Flowers, and newcomers Sam Deford, Hayden Browning and Jon Abel; as this 10 track album features some of the most impactful and popular worship songs of today being given ‘the worship initiative’ treatment. And so with a glance at the track listing on this new album, we can see a myriad of popular worship songs of today- ‘Great Things’ and ‘How Great is Your Love’, both originally written and sung by popular worship artist Phil Wickham, are both present here on the 18th edition of The Worship Initiative– ‘Great Things’ is popular right now on CCM radio, while ‘How Great is Your Love’ is indeed a great worship song, no pun intended-I’m surprised the song itself hasn’t gone to radio yet, nor is it as popular as it should be. Nevertheless, Shane and Shane have both these songs on the 10 track 18th edition of The Worship Initiative– alongside other standouts, from ‘King of Kings’ (Hillsong Worship), ‘Stand in Your Love’ (Josh Baldwin), ‘The Way’ (Pat Barrett), ‘Yes I Will’ (Vertical Worship) and ‘Hallelujah To the Cross’ (Chris McClarney), to lesser known songs ‘Jesus You Alone’ (Highlands Worship), ‘All Hail King Jesus’ (Jeremy Riddle) and ‘Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me (CityAlight). It has been, and forever will be, in these songs released album after album and Worship Initiative after Worship Initiative, that an album such as this can still flourish even if it’s all just covers. In fact, these volumes by Shane & Shane are some of my favourite worship albums I’ve heard for quite some time- which gives me a pleasant and timely reminder that songs certainly transcend the artist, especially in the duo’s case.
Nevertheless, if you enjoy modern worship, and enjoy worship songs of today, then this is the album for you. Or if you enjoy listening to cover tracks that are as comparable, maybe even more so, compared to originals. Dare I say that Shane and Shane are even about to rival Phillips, Craig and Dean as the group of all groups who create great worship covers? Because maybe, just maybe, Shane and Shane have the edge. In fact, they do. With currently now 18 volumes into this Worship Initiative series, I don’t see Shane Everett and Shane Barnard slowing down anytime soon. And that is a good thing. For this duo and their ministry at equipping churches around the world with songs that encourage and impact, is as much needed in today’s worship society and culture, as the songs are needed if you want to hear song arrangements by cover artists, and be reminded that cover songs are just as valid as originally written ones. While the duo may not be publicised in radio as much as before, their passion and heart are still present and infectious, as every song on this new cover album oozes over enthusiasm and encouragement, as some, if not most, of these songs on this music collection, have been some of my favourite worship songs I’ve heard within the last few years! Well done Shane and Shane for these songs, can’t wait for The Worship Initiative Vol. 19 whenever it comes!
3 songs to listen to: Great Things, Stand in Your Love, King of Kings
RIYL: Phillips, Craig & Dean, Passion, Phil Wickham, Hillsong Worship