David Crowder Band, Give Us Rest
It’s not often that a band can find lasting success with pop audiences while garnering praise from artists and musos alike, but David Crowder*Band has done just that.
For almost two decades, the group has been writing accessible congregational worship tunes like “O Praise Him (All This For A King)” all while brazenly indulging a more artistic side with concept albums, unique instrumentation, and basically doing whatever the heck they want. DC*B has spent its career ushering in a new era of artistry in worship music that will continue to echo into the next generation.
But alas, after 13 albums and EPs, the band has now wrapped up their final tour and is releasing their very last record titled Give Us Rest or (a requiem mass in C [the happiest of all keys]). True to form, they are going out in an epic blaze of musical glory.
Even without an understanding of requiem mass, the listener can enjoy this concept project from start to finish. With 34 tracks, Give Us Rest is the band’s most extensive body of music to date. Track by track the listener is taken through the poetic patterns of this time-honored liturgical funeral mass, not for the sole purpose of mourning but also to celebrate what has passed.
The album has a strong start (or “introit” for those of you geeking out on the liturgical concept) with “Oh Great God, Give Us Rest,” a touching song of longing that builds to an anthemic conclusion. A modern interpretation of ancient prayers and poetry, moments of shining pop weave into post-rock instrumentals and give way to contemplative prayers including a heartfelt cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me?”
Tracks 14-20 are a beautiful reinvention of the liturgical poem “Sequence,” the midpoint of the mass. These tracks alone could constitute an entire album. One moment the band is rocking a neo-classical piece (a la Trans Siberian Orchestra) and the next they are soaring through musical landscapes like My Morning Jacket.
The sweetest part comes at the end, as the requiem is moving into a few final live tracks featuring bluegrass versions of old-time songs. Much like the all important post-funeral gathering, this section leaves the formality of the concepts and production behind to simply let the soul breathe and reflect on what has transpired.
As DC*B says goodbye, it leaves us with Give Us Rest, a memento of its career. Bands like this don’t come along nearly often enough, and the commitment to elevate popular church music to new artistic heights will not soon be forgotten. David Crowder*Band may have disbanded, but this won’t be the last we hear of David and the other band members. I suspect they'll begin popping up in various bands and projects in the not-so-distant future.