I spend a lot of time listening to praise and worship/Christian music. Some of this listening is by choice, and some of this listening can be filed under professional development in relation to what I do at the church.
Although I listen to a ton of the stuff, praise and worship music isn’t necessarily my primary listening preference all the time. In response to the question, “What kind of music do you like?” I would say some version of alt.country, not-current-radio-country, folk, Americana, and/or roots-inflected pop music (clearly acknowledging the contested and multiple meanings of these style labels, of course. It really is a shame that WordPress doesn’t support footnotes.).
What I value in these two different categories of listening is very different. In the former, I prefer a produced sound (typical pop music production, thick textures, vocal and guitar effects), prominent electric guitar, clear lyrics, and strong, smooth, polished vocals. In the latter, it’s almost the opposite. I value more of a punk or indie aesthetic (again with the contested meanings) with minimal and unobtrusive production, a not-polished vocal and/or a unique vocal sound, sparse textures, and an overall edgy, rough-around-the-edges product.
But what nearly always speaks to me is a good ol’ portamento, particularly guitar slides (you can check with the lead guitar and bass players at my church to verify). I’m pretty sure it has to do with all of the hair metal I listened to back in the day. And of course, my affinity for country music and the pedal steel.
So in the interest of equal representation, here are some fun musical examples.
My current favorite bass slide in a praise and worship song (at 1:16 and again at 1:25):
Slash (I know you HAVE to listen to the whole thing, but you especially gotta love around 3:23):
And one of my most favorite bands ever with a nice pedal steel intro:
You want more slides now, too, don’t you?