Ari Y. Kelman, "Shout to the Lord: Making Worship Music in Evangelical America" (NYU Press, 2018)

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How do songwriters, worship leaders, and music industry professionals collaborate to make music that can become prayer? Ari Y. Kelman explores this question in his excellent study, Shout to the Lord: Making Worship Music in Evangelical America (New York University Press, 2018). Presenting years of research through fieldwork, case studies, and interviews with more than 75 people involved in the production of the complex artifact that is the worship song, Kelman adroitly illuminates the tensions and values that propel this influential creative process. The confluence of popular music forms with liturgical participation has introduced a variety of paradoxes, and this research gives us a glimpse into how many of the leading voices in this movement conceptualize and navigate these competing concerns. Shout to the Lord provides readers with an expert example of the study of modern religion, and deserves the attention of both readers interested in the current developments of popular religion in the United States and also practitioners and participants across a wide spectrum of contemporary Evangelical worship.

Ryan David Shelton (@ryoldfashioned) is a social historian of British and American Protestantism and a PhD researcher at Queen’s University Belfast.

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