New MultiTracks and Split Track backing tracks released

We have released six more new tracks available now from Worship Backing Band.

These are in both MultiTrack and Split Track format:

Egypt (Bethel)
Powerhouse songwriters and worship leaders Cory Asbury and Phil Wickham join together in creating this unique style of song which begins almost as a worship ballad and then kicks into double-time for the hand-clapping bridge.

God You’re So Good (Passion)
This is a beautiful extended arrangement of the well known chorus “God You’re So Good” with additional lyrics for verses and bridge. An easy to sing and powerful worship song, this will surely be a favorite for your congregation.

This is a Move (Brandon Lake)
What do you get when Gospel artist, Tasha Cobbs, and Contemporary Christian artist, Brandon Lake, get together to write a song? This incredible power-ballad! This arrange (We The Kingdom)ment is loosely based on the Brandon Lake live recording along with elements of the Gospel feel of the Tasha Cobbs recording.

Hope Has a Name (River Valley Worship)
This simple, melodic worship song takes the form of many traditional hymns with verses and choruses, making it a perfect crossover song for blended worship services and congregations.

God So Loved (We The Kingdom)
‘God So Loved’ is a great uptempo, toe-tapping praise song from the group “We The Kingdom” (known for their hit “Holy Water”). This version is based on their live/acoustic arrangement leaving lots of room for vocal harmonies.

House of the Lord (Phil Wickham)
Known for his hits “Battle Belongs” and “This is Amazing Grace,” worship leader and Christian songwriter, Phil Wickham releases this upbeat praise song with lots of room for adlibs and joyful expression.

Listen to samples of the new tracks

Click the video button below to listen to 30 second audio samples of each of the new tracks.

About MultiTracks

MultiTracks can be played using either our own easy-to-use Transition MultiTrack Player (Mac, PC and iPad) or any DAW such as Ableton, ProTools or GarageBand. Mix, mute or solo any instrument stem, repeat any song section with a single click. They are just like working with a live band and can also be used alongside your musicians to fill out the sound.

About Split Tracks

Split Tracks are great for smaller churches on a budget. The tracks have fully adjustable vocals and come with on-screen lyrics. Split Tracks are played using any standard MP4 player such as Windows Media Player or VLC.

Select your backing tracks at worshipbackingband.com or by clicking the song links above

Using Stem Tracks and MultiTracks in Worship: An Independent Guide by a Worship Leader

Despite having a worship band and being a talented multi-instrumentalist himself, Florida-based worship leader Shawn Thomas has been using MultiTracks in the services he leads for the last five years.

When talking to musicians in other churches Shawn realised that there was a lot of confusion and misinformation about MultiTracks. He created this video which does a great job in explaining how MultiTracks work and how he uses them in his church. And this was NOT a paid endorsement!

He blows the myth that they are only for high-tech people, and also that they are something that only big churches use.

He explains that MultiTracks are a far cry from the ‘canned’ music you might think them to be and goes into detail about how you can easily use them to keep a truly live feel to your worship – keeping a song going by repeating a chorus or play a section with instruments only while you lead a time of prayer.

Shawn also talks about why he chooses to use Worship Backing Band rather than the other MultiTrack providers. And no, we have not paid him to create this video!

Five new backing tracks

We have five brand new tracks available now from Worship Backing Band including the much requested CityAlight’s Yet Not I But Through Christ in Me. If this sells well we will include more CityAlight songs in our catalogue.

These are in both MultiTrack and Split Track format
  • Faithful Now (Vertical Worship)
    Originally sung and performed by Vertical Worship who also recorded the popular Yes I Will – this powerful worship song affirms God’s faithfulness in all things.
  • Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me (CityAlight)
    We’ve received many requests for CityAlight music, so we’re excited to add “Yet Not I But Through Christ In Me” to the Worship Backing Band library.  This easy-to-sing melody is accompanied by four verses of inspirational lyrics.
  • Great Things (Phil Wickham)
    “Great Things” is another great Phil Wickham hit with easy to sing lyrics and melody combined with a positive and encouraging message.  This arrangement follows the original recording closely, but is transposed to a more congregationally friendly key.
  • The Goodness of God (Bethel)
    Famous for his work with Chris Tomlin, this Ed Cash (and others) original is a powerhouse worship ballad sure to encourage congregational worship and singing.
  • We Praise You (Bethel)
    “We Praise You” is an uptempo praise song written by well-known worship leaders Matt Redman, Brandon Lake, Brian Johnson, and Phil Wickham. With those writers, you can’t go wrong! Your church will enjoy this catchy and easy to sing selection.

Listen to 30 second samples of the new songs in the quick video below:

MultiTracks can be played using either our own easy-to-use Transition MultiTrack Player (Mac, PC and iPad) or any DAW such as Ableton, ProTools or GarageBand. Mix, mute or solo any instrument stem, repeat any song section with a single click. They are just like working with a live band and can also be used alongside your musicians to fill out the sound.

Split Tracks are great for smaller churches on a budget. The tracks have fully adjustable vocals and come with on-screen lyrics. Split Tracks are played using any standard MP4 player such as Windows Media Player or VLC.

This batch of tracks has again been expertly produced by our friend Shawn Thomas.

 

See our backing tracks in action [Video clip]

[Click on the video BELOW rather than the screen grab above to watch the video!]

People often ask us to show them how our MultiTracks are used in practice. Below is a really lovely example of how a worship team are using the tracks in real life. The team are playing some of the instruments themselves, muting those stems on the Player. The other MultiTrack stems are kept in to fill the overall sound.

This example, from Church of the Holy SpiritSong in Florida, is obviously from an online service, but you get the idea of how the backing tracks could work in a live service as well. Obviously the team here already has a good mix of instruments but the backing tracks add a little more depth. If you were missing core instruments such as drums or bass the backing track’s role becomes even more crucial.

The song Way Maker is from our most recent batch of MultiTracks.

The pros and cons of using backing tracks in worship

Technology in worship is here whether you like it or not and if embraced it can serve as the paint brush to create new sounds.

In the last century technology has driven and redefined the music we make. From electric guitars and keyboards to recorded elements from synths, decks and loops all integrated into live music.

When it comes to live worship music, the introduction of the drummer’s click track transformed the sound of worship songs. And the wheel has turned again with backing and multi tracks used alongside, or instead of, live worship bands.

Even churches with lots of musicians use backing tracks.

And even big secular bands use tracks during live performance. That doesn’t mean that they are miming. It is simply because they cannot achieve the full sound they want with a limited number of musicians. An album track may have multiple guitar and keyboard parts on it – far more than a single guitarist or keyboard player can manage in a live setting.

In a church context it is not just smaller churches with missing musicians that use tracks to fill out the sound, there are plenty of churches with full compliments of musicians using tracks to produce more of an ‘original album’ sound that simply can’t be recreated with a 5 or 6 piece band.

I talked to worship leaders about their experiences of working with backing tracks (you can see the original conversation thread on the Musicademy Facebook Group). Here is what I found.

Mark Snyder, a song writer and the software developer behind Worship Backing Band’s Transition MultiTrack Player, says that worship tracks can help your team get better “it is like how a strong choir member can help the weaker ones sing better”.

Kent Wade has been the Pastor of Worship at The Chapel EFC in St Joseph MI for 18 years. He says that the experience of playing to a click has been a game changer, especially for less experienced musicians. “When you add a track to the live band, not only does everyone play ‘in the pocket’ better, but the supplemental parts help the band sound more full as well.”

Kent says that the only problem is when the worship leader misses an entrance or does something different to the track such as cutting an instrumental bridge in half. He says that “It’s then that we have to kill the track, listen extra hard to stay together, and follow the chart to the end.”

But Jonny McGeown, a worship leader from Belfast, Ireland has found that with tracks mistakes are minimised and the congregation less distracted from worshipping and tracks have helped improve musicianship. He implemented a move to in-ears and the use of tracks and said that “Understandably, my fellow volunteer musicians took some time assimilating click as they played for worship – but each of them has become more aware of ensemble and has improved both their technique and musicianship”.

Don Dickson, a worship leader in Chesham, UK says they primarily use backing tracks as practice tools to hone playing skills and also learning a new song finding that the jump to a segment feature is much better than searching a recording. For live performance he says that “If only a small number of musicians is available then just adding a core instrument such as bass or drums can be just what is needed”.

Dwane Woodard from Alabama feels that churches should be wary of relying on technology. “There is a difference between having an acoustic guitarist on stage and having the support of an entire invisible band, vs having a full band on stage and supplementing keys and percussion.”

I spoke to Richard Fletcher who admitted to being something of a sceptic on the use of tracks. He was concerned that tracks would mean in-ears were required – which had resource implications. He was also worried about the level of technical knowhow required to run the software as well as fearing a loss of flexibility when being “beholden to playing it as on the backing track”.

Changing perceptions about MultiTracks

Richard’s comments are interesting as they reveal a lot about people’s perception of backing tracks. Perceptions I’d gently want to challenge.

  • Firstly you don’t need in-ears to use tracks well. The band just need to be able to hear the click and vocals in their foldback monitors so that they can follow.
  • You don’t need to master complex DAWs such as Ableton. The proprietary software solutions including our own Worship Backing Band MultiTrack player are super easy to use.
  • And finally flexibility is not lost as you can loop and repeat song sections, transition from song to song, fade, change key and tempo. For sure it’s not the same as a fully live band but it is far from the karaoke-style bouncing ball that many people think.

The pros of working with MultiTracks

So to summarise some of the pros of working with backing tracks:

  • A full sound regardless of how many musicians you have or conversely a stripped back sound for an acoustic feel
  • An improvement in the professionalism of the music you make – fewer mistakes, consistent timing, a tighter sound and a more confident team
  • MultiTracks are great practice tools as you can solo your own instrument part and learn how a pro would play it also great for playing along with new songs
  • Access to the full range of worship songs including those too tricky for your musicians (or Doris on the organ) to play
  • Backing tracks for when your musicians are away or when you simply want to give them a day off to enjoy worship from the other side of the congregation
  • You get a “nearly live” feel and if you have musicians playing alongside them most congregational members will simply not be aware that a track is also playing
  • Some congregation members may not like the idea of musical accompaniment without being able to see the musicians
  • The play list (which you plan in advance) automatically cues up the next song which is ready to play with a single click

The cons of working with MultiTracks

On the downside:

  • There is often resistance to the concept of using tracks. People can feel that a motley crew of not-very-able musicians is preferable to pre-recorded music
  • There is a financial outlay for the tracks. Depending on your source of tracks you are paying from $17 a track for Worship Backing Band (reduced to $10 when you buy in bulk) to a monthly subscription of up to $100 a month with other providers (where you don’t get to keep the songs)
  • You’ll need a mac, PC or other mobile device loaded with the software and songs plus someone to operate the software
  • Your musicians will need to get used to working with a track – this can be quite a challenge for those whose timing is less than perfect but they will certainly learn to listen better and often find that their own musicianship improves
  • Song key changes beyond a tone or two can sound unnatural
  • Computers can crash and you lose your track mid service

Things to consider

And some caveats:

  • Prep is essential to get the instrument mix right for your setting
  • The worship leader in particular needs to know the song, syncing with the track and know the junction points if s/he is going to use the looping function
  • Congregational perceptions can change. When I first mooted backing tracks at my small local church people were horrified. Within a couple of songs they were converted.

What alternatives are there to MultiTracks

MultiTracks are not for every church. And for those without any musicians (and very limited budgets), Split Tracks may be a better alternative.

Split Tracks feature fully adjustable vocals and on-screen lyrics that change in time with the music. They are the simplest to use and lowest cost alternative to MultiTracks.

Split Tracks are available from Worship Backing Band on compilation DVDs and also as individual downloads.