Every once in a while something different happens, something that makes you pause, reflect and reassess. Chris McClarney is that â€˜different thingâ€™. Unassuming, yet possessing a voice that could stop traffic, Chris McClarney is an underground phenomenon whose name has the currency of gold. From iTunes charts to church movements, many, many people are talking about Chris McClarney these days, and Chris McClarney is not one of them.
That underground swell has been going on for a while, but over recent months things have gone just a little more crazy than usual. Having given birth to the song â€˜Your Love Never Failsâ€™, Chris has found himself as songsmith-of-choice for one of the most dynamic mass mobilisations of the day; the Redding, California-based Jesus Culture youth movement. Having adopted it as the title track of their 2008 album, the army of believers singing of Godâ€™s constancy in the midst of trials goes larger every day. Search for the song on YouTube and youâ€™ll find page after page of videos that show just how far the song has reached.
So whatâ€™s the backstory? Well, first, there is the voice. Anyone whoâ€™s heard Chris McClarney sing will know what weâ€™re talking about. Rich in tone like an ocean of prairie wheat, potent like the southern summer sun. More soul than a Mustang, more drive than a Superbowl charge. Chris McClarney has been blessed with a voice that is so full of life, so full of power and passion that it seems to come from within the listener themselves.
There are plenty of websites out there helping get the message out about this songwriter or that worship leader. But not Chris McClarney.
Visit his Myspace and you find out that heâ€™s pretty nifty with a camera, but a little on the hesitant side when it comes to promoting his music. Look him up on Facebook and itâ€™s clear that he spends more time posting links to other artists than getting down to business and talking about his own releases. Either that or heâ€™s commenting on how surprised he is that people are buying his music in the first place. Head over to chrismcclarney.com and thereâ€™s a static page that heralds the August release of â€˜Love Never Failsâ€™. August 2008, that is.
So Chris is something unusual in this world of multi-media messaging and coordinated campaigns. Is it shyness? Is he too busy? Does he just not do that whole internet thing?
You can listen to Chrisâ€™ tunes on the net, but youâ€™ll need to go to his churchâ€™s Myspace site - myspace.com/gracecentre. There youâ€™ll uncover something intriguing: a selection of worship tracks that are as raw and unpolished and soaked in the presence of God as they come. Play through them all - with their improvised digressions and their epic crescendos - and youâ€™ll get an impression of the kind of man Chris is. Youâ€™ll understand that heâ€™s a worshipper through and through, one dedicated to drawing the eyes, heart and songs of the church up towards our heavenly Father.