The creative wellspring called Enter The Worship Circle was established in 1993 by Ben Pasley and Robin Pasley, the creators and producers of the best selling Enter The Worship Circle family of recordings including the tribal First Circle, Second Circle, Third Circle and Fourth Circle; the electronic album Village Thrift; and the acoustic Chair and Microphone, Vol. 1, Vol. 2, and Vol. 3. Their studios are in Woodland Park, CO. Ben and Robin began their musical careers as the highly acclaimed 100 Portraits. Enter the Worship Circle is a unique kind of worship recording. Worship Circle albums feature all original songs written by Ben Pasley and Robin Pasley, and a very talented collection of friends and fellow worshipers.
"With Enter the Worship Circle,” explained Ben, “Robin and I wanted to give something to the Body of Christ just to love Her--something that was both a gift and an equipping tool." To accomplish this, the CD booklet in the First Circle contains suggestions about how to write your own worship songs and how you can lead worship yourself. This is a deep-seated goal for Ben Pasley, and it has developed over years of experience. He began playing music as a teenager, and in college Ben Pasley joined a music team that performed in drug rehab centers, halfway houses, and detention centers in order to share their faith in Christ. "We were in drug rehabs doing cover tunes from the Christian music industry,” he says, “and it didn’t take us long to figure out that we were not bridging the gap."
Ben Pasley sought to resolve the problem by starting his first rock band, which had much greater appeal to the people to whom they were trying to help. At that time, "I discovered that what really excited me was to get into the life of someone who was on the edge…someone who was desperately hungry for God, but didn't even know what questions to ask," he says.
Since those formative years their vision has been shared by many others artists and pioneers whom have committed to a similar focus on “reaching people” over “selling products.” This network has evolved into the Blue Renaissance Creative Group—an organization that trains and sends artists and pioneers to into their full time career work. This collection of friends work from different parts of the country, and occasionally converge for unique collaborations like Enter the Worship Circle album.
When Enter the Worship Circle was first made available in January of 1999 it immediately gained traction with fans of roots music. Soon, the Internet was buzzing with talk of the project, and word-of-mouth news spread far beyond the reaches of the individual artists’ underground fan base. Amidst a flood of musical offerings, this was one of those rare albums that people felt compelled to share with their friends. When Grassroots Music began distributing the recording, it immediately became the company's fastest-selling album ever. To date the Enter the Worship Circle albums have sold well over the 100,000 unit sales mark.
The First Circle was released in 1999 in collaboration with the seriously talented Waterdeep band from Kansas City. The "I Will Not Forget You" video was released in 2000 and won a Bronze Telly award. The song "I Will Not Forget You" was recorded by Paul Baloche with Maranatha, and John Tesh, and was later featured on WoW Worship as one of the best worship songs of the year. Worship Leader magazine has featured several songs from First Circle. Third Day recorded "You Are So Good To Me", which rocketed to #1 on the CHR Charts in May of 2003. When Kingsway Music in Europe released the album in the summer of 2002 it went to #1 on the worship album charts in less than three months.
The Second Circle was released in 2001. The song "First Love" was featured by Worship Leader magazine in 2002. The book, Enter the Worship Circle, was written by Ben Pasley and published by Relevant Media in 2001 and has sold around 8,000 units to date. From RealMagazine.com: “It's a book for a spiritually enlightened age, an audience that's tired of dusty religion and lifeless tradition. It's a book for the non-Christian that's curious. The result [of the literary style] is easy to read, refreshing, and perect for this multi-tasking digital age. This is the kind of book more Christians should be writing…”
In protest against the closed-door religious sessions of Western Culture, Third Circle attempts to reinvent worship by dialoguing with God, through music, out in the open, without a coded language or private venue. It is an open invitation to anyone who has ever wanted to interact with God. The Fouth Circle released in 2008 is a wild blend of Appalachian, Eastern, and inventive folk-rock that introduced the mandolin and violin to a darker and heavier drum bed.
A glowing review says of the "Chair and Microphone" series of single-songwriter, single-voice albums, "This collection of sixteen intense, arresting songs continues the unwavering tradition of superb songwriting, authentic worship, and quality recordings produced by Ben Pasley’s Enter the Worship Circle series. Unlike the initial three “unplugged” Enter the Worship Circle albums, which swell with sweet harmonies, smooth guitars and exotic percussion, the Chair and Microphone discs (Pasley himself recorded Vol. 1 in 2004) are minimalistic in scope: one voice, one guitar. These brave, bare efforts could easily fail due to all that’s missing; however, Aaron Strumpe Vol. 2 follows Pasley’s outstanding lead and delivers in the most magnificent way." Vol. 3 features the soaring voice and writing of award winning Canadian performer Karla Adolphe.
One reviewer for the electronic, ultramodern Village Thrift series glowed, "If you would have told me that a Christian worship band would release a completely unique album of progressive pop, I would have laughed. Worship bands are lucky if they could even remotely sound like what is currently popular – let alone trying to sound ahead of the game, but that is what this album does...I cannot stress enough that this is a truly original release; highly stylized and lushly arraigned it is the perfect addition to any music collection, and don’t let the worship title get you down, even if your not a Christian you should find enough talent and beauty in this release to make you hum along without any kind of guilt."
Listen to Christian Music Artists Enter The Worship Circle
|Enter the Worship Circle||1999||Blue Renaissance|
|Second Circle||2002||Blue Renaissance|
|Third Circle||2003||Blue Renaissance|
|Chair and Microphone, Vol. 1||2004||Blue Renaissance|
|Village Thrift: Circa 2005||2005||Blue Renaissance|
|Chair and Microphone, Vol. 2||2006||Blue Renaissance|
|Chair and Microphone, Vol. 3||2008||Blue Renaissance|
|Fourth Circle||2008||Blue Renaissance|