Coram Deo Church – Swallowed Up Death (2015)


Coram Deo Church (Omaha, Nebraska) – Swallowed Up Death
produced by David Potter and Luke Pettipoole

As we round the future into 2015 this album is a beacon of concepts to come…reflecting on Zac Hicks recent post about giving up the ghost on the retuned hymn movement I’m glad to see the logical evolution.  Church’s still experimenting with retuning hymns but also exploring songwriting and production to greater heights.  This is a great example of the best of both.  Excellent, contextually rich retunes alongside brand new songs and hymns…and I love that the flow and feel of the record is seamless.  You really have to do some digging to tell the difference (e.g. “Sing, Sing, Redeemed.”). I love that they even snuck in a text by well known british hymnodist Timothy Dudley-Smith!! The sounds are fabulous as well…arrangements and production that will feel familiar but also coached in melodies and vocals that make it easy for the worship planner to draw out an appropriation for their own place.  To my ear I hear bits of Wilco, Arcade Fire, Justin Townes Earle, Fleet Foxes, Sojourn church. This is good listening, good theology, songs you just really want to sing along with.

*Awesome to hear their version of our friend Nathan Partain’s song “I am one of those.”


1. Joining In The Joy

2. I Will Sing Of My Redeemer 
Original hymn text by Phillip P. Bliss
Music and additional words by Jared Strock

3. Swallowed Up Death
Love the scriptural allusions (Isaiah 25 & 35; Romans 8:18-25) and connections in this song. Great writing.

4. How Heavy Is The Night 
Original hymn text by Isaac Watts, Public Domain
Music and additional words by Jared Strock

5. Come My Way
Original poem, The Call, by George Herbet
Adapted by Kyle Christensen

6. I Am One Of Those 
original words and tune by Nathan Partain (Redeemer Pres – Indy)

7. Sing, Sing Redeemed 
Words by Megan Pettipoole
Music by Luke and Megan Pettipoole

8. When He Comes
Words by Timothy Dudley-Smith, 1969
Music by Andrew Penke

9. Jesus Shall Reign
Original hymn text by Isaac Watts
Adapted by Jared Strock
Music by Jared Strock

10. The King Shall Come
Original author unknown
Translated to English by John Brownlie
Music and additional words by David Potter

Retuned Records, Urban Doxology and Spacebomb Studios oh my!

Ya just gotta love what is happening in Richmond, Virginia right now…and that goes beyond the fact that it is both my homestate and my wife’s alma mater civitas.  Here’s a quick update with some great music and good news to check out.

Screen Shot 2015-01-23 at 2.08.56 PM
Matthew E White and Spacebomb Studios

A few years back the Hayti Heritage Center in Durham, NC hosted a sweet show with Justin Vernon, John Darnielle and horn arrangements by Richmond, Va’s Matthew E White. Then later that year I got to see Matthew play his entire first album Big Inner with a 20+ person ensemble for Raleigh’s “Hopscotch Music Fest.” Matthew White is a missionary kid and a brilliant writer, arranger, performer who is making blazes on the current indie music scene with his Spacebomb studio’s.

Retuned Records

So I was super excited when I saw that Matthew and his Spacebomb outfit helped out Alex Mejias’ newest project Retuned Records get off the ground with a new single (which you can check out here).  Alex after a brief hiatus from High Street Hymns is launching a new brand that will feature more of the eclectic musical culture swirling around richmond, va right now.

Urban Doxology/Making a Melody

It also happens that Alex and David Bailey go to the same church in Richmond’s “East End Fellowship.”  David Bailey helps with music at the church but also runs an urban ministry called “Urban Doxology/Making a Melody.”  They have a fantastic new album out that you should check out pronto.  I’m also personally excited that David and his crew will be speaking and leading music at The Gathering here at Hope College in early February. –n.b.Our favorite Greg Scheer spent his summer sabbatical at East End Fellowship and Liz Vice is a former intern of their urban songwriting fellowship.

*And since we are spreading the news about things we love in richmond, va go listen to the great music sounding out by Shelby Murphy and Redemption Hill Church.!

Recent Songs for Epiphany 2015

Tomorrow (Jan 6, 2015) marks the traditional date of the church season of Epiphany. Epiphany what?! It’s a greek word that means ‘manifestation or appearance.’ The Worship Sourcebook in their chapter on the Epiphany says, “Churches that observe Christmas as a stand alone event may find it difficult to get past the sentimentality of seeing a cute, mild-natured baby in the manger. But the incarnation involves much more than the drama of Christmas itself; it brings a vision of God’s glory to the nations of the world.”  The typical church season of epiphany is connected to the visit of the wise men who were initially led to Christ by a star and carries us into the great commission to see Christ proclaimed to all of the nations.

Here are a few songs that have been released recently that might be useful to you.  You can find other resources HERE.

Red River Hymnal

Red River Hymnal – Christ the King Church (Austin, TX)

New album from the musicians at Christ the King Church in Austin, TX.  Full of unique classical/folk tinged arrangements.  See song notes below.

1. The Lamb Has Overcome
Original text and tune from Luke Morton – Great folk gospel jam with eucharist themes.

2. Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken
John Newton text with one of my favorite Shape Note tunes JEFFERSON

3. Comfort, Comfort, These My People
Classic advent text from Isaiah 40. Arrangement of traditional Genevan tune.

4. When Christ’s Appearing Was Made Known
Unique epiphany text written by Coelius Sedulius in the 5th century and translated from La­tin to Eng­lish by John M. Neale. Original music by Leonard Payton.

5. Psalm 134
The last of the psalms of ascents. Original tune and text by Bruce Benedict. Killer arrangement by Josh B.

6. I Know that My Redeemer Lives
One of my favorite hymns for Easter from the Shape Note hymnal (#277) with the ANTIOCH tune.

7. At the Name of Jesus
Words by Caroline Noel (1870), tune (KING’S WESTON) by Ralph Vaughn Williams.  A new classic hymn that more churches should sing.  Killer banjo based arrangement here.

8. Come, O Come, O Quickening Spirit
Words by Heinrich Held and original music by Joshua Bennetch.  Text for Pentecost and ordination services.

9. Brightest and Best of the Stars of the Morning
Words by Reginald Heber. One of the more interesting, rustic Christmas/Epiphany texts that I know of.  Great shape note tune STAR IN THE EAST.

10. Baptism Hymn
Original text and tune for a baptism.

Incarnation Album – Hymn Geekery

Here is our page of notes on the songs and hymns from our latest compilation for those of you who enjoy this kind of geekery.

All Praise to Thee, Eternal Lord
Translation of an 11th century Latin sequence (a sequence is chant or hymn sung or recited during the liturgical celebration of the Eucharist, before the proclamation of the Gospel) The first German stanza appeared in 1370. Luther added six stanzas to it in 1523 and then published it for the Christmas service that year, making this the first Christmas
hymn of the Reformation. This hymn was used by Bach in his Choral Cantata for
Christmas Day.

Canticle of the Turning
Inspired by Mary’s Magnificat catholic musician Rory Cooney penned these words in
1990 and paired them with a traditional Irish tune Star of County Down. Here the
tune is arranged by Richard Kentopp of The Gentle Wolves for Servant Church in Austin, TX
Christmas Must Be Tonight by “The Band”

Christmas Must Be Tonight is an out-take from Northern Lights, Southern Cross, subsequently included on The Bands album ‘Islands.’ The song, written by Robertson after the birth of his son, Sebastian, was originally intended to have been a Christmas single in December 1975. It eventually went on to become a christmas season hit single for the group “The Band.” Here Jeff Crawford and Brett Harris, from Durham, NC church The Gathering, present us with their take.

Come See a Child of Low Estate
Two versions of this text are on the album written by the Rev. W. D. Springett in the
1890’s. One version by Zac Hicks (Coral Ridge Presbyterian) in a Techo-Praise style, and
one from City Hymns musician Karl Digerness (City Church, San Fran) in a simple
folk.jazz style. A wonderful look into how music can elucidate a text in a myriad of ways.

Come Thou Almighty King
The anonymous text dates from before 1757, when it was published in a leaflet and
bound into the 1757 edition of George Whitefield’s Collection of Hymns for Social
Worship. The text appears to be patterned after the British national anthem, “God Save
the King.” Filled with names for members of the Godhead, this song exhibits a common
trinitarian structure, addressing God the Father (st. 1), God the Son (st. 2), and God the
Holy Spirit (st. 3), concluding with a doxology to the Trinity (st. 4). Here featured with
original music by Luke Morton, the current worship pastor at Green Lake Presbyterian
Church in Seattle, WA.
Emmanuel (God with Us)

Music and Lyrics by Marty Reardon at Trinity Anglican Mission in Atlanta, GA and
released on their collection of Advent/Xmas songs in 2011.

Hark a Burst of Heav’nly Music
Words by a Mrs. M. N. Meigs largely in use with Sunday School collections in the late
1800’s. Music by Jered McKenna, music minister at Mitchell Road Presbyterian
Church, Greenville, SC.

Hark What Music Fills the Sky
Text by English poet Elizabeth Wiglesworth best known for her publications of hymns
addressed to children. Music by Craig Harris, worship pastor at Sun Valley Church in
Yakima, WA.

I Wonder As I Wander
Originally recorded and transcribed by folklorist John Jacob Niles outside of Asheville,
NC. This arrangement written and recorded by Bruce Benedict and the Hope College
Chapel Band.

In the Bleak Midwinter
Originally pushed as simply “A Christmas Carol.” Later titled “In the bleak midwinter”
after the opening line and published as a hymn in the English Hymnal in 1906. The only
tune to which the complete hymn is sung is CRANHAM by well-known English
composer, Gustav Holst, who composed it for this text. Here arranged and recorded by
Seattle, WA area collective Coastland Commons (Kyle Turver and co).

In The Night A Heavenly Song Came Down
Harcourt Whyte is a notable Nigerian composer. He was struck with leprosy as a child
and after his parents died he lived in the Uzuakoli Leprosy Hospital in the East of
Nigeria. Here he became fascinated with the hymns of the medical missionaries and went
on to compose many songs both in English and in the native language Igbo. This
arrangement was written and recorded by Jonathan Green (JGHymns), a musician from
Edinburgh, Scotland.

Jesus Came, Jesus Comes
From the hymn text “Jesus Came, the Heavens Adoring” written by English pastor
Godfrey Thring in 1864. Included in the lectionary as a hymn for the 1st Sunday of
Advent (Year B). Original tune by Michael Van Patter – worship director at Hope
Chapel in Greensboro, NC.

Lift Up Your Heads (Psalm 24)
Originally written in German by George Weissel in 1642 as a hymn for the first Sunday
in Advent (late trans into English by Catherine Winkworth). This hymn draws its
inspiration from Psalm 24 and contemplates how we can prepare our hearts for Christ’s
Second Coming. Original tune from San Francisco musician Jason Morrell (City Church–Mission)

Love Came Down at Christmas
Another classic Christmas text by 19th-century poet Christina Rossetti. Here arranged by
Patrick Schlabs (St. Peter’s, Charleston, SC) from the traditional Irish tune GARTAN.
New chorus lyrics and melody from Alex Mejias (High Street Hymns)

Mary’s Song (Our King of Peace)
Original text and tune by Wendell Kimbrough, 2014.

My Soul Magnifies the Lord
An original text and tune by Andrew Rottner, who leads worship at Liberti Church in
Philadephia, PA.

On This Day Earth Shall Ring
A popular translation of the medieval carol Personent Hodie. This hymn is often
associated with the feast of the Holy Innocents (Dec 28). This arrangement was written
and recorded by Covenant Presbyterian Church (Paul van der Bijl)

Psalm 72
A messianic psalm exploding with resonances in the Lukan canticles, this is a fantastic
psalm to explore during the advent and Christmas seasons. Here Luke Brodine presents
the entire psalm between readings and a short chorus of vs. 18-19. Tune is arranged from
the traditional WILD MOUNTAIN THYME.

Puer Natus Est
Puer Natus Est is the Introit for the third Mass of Christmas Day. It is a latin rendering of
Isaiah 9:6 “A child is born to us, and a Son is given to us: “Whose government is upon
His shoulder.” This arrangement and recording is by Daniel Snoke a worship leader and
musician from Pittsburg, PA.

Sing Out My Soul
Original text and tune inspired by the Magnificat from Brian Moss, early Indelible Grace contributor and current associate pastor at Maple Valley Presbyterian Church near Seattle, WA.

We Sing to Thee Immanuel
Words written by German pastor Paul Gerhardt in 1650, and translated by Catherine
Winkworth in 1855. Music written by Gregory Wilbur in 2004 and recorded in 2014.

You Gave Your Word
Original text and tune by Nashville musician and worship leader Jeff Bourque.

Zac Hicks – Father, Only In Your Power (Trinitarian Song of Confession)

Writing confession songs for the contemporary church is a tough assignment.  Add to that a song of confession that speaks to the involvement of each member of the Trinity = inconceivable!! But that’s just how Zac Hicks rolls.  Give him the most challenging songwriting topic and he attacks it head on!  More than a year ago he sent me a basic idea for this song.  I tweaked a few lines, and offered some melody suggestions and now you can HEAR the finished product.  A true masterpiece in my mind.  A song that is infinitely singable, clear, but lyrically one that you can engage for a long time!  It is a featured track on Coral Ridge Worships new album “The Magnificent Three.”

Father, Only In Your Power
mp3 | chords | leadsheet | blog

Words & Music: Zac Hicks & Bruce Benedict, 2013;
with traditional “Kyrie” and “Agnus Dei”
©2013 Unbudding Fig Music (ASCAP), Cardiphonia Music

1. Father, only in Your power
Can we ascend to You.
Help us, Father, we are helpless
To pay our righteous due.

2. Jesus, only in Your weakness
can we your kingdom claim
Help us, Jesus, we are reckless
in self-destruction’s chains

Lord, have mercy
Christ, have mercy
Lord, have mercy

3. Spirit, only in Your presence
can we true union find.
Help us, Spirit, we are restless
Our soul’s divisions bind.

Lamb of God,
Who takes away the sins of the world
Have mercy on us
Lamb of God,
Slain before the dawn of the world
Have mercy on us

4. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Our ancient curse we own
Broken in the blood of Adam
The blood of Christ now show

Sojourn – All I Have is Yours (Thanksgiving)

I heard this Sojourn song for the first time in awhile during a Thanksgiving Day service on Thursday. Great song. Simple, singable, and congregational. Thanks Bobby and Rebecca.

Chords | Leadsheet | Youtube | Mp3

Creator, giver of all things:

All I have is Yours.

Accept my humble offering:

All I have is Yours.

When I was chained to greed and pride,

Tight-fisted, destined just to die,

You paid my debt and bought my life –

All I have is Yours.


All I have. All I have. All I have is yours.

This offering is a means of grace.

All I have is Yours.

You show me this to grow my faith:

All I have is Yours.

The more I give, the less I need.

I learn that You’ll provide for me.

’twas blind to this but now I see –

All I have is Yours.

Your kingdom come, Your will be done.

All I have is Yours.

You’ll finish all that You’ve begun.

All I have is Yours.

That You would use the gifts I bring

In service of the coming King

Is reason now to praise and sing:

All I have is Yours.


by Bobby Gilles, Rebecca Bales – Copyright © 2006

CCLI #4878364