Welcome to the Welcome Wagon

The Welcome Wagon is a married couple, the Reverend Thomas Vito Aiuto and his wife Monique, who execute a genre of gospel music that is refreshingly plain. Their hymns are modest and melodic takes on a vast history of sacred song traditions, delivered with the simple desire to know their Maker—and to know each other—more intimately.

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We have put together a list of links, charts, and liturgical ideas for this wonderful album from The Welcome Wagon. All of the sidebar links are short pseudo-ethnomusicological write ups by Sufjan Stevens.

We have a similar page of resources for their new album – go here.

You can purchase the album on BandCamp.
You can read more about them at Asthmatic Kitty.

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Welcome to the Welcome Wagon tracklist:

1. Up On A Mountain
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

‘Up on a Mountain’ explicates our Lord’s situation on Mt. Gethsemane. Use for Good Friday, or a Tenebrae service. 

2. Sold! To The Nice Rich Man
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

Originally written by The Danielson Family.  Jesus is the rich man who has come to pay the price. A rollicky, gospel fused junk-pop classic! 

3. Unless the Lord the House Shall Build
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

The WW’s adaptation of Psalm 127 from The Psalter of the United Presbyterian Church of North America, 1887.

4. He Never Said A Mumblin’ Word
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

If “Rich Man” is a song of protest, the traditional spiritual “He Never Said a Mumblin’ Word” is an exercise in silence, entrenched in one of the more sobering theological precepts: the death of God. – Sufjan Stevens.  Listen/watch this traditional version by the Golden Gate Jubilee Quartet

5. Hail To The Lord’s Anointed
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

“Hail To the Lord’s Anointed,” a paraphrase of psalm 72, is a litany of Judaic exultations enumerating, with grand poetic lyricism, the many roles of the God Messiah – Sufjan Stevens

6. But For You Who Fear My Name
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

Originally written by Lenny Smith. This foot stomper draws on the imagery of the Old Testament prophet Malachi (Mal. 4:2; 3:17)

7. American Legion
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

8. You Made My Day
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

9. Half A Person (The Smith’s)
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

10. Jesus (The Velvet Underground)
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

11. I Am A Stranger
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar

The clamoring climax to this liturgical record finds itself compounding a Sacred Harp hymn with the spectacle of Broadway Theater by superimposing the catchy 5/4 pop motif from Jesus Christ Superstar (“Everything’s Alright”) onto a timid dirge of spiritual alienation aptly titled “I Am A Stranger.” – Sufjan Stevens

12. Deep Were His Wounds, And Red
mp3 | leadsheet | lyrics | sidebar | Youtube (Vito playing live!)

A recent spiritual with text by William Johnson (1953).  Used by churches recently during Holy Week services. 

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