There are an increasing number of groups writing and recording albums around the genre of ‘retuned hymns.’ You can see a big list over at Zac Hicks site (and a few more below). I’m always curious when I hear about these new projects to find out how they present the music. Is it primarily interesting as an “album” to listen to, or do the artists want you to get a more full-orbed experience of the texts and worshipping community they are a part of. St. Andrews Hymns would certainly be the latter. While they have recorded a fantastic album with seasoned re:hymns writer/producer Brian Murphy (Red Mountain / New Yorks Hymns) at the helm they have also provided a website rich in historical/practical information. For me it was really moving to listen to their retune of Joseph Hart’s “The moon and stars shall lose their light (Gadsby #253) while reading the short bio they provide for “His Word.” Towards the end of the album is also the stunningly beautiful “Always.” Brian tells me that this song was written by a member of their church community who died in a car accident weeks before the recording and that the musicians wrote original music to this text. A simple profound song of profession.
Many of the songs on this album are wholeheartedly congregational having been nurtured for a season within one particular congregation and its musicians. (St. Andrews Church, Columbus Georgia). In terms of new arrangements “Down at the Cross” is one of my favorites on first listen.
You can get the charts for most of their songs HERE
1. Come Christians Join to Sing
2. I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say
3. Eternal Father Strong to Save
4. You Came to Us
5. Be Thou My Vision
6. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
7. All Creatures of Our God and King
8. O Father You Are Sovereign
9. His Word
10. Holy Holy Holy
12. Down At the Cross
A friend recently pointed me to a new collection of retuned hymns from a group of scottish songwriters. The tagline for the new group is “reigniting the spirit of hymn-writing for a new generation.” The project is focused around education and outreach. You can read much more about the project at their website. You can purchase at iTunes, Amazon or CDbaby. You can follow them at Facebook.
1. Psalm 139 (Were I to Cross)
2. Death May Approach
3. You’re the Shepherd
4. Let Your Light Shine in the Darkness
5. Oh What a Saviour
6. According to Thy Gracious Word
7. How Can It Be
8. God Most High
9. Psalm 23
10. Fill Thou My Life
11. This Is a Holy Place
Speaking of Scottish Songwriters I am currently in love with the new album from JG Hymns (out of Edinburgh). Jonathan Green has served up some supremely creative arrangements and while his prior albums have been reserved for old hymn texts exclusively on this new one he branches out in textual matters. Listen and buy at Bandcamp.
1. O The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus
4. Mr H G Spafford
5. Funeral Song
6. Who Calls? Who Calls?
7. He Was Lifted Up
8. The Pause
9. No, No, No, No, No
Hope College Worship – Josh Banner
Besides crafting some of the most interesting worship music out there (1 Peter 5:6-8, All Hail Christ) and supporting his poet-rockstar wife Susanna Childress, Josh Banner is engaged in the church nurturing job of training up the next generation of thoughtful christians via his position as Chaplain at Hope Chapel (Holland, MI). Each year he produces a collection of songs mixed down from live recordings at chapel. It is a thoughtful and genre bending exploration of worship music on the college campus. Email josh to trade cd’s. Bannerj@hope.edu
I actually don’t know much about this project other than to say that Jess Alldredge was a part of it and that’s quite a recommendation!
Download at BandCamp
Here is a short review from Plywood:
Wayfarer does something a little different than most bands: they take lyric sets from old, largely forgotten hymns or Southern Spirituals, and write entirely new music to those lyrics: melodies, chords, arrangements, etc. They call it “Repurposed Hymns & Spiritual Songs.” Their first single from an upcoming debut EP is called “Alas and Did My Saviour Bleed” — it’s an old Sacred Harp song, and it’s currently available as a free download.
1. Alas and Did My Saviour Bleed?
2. Love Constraining to Obedience
3. Shall We Gather at the River?
4. Jesus, Saviour, Pilot Me
5. What Wondrous Love is This?
6. When I Approach My God