In case I haven’t mentioned it lately, I am unbelievably grateful for the current revival of hymn singing in the Church. There are a lot of people doing really creative things with hymns right now. Some are writing totally new hymns for the church, combining depth with poetic beauty in the lyrics. Others are updating great older hymns with a new, contemporary sound. Both are encouraging trends!
Here is a sampling of some groups that have caught my attention lately, thanks to sites like Bandcamp.com, which allows consumers to peruse and preview entire albums:
Sojourn Music – Website
The band from Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, KY, includes several prolific hymn writers and arrangers. One thing I’m most excited about is their “Isaac Watts Project”, which seeks to explore the lyric depth of my favorite hymnist and bring his large body of work to a new generation. So far they have completed two albums from this project (click through to learn more about each album from the website):
See also this split EP album by Jamie Brooks and Brooks Ritter, who are both part of the ministry at Sojourn. We’ll be singing the arrangement of Rock of Ages from this album at our church in a few weeks.
Jaron & Katherine Kamin – Website
Here’s a Nashville-based husband & wife duo. Be sure to check out their arrangement of “What Wondrous Love Is This” from this album:
Ordinary Time – Website
This Western Canadian group brings a bluegrass flare to several hymns. Their most recent album includes several old gospel favorites:
Matthew Smith – Website
I’m only slightly bitter about having had to reschedule Matthew Smith’s appearance at our church, which was originally supposed to have been this Sunday. Thankfully, he’s still coming, so all shall be well. In the meantime, here is his latest album:
David Potter – Website
These arrangements are really hip! I think my favorite from this album is “Guide Me O Thou Great Jehovah”:
Sovereign Grace Music – Website
These folks, led by Bob Kauflin, have been at the modern hymn thing for a long time. You can find samples of all of their albums on their website, along with sheet music, teaching videos, and lots of other goodies. Their most recent album focuses on the resurrection:
We will be singing “You Have Been Raised” from this album in a couple weeks… the same service as Brooks Ritter’s arrangement of “Rock of Ages”, for that matter!
I could list more, but this should be plenty to keep you busy for a little while! What are your recommendations for me to check out?