Tuesday, August 24, 2010
New Old Hymns
When my wife's grandfather's church started using guitars in their service, he complained that all they sang was 7-11 songs: seven words, sung eleven times. Issac Watts, Gadsby, Wesley and Luther had been replaced by Chris Tomlin, Third Day and Matt Redman. The exchange left a dearth of theological content to the songs the congregation was to sing as worship. Lately, some artists and churches have recognized they have been robbed by contemporary artists that have more musical passion than theological knowledge. Without chucking the guitar, many have begun to bring back the meaningful lyrics of the old hymns to new musical arrangements for guitars and a folksy style. Here are a few of the groups if you tire of being told to "sing to the Lord" without being told why:
Indelible Grace: Based in Nashville Tennessee, Reformed University Fellowship PCA pastor Kevin Twit enlists the few Reformed leaning artists in the Christian Music scene (Derek Webb, Andrew Osenga, Sandra McCracken, Dan Haseltine - of Jars of Clay, etc) to put old hymns to new music. I think this is the best produced of those engaged in this project of new old hymns.
Red Mountain Music: a Church in Alabama started their own goal of putting old hymns to new music. They have especially focused on Gadsby's hymnal and William Cowper's hymns and poems, returning the lament to our hymn catalog.
Sandra McCracken - new old hymns: Two of Sandra's hymns have focused on new old hymns, many of which have ended up on the Indelible Grace albums. (BTW - this is Derek Webb's wife)
Soujourn Music : a community church influenced by Indelible Grace, I am less familiar with their works.
Matthew Smith: one of the artists involved with Indelible Grace, his solo projects pick up on the theme and include many great selections not on Indelible Grace's albums.