Song of the Day: Jill Phillips

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It’s getting close to Easter. I spent the day tweaking last year’s slideshow for the Resurrection Letters tour, removing adjectives here, clarifying ideas there, adding a new song for good measure. I turned on the stereo and listened to the songs while I collated the lyric sheets in a three-ring binder. I dusted off the bouzouki so I could relearn the part to a Jill Phillips song.

Right now my living room looks nothing like it would look if Jamie and the kids were home. There’s an empty pizza box on the table; my luggage is in the middle of the floor where I plopped it when I got home three days ago; guitar cases lie open and the guitars that go with them are leaning against chairs and walls. The piano light is on, the bench is pulled back just enough to be welcoming. Today, my house is not a place for homeschooling and piano lessons. It’s a place for preparation.

All this fuss, because Saturday night eight of us will have traveled hundreds of miles to stand on a stage before the saints and sing to them of glory. We’ll sing to them of the dark day when Jesus died, and the bright morning when he took up his life again, and that is not something we take lightly. Yes, we’ll laugh plenty, we’ll watch movies on the bus, we’ll debate the lasting relevance of Wilco versus Debussy (that actually happened on the last trip), and we’ll stress over soundcheck. But when it comes to the concert itself, we hope to do more than just play a set. We hope to create an opportunity for us all to encounter the Resurrection story. I hope you’ll shiver at Judas’s treachery and come out of your seat at Christ’s victory. I hope you’ll leave with a renewed awe for Jesus of Nazareth and what he did, and what he is doing.

I missed the Song of the Day this week, so I wanted to post one of my favorites from the RL tour. This arrangement of an old hymn text was written by Andy Gullahorn, sung by Jill Phillips on her album Kingdom Come. The musical lift after the bridge, when Jill sings, “Praise the Lord,” gets me every time. It’s called “Man of Sorrows.”

MAN OF SORROWS
Man of Sorrows! what a name
For the Son of God, Who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
Full atonement can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
“It is finished!” was His cry;
Now in heaven exalted high.
Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!
Praise the Lord!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

As a singer-songwriter and recording artist, Andrew has released more than ten records over the past fifteen years. His music has earned him a reputation for writing songs that connect with his listeners in ways equally powerful, poetic, and intimate. He has also followed his gifts into the realm of publishing. His books include the four volumes of the award-winning Wingfeather Saga.


28 Comments

  1. Josh Kennedy

    Glad to know I’m not the only guy who’s devolves into bachelor mode when the wife goes MIA (living out of laundry baskets with clean clothes is one of my personal favs).

    What a song. Jill’s voice does so much with those lines that even with just a couple listens it strikes me as one of those tunes that no one else could perform and sound “right” trying to sing. Her voice has this amazing quality to it that while incredibly soft and light, it never comes out as weak, but somehow manages to convey a great deal of strength and passion. Also, kudos to Andy. He did a great job with the update to the music for this hymn.

    Thanks for the song – I may have just found my wife’s birthday present.

  2. Tony Heringer

    Barliman,

    Nice one. So, are you all performing at an event or is this just part of a spring time tour?

  3. nora

    after the captains courageous visited the hamlet of indianapolis last year, i itched with impatience for the release of RL:II. I created a playlist called “my resurrection letters” and cobbled together the six or so songs i could from what i had. in all honesty, it was most of the kingdom come album with high noon at the end. and while the itchiness went away when my two copies of RL:II arrived, i still play my pseudo album often and love it for taking me on its own journey.

    travel safely, captains, so we can see you in terre haute in a week.

  4. Greg Sykes

    So I guess I feel like repeating Tony’s question. I’ll be in Fayetteville, AR for your show Friday night — am I going to get to see eight performers or will it be the Captains alone (which is still awesome)? Just curious so I can prepare my companions . . . I’ll be bringing a few newbies to their first AP concert.

  5. Brooke Cole

    Thanks Jill, yet again, for a song that lifts our eyes and hearts to The Cross. You are appreciated.

  6. Aaron Roughton

    I found the Kingdom Come cd at a used cd store. The words “ha ha suckas” went through my head, prompted by the Spirit of course, as I thought about the people who had paid full price for this album and then left it for me to buy used at a ridiculously low price. Praise to the Lord the Almighty is still my favorite on the album, but this song is fantastic. Thanks for posting.

    Now if we could just get some type of tour love in Texas. I mean seriously, how can it be titled “The Resurrection Letters World Domination Tour” if you’re not covering Texas?

  7. Profile photo of Andrew Peterson

    Andrew Peterson

    @andrew

    Yes, Tony, this will be the second year of our Easter tour. As you know, Resurrection Letters, Vol. II grew out of a series of Easter meditations. The concert, like Behold the Lamb, is intended to be more than just a concert; the whole evening is fashioned to take the audience on a journey that will end with what we hope is a sense of awe and gratitude for Christ.

    So the Easter meditations are interspersed between songs and read aloud during the show, each one telling a part of the story of the Passion and Resurrection. I haven’t written volume one yet, so I chose several Andy and Jill songs from Kingdom Come, as well as songs from a few of my albums to tell the story. I just finished a new song that, if all goes well in rehearsal today, will be on the list. I honestly can’t imagine writing anything that would displace Jill’s “Hosanna”, “Man of Sorrows”, or “Lamb of God”, though, so they may be a part of volume one when it’s all said and done. Who knows?

    I hope some of you guys can come out to these shows, if for no other reason than to see me blubber like a baby.

    AP

  8. Paula Shaw

    Woohoooo!!!! We’re driving over from Tulsa to come to the Fayetteville concert! Just got tickets, and can’t wait! Yippeeee! See you there! =)

  9. Chad

    I recently purchased this album a couple of months back because I love the weightiness of the lyrics in old hymns. Hearing them sung anew with tweaked melodies and vocals can also be profound as it sharpens my awareness about what I am hearing and how I hearing it. Needless to say I love the arrangements and vocals on this album. I have found a couple of other musicians who have done similar projects that I enjoy and would like to list a few of my favorites.

    CLAIRE HOLLEY – SANCTUARY (1999) beautiful subtle bluegrass arrangements with amazing vocals . . . Come Thou Fount is my favorite

    FERNANDO ORTEGA – THIS BRIGHT HOUR (2003) his arrangement of I Will Sing of My Redeemer is just wonderful

    INNOCENCE MISSION – CHRIST IS MY HOPE (2000) hauntingly beautiful and sparse

    SANDRA MCCRACKEN – THE BUILDER AND THE ARCHITECT (2005) great collection of lesser known hymns

    SUFJAN STEVENS – SONGS FOR CHRISTMAS (2006) his rendition of Holy, Holy, Holy brings tears to my eyes . . . also Come Thou Fount is outstanding

    Anyone else have any favorite hymn arrangements or albums worth noting?

  10. euphrony

    AP, please find it in your heart to visit Houston. I’d even buy you some Mexican food with that white stuff on the nachos if you come.

    “Man of Sorrows” is an old favorite hymn of mine. I love Jill’s turn on the melody. Great selection for song of the day.

  11. Dave D

    AP, can those Easter meditations be found anywhere? Stumbling upon them awhile back was my first exposure to your writing. I was deeply moved and would love to revist them this time of year.

    have fun on the tour. thanks for the song.

  12. becky

    This is a beautiful new setting for those wonderful old words.

    Chad, I like Jars of Clay’s Redemption Songs. “Nothing But the Blood” done with The Blind Boys of Alabama is pretty hard to beat. And I like “Let Us Love and Sing and Wonder” very much. It’s an old favorite of mine that I don’t hear very often. One of my favorite lines is, “Let us wonder: grace and justice join and point to mercy’s store. When, through faith, in Christ our trust is, justice smiles and asks no more.”

  13. Tony Heringer

    Becky,

    Thanks for mentioning that song from Jars of Clay, that pops up on my mp3 player when I’m jogging and it gets me every time. I love that whole album. This topic could be a whole thread, eh?

    Barliman,

    Thanks for the follow up. I’ve not seen Behold the Lamb live but does it contain a similar element — i.e. “meditations are interspersed between songs and read aloud during the show, each one telling a part of the story”? I have the DVD of the show and it was just the music — which is good in and of itself but, if there is more then that is one cool show.

    Have you been approached about, for lack of a better term, packaging this liturgy? I think there would be a number of churches that would benefit from the fruit of your labor. Even if its just a matter of coaching on the topic I know it would be helpful– starting to sound like a workshop at this Rabbit Room conference you mentioned in the “changes” post. Anyway, just some food for thought.

    Aaron and euphrony,

    Texas is a whole ‘nother country, so they may not all have their passports updated. But if you guys are buying Tex-Mex I’ll drive the tour bus for food on that leg of the tour. 🙂

  14. euphrony

    Tony, good to know you’ve seen our commercials! Did you know that McDonald’s has a standing policy that bus drivers eat free? I’m guessing they figure it’ll lure in large groups, if the driver has some personal incentive. I’m just saying, ’cause they have some mean burritos . . .

  15. jcm

    Jill, thanks for a terrific blessing. AP, thanks for posting. You guys ever get to South Jersey (talk about Texas being another country…)?

    Chad, great call on Claire Holley and Innocence Mission. Check out Ashley Cleveland’s Men and Angles Say. Her version of Christ The Lord Is Risen Today will get your blood pumping. The entire set is pretty good. If you like a joyful horn section, the Dirty Dozen Brass Band does a few dandy hymns on their Funeral For A Friend and Bruce Springsteen does a ramped-up version of This Little Light of Mine on Live in Dublin.

  16. Tony Heringer

    euphrony,

    As a native Texan (born in Orange, TX) and graduate of Texas A&M, I didn’t just see the ads, I drank the kool aide. I now serve as a Texas ambassador to Georgia. 🙂

  17. Kristin

    Wonderful song.

    Wish I could come to join in on an assuredly beautiful night where the Word of Truth and artistry collide to magnify the Savior. Instead, I will just have to have my own time of reflection which will include listening to “The Resurrection Letter’s” cd.

    And just to join in on the Aggie fun, I’m Fightin’ Texas Aggie Class of ’09. WHO9P.

  18. Jason

    What a beautiful song by Jill. I love old hymns–they have so much depth. Thanks to everyone else who provided recommendations, also.

    Didn’t know there were so many Aggies in the Rabbit Room! I’m ’98.

  19. ginger

    Lovely voice, lovely music. I love the words from the hymns as well. I often use a hymnal along with a Bible when I am journaling. I learn so much from them.
    I enjoy the song of the week postings. Thanks!

  20. kevin

    That’s one of best albums I own. She does have a great voice, the arrangements are well done, and the songs chosen are lyrically powerful.

    Now, if we can just get some of you to come up to New England my life would be complete…

    Tennessee has had you long enough.

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