I love the Rabbit Room, and today I’m so excited to celebrate the release of Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs with all of you. Early next year we’ll release Sing the Bible on iTunes and everywhere else, but for now, it’s available exclusively at the Rabbit Room.
Featuring the African Children’s Choir, Sally Lloyd-Jones, Buddy Green, Ron Block, Stuart Duncan, Andrew Peterson, Dracula, Frankenstein, The Wolfman, some bees, and every member of my immediate family (along with some of their friends), Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs is a collection of Scripture verses put to music and melody. There are two “books of the Bible” songs and sixteen word-for-word Scripture songs from a few different translations. I tried to find the Most Singable Version of each song, so if you want to be corny like me, you could say they’re all from the MSV.
Like most musicians I know, I’ve long admired the way Paul Simon blended African music and American folk/pop on Graceland (1986). And over the last ten years, trips to Kenya, Ethiopia, and Uganda have continued my education in African rhythm and melody. Additionally, after eighteen years of musical life in Nashville, I’ve become a huge bluegrass fan, often searching for some way to allow a banjo or mandolin to help with whatever I’m doing. So making Sing the Bible gave me a chance to blend African music with Nashville bluegrass. That unique combination served as the musical foundation for the album.
A 2012 trip to Uganda played a pivotal role. A Slugs & Bugs concert in Kampala was delayed by rain, and while the audience and I waited for the other schools to arrive, a classroom of schoolchildren rose and quietly made way to the front of the assembly hall. Then they began to sing.
They sang a welcome song in classic call-and-response style, with a song leader that could not have been more than 12 years old. It was beautiful. They sang a song about Uganda and another song about Jesus. When they were through, they went and sat down, but amazingly, another classroom of kids—from another school—stood and walked to the front and began to sing! I was mesmerized by the music these kids were making. And right then I prayed I would get to bring some of that home to Nashville.
Less than a year later, the African Children’s Choir rolled into Tennessee on their well-travelled African Children’s Choir bus. Their voices vitalize the album’s African melodies and rhythms. On the Nashville side of things, Ron Block’s banjo plays a huge role in the sonic landscape, as does Sierra Hull’s mandolin. The great Stuart Duncan and his violin are featured prominently on The Lord’s Prayer, which doesn’t seem quite as African until you consider the vocalist—my son Benjamin. We adopted Ben from Ethiopia when he was two years old. Even my friend and scripture reader (and New York Times best-selling author) Sally Lloyd-Jones helps keep up the theme. It was so thoughtful of her to be born in Uganda. That’s just like her, really. Always thinking of others.
The album is now available in the Rabbit Room store and I hope you and your family enjoy listening to it as much as I enjoyed making it. In the next few weeks, I’ll follow up this post with Part Two to focus on the actual Scriptures chosen for the final song list.
[Sing the Bible with Slugs and Bugs is now available in the Rabbit Room store.]
“Trust in the Lord”
from Proverbs 3:5-6
I am blown away that Randall Goodgame has now invested 4 albums worth of his songwriting efforts to children’s music. What songwriter gives children that much of his career? The world would probably look at this choice as foolish and wasteful. As a full-time staff member at a children’s camp year round, I am delighted that there is an artist like Randall who sees the value of sharing Christ through songwriting excellence with children. His treasure and heart is obviously set on building the Kingdom in the hearts of the least of these.
This album is some of his very best. Who knew Deuteronomy 14:21 was so funny (or even existed if you’ve never studied Old Testament law)? The African Children’s Choir takes every song they take part in to an incredible level. Hearing Randall and Sally read Scripture to amazing instrumentals is very moving. The word of God is presented with excellence and excitement and beauty. It might be a children’s album, but I am being impacted by these songs and passages.
It has been my great pleasure to share Slugs and Bugs with my nephews and nieces as well as our little ones during Summer Camp. I can’t wait to share Randall’s latest hits with them and enjoy hearing God’s word go into their hearts, out their mouths, and transform their lives.
I’m hoping to post a review on the order page or on my blog soon, but for now, here’s a bit:
I could go on and on as to how incredible this music is for me as an adult. After a little over a week of listening, the verses are etching themselves into my brain and come to mind at needed moments. The music itself is lovely–I’ve loved the African rhythms and harmonies since my African Missionary Kid husband introduced them to me when we were dating. And once again, Randall has provided a variety of musical styles, with continual layers to be discovered.
But more than that, I love watching my kids engage with the music. It’s on a steady cycle in the car, and not just by my choice. My kids have a tendency to nickname albums, and this one, not surprisingly, has become “The Alien Song” to my four-year-old. What *is* surprising is that when I start out with that particular track he always says, “No, not that one! The back one!” The song he really wants is the final track, The Lord’s Prayer, sung by Randall’s son Benjamin. I don’t know what it is about the song that most draws him, but I think it’s that he can identify that this is a kid like him, and that means something special. For me, I could listen to the song repeatedly, especially with the little treasure after the final note is sung.
I bought this for my 4-year-old daughter as a Christmas present today. When I got in the car (no kids with me) I promptly unwrapped the cd and put it in the player (she won’t know it’s supposed to be wrapped in plastic, that is, until her older siblings tell her).
I love the african touches, the Sally Lloyd Jones banter, and the “slugs and bugs” feel that stays with this scripture album. It was hard to turn it off and put it back in the case when I pulled into the driveway. We’ll have to see if I can keep it under wraps until Christmas or if it’s coming out tomorrow.
Thanks for a great album that brings light into our house.
I wanted to leave a review at the order page in the store but couldn’t figure out how to do that so I’ll leave my comments here.
Actually, I don’t have much to add that others here haven’t said except to say that love this record. My kids love this record. We are listening to it together and I am listening to it on my own.
I put it on first in the car and the song “Freedom” took me by such surprise that I started crying right there…with my kids…in the line to order coffee from the drive through.
I could stand to hear these scriptures everyday for the rest of my life.
It also should be noted that the music on all the Slug and Bugs records is wonderful. S & B is the Pixar of kids music…it’s enjoyable and speaks to everyone. This is an album we will come back to for years to come. Thanks!
Thank you for your hard work! We are really enjoying every song on the CD. I just want to echo what everyone else has said. We are all singing the songs together and are being blessed.
Thanks so much, you guys. These comments are so encouraging, and I appreciate you taking the time to post them. This week I’ve started working to convert our backyard storage shed into the Slugs & Bugs Worldwide Headquarters (or shed-quarters), and I’ve been reading these comments to keep me going in the sub-freezing temperatures.
I had to add a postscript now that I’ve actually given the cd to the kids.
It’s been on repeated play at our house every evening for bedtime. They made a second copy so it could play in two rooms.
Biggest surprise might be that our 13 year old liked it as much as she did, she said it’s her favorite slugs and bugs because she’s enjoying all of the instruments on it.
The other day my husband asked them what scriptures they know now that they didn’t know before they got the cd on Christmas and they started rattling off every verse on the cd.
Thanks again and keep warm, you might want to stay inside Sunday night, Randall!
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