So a while back I found myself in the midst of a sort of spontaneous hymn-singing session, and while it was heart-warbling it made me realize that I rarely sing those songs anymore. They were a weekly staple in the tiny country church I grew up in, but the larger, contemporary church I attend as an adult doesn’t break them out so often, so I haven’t heard or sung them much in the last couple decades. I was dismayed to find myself rusty on lyrics that I once could have sung with my brain tied behind my back (I keep it there sometimes).
Now I’m interested in getting an album or two or three of old hymns, and couldn’t think of a likelier group of folks to ask for advice. If you woke up one day and realized that of all the music you owned (excepting Christmas songs), all of them came from your own generation, what would you acquire first, second and third?
Thank you for your help!
“I Need Thee,” “Be Thou My Vision (the original, not the remake!),” and “How Great Thou Art.” I know the 2 latter ones are still sung often, the latter perhaps to the point of cliche. But those 3 are near to my heart. “O, the Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” is another one that is precious to me.
Thank you K! I’m familiar with those first three from the ol’ hymnal days. Is there a particular singer whose rendition you like for them? I’m looking not just for hymn ideas, but tracks or albums I can procure.
Ohhh, sorry, I misunderstood the initial question. Well, darn. I don’t have any particular recommendations of renditions or singers. If I think of or hear any, I’ll let you know. Personally, I disrecommend any praise-and-worship-Hillsong-esque reinventions, since they tend to add verses or choruses and/or force the hymns into the praise-and-worship formula. That increasingly grates on me, and more often than not I find the added content to be inane, poorly-written, and/or not fit with the original hymn at all.
If it helps, I’d start looking among old roots, gospel, & country artists, like Tennessee Ernie for the kind of thing you’re describing. The older singers tend to play it straight when singing the hymns & do so beautifully.
Audrey Assad’s Inheritance is beautiful. It has some “old favorites” and some songs I had never heard before, but am happy to know now. Jill Phillips also has some lovely hymns on her Kingdom Come and Lead Me Home albums. I bought Lead Me Home just for the song Come Ye Sinners, because it was so good when they did it at Behold the Lamb of God a couple years ago. This one has a different “flavor” of songs, but several of them are still part of my childhood hymn memories. Also, I don’t own that much of his, but based on what I have heard, any hymn Fernando Ortega touches comes out beautiful.
Jars of Clay did a whole album called Redemption Songs in which they created new tunes for a load of old songs; my favourites on the album would be ‘Let us love and sing in wonder’, and ‘Hiding Place’.
I don’t really own any other albums of hymns, but love Isaac Watts, John Newton and Charles Wesley – often their more obscure hymns are just beautiful and need new tunes! (Ones that pop to mind would be ‘I asked the Lord that I might grow’, and ‘Oh Love Divine, what hast thou done?’)
Hope that’s what you meant!
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