I swear, I’m having to write these kinds of posts more often. The hymns/rehymn movement continues to strengthen and expand. Here are some great new albums that I’ve been enjoying and appreciating.
Sojourn Music, A Child is Born
Some very creative rock tunes, great guitar work, unconventional and delightful production choices. Some traditional tunes reworked, some originals. Sojourn is always on the upper side of the art spectrum.
High Street Hymns, On Winter’s Night
A great Advent/Christmas EP from our friends out east. They venture into new territory here, incorporating hip-hop in tracks like “Hark! A Thrilling Voice is Sounding” and “O Come, Emmanuel.” There’s a nice re-tuning of “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus,” too.
Castle Island Hymns, Christmas
A very hip indie Christmas record. Unconventional, quirky, orchestral, and ambient, in a Radiohead-meets-Sufjan kind of way.
Cardiphonia, Songs for the Supper
Evangelicals are thirsty for this, perhaps without even knowing it. Because I am an evangelical, I’m very aware of our impoverishment of language and expression for the Lord’s Supper. This isn’t just an album of good Communion songs; it’s a signpost pointing to brighter pastures for evangelical Eucharistic celebration.
Chicago Metro Presbytery Music, Proclaiming the Bridegroom Near
An advent album of folk and classical orientation and instrumentation with some beautiful arrangements of traditional hymn tunes. It’s a great example of how several churches can partner on a successful project. Check this album out for some lesser-known hymns.
Leigh Nash, Hymns and Sacred Songs
This is a great album. The production is superb, professional, and creative (one of Matt Redman’s producers, John Hartley). The singing is unique, original, and stylized, and the texts can’t be beat. There are some great hymn re-tunings that worship leaders shouldn’t overlook for congregational material.
Zac Hicks + Cherry Creek Worship, In a Byre Near Bethlehem
Of course, I had to throw in our random single. We didn’t write this song; we just recorded it so others could hear this great text and tune. It’s a modern Advent/Christmas hymn from the Iona Community in Scotland. It makes the incarnation tangible.
Shai Linne, The Attributes of God
Right, right. It’s not a hymns album. It’s probably better. It has more densely-packed theological muscle in each track than Charles Finney’s entire Systematic Theology (I know…not saying much…but it was a good joke). The rapping is stellar, not second-rate. Very sophisticated, very poetic, very clever, very artistic. And, the production is solid. There are some very thoughtful beat- and color-choices. This album rocks, er, raps, my face.
Sovereign Grace, The Gathering: Live from WorshipGod11
This really isn’t a hymns album, either. But Sovereign Grace does modern worship like no one else is–Gospel-centered, Christ-exalting, theology-rich…all combined with some nice, driving rock.