Introducing Edbrooke Collective and Their Debut Album, Rewritten

Zac HicksAlbum Reviews, Convergence of Old and New in WorshipLeave a Comment

I began praying several years ago, as I became more and more aware that God was raising up like-minded musicians and worship leaders across the country, that He’d stir up gospel-centered, theologically-minded, historically-aware, tradition-embracing artists in Denver.  Whether it’s God’s direct answer to those prayers, or whether it’s the law of averages (actually my understanding of God’s providence doesn’t allow for “laws of averages”!), I’m watching our sleepy mountainous city wake up.  And I’m finding many not-so-strange bedfellows crop up, particularly in the Acts 29 network of churches and church plants.

Adam Anglin is the Director of Worship & Arts at Fellowship Denver Church in downtown Denver, and he has put together a beautiful, creative debut album–Rewritten–with the musicians in his fellowship under the moniker Edbrooke Collective.  I got together with Adam a few weeks ago so I could hear his story and figure out what made him interested in putting this album together.  There was one repeated theme, which resonated deeply with both his and my background and experience in worship.  I often heard Adam say, “We wanted to sing less about our own subjective experience and more about the objective truth of who God is and what He’s done.”  There you have it.  If tried to summarize the album, I could do no better than that. 

What does the album sound like?

Rewritten pulls from a variety of indie styles.  I hear ambient rock peppered with some of the modern Seattle folk sound, sprinkled with some blues.  This is a guitar- and keyboard-driven record, with some very singable tunes for congregations.  The production is quite stellar…I find it easy to listen to over and over again.  “Of How Your Love Endures” and “Sing to the King” are two great examples of the essence of the sound of the album as a whole.

What does the album say?

Rewritten is a gospel-drenched, God-centered album through and through.  It’s a compendium of original material along with old hymns to new music (yes, folks, that means that the retuned hymns movement has a new partner).  Their retuned hymns include “I Surrender All,” “Come Ye Sinners,” “Alas and Did My Savior Bleed” (called “Alas”), and loose settings of “Christ the Lord is Risen Today” (called “Risen Today”) and “Nothing But the Blood.”  Edbrooke also reimagined the words and chord structure of the fairly recent hymn, “They’ll Know We Are Christians” (called “By His Love”)…more about this below.  One track of original words sings,

Praise be to our immortal God
His kingdom shall ever reign
His mercies shall endure
When lords and kings are no more

He built the earth, He spread the sky
He fixed the starry lights on high
And wonders of His grace to God belong
We repeat His mercies in our song

Sing to the King,
Sing for His name
Sing to our God
Sing for His fame

He sent His Son with power to save
From guilt and darkness and the grave
His mercies shall endure
And death and sin shall reign no more

He is our fortress… 

We hear in this very little about our effort, our experience, our ability.  We hear much about the objective reality of God’s power, His sovereignty, and His grace through His Son, Jesus Christ.  It doesn’t get much better than this! 

What are my favorite tracks?

“Of How Your Love Endures,” “Sing to the King,” and “Nothing But the Blood” are among my favorites, but my number one (which probably won’t be most others’) is “By His Love.”  I love what Edbrooke did with this song, both musically and textually.  The arrangement pulls together a very sassy and stompy groove, with swung snares and kicks that really yank on the beat, overlaid with bluesy guitars with lots of room.  It fits the melody well for this 1960s hymn written by Peter Scholtes, based on John 13:35.  Textually, it moves in a direction that Scholtes definitely did not take—less toward the subjective and personal and more toward the objective reality of the finished work of Christ.  There’s something to be said for Scholtes’ original words:

We will walk with each other,
We will walk hand in hand…
And together we’ll spread the news
That God is in our land

And they’ll know we are Christians
By our love, by our love
Yes, they’ll know we are Christians by our love

This verse and chorus combination is both true and biblical, but Edbrooke chooses to look higher:

All praise to Christ Jesus
Who became flesh for us
All praise to Christ Jesus
Who poured out His blood
All praise to Christ Jesus
The resurrected One

And they’ll know He’s the Savior
By His love, by His love
…Yes, we know He’s the Savior by His love

This hymn is gospel-centered, explicitly Trinitarian (check out the last verse), and bent on glorifying Jesus in both his active and passive obedience

Hear from Adam and the team in this well-done video:

 

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