Coram Deo Church has added it's name to the growing list of churches and artists who love the richness of older hymns and long to make them more accessible to our culture: Indelible Grace, Red Mountain Church, Page CXVI, Sojourn, and so on. This one is getting a lot of play for us and it should be a staple in your house and church. It's beautiful. From the website...
Our hope as we send this out is that the beauty of the music and the truths of the gospel, that are the lyrics of this album, might be a conduit of God’s grace resulting in worship of Him. This was the driving purpose behind the making of this album. Hymns are powerful for many reasons, two of which are: their theological depth resulting in rich gospel meditation, and their ability to unite people across all ages, demographics, denominations, and musical styles (this is especially true in the past 5 years). In light of this, we believe Doxology has the potential to have great influence for the gospel here in Omaha and God’s kingdom at large.
Doxology includes several of my absolute favorite hymns. Here's the track list...
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
- All Creatures
- I Boast No More
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- Great is Thy Faithfulness
- Be Thou My Vision
- It Is Well With My Soul
- How Great Thou Art
- Come Thou Fount
- <empty track, sorta>
- This Darkness
I very much enjoy the instrument and sound choices in these songs. "All Creatures" includes and autoharp and ends in a blast of power. You need to hear it. "Holy, Holy, Holy" starts simple and carefully climbs through organ, violins and a trumpet. Beautiful. "Great is Thy Faithfulness" has a growing ambient quality through vocals. "Doxology" is mostly arranged vocal harmony through some verses you may not have heard before. The use of drums and violin on "Be Thou My Vision" adds the Irish flavor to this ancient Irish poem. The djembe & guitar on "It Is Well With My Soul" offers a unique sound to this very traditional hymn. "How Great Thou Art"...well...you need to hear this one. The first half almost bare & solemn. The second half breaks out for the words "When Christ shall come..." with something of a hoedown. Ok, maybe not a hoedown. But Kendal Haug does play the harmonica. I'm not sure how they got away with not playing a banjo on this one!
The only original is "This Darkness," written by Bob Thune, Jared Strock and Kendal Haug. I'll just let the lyrics draw you in to a song for difficult times...
To you I cry for help
But you are silent still
You block my prayer, you shut me out
My soul is weary
How long this darkness
How long my grief
How long your anger
As with others with hymn updates, Coram Deo adds not only music/arrangement tweaks, but also a few lyrical ones like simple choruses and repeated lines. I'll not go into detail, but I'll say they keep them simple. These songs aren't radically different than what you know, but different enough to be like hearing it new again. It's a good mix of the tradition we treasure and creative arts we love.
I'm looking forward to where Coram Deo goes next. While this first offering may be mostly well-known worship staples, they are thoughtfully recreated and will be a great blessing for personal and gathered worship. We use this CD in our home and have been playing it before and after Sunday worship and we plan on using several of these arrangements in our worship time. Highly recommended.