Giveaway | Stephen Miller: Hymns

Hymns header

WINNERS! We have our five winners.

Jacob Young
Danny Poyner
Matthew Robbins
Joshua Crabb
Richard Campeau

Congrats guys! Email coming soon.

By the way, the total number of songs on my iTunes is 14,045. Closest, I believe, was with 13,856. How's that for a free plug for your website! :)


One of the great joys I get as an audiophile with a blog is the opportunity to get some great albums before they release. Since it's better to give than receive, I especially LOVE the opportunity some artists give me to give away their albums.

Stephen Miller, worship leader at The Journey church in St. Louis, releases his new album, Hymns, Tuesday. But I'm giving away 5 digital downloads today! Yeah, five.

It's already getting regular play in my house. Miller gives accessible music updates to several beloved hymns like "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," "I Surrender All," "How Deep the Father's Love For Us," and "Be Thou My Vision." He also offers his versions of "Behold the Throne of God Above" and "In Christ Alone." For good measure he adds "Kyrie, Eleison." There are a total of eleven songs. It's a solid offering to the growing list of young artists making good worship music. It's good for my soul and will be a blessing for my church.

Here's how you enter to win a FREE download...

1. Tweet (or post to Facebook if you aren't on Twitter, or do both!) without the quote marks: " Want to download Stephen Miller's album, Hymns, free? RT & comment at Reformissionary to enter: "

2. Comment below (so I can confirm you did step 1) with your real name and real email (kept private) and For Fun guess the exactly number of songs iTunes says I have. It's more than 1 and less than 20,000. 

*I'll use to pick the 3 winners sometime after 5pm, and I'll announce the winners on the blog & send out emails. May the odds be ever in your favor!

Stream FREE | Avett Brothers: The Carpenter


The new album from The Avett Brothers, The Carpenter, is now streaming FREE in full at NPR Music First Listen. Go listen and let me know what you think. One of the best bands in the world right now, in my opinion. Both a personal and family favorite. I own everything they've done and will buy this one when it releases on September 11th.

Also check out their recent 9+ minute interview with NPR Music: Matters of Life & Death. Check out The Avett Brothers' website for more.

Brandi Carlile: Live At Bear Creek EP - FREE

Pick up Brandi Carlile's EP, Live At Bear Creek, for free below. Her album, Bear Creek, is out now and I'm loving it. Strongly encourage you to pick up her new stuff, as well as her previous albums which are some of our very favorites to play in our house: Brandi Carlile | The StoryGive Up The Ghost | Live At Benaroya Hall.

$5 Albums | June 2012


$5 albums this June are solid. Several are new, a couple are gems from the last couple years. Enjoy!

The Blunderbuss of Jack White


UPDATE 5.2.12: Blunderbuss is #1 on Billboard.

CONCERT UPDATE 4.28: At the end of this post I embedded the entire live concert directed by Gary Oldman. (Set List)

UPDATE 4.27: Jack White plays a live concert tonight directed by Gary Oldman. Go here to watch a preview video including music, discussion with Gary Oldman about the concert and Jack's two bands, and real blood.


Wow. I'm really loving Jack White's first solo album, Blunderbuss (blunderbuss?). I don't often talk about albums outside of Music Mondays, but I felt compelled. Especially after watching some of the recent TV appearances, which had me giddy. You'll find some of them below.

This is a man who hasn't found his place of comfort, but his edge. If you've followed Jack for a while (White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead WeatherThird Man Records), this isn't exactly a guy without an edge. I've loved everything he's done to a point. But there was always a point where I was sorta over it. I was glad to have his albums around to revisit from time to time, but it was cataloged. And I know it's still early, but Blunderbuss feels like a classic. I think I have to agree that Jack is "the coolest, weirdest, savviest rock star of our time" and he just might have created the best album of 2012.

Just a side note for those who cant "get" Jack White: Listen for Robert Plant in his voice. He's there. And I think the quirk that pushes some people away from White might suddenly disappear, at least for a few. And that little tip may just open your mind to a great album. I'm hoping so.

Jack White with all guy band on Jools Holland with "Sixteen Saltines"...

Jack on Jools with all girl band playing "Freedom At 21"...

Jack interviewed by Stephen Colbert, including a very funny section on Jack's business model and why the music industry is dying. Awesome...

Pick up Blunderbuss: digital | CD | Vinyl

Here's the full concert from Friday night, as I mentioned at the top of this post...

The Poison Tree, Best Album of 2011, FREE!


It's time to give away some copies of The Poison Tree's self-titled debut album, which I named my best album of 2011. From my Best Albums of 2011 post...

Lovely & subtly massive. Cinematic. Baritone vocals. Literary. Charming. Moody. Introspective. Wistful. Barely wet city streets. Black and white. Hands-in-pockets. Collar pulled tight. Good penmanship, elegant words, antique fountain pen on an antique journal on an antique table in a sparsely decorated and lonely room. Life...experienced. Calmly dramatic. This album is almost completely and shamefully neglected. It's a rarely reviewed 2011 masterpiece. It's not #1 because it's neglected. It's #1 because it's gorgeous and brilliant.

You can download it for $4.99 today, and I very much encourage you to buy it. But I also want to give away a physcial CD to three of my readers (thanks to Steve Salett, The Poison Tree, for being so gracious as to provide copies to give away).

Here's how you enter to win (U.S. residents only)...

STEP 1: Copy & share the following without the quote marks on Twitter (if you aren't on Twitter, use Facebook, or do BOTH!): "Win @stevekmccoy's #1 2011 album, The Poison Tree. RT this & comment at Reformissionary to enter! "

STEP 2: Leave a comment below (so I can verify you did step 1). Include your full name and real email address (kept private) so I can contact the winners. In your comment, guess how many writing divices (pens, pencils, markers) & other utensils are in the two coffee mugs on my desk. It's a number between 1-100. I'll buy a free download of The Poison Tree to the first person to guess it exactly (if not a winner of a CD).

I will randomly choose 3 winners in the late afternoon/early evening on Friday (6th).

Super-Cheap Classical & Opera

Music Review - Coram Deo Church: Doxology


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...

  1. Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
  2. All Creatures
  3. I Boast No More
  4. Holy, Holy, Holy
  5. Doxology
  6. Great is Thy Faithfulness
  7. Be Thou My Vision
  8. It Is Well With My Soul
  9. How Great Thou Art
  10. Come Thou Fount
  11. <empty track, sorta>
  12. 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" 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
Remember me...

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.

Coram Deo has provided a hymnbook for Doxology with lyrics & chords. More info at Coram Deo website.