Music Review by Luchae Williams
Last September, more than 7 500 musicians and church leaders attended the inaugural Sing! conference in Nashville, Tennessee.
The event, which ties in with the 500th anniversary of the Reformation set in motion by Martin Luther, aims to teach the Body of Christ about congregational singing, theology, music and creative arts and how it all plays a role in worship.
Some of the musical highlights, of the event, featured the likes of Laura Story, Bob Jordan and Matt Boswell. The evening was led by Keith and Kristyn Getty of Getty Music. Well-known for their gifting of penning memorable modern hymns, the Gettys have created a catalogue of songs which transcends genres, breaking down stereotypes in the Christian music arena.
‘How Shall I Sing?’
With a folk-inspired opening anthem, titled All Hail the Power of Jesus’ Name, you can immediately gather that you probably won’t find insubstantial, dense songs on this album! I enjoyed the melodic praise song, How Shall I Sing?, which was penned by the Gettys, Ed Cash and Stuart Townsend. The song holds a unique psalmist quality to it and I quite enjoyed its folksy element. It helped to set the theme for the rest of the album.
If you’re a sucker for the more traditional, bluegrassy sound, you’ll enjoy the fiddle in Lift High the Name of Jesus. I really love that most of the tracks on this album holds a depth and poetic flavor that is reminiscent of the Psalms. Each track is word-heavy but also Word-heavy. So refreshing and very entertaining at the same time!
One of my favorite moments on the album is Joni Eareckson Tada leading the congregation into acapella worship, with a beautiful hymn from the 1800s called Hallelujah! What a Savior. Wow! The opening lines of the song says “Man of sorrows, what a name/For the song of God, who came/Ruined sinners to reclaim/Hallelujah, what a Savior!” Goosebumps!
The piano intro and Kristyn Getty’s tender vocal in worship song, The Lord is My Salvation, caught my attention from the beginning. The song speaks about a faithful God, strong to save, faithful to the end. The ever-gracious Laura Story delivered a beautiful rendition of her emotive track, Blessings. This song speaks about the blessings of God wrapped up in the trials of life. This is definitely a must-listen.
Bob Jordan and Devon Kauflin deliver an impressive performance of their original track, All I Have is Christ, with a bellowing chorus that simply says: “Hallelujah! All I have is Christ/Hallelujah! Jesus is my life!”
Matt Merker and Deborah Klemme’s poignant worship track, He Will Hold Me Fast, has a spectacular violin intro that simply sets the mood. This is probably one of my favourite worship songs on this album. Other tracks, such as What Sacred Fountain, Jesus Shall Reign and The Power of the Cross, hold the same elements, with the same poetic penmanship evident throughout.
The album closer is a trademark modern day hymn that the Gettys are well known for. In Christ Alone, which was penned by Keith Getty and writing partner, Stuart Townsend, has become an anthem sung in churches across the world. For me, it solidified the fact that the Gettys write from deep wells brimming with the Word of God.
I found the soundtrack to the very first Sing! conference to be refreshing and interesting. I enjoyed the rich songwriting and appreciated the more melodious anthems. The praise songs are traditional and the worship songs, although quite a mouthful, are poetic, enduring and thought-provoking.
If you love Word-based worship I would definitely encourage you to give it a listen. You probably won’t find a modern, contemporary Christian album, but there is a depth here that may be lacking in the more “popular worship” songs. Looking forward to the Sing! 2019 edition!