Yes, the headline says “CDs.”Â As in: Sojourn’s new worship project, a follow-up to last year’s Before the Throne, will feature two full-length music discs, rather than one.Â We’ll get to all the details here in this post — and be sure to click on the audio player below to hear a short interview with co-producer Neil Robins, where he talks about the selection process, goals for the CDs, differences between the two discs, and more.Â But first, here’s the text of a letter Worship Arts Pastor Mike Cosper sent to the Sojourn songwriters, explaining his vision for the project:
“Isaac Watts left a legacy of hundreds of hymns, rich in theology,
with a firm center in the gospel. His words in songs like “Joy to the
World” and “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” transcend the span of
300 years that separate us and illuminate afresh the power and wonder
of the gospel. It is this vast catalogue of songs that serves as a
springboard for our next songwriting adventure.
Your assignment: rewrite the Isaac Watts hymnal … Take these lyrics as a
springboard and rewrite the words and melodies. Capture the language
of our time and place and keep vibrant the message of the songs. Look
for ways to refresh metaphors and imagery in the songs … and write melodiesÂ that will fit contemporary song arrangements.
I have a vision for a new recording project dedicated to Isaac Watt’s
legacy. I want to capture the weight of our sin, the glory of God,
and the sufficiency of Christ in reconciling us to Him in the words
and mood of the project. I also want to keep the spirit of the hymns
at the core of the songs – so try to write melodies that stand on
their own as well as work in contemporary song.”
Twenty-five Sojourn songwriters feverishly poured through Watts’ 700 hymn texts over theÂ subsequent months, mining familiar and forgotten treasures before turning in 60 demos to Mike and Neil, co-producers.Â They selected 23 and divided them up into two groups.Â Each will produce one group of songs.Â You’ll hear that Neil revealsÂ on the audio interview that our tongue-in-cheek, in-house title for these projects is “Hi-Wattage” and “Lo-Wattage,” because one of the discs will feature a progressive indie rock sound and the other, an earthy, more acoustic vibe.Â Neil goes into it more here:
Subscribe to this site’s RSS Feed to make sure you won’t miss any of the numerous updates we’ll post as theÂ songs are arranged and then asÂ recording gets under way this summerÂ – audio, video, pictures, notes on the recording process, details about the songs and the theological underpinnings of Watts’ hymns, and more.Â
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