During a cold, snowy week this January, a group of Sojourners trekked up through nasty roads to Bloomington, Indiana. There, they had the privilege of working with producer Paul Mahern (who has worked with Over the Rhine, The Fray, John Mellencamp, T-Bone Burnett, and many, many more), recording an album that had been years in the making. They recorded live on an old tape machine, creating and album that is warm and intimate — a true “record” of what happened: a band making music, responding to one another, and singing together. It’s raw and rough around the edges, much like Sojourn itself is.
The songs are re-imaginings and adaptations of the hymns of Isaac Watts, the “Father Of English Hymnody.” Watts was an extraordinary pastor and poet. These songs, these snapshots of the gospel, can profoundly help us to see Jesus as more beautiful and more believable.
As musicians, pastors and songwriters, it was an honor to explore the hundreds of hymns that Watts wrote during his lifetime, to learn from the incredible range and depth of his lyrics, and to re-envision those songs with modern language and melodies.
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