Hymns For The Christian Life does exactly what it promises. It provides inspiration and encouragement for Christians in their day to day lives.
Since moving to Nashville, the Gettys have taken steps to include more American folk sounds in their music while still retaining their Irish heritage. “We’ve found other people from other areas of music,” Keith explains.
“Friends who play bluegrass or folk music. Finding out how that music relates to Celtic music is a fascinating connection. I think you’ll sense some of the bluegrass and Irish folk tradition and American folk tradition in some of these songs.”
With a calling to write hymns, Nashville seems a sensible place for the Gettys to live. “Nashville is the home of the singer songwriter so while these songs are absolutely congregational and absolutely about God there’s a slight sense that these are journeys we have been living through.” This last point is evident from the moment you open up the booklet which accompanies the CD. The husband and wife duo have included the story behind each song.
Opening track, 'Christ Is Risen He Is Risen Indeed', began during conversations about faith, doubt and the new atheism with Kristyn’s uncle Professor John Lennox whose recent work has tackled the beliefs of Richard Dawkins and Stephen Hawking. Out of this conversation the couple explain: “We considered the story of Thomas where doubt turns into faith. It inspired a song to relive that story inside the context of one of the oldest and most universal greetings in Christendom – “Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!”
Keith has a deep seated passion for ensuring the Church is singing songs full of Biblical truth. “I watch scripture and how it talks about singing and how it talks about art and I would encourage others to think about when we meet together - let the word of Christ dwell in us richly... This is a changing world and people come in to church on a Sunday empty and we as songwriters and worship leaders have a wonderful opportunity to fill people up with the truth of God... If you look at the psalms, even the short psalms are very substantial. All the hymns from the beginning of the Old Testament were not written to stir ecstasy in people, they were written to remind people of the character of God and the goodness of God.”
It could easily be argued that the new songs from the Gettys do exactly this. 'Simple Living' deals with the themes of worship and money while the next track is a hymn for the working day. Part of the music is borrowed from JS Bach who apparently finished his working day by inscribing SDG (Soli Deo Gloria – Glory to God alone) at the bottom of his manuscript page.
Another example of how down to earth the recording is can be found in 'My Heart Is Filled With Thankfulness' as the couple write how thankfulness is a remedy for “cynicism, anxiety, impatience, pride – all things which can weight us down day to day”. Other pleasant surprises include an instrumental track, a new version of 'In Christ Alone' and a beautiful acappella track which closes the album.
The Gettys could easily broaden their horizons and turn their skilled hands to other work in the music industry. But Keith sees his purpose and calling firmly within the Church. “In my mind I’m constantly imagining the congregation singing, I don’t get distracted with other things. I have lots of limitations as a writer but I think if I can funnel it into how will a congregation sing this tune that helps me stay focused.”
Having already penned modern day classics like 'In Christ Alone' and 'The Power of The Cross', the Getty's reputation proceeds them. Life throws everyone (Christians included) many challenges, but this recording promises to feed your soul with the right hymn at just the right time.
Rating: 9 out of 10.
February 10th, 2013 - Posted & Written by Sam Hailes