New Wineskins…Old Hymns & New Tunes

Randy Gill is a master craftsman when it comes to song writing and arranging.  Period.  One of my favorites of his is a setting of John Newton’s “How Sweet the Name of Jesus Sounds.”  He’s written new music & added a new chorus and paired it with a time-honored text.

How sweet the Name of Jesus sounds
In a believer’s ear
It soothes our sorrows heals our wounds
And drives away our fear

You make the wounded spirit whole
You calm the troubled breast
You’re manna to the hungry soul
And to the weary, rest.

Your name’s the rock on which we stand
Our shield, our hiding place
Our never-failing treasure
Filled with Your abiding grace

(Chorus)
Jesus, Jesus,
Our savior and our Friend
Jesus, Jesus
Our life, our way, our end.

Sometimes, an old hymn has a tune that just doesn’t fit its text.  Or, it’s a tune written in a musical style that doesn’t fit the current setting of time and place in which its being sung…New music or an added refrain/chorus breathes new life into a hymn and melds the ancient with the future.  It’s this melding of old and new that keeps hymns in our liturgical vocabulary…

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