Hymns Stripped Bare

WORLD’s music critic Arsenio Orteza recently highlighted a batch of modern albums dedicated to hymns. One especially caught my attention:

Bridging the generation gap is Wendell Kimbrough’s dozen-cut Hymns & a0809261379_2-1Friends….the album will appeal both to fans of alternative-folk Americana and to their parents.

Kimbrough, a D.C.-area singer-songwriter and Anglican Church worship leader, and his ensemble of singers and musicians preserve the melodies of hymns such as “O Worship the King,” “How Firm a Foundation,” and “For the Beauty of the Earth” while discarding aural cultural baggage.

“I see the project as something of a ‘preservation’ endeavor,” Kimbrough says. “Because it’s not always readily apparent how to translate these old hymn tunes from the piano to the guitar, some of them are falling out of use. I hope that by making serviceable guitar-based recordings of them, I might contribute to their wider circulation.”

I’ve listened to it a couple of times and love it. Sparse and minimalist with simple but effective harmonies and instrumentation, it works well. May it find its way into the liturgy of younger churches, especially church plants.

Stream the album and buy it here.