Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Bread of the World and Thoughts About (Not) Hymn Writing

Greetings hymn nerds. Today Bruce Benedict of Cardiphonia released a new album of hymn re-writes inspired by the Lord’s Supper. Along with several other musicians around the country I was invited to give one of these texts a shot. You can stream it below and the link should allow you to purchase it as well. If you need a chord chart just shoot me a message and I’ll get it to you.

I suppose this is a good time to talk about hymn writing. I’ve been writing hymns for almost ten years. When I first met Brian and began attending Red Mountain the idea of re-writing hymns was foreign to me. As I began to familiarize myself with the work of Christopher Miner and dive in to some of the ancient hymn writers I was compelled by the force of the language of those texts. I started writing my own hymns in 2003 and from then on many of them found their home on the Red Mountain records that Brian and I produced. Over the last several years I have written over a hundred hymns. Many of them lie forgotten on my iPod. Originally this page was dedicated to releasing all of those unrecorded songs. That goal remains but it’s become less of a priority as I spend most of my time out on the road playing guitar for other artists.

Those of you who know me know that although writing hymns is dear to my heart creatively, it’s something that I’ve lost a lot of interest in. These days it seems that I only write hymns when people specifically ask me to. I think my days of pouring through ancient hymnals are, for the most part, behind me. Having said that, I still enjoy the challenge when someone has a text they’d like me to try and put music to. This seems to be happening more and more. Ironically, the last batch of hymns I wrote for the final Red Mountain record, All Things New, was my best batch. And some of these new songs, including the one above, are the best I’ve written.

I don’t know what all of this means, really. So I’ll just end by saying that there is something wonderfully mysterious about singing songs with people. I don’t care what you do or don’t believe (and I’ll appreciate the same courtesy) but I’m really proud to have contributed to projects that encourage people to sing together.

This new song intentionally doesn’t have a chorus. Instead there are just a few “sha la la’s” where a chorus should be. I don’t have the audacity to add my own words to these great texts and, well, sometimes there are no words.

Hope you are all well. Lots of hugs and kisses and pizza to you all.

Bread of the World

Clint Wells

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