The Olney Hymns project began to take shape roughly one and a half years ago. While researching a hymn of John Newton's that I would be leading in church for Sunday worship, I came across a reference to the Olney Hymns. I was already familiar with The Olney Hymns and the general story behind it, but had never really delved into it's pages before. As I began reading through the hymns I remember thinking "Why aren't we singing these songs anymore?" These verses are works of art. They are theologically rich, confessional, honest, beautiful.
"Hey, you wanna make an album with me based on the Olney Hymns?"- I'm pretty sure that was the extent of my email to Pappy (John Barnett) when asking him if he wanted to collaborate on the project. His response: "sure." Way to think it through, Pappy.
We spent the next year reading and writing. We read about the life of John Newton, the slave ship captain who would later become a pastor, help abolish slavery in England, and write the most popular hymn in history. We also learned about William Cowper, John Newton's close friend who was institutionalized for a time and suffered from severe depression as well as bouts of insanity. Cowper also happened to be one of the most popular poets of his time. He wrote some of the most beautiful and heartbreaking hymns I have ever read.
We tried to write music that would match the mood, feeling, and substance of the lyrics. What amazed us was how moody and emotionally intense so many of the hymns are. John Newton and William Cowper weren't a couple of stuffy old English prigs writing dry, lifeless songs. These were real men with real struggles, hopes, temptations, fears, doubts and joys. They weren't afraid to sing about the darkness in their lives, but they also didn't hesitate to sing about God's goodness, grace, power and mercy either. Inspiring stuff to work with.
In Mid-February we recorded basic tracks in Montana with some really fantastic musicians. Bobby McDonald flew in from Texas to play bass, Casey Corum from California played piano/organ, and Matt Nall journeyed all the way from Kentucky to play the drums and bang on farm implements. We're off to a really good start and are excited to bring this project to completion.
Thank you for taking the time to consider supporting this project.
Risks and challenges
There is always the potential for delay in the delivery of an album. However, barring something fairly catastrophic, we fully expect to deliver the final product in a timely fashion.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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