On the surface…
This is a well put together album. Perhaps noticing how online streaming has changed how we listen, the Getty’s have this time released a short album- just 8 tracks in total, and they’ve done them well. Well produced, slick and accessible. Interesting to listen to, but not too overcomplicated as to make you feel they won’t translate to a church setting.
But, as with previous albums, we know the Getty’s definitely have latched on to the commercial Irish feel, and if you have a dislike for pipes or whistles or fiddles, this might not be one you would choose to listen to in your own time!
However, it is worth powering through that for the sake of your church, because there are some crackers in here.
Lyrics and setting
This album focusses mainly around the Psalms, and covers themes of longing, wonder at the greatness of the Lord, endurance, faith and hope.
Perhaps as there are only 8 tracks, perhaps the easiest thing would be to briefly touch on each one to give you an idea of what to expect.
1- I will wait for you (Ps 130). – co-write with Stuart Townend, Matt Mercer and Jordan Kauflin.
Quite the prestigious line up of songwriters, hey?! And this is a great one. Starting with a snippet of the old metrical psalm setting of 130 (which I grew up singing, so it has nostalgic feelings for me!).
The song touches on hope in the middle of suffering, and focusses the heart on what is to come, and the promises of deliverance we have in the Lord. I think the tune is meant to be rousing and encouraging, which works for the most part, although it jars a little in verse one, perhaps not fitting with the idea of crying from the depths. But as long as you don’t play it too chirpily for the first verse then thats ok!
2- Magnificent, marvellous, matchless love – co-write with mama papa, Aaron Keyes and Luke Brown
Although this starts feeling a little bit like a choir warm up exercise tongue twister ( try saying the title quickly 5 times? ). It is perhaps my favourite of the album. Lively, joyful and focussed so wonderfully on the character of the Lord, often things we forget when life seems relentless and mundane.
3- the lord is my shepherd (Ps 23) – co-write with Tom Douglas
One of the things I like about this song is that it is more gentle and stripped back lyrically than many Getty songs, which often are so full of awesome truths that my head can struggle to take them in as I sing. This one has a very simple chorus, which almost gives you the space you need to think about what you’ve just sung.
4- My dwelling place (ps 91)– co-write with Kelly Minter, Chris Eaton and Stuart Townend
This is lyrically beautiful. Simple and clear, and a real reminder of the security we have as christians. It reflects the psalms trajectory really well and points us to trust and rest in the dweling place we have.
It does interestingly mention ‘Emmanuel’ in the chorus, which points us, as post Jesus believers to draw the line between the old testament promises and their fulfilment in Jesus.
5-I lift my eyes (ps 121)
Now, if I’m going to be totally honest, musically, this track jars with me massively. They’ve used the traditional Irish tune of ‘my Lagan love’, and between the baseline that harks of early 90s Christian cheese, and the doo-wap backing girls, it’s just not for me.
BUT. The words are great, so don’t discount it! I need to bear in mind that as a native Irish, I may just feel a little more strongly than most people would.
6- you have searched me (ps 139)
This is so close to the original psalm, and is well crafted. It is a great song for reminding us of the special, intimate relationship we are offered as God’s people. What an encouragement.
7- Pslam 150 – Instrumental
Tap those feet.
This isn’t written as a congregational song, but more as a personal reflection of how the beautiful places we love can and should point us to the Lord who made and controls the world we enjoy. It’s not explicate, but it reminds me of the psalmist talking in psalm 19 about how creation points him to the Lord as they reveal his glory, and then the wonder of getting to know him fully through his Word. It’s a wee beaut.
Will it work in my church?
For the most part a very big yes. The Gettys and friends have a real gift in writing songs that are easily picked up by the average church.
Just a few notes below
-In I will wait for you, We found that the first verse takes a few runs through to teach, (the first line is similar to creation sings which can help people get started though!)
–The Lord Shepherd is maybe not the most congregational song, and maybe more suited to a solo.
-My dwelling place has a very easy verse, but the chorus will take a few runs through to teach as it doesn’t exactly go where you or your congregations might assume.
–i lift my eyes– if your church know the tune already, then by all means go for it. If they don’t, it might not be the easiest to pick up. DO try it in a more simple fashion.
–You have searched me again the chorus doesn’t go where you might expect, so take a little more time to teach it.
Track 7 and 8 I don’t think are written with church in mind, so just enjoy them for yourself!