New Album Announcement

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If you follow Reformed Praise you've undoubtedly noticed that our website has been pretty quiet for the past few months. That's for several reasons, including the fact that Eric and I are continuing work on our Hymns Book Project. We were unable to secure a co-author so have begun the process of writing the content ourselves. It will feature devotional chapters, textual commentary, sheet music and sing-along recordings, so there's quite a bit of work to be done. If you follow our work please pray that we'll be able to find a publisher to give it a wide distribution.

The Album


Despite the calm on our Internet front, plans have been brewing behind the scenes for our first "Reformed Praise" branded album. Back in 2005 the Lord allowed me to complete my first major album, Cross-Centered Worship. In contrast to the simple demo recordings you'll find attached to each song on our site, an album features fully arranged, produced, mixed, edited, and post-produced content, all packaged together into a collection of songs presented as a unit. There's a lot of work that goes into making a high quality recording, which increases when the number of musicians involved and complexity of arrangements grows. Since 2005 I've received lots of requests for another album, but have been waiting on the Lord to lead and provide the time, people, and resources.

Last fall I began getting to know Steve Cook, a songwriter and producer of Sovereign Grace Music's albums. Steve moved to the Twin Cities and the Lord has allowed us to move from acquaintances (since I've attended Sovereign Grace Conferences for years) to friends. He not only has some amazing songwriting talents but is a fantastic arranger and producer, and the idea of working on a project together seemed a natural fit given the similarity of Reformed Praise and Sovereign Grace Music songs and styles.

Since I moved to Minneapolis in 2005, the Lord has allowed me to work with and befriend many professional musicians, particular in the jazz world since I play in a big band and small jazz groups regularly. By God's grace I have access to many instruments including vocalists (since I'm just an adequate vocalist), string and brass players, hammond and electronic organists, and electric guitarists just to name a few. I've also become friends with a world-class jazz and orchestral arranger who will be arranging two or three songs for the album.

As with my first album, we'll be seeking to present a variety of styles to help avoid the tendency of us all to equate worship music with one particular tempo, style, or instrument.

Here's a list of the songs that will be on the album along with a few notes about the instrumentation and style we hope to cast them in (order is not set yet):

Merciful to Me
A guitar-driven ballad featuring ac. guitar, piano (very light), kit on brushes, some percussion, soprano sax, and upright bass

Jesus, Our Mighty Lord (not published yet)
A strong (some might call it "heavy") rock song featuring el. guitar, ac. guitar, rock organ, kit, el. bass, etc.

O God the Holy Spirit
A piano-driven ballad that will be arranged by Bob Parsons in an orchestral style. The instrumentation isn't set yet but I'm sure it will feature a string section along with piano and orchestral percussion.

There Is No Greater Portrait
Another piano-driven/orchestral arrangement by Bob Parsons

Majestic Sweetness
This song will be unique (musically) as we'll be recording this with a live jazz combo. My heart's native musical language is classic jazz (I'm a sax player) and I've recently started my own jazz combo. This song was adapted into a nice free-form jazz ballad and I think you'll be musically stretched and hopefully pleased to hear some of Minneapolis' best jazz musicians interpreting this fantastic text.

Begone, Unbelief
This song will be cast in a bluegrass/country rock style featuring cc. guitar, el. guitar, el. bass, drum kit, fiddle, and piano

So I Will Come
The demo recording features piano, but we'll cast this into a acoustic guitar-plucking format possibly featuring upright bass, sax, percussion, and drums on brushes

O Happy Saints
This is an older song, and I've written a totally new arrangement of it that I hope to cast in a "black gospel" style. That might be hard to imagine if you listen to the demo, but I assure you that if it works it'll be really hip and catchy!

There Is No Sin that I Have Done
This beautiful song will be arranged as a guitar-driven ballad featuring the steel guitar or dobro

Jesus, Priceless Treasure
A very sparse piano-driven ballad featuring violin or cello

Glory Is Certain
We'll cast this in a Celtic or Irish jig feel, complete with whistle and 12 string guitar and upright bass

O Jesus
We'll set this as a straight-up pop tune, and may actually edit the chorus a bit. Sorry I can't be more specific than saying "pop!"

A couple of "bonus" tracks we might record:
See the Lord of Glory Dying - an unpublished hymn I wrote for choir
O Weary Saint - a beautiful tune written by classical composer John Ireland to Eric and my original lyrics

Dates


We are planning on beginning the recording process by making demo/scratch tracks in early May, then a few weeks later in June beginning the actual recording process. The album would then we mixed, edited, and mastered and probably be ready in early fall.

Needs/Requests


* If you support the songs and music we create, please pray for us. You can pray for humility and unity in the recording process, that Steve and I will work well together and grow in our friendship, and for a smooth coordination with the many musicians we'll involve, for God to use our work in the salvation of sinners, and for financial provision.
* Because of the complexity of the project it will come at a high cost (at least for us!). I'll be writing another post asking for donations, so look for that post soon and please consider helping us fund this project, to the glory of God!

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