Monday, October 25, 2010

you may rescue, you may save

My dearest blog readers, today I'm going to tell you about something really awesome. For over a week I've been trying to think of a clever way to introduce this topic to you, and nothing has felt right until just now when I realized that what I need to do is to simply tell you the story of how I came to know and love The Lower Lights (yes, that The Lower Lights).


Years ago, I met Scott and Sarah Wiley. Instantly, I was enamored with both of them, as individuals and as a couple. I felt (and still feel) I can learn a lot from Sarah, and luckily, I have. She taught me in her kitchen on 3rd East about fondue. Each time I see her I learn about grace and beauty and intelligence and loving, caring parenting. And Scott is cool and funny and fun to be around, too. And he's a musician, living a life of both music and faith which, if I'm being completely honest, in my growing up years I didn't think was even a possible thing to do. Plus he likes the 10,000 Maniacs, and they're from Jamestown, like me, so, you know. (I don't know where I was going with that thought.)

Scott is a record producer (Record? What year is it? How old am I?) and it's been one of my aspirations to sing with/for him. (Backup. I'd like to sing Backup.) So last year when I heard about this project to bring together local artists to create an album of hymns, my heart ached to be a part of it. Such was not my fortune, but I still couldn't wait to hear the result of this project.

I waited. And waited. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand waited.

When I finally got to hear it, my reaction was: "How refreshing." It reminded me of when I first heard Norah Jones -- that sense of experiencing a new sound, allowing you to put away, even if temporarily, your favorite go-to music, just so you can immerse yourself in what is certain to be classically enjoyable to you for a long, long time.

Music from The Lower Lights might not be considered a New Sound per se, because it's got that old-timey feel (think "O Brother Where Art Thou"), but it's certainly New as it pertains, specifically, to LDS Hymns. Also refreshing is that The Lower Lights includes hymns that might not be a part of your everyday hymn repertoire (you have one, don't you?).

As an aside (have I made this post enough about me? Yeesh.), I love hymns, I love their messages. I like listening to the Tabernacle Choir. But I haven't enjoyed the alternative options available when it comes to Sunday Listening. (Excepting Scott's other productions.) The Lower Lights has changed all this for me, and for my family. We listen to this CD while getting ready for church on Sundays, as well as all Sunday afternoon and evening, and it's requested throughout the week. We really, really love this music.

Secret Prayer from The Lower Lights on Vimeo.


I heartily recommend this music to anyone - ANYONE - and I think now is the perfect time for you to pick up one of these CDs. Lean closer and I'll tell you a li'l secret: the musicians in this band all have their own careers, their own lives, independent of this project. Yes, that's right. This is a labor of love, and when they perform their firesides, it's for free. I'd love to see more of this music made, which is why I'll be purchasing this CD as a Christmas gift for several people (pretend to be surprised when you open it, okay?). Yes, it's almost November, which means it's practically Christmas, and you should get this CD for yourself, and for people you know, as the perfect gift.


Speaking of having more of this music made, tell me in the comments section a hymn/spiritual/song of worship that you'd like to see on a future compilation (I'm penciling in the band to make another album, I'm sure they can't wait for me to tell them about it). I'm partial to "Lead Kindly, Light," and look forward to singing the harmonies in my kitchen, with my kids, like we do. And, hey, I'll even pick three winners from the comments (by, say, next Tuesday-ish), and Scott will send them each a CD. I told you he was a cool guy.




*****
Don't forget!
Until Friday, October 29th, you can enter to win the giveaway from Mabel's Labels!

38 comments:

Emily said...

CD has been purchased as of 1 minute ago. Can't wait! I honestly haven't listened to hymns other than the Mormon Tabernacle Choir during General Conference and at Christmas time (and the hymns in church). I too haven't been super impressed with the options. Perhaps it's due to the Afterglow burnout during college...

Can't wait to get my CD and I'm sure I'll be buying more! (Of course I'd love to win one too!)

Emily said...

Oh, and I forgot to say the hymns I'd love to hear: Lead, Kindly Light (like you!) plus Each Life That Touches Ours for Good and All Creatures of our God and King.

Naomi Miles said...

Lead Kindly Light is a firm favourite of mine, we sand it on Sunday at stake conference... it never fails to bring a tear to my eye! I would love to hear The Lower Lights sing Precious Saviour, Dear Redeemer and Rock of Ages.

Suzanne said...

um..ha..my first thought was "There is a Green Hill Far Away" then I checked the track listing and it's already there!! I think someone needs to put this in my pre-Christmas stocking!!
Another one I'd love to hear their rendition of..A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief..shivers just typing it!
I'm crossing my fingers for a win, if not, totally buying it!

La Yen said...

When I first heard this album I didn't enjoy it as much as the rest of his catalog. I thought it was too modal. But it has grown on me like a contagious fungus of awesome hymns.

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. And how bout We Thank the O God for a Prophet?

eliana23 said...

Oooh, a good cd? Just what I need. I love REDEEMER OF ISRAEL unless it is too slow at church so I'd love to hear that one.

Kim said...

I love I Need Thee Every Hour. Always gets me!

Christi said...

I'm fessing up. Being from not where you are, I had never heard of these people. And I have to say that I was (very) skeptical...

But I'm sold. They are fantastic!I WOULD LOVE one of those CDs.

And for future reference... I would like to hear their take on "There is a Green Hill Far Away", "Watchman, Tell Us of the Night" by Bowring, "Mary's Lullaby," or "The Shepherds' Carol."

Mrs. Organic said...

Please - Down to the River to Pray and Praise to the Man (and can they somehow work in some bagpipes?)

I've been looking for new Sunday music and this is just the thing!

cspokey said...

I'd love to hear "Guide Us, Oh Thou Great Jehovah". It is one of my favorites.

roxanne said...

Thank you for telling us about this! I was just whining to my husband the other day about there not being enough good church music that you can listen to all the time (not just on Sundays) and we were searching online for stuff. We don't live near a Deseret Book or anything, so it is hard to want to take the risk of buying an album without hearing it first.

I was convinced when you said it reminded you of when you first hear Norah Jones. I had the same experience with her music.

I love this! I would love to hear "I Need Thee Every Hour" on the next album, please!

Tara said...

Rock of Ages has always been a favorite - i know that they could rock it!

Fig said...

"Lead, Kindly Light" is a favorite of mine that I think The Lower Lights would rock, as are "All Creatures of Our God and King" and "Rock of Ages" (all already mentioned).

I would also love them to do "Be Still My Soul" and "Know This, That Every Soul is Free".

And I already have this album, and am planning to buy more for Christmas gifts. It's beautiful.

Jen said...

I was so bummed when I couldn't make it to their cjane concert! This would be awesome to win 'cause I could have my own little "concert" right in my living room!

I think a Christmas album by them would be FANTASTIC!

The redhead said...

I'd love to see Nearer My God to Thee.

And I keep meaning to buy their CD, but keep letting clothes shopping taking precedence. Where are my priorites?!

cw said...

Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing
Be Still My Soul
More Holiness Give Me

p.s. I hope I win. My music man son who became a missionary left on his mission without a single note of music. His new mission president (who, incidentally told his missionaries he has rather eclectic taste in music and even liked a little Eminem now and then--mostly "then" I'm sure) has not restricted their listening to MoTab only. I'll bet he'd approve of this.

Hailey said...

I was in Scott's studio when he was mixing some of the songs and it sounded AWESOME. I definitely want to hear more!

Queen Scarlett said...

I think I might need this CD after your review of it. ;-)

I love - How Great Thou Art

I know I'm the minority in this, but also love If You Could Hie To Kolob

And... my fav Christmas one: Far Far Away on Judea's Plains

LOVE the primary song: I wonder when he comes again

amyraye said...

i will be purchasing this CD after i make this comment.

LORD, I WOULD FOLLOW THEE is one that hasn't been mentioned yet.

lisa said...

I love "If You Could Hie To Kolob" too. And "Amazing Grace". And "Tis A Gift".

Ummm...yeah,and about ten others...

And I loved the album. Lovely.

Grandma Honey said...

I'm impressed. No wonder you were raving about this group. They are GOOD.

Vern said...

Asking me to pick a favorite is like asking me which Ben & Jerry's flavor is the best. You can't really go wrong.

Monica said...

Seeing as how we are closely related I am hoping to be one of the Christmas gift recipients. However, if I happened to win then it would save you money in the long run...

That being said "let the holy spirit guide" and "come unto him" are two family favorites.

My kids and I have been listening to these videos over and over and over by the way. I love it.

Natalie said...

When I first heard snippets and promo for this CD, I was wishfully thinking that they would consider doing a Christmas collection.
Some have already mentioned such fantasic suggestions. My mother always loved to hear Nearer My God to Thee. (Redhead already requested.) I would add Farther Along, Rosewood Casket, Calling My Children Home, Daddy's Hands. When We're Gone, Long Gone, Blessed Assurance, Softly and Tenderly, and In the Garden. Okay I have to stop now. Those are some that aren't LDS, but are possible standards like This Little Light of Mine.

Happy Harrison said...

I'd love to have this CD. I'm always looking for music to CALM MY HOUSE DOWN. This would be perfect!

Happy Harrison said...

oh, and my vote for future track...Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. My all time favorite hymn.

Steph said...

OMG! I love them. That song... soooo good!

Hilary said...

I've seen them on a few blogs -- I will have to try them out!

Shawnie said...

Oh this is delightful. Great suggestion. Christmas just got EASIER!!!

Melody said...

SOLD! to the woman with the lap-top and hymnal- writing this comment from her bed on a Sunday morning. Great idea - Christmas gift CD. I'm buyin' it. (Have they recorded "For the Beauty of the Earth" yet?)

And I vote for that Happy Harrison girl to win the give-a-way.

Melody said...

Just checked out the website . .. yes, they recorded For the Beauty of the Earth. How nice for me, my wish is granted. .. or perhaps, prayer is answered :)

Kalli Ko said...

yes please, I'm on the "come thou fount" bandwagon

can't wait to get my hands on this cd

Emily W. said...

I think All Creature of Our God and King would be wonderful. Also I Need Thee Every Hour is one of my favorites. This is going to several friends as gifts so I would love to have you help my wallet out!

Valerie said...

My new addiction is the Lower Lights album (can't wait to own one!) It leaves me feeling so uplifted and happy and peaceful. Thank you to all who are involved with creating this. I can't wait for more! As others have mentioned a Christmas album would be lovely. How Great Thou Art and Be Still My Soul would be a couple of songs I would like to hear, but honestly anything they do will be greatly anticipated and enjoyed!

Emily said...

I'd like to hear Amazing Grace, Abide with me, and I Stand All Amazed.

Lesa @ music notes said...

'Come follow me' would be a great song!

~j. said...

Thanks, Everyone, for your comments. The winners of the cd giveaway have been chosen, but I'd love to hear more of what you have to say, and what you'd like to hear.

Jennifer said...

I just purchased the CD, and I can't stop listening to it! Their version of Swing Low Sweet Chariot is perfection. I also agree that they'd do an amazing Christmas album.

Some hymns I'd love to hear them do: Battle Hymn of the Republic, Amazing Grace, Go tell it on the mountain, Oh happy day, Michael row your boat ashore, America the Beautiful, Gift to be Simple.