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.
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.
Until Friday, October 29th, you can enter to win the giveaway from Mabel's Labels!