A couple weeks ago, we bought the latest Indelible Grace album, V: Wake Thy Slumbering Children. You can listen to some of the songs here. Two songs stood out to me immediately from the album as microcosims of my musical tastes of late.
First, Matthew Perryman Jones’ version of “Abide with Me” might be the best I.Grace arrangement yet. Wow. It’s really hard to put a description of it into words. Go listen to it. Jones has one other song on the album, “Face to Face,” which fits his personal style of mellow, future-oriented songs filled with longing. He has probably overtaken Matthew Smith for my favourite Indelible Grace artist, though Smith has some good ones on the latest album as well, and I’m looking forward to seeing him in concert in Hampton, Virginia, in October. I have not yet bought Jones’ latest solo album, released just a couple weeks ago, but I hear it’s very well done. I honestly haven’t been able to stop listening to his previous album, Throwing Punches in the Dark (discussed here).
Second, this album confirmed Isaac Watts as easily my favourite hymn writer. Some of my favourites of his nearly 700 (700!!!!!) hymns include How Sweet and Awful is the Place, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Alas! And Did My Saviour Bleed, Our God Our Help in Ages Past, and many Psalms he arranged that we’ve been learning in our Sunday night hymn sing like ‘Tis by Thy Strength.
Andrew Osenga (another I.Grace favourite of mine, but who unfortunately only does one song per album) does a phenomenal version of Watts’ O Help My Unbelief (aka How Sad Our State By Nature Is), a hymn I never heard before. Though only three verses, it is a powerful testimony to the reality of sin, the power of God’s “sovereign grace” in overcoming it, and a prayer for continued grace and strength through Christ in the battle against sin.
How sad our state by nature is;
Our sin, how deep it stains!
And Satan binds our captive minds
Fast in his slavish chains.
But there’s a voice of sovereign grace,
Sounds from the sacred Word:
“O, ye despairing sinners come,
And trust upon the Lord.”
My soul obeys th’ almighty call
And runs to this relief.
I would believe Thy promise, Lord;
O help my unbelief!
To the dear fountain of Thy blood,
Incarnate God, I fly;
Here let my wash my spotted soul
From crimes of deepest dye.
Stretch out Thine arm, victorious King,
My reigning sins subdue;
Drive the old dragon from his seat,
With all his hellish crew.
A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
On thy kind arms I fall;
Be thou my strength and righteousness,
My Jesus, and my all.