I’ll be honest: This hymn intimidated me.
It’s such a big hymn and one that people know so well. I wasn’t sure how I would put my own stamp on it.
But the words “We’ll sing and we’ll shout” kept going through my mind over and over. It seemed ironic to me that the hymn is telling us to sing and shout, but we’re confining it to a four part choral arrangement in the hymnbook. I wanted to up it a notch, but was having difficulty figuring out how.
It finally hit me that there is only one kind of music that I know of where the faster you play it, the louder you play it, and the more you shout the words, the more spiritual it is.
I had a bluegrass band in college. We were called Teton Divide. It was me and three girls – Fay (bass), Gail (fiddle) and Diane (mandolin). They were amazing. I was the worst one in the group.
Side note – I grew up as the only boy with four sisters. So it was easy to see how those girls became my new sisters while I was at school. It truly felt like family.
So I reached inside and tried my best to come up with a way I could sing and shout and play the crap out of this song as loud as I possibly could, despite how weird it makes me look or out of tune it makes my voice. Whatever. I was literally out of breath at the end of the song. I did three takes. This is the second one. Sweat was dripping down my face and onto the guitar by the end of the third one.
Adding a kick drum also seemed natural to give it even more “umph”. I had never played a kick drum while playing the guitar before so the idea of doing it got me even more excited.
Ultimately, this song is a celebration song. For me, it’s been an opportunity to celebrate this last year and all the new friends I’ve made along the way. You guys are amazing.
I still can’t believe how much has happened in just a year. It makes me excited to see how much we can do in this next one.
Round two of Mormon Guitar. Here we go.