I know what you’re thinking… “I thought it was called A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief’?”
Pretty much anytime Mormons hear the word “Wayfaring” they immediately think of that other hymn.
Wayfaring Stranger is an old folk/gospel song that dates back to the same time as “A Poor Wayfaring Man of Grief.” Around the early 19th century.
So why did I choose this song?
I first covered this song with my bluegrass band Teton Divide back at Ricks College/BYU-Idaho. I was first introduced to Emmylou Harris’ version of this song. Her voice is like heaven on earth.
We ended up playing this at the California Bluegrass Association’s Fathers Day Festival in 2006. I remember afterwards a guy coming up to me and saying that when we first started, it stopped him dead in his tracks and he got emotional. Honestly, that’s how I feel when playing this song. It’s pretty emotional for me, in a manly emotional sort of way.
If you’ve ever been to one of my devotionals/firesides, you’ve heard my spiel on how I believe music is one of the clearest pieces of evidence we have of a spiritual language. It speaks to your soul because it is the language of the soul. It’s physics. It sounds the same across the world and across the universe. Music is found in all churches and religions for a reason. It allows us to communicate with each other and with God on a different level.
Right now, I feel like Mormon Guitar (yes, I’m keeping the name Mormon for now. You can email me directly with your disapproval) is my way of showing people of our faith that spiritual music is more than what is just found in our hymnbook. It crosses all religions. And just because this song is not in our hymnbook doesn’t make it any less spiritual.
Wayfaring Stranger is about a journey through life. It’s about the longing to be with our parents, our spiritual parents, our family. I’m at the point in my life now where it feels like I’m losing more family than I’m gaining. So if anything, this song really speaks to me on a spiritual level more than it ever has before.
I hope it speaks to you on a spiritual level as well.
I am a poor wayfaring stranger
While traveling through this world of woe
Now there’s no sickness, toil, or danger
In that bright world to which I go
I’m going there to see my Mother
She said she’ll meet me when I come
I’m only going over Jordan
I’m only going over home
I know dark clouds will gather ’round me
I know my way is rough and steep
But beauteous fields lie just before me
Where God’s redeemed, their vigils keep
I’m going there to see my Father
I’m going there no more to roam
I’m only going over Jordan
I’m only going over home
SIDE NOTE: You might notice that I’m playing a new guitar in this video. This guitar is something I’m very proud of. Last year a guitar company called BennVogel Guitars out of Chicago contacted me and wanted to collaborate on an artist signature guitar. They gave me free rein to design my perfect guitar from the ground up. This is it. This is the Ben Howington Signature Guitar by BennVogel Guitars. Yes, you can order your own. No, I don’t have ownership in the company or receive a commission, so I’m not trying to push this guitar to make money. I’m pushing it because I’m really proud of it. It’s all mahogany with the best of the best hardware and pickups. I love the way it sounds. I love the way it feels. I feel honored to have been able to create this guitar with them. They’re a great company that really understands the tonal impact of every piece of the guitar. And the end product is something else. You can learn more about BennVogel Guitars at https://bennvogel.com/.
Now onto the video:
Eric V. AndersonPosted at 14:31h, 30 May
Loved, loved, loved this, Ben. Thank you for introducing me to this song and for giving members of our religious community a taste of sacred music outside of what we normally hear and experience. It’s so clear from the way you play this song that it feeds your soul.
Ben HowingtonPosted at 14:36h, 30 May
Thank you, Eric! That really means a lot to me. Truly.
Zann AndersonPosted at 15:24h, 30 May
This is fantastic and your new guitar sounds great. Wish I could afford one! ;) Johnny Cash does a great version of this song on American III. I’m sure you’ve heard it but if you haven’t, check it out. Thanks as always for sharing your talents and testimony!
Ben HowingtonPosted at 16:07h, 31 May
I love Johnny Cash’s version! So, so great. Thanks for the kind words!
AaronPosted at 09:03h, 01 June
Awesome Ben, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve replayed this song. It speaks to my soul too! Keep ‘em coming.
MarkPosted at 15:42h, 03 June
Your music is amazing! I’m grateful that I came across this website. Keep up the good work! I can’t wait for the next song.
Dan BradfieldPosted at 09:37h, 14 June
To me this is your best effort to date. Superb! Normally I’m partial to acoustic, but in this one I loved the electric. I have my own acoustic version of this song, that I perform, but I think I will have to incorporate a few elements of what your doing with it. Awesome!
Ryan StewartPosted at 22:00h, 23 February
Ok, 1. Love the beard,
2. I’ve listened to your music for a few years and have always loved how you play. I can feel the spirit and see the emotion you put into your performance. Keep it up. you are an inspiration to me and make me want to get better at guitar/music in general.
MarekPosted at 15:09h, 21 August
Is there any way to listen to these songs on Spotify?