Derek Webb is at it again.

Remember back in ’06 when that dude went off the deep end and just started givin’ away his music? Yup – we got the entire Mockingbird album for as cheap as free. Webb is now involved in a similar gambit, and this time has several other artists along for the ride.

On, you can download Webb’s album The Ringing Bell for free by spamming telling three friends about the site. Or you can “pay what you want” – and let the downloading fun begin.

I found the site a month ago, when Webb’s album was available along with one or two other unknowns. When I checked today, however, it seems the download options have expanded to over 25 artists, including well-known artists like Sandra McCracken, Waterdeep, and Sixpence None the Richer.  Looks like fair trade music is catching on. Take a look.

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Modernizing Hymnody

I have thoroughly enjoyed the new renditions of old hymns from these folks.

Many times I have found the tune, beat, and the syncopation of days gone by in some songs a little awkward in the corporate gathering. The need to freshen up and make contemporary the old, powerful lyric of yesteryear has been great. I am thankful for tis project and listen to it regularly. It is mor than merely adding a nice drum beat and an electric guitar…

Stream three of their new songs from their forthcoming fourth album for free.

25 Free Christmas Season Songs

AmazonMP3 is giving away 25 free songs for Christmas. Good way to build your library. Has artists like Fleet Foxes, Sixpence None the Richer, Chris Isaak, Mercy Me…

Then Sings My Soul (Special Edition): A Book Review

Robert J. Morgan serves families and ministries well by a concise and broad-ranging history of 150 hymns particular to Easter, Christmas, and year-round favorites. This is a special edition that focuses on the holidays. Morgan also offers Then Sings My Soul, Volume 1 and Volume 2. For a complete listing of his books you can go to his Amazon page. The hymns are categorized by topic: Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving, Patriotic, and Other Favorites.

The format is easy to follow and will prove a helpful supplement to family worship or Sunday School classrooms. I would recommend you invest in a few copies for Sunday Schools or small group settings. If you meet weekly you have enough devotional material for three years! The full hymn is given on the left page with the right page giving the year and history of the hymn. The hymns are in the given style (using “Thee” and “Thou”)–which I personally like. Many times when language is updated the resonance with the congregation is lost or the substituted words do not capture the majesty communicated in the King’s English. {This is not to say, of course, that no updates to the language are helpful. I personally think “ox and lamb” is preferable to “ox and ass” since the latter can distract from engaging with the words.}

Further, by way of devotional use, each explanation given has a verse or two that is pertinent to the song. For those lacking direction and material to for devotions, this would be a good appetite whetter.

The true test came for me when I turned to “O Holy Night” (my favorite). I was helped by the history given for this hymn as it put humanity to the hymn. That is, it encouraged me that a hymn that has touched my devotional life so much was penned/translated by imperfect folk who I would probably disagree with on several theological issues (the translator, John Dwight, was a Unitarian). If you are looking for commentary on the actual hymn, you will not find that. The historical section is on the history of the author or transmission. This history, however, does serve to better understand authorial intent in the words of the hymns themselves.

I would commend this book for a cursory historical treatment of each of these hymns. Especially as the Christmas season is in full sway…and Easter is right around the corner.

{This review was done for BookSneeze}
I review for BookSneeze