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REVIEW: Fanny Crosby: Newly Discovered Hymns & Songs

Producer: Wayne Haun
Record Label: StowTown Records
Website: www.stowtownrecords.com

For every soul who has stood in the midst of a congregation singing, “This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long;” for every heart that has held to, “Redeemed, redeemed, His child and forever I am,” there is rejoicing over StowTown Records’ latest release, Fanny Crosby: Newly Discovered Hymns and Songs.

America’s “Hymn Queen,” Francis Jane Crosby, is noted to be the song crafter behind over 8,000 hymns and songs of the faith, including “Blessed Assurance,” “To God Be The Glory,” “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior,” and more. Though she reached Heaven’s heights of joy in 1915, the Church has now been graced with 15 brand-new, never-before-heard hymns and gospel songs at the pen of Ms. Crosby.

Some time after Stephen Kelley uncovered a monumental collection of unfinished works by Fanny herself, Wayne Haun and the team at StowTown gathered some of gospel music’s leading songwriters—Lee Black, Jim Brady, Melissa Brady, Jeff Bumgardner, Carolyn Cross, Val Dacus, Randall Garland, Wayne Haun, Marcia Henry, Scott Inman, Joel Lindsey, Tim Lovelace, Rachel McCutcheon, Don Poythress, Sue C. Smith, Dianne Wilkinson and Tony Wood—to finish constructing a full album’s worth of these precious treasures. Today, these songs are presented to the public by 15 of the top artists in inspirational, blue grass, and southern gospel music on this groundbreaking project, Fanny Crosby: Newly Discovered Hymns and Songs.

As a piece of true homage to the work of Ms. Crosby, the opening track, “Shout Hosanna”, commences the album with a resounding vocal arrangement by Ernie Haas & Signature Sound, accompanied by only an organ—the instrument with which a great deal of Crosby’s early work was composed. Following the triumphant four-part power chord at the close of “Shout Hosanna,” “I Know the Sweet Voice of the Shepard,” kicks off with a beautifully tranquil, yet equally triumphant Celtic-style orchestration, setting the stage for the solid harmony and heartfelt vocals of Legacy Five, as they sing, “I know His sweet voice, who laid down His life for His sheep / He never will leave or forsake me, and close to His side I will keep.”

Beside the Cross” presents a brand-new sound, with the beautiful bluegrass stylings of Sally Berry, Lizzy Long, and Rhonda Vincent. The world becomes still as “Beside the Cross” gracefully drifts into Track 4. Charles Billingsley—joined by the glorious harmony of AGM’s Female Group of the Year, Sisters—gently carries the listener into a deep place of worship, giving endless praise to the “God of This Moment and God Evermore.” Track 5 then takes a heart of worship into a vulnerable place of prayer, as the voice of Jason Crabb sings, “Hold Me Up.” Featuring harmonies by Amber Nelon Thompson and Darla McFadden, “Hold Me Up” sings the soul of anyone who has ever found themselves without strength, and fully reliant on the grace of God. Like “God of This Moment and God Evermore,” this song also showcases a beautifully arranged musical accompaniment.

Track 6 comes in like a roll of thunder as Triumphant flawlessly declares the praises of God a cappella with “The Isles of the Deep;” and as The Erwins angelically present “Calmly Resting in the Lord” with tight family harmony, the listener begins to realize what a vast array of styles this album covers.

The pure southern gospel soul song, “Be Still” comes in at Track 8, and is interpreted so naturally by the Whisnants, that it sounds as though it was written specifically for them. The following track takes this thought to the next level, leading one to wonder if God didn’t personally lead Fanny Crosby to put down the pen on “Not In My Strength” so that 100 years later, the Booth Brothers would be the first to present it to the world. With its impeccable orchestration and desperately worshipful vocals, the power of this song is evident from the first note to the last. “Not in the might of failing flesh, and not in my own righteousness / Not in my strength, but Thine alone, I carry on.” This song is a must-listen. A perfect follow-up to “Not In My Strength,” is “I Know That Jesus Loves Me,” gorgeously offered by The Collingsworth Family. Truthfully, Tracks 9 through 11 all display the kind of awe-striking orchestration that one would pay top ticket prices to hear in the theater. The Jim Brady Trio perfectly fit this feel with their powerful storytelling on their Track 11 ballad, “Jesus.”

The Perrys then take over with some more classic southern gospel, energetic and effortless as they sing “In Another Hour Of Song” as if they have been singing it every night for years. Consecutively, Track 13 turns powerhouse group, The Guardians, loose on the declarative anthem, “My Soul Shall Trust In Thee.”

Expertly delivered by The Mylon Hayes Family, the album comes to a close with “A Crown Of Life,” which is just preceded by the most tender moment of the record, “His Love Will Shelter Me.” This song, without a doubt, sings the story of the very testimony of Fanny Crosby’s life. Tim Lovelace, Morgan Easter Smith, and Jeff & Sheri Easter delicately bring the listener along Ms. Crosby’s journey, pointing only to the One in whom she had placed her trust.

Fanny Crosby: Newly Discovered Hymns and Songs is a necessity for every Christian’s music collection. Not only does it contain pieces of beautifully preserved history, but it reflects an outpouring of the work of many, many hands—over the span of a century—to offer the world an eternally relevant testimony of excellence for the glory of God.

Fanny Crosby: Newly Discovered Hymns and Songs is available at your local Christian retailer and on iTunes, Amazon, and other digital outlets as well as Christian Book Distributers.

Track Listing: 

Shout Hosanna (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound)
I Know The Sweet Voice Of The Shepherd (Legacy Five)
Beside The Cross (Lizzy Long, Rhonda Vincent, Sally Berry)
God Of This Mountain (Charles Billingsley & Sisters)
old Me Up (Amber Nelon Thompson, Darla McFadden, Jason Crabb)
The Isles Of The Deep (Triumphant)
Calmly Resting In The Lord (The Erwins)
Be Still (The Whisnants)
Not In My Strength (Booth Brothers)
I Know That Jesus Loves Me (Collingsworth Family)
Jesus (Jim Brady Trio)
In Another Hour Of Song (The Perrys)
My Soul Shall Trust In Thee (The Guardians)
His Love Will Shelter Me (Jeff & Sheri Easter & Tim Lovelac)
A Crown Of Life (Mylon Hayes Family)

READER RATING:

[Total: 8    Average: 4/5]
Rachel Lynn
Staff Writer/Reviewer at Absolutely Gospel
Rachel Lynn Sancricca is a national speaker, singer, and songwriter, using her multi-faceted ministry to spread the joy of the Gospel of Jesus. Founder of the up-and-coming trio, Master's Promise, she has spent the past 6 years (and counting) traveling across the country on a mission to edify the Church, and lead souls to the cross through powerful worship and testimony. With numerous song cuts on nationally released albums, several of which hitting the Top 100 on Southern Gospel radio, the horizons of her songwriting continue to expand, as she gives glory to God for allowing the message of Hope in Jesus to spread through her music. Her prayer is that in every word spoken, every phrase written, and every song sung, the Name Above All Names would be clearly heard and lifted high, and all people would be drawn into a deeper, closer, richer relationship with this wonderful Jesus.

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