REVIEW: CT & Becky Townsend – Hymns & Classics

Producer:  Van Atkins & Jeremy Medkiff
Label:  Independent Release

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I’ll be honest, as much as I love the hymns of the church, many times recordings filled with hymns tend to be slow and boring.  While this recording does feature a lot of slow hymns, it definitely is not boring!  I have come to love the music and style of CT & Becky Townsend and love the arrangements they have utilized for most of these classic and timeless songs.  They treat each one with respect that these timeless classics deserve, while still managing to give them a fresh sound.

The recording starts off with a bouncy rendition of the Cleavant Derricks’ classic, “WE’LL SOON BE DONE”.  Sounding like a Mike Speck arrangement, they weave through a chorus of “Just Over in the Gloryland” and “I’ve Never Been this Homesick Before” before they’re done and it’s a great start to this recording.

The tempo slows down for the dramatic, “THERE IS A RIVER”, which is my favorite performance on the recording.  CT does a tremendous job interpreting the lyrics of this classic song before moving on to the Gaither classic, “I BELIEVE IN A HILL CALLED MT. CALVARY”.

Next is a wonderful contemporary adaptation of the classic hymn, “OH LOVE, THAT WILL NOT LET ME GO”.  I’ve never heard this particular arrangement before, which features the same verses, but a new chorus and a slightly different tune than originally written.  CT sings the song exceptionally well and is a highlight of the recording and a very pleasant surprise; as it’s slightly different musically, for Townsend.

One of my all-time favorite hymns is “MY JESUS, I LOVE THEE” and I was thrilled to see it included on this recording.

Prior to the song, “IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL”, Townsend relays the heart-wrenching story behind the song and with renewed vigor, he and Becky sing the powerful lyric to the song and it truly is a highlight of the recording and a powerful moment, coupled with the story (prelude) at the beginning.

Becky steps up to sing the invitational favorite, “SOFTLY & TENDERLY” before the tempo picks back up for the big-band feel of “WHERE COULD I GO”.

The tempo slows back down for a dramatic rendition of “COME THOU FOUNT”, which features Becky along with the wonderful talents of Sisters.  Becky also does a tremendous job on the modern hymn, “POWER OF THE CROSS”, which is a highlight of the recording.

CT steps back up to sing the first verse of the Rusty Goodman classic, “WHO AM I” before he and Becky appropriately close things out with the “INVITATION MEDLY” featuring “Just as I Am”, “Lord, I’m Coming Home” and “Pass Me Not”.

This is a great collection of timeless songs.  This not just a thrown together hodgepodge of tired hymns, but, rather a collection of true masterpieces that still reaches the heart and soul of man.  In these days we live in, it’s nice to sit back and reflect on the truths that are found in these songs, delivered in CT and Becky’s inimitable and heartfelt style.

Track Listing:
(stars denote personal favorites)

We’ll Soon Be Done**
There is a River**
I Believe in a Hill Called Mt. Calvary
Oh Love that Will Not Let Me Go**
My Jesus, I Love Thee**
It is Well (prelude)
It is Well With my Soul**
Softly & Tenderly
Where Could I Go
Come Thou Fount
Power of the Cross**
Who am I
Invitation Medley**


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James Hales

James Hales, from Durham, North Carolina, has been a writer for since 2000. James is our featured reviewer and also contributes to monthly features periodically.
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