George, Nathan Clark. Rise in the Darkness. Westpoint, TN: NCG, 2006. Audio CD. $10.95. http://www.nathanclarkgeorge.com/ (H)
Wilbur, Gregory, composer. John M. Duncan, Executive Producer. Recorded by Keith Compton. (Guitar and some vocals by Nathan Clark George.) My Cry Ascends: New Parish Psalms. Lake Mary, FL/Franklin, TN: Ligonier Ministries, 2010. Audio CD. $11.95. http://www.ligonier.org/ http://www.newparishpsalms.com/ http://www.nathanclarkgeorge.com/ (H)
I am a guitarist. It was my first musical instrument.
To say that the guitar has not always been "at home" in the Church is an understatement.
I have appreciated the musicianship of Nathan Clark George. He helps show a godly way forward in the use of acoustic guitar.
This first album highlights NCG (see the self-titled record label above) as a songwriter. Let me rephrase that: this recording shows George's skill as an interpreter of Scripture and of composing melodies and arrangements that fit the text.
Writing from the Scriptures poses some pitfalls. How are the passages to be represented? How should they sound? What response should the music and lyrics elicit? I have found that even the phrasing and musical ebbs and flows have bearing on interpretation, and so I try to be careful. Sometimes I am slow in writing and composing, but at other times I have a deadline and the song needs to be written. In some ways I prefer this because I am forced to move quickly through the process of editing, adding, subtracting, tossing, and settling. Art is a little inspiration, but a lot of work. God doesn't "give" me songs. I search, wonder, fight and grab for them. Even if one is started and done in 30 minutes-it's never right. I'm never satisfied-they never seem to grasp the majesty and mystery that surrounds my Lord. (liner notes)As a composer, I appreciate this humble perspective. And I also share what he says next:
I'm seldom nervous before a concert. I'm almost always nervous before I am to sing in worship-no matter how small or large the congregation. I am often singing a Psalm in worship...Touching and handling the Word of God is and should be a fearful thing. Yet, we preachers and musicians need the same comfort of the Gospel that we sing and preach!