Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Hymnody Review: Getty Music


Getty, Keith and Kristyn Getty. The Greengrass Session: Six Hymns from the Old World and the New Limited Edition EP. Nashville: Getty Music Label LLC, 2014. Audio CD. $10.00. (H)

The latest album from Keith and Kristyn Getty is an EP, an Extended Play recording too long to be a "single," yet too short (29:05) to be considered a full studio album (what we used to call an "LP"). It is well worth your time to listen to these seven tracks.


The GreenGrass Session
Keith & Kristyn Getty (2014)

Brand new, limited edition EP from Keith and Kristyn Getty featuring

·  My Worth Is Not in What I Own – the new hymn written by Keith and Kristyn and Graham Kendrick

·  Good Shepherd of My Soul – a warm and moving a'capella rendition of one of Keith and Kristyn's newer songs

·  Come Ye Sinners – a musical journey from Ireland to Appalachia envelopes the traditional hymn

·  Plus 3 more brand new recordings!
BONUS!  Lobby Jam – a toe-tappin', foot-stompin', hand-clappin' instrumental featuring the Getty's band of Irish and bluegrass virtuosos

This limited edition EP is only available from Getty Music. 

Album Listings


  1. Come Ye Sinners (with Musical Priest)
  2. My Worth Is Not in What I Own
  3. Lift High the Name of Jesus (with The Legend of Saints and Snakes)
  4. Good Shepherd of My Soul
  5. Arkansas Traveler (with All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name)
  6. O for a Closer Walk with God
  7. Lobby Jam

(Getty Music website)

The "Lobby Jam" is just plain fun, not unlike local bluegrass sessions here in the Sheridan and Buffalo, WY area.

We first heard "Good Shepherd of My Soul" (track 4) earlier in the year ( I shared it with my congregation as a solo back in May. The a capella version here is beautiful, memorable, winsome, and imitable. 

Note the name of Irish and American musical influences on this recording. Track 5 indicates that "Arkansas Traveler" is used as incidental session music for interludes between stanzas on "All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name." Perhaps, to keep consistent with the format of tracks one and three it should have been written as "5. All Hail the Power of Jesus' Name (with Arkansas Traveler)". I can appreciate the benefit of the musical affect and like the track, yet I was reminded that I probably sang "I'm bringing home a baby bumble bee" to the Arkansas Traveler tune too many times at summer camp.

"O for a Closer Walk with God" deserves a little more study. The William Cowper hymn with that title was adapted by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend. The original:

O for a closer walk with God,
A calm and heavenly frame,
A light to shine upon the road
That leads me to the Lamb!

Where is the blessedness I knew,
When first I saw the Lord?
Where is the soul refreshing view
Of Jesus and His Word?

What peaceful hours I once enjoyed!
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void
The world can never fill.

Return, O holy Dove, return,
Sweet messenger of rest!
I hate the sins that made Thee mourn
And drove Thee from my breast.

The dearest idol I have known,
Whate'er that idol be
Help me to tear it from Thy throne,
And worship only Thee.

So shall my walk be close with God,
Calm and serene my frame;
So purer light shall mark the road
That leads me to the Lamb.

The adaptation on this recording (italics mine): 

O for a closer walk with God
A calm and heavenly frame
A light to shine upon the road
Leading to the Lamb

Where is the blessedness I knew
When once I saw the Lord
Where is the soul refreshing view
Living in His Word

O fire of God come burn in me
Renew a holy passion
Til Christ my deepest longing be
My never-failing fountain
My never-failing fountain

A light to be my guide
The Father's presence at my side
In Your will my rest I find
O for a closer walk with God - leading to the Lamb


So shall my walk be close with God
With all the hopes made new
So purer light shall mark the road
Leading to the Lamb

William Cowper (1731-1800); Adaptation, new words & music by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend; © 2009 Thankyou Music (PRS) (adm. worldwide at excl. Europe which is adm. by

I can appreciate when older hymns are renewed with the addition of a refrain and when unclear archaic language is clarified and refeshed for comprehension's sake. The more significant revision here is the additional five lines that are used as a repeated refrain. The reference to the Holy Spirit in the original is as "dove," while here it is "fire of God." That is less clear textually, yet likely more clear idiomatically to American Evangelicals and pentecostals. Would I use the hymn as it stands? Possibly. Maybe not. I'd want to run it by my brother pastors in our circuit conference (winkel) before I would. This text is stronger than another Getty/Townend collaboration, "Holy Spirit," which raises concerns in its first phrase, "Holy Spirit, living Breath of God, breathe new life into my willing soul," something that could be made more like Psalm 51 by changing "willing" to "sinful." "O For a Closer Walk" appropriately connects the work of the Holy Spirit within us to God's Word. In His Word, God has promised to work through means, Word and Sacrament.






"Come Ye Sinners," while recognizable to some Lutherans, does not appear in Lutheran Service Book. It has appeared in a few American Lutheran hymnals, but revivalistic connotations in particular have made another text preferable in our church body:

"Jesus Sinners Doth Receive"
by Erdmann Neumeister, 1671-1756

1. Jesus sinners doth receive;
Oh, may all this saying ponder
Who in sin's delusions live
And from God and heaven wander!
Here is hope for all who grieve--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

2. We deserve but grief and shame,
Yet His words, rich grace revealing,
Pardon, peace, and life proclaim.
Here their ills have perfect healing
Who with humble hearts believe--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

3. Sheep that from the fold did stray
No true shepherd e'er forsaketh:
Weary souls that lost their way
Christ, the Shepherd, gently taketh
In His arms that they may live--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

4. Come, ye sinners, one and all,
Come, accept His invitation;
Come, obey His gracious call,
Come and take His free salvation!
Firmly in these words believe:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

5. I, a sinner, come to Thee
With a penitent confession;
Savior, mercy show to me
Grant for all my sins remission.
Let these words my soul relieve:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

6. Oh, how blest it is to know;
Were as scarlet my transgression,
It shall be as white as snow
By Thy blood and bitter Passion:
For these words I now believe:
Jesus sinners doth receive.

7. Now my conscience is at peace,
From the Law I stand acquitted;
Christ hath purchased my release
And my every sin remitted.
Naught remains my soul to grieve,--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

8. Jesus sinners doth receive.
Also I have been forgiven;
And when I this earth must leave,
I shall find an open heaven.
Dying, still to Him I cleave--
Jesus sinners doth receive.

Hymn #324
The Lutheran Hymnal
Text: Luke 15:2
Author: Erdmann Neumeister, 1718
Translated by: composite
Titled: "Jesus nimmt die Suender an"
Tune: "Meinen Jesum lass' ich nicht"
1st Published in: Neuverfertigtes Gesangbuch
Town: Darmstadt, 1699

"Come Ye Sinners" and "Lift High the Name of Jesus" are paired with reels, folk music closely tied to Irish dance. "Musical Priest" is rather well known, even in America. Like "Lift High," "The Legend of Saints and Snakes" is a new musical composition, the title being a reference to the missionary activity of St. Patrick in Ireland. "Lift High the Name of Jesus" was also on the Getty's Live at the Gospel Coalition album. This take is fresh and lively.

Finally, "My Worth Is Not in What I Own,"  a collaboration with Graham Kendrick of "Shine, Jesus, Shine" fame. I've never been a fan of the latter, but I am of the former, this new hymn, because we continually rejoice in the cross of Christ. There are allusions to Isaiah 40, Galatians 6:14, and John 4:14. I look forward to sharing this one with my congregation soon, perhaps at Thanksgiving Eve Divine Service.

My Worth Is Not in What I Own
My worth is not in what I own
Not in the strength of flesh and bone
But in the costly wounds of love
At the cross

My worth is not in skill or name
In win or lose, in pride or shame
But in the blood of Christ that flowed
At the cross

I rejoice in my Redeemer
Greatest Treasure,
Wellspring of my soul
I will trust in Him, no other.
My soul is satisfied in Him alone.

As summer flowers we fade and die
Fame, youth and beauty hurry by
But life eternal calls to us
At the cross

I will not boast in wealth or might
Or human wisdom's fleeting light
But I will boast in knowing Christ
At the cross


Two wonders here that I confess
My worth and my unworthiness
My value fixed - my ransom paid
At the cross


By Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Graham Kendrick
© 2014 Getty Music Publishing and Make Way Music (admin by

The YouTube video was filmed at Mussenden Temple in Northern Ireland.

I commend the Gettys and their friends for a recording that successfully meets their goal of a GreenGrass session, "so named for the combination of Irish and bluegrass songs and musicians that come 'round" (album back cover).

The Rev. Paul J Cain is Pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Sheridan, Wyoming, Headmaster of Martin Luther Grammar School, Yellowstone Circuit Visitor (LCMS Wyoming District), a permanent member of the Board of Directors of The Consortium for Classical and Lutheran Education, Wyoming District Worship Chairman, and Editor of QBR.

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