A New Soundtrack for the Psalms

Psalm songs vol 1_itunes image_FotorA few weeks ago I came across an album called Psalm Songs, Vol. 1, put out by The Corner Room, aka Adam Wright. I hear hundreds of albums each year and when one stands out, it’s obvious. Psalm Songs stands out.

These aren’t congregational songs, but Scripture songs, word for word from the English Standard Version. It’s really difficult to set longer Biblical passages to music without making it sound forced and un-musical. Adam and friends overcame those obstacles. Combining elements of bluegrass, new country, pop music, and folk, these songs are musically fresh, skillfully played, and a joy to listen to.

Adam and FamilyAfter listening to the album five times through, I wanted to find out more about the man behind the music. Adam came to know the saving grace of Christ in college, and now lives in Birmingham, AL with Jessica, his wife of almost ten years, and Nora Jane, their two year old daughter. They have another girl on the way. He’s been the chief musician at Cahaba Park Church (PCA) for 7 years and plans the liturgy each week, oversees the musicians and sound technicians, leads on Sundays, and writes and records original songs. Through Corner Room Music he also seeks to serve and resource other local churches. In other words, he’s a busy guy.

But he was kind enough to answer a few questions for me:

the Corner RoomWhere did the name “Corner Room Music” come from?
My church purchased a historic house and conference center to be our church home. I was graciously given two rooms in the corner of the house: one is an office and the other a recording studio (and the quietest room I’ve ever occupied). The Corner Room seemed a fitting title.

What’s the story behind the songs on this album? Are there any you were particularly affected by when you wrote them? 
In the spring of 2014, our senior pastor, Murray Lee, announced a 16 week summer sermon series on the Psalms. I began to think of ways to incorporate Psalm 1 into the different parts of the liturgy. The first week, I spent a few hours trying to set Psalm 1 to music. I read the passage continually, thinking about its character and style, a songwriting structure, melody, and chordal accompaniment. I eventually completed an arrangement that seemed “true” to the text – and I absolutely fell in love with the process.

The next Sunday, we played the song and then Murray preached a sermon on the text. It was powerful. After seeing people’s response, I committed to writing each week. By the end of the summer, I had set 13 Psalms to music. The following summer I wrote seven more, and I chose ten for Psalm Songs, Volume I.

Adam and Nora JaneGod has used this writing process in my own life. Most weeks I had memorized the passage before the worship service the following Sunday. Now, I pray them driving in the car, I sing them to my two year old as she falls asleep, and I use them to praise God in personal and corporate worship. These songs will always have a special place in my heart and continually draw my affections to the Lord.

How can people incorporate these songs in their services? 
Due to the complexity of the arrangements and vocal range, Psalm Songs weren’t written with congregational singing in focus. I actually tried to include one in our corporate singing and it fostered more of a spirit of confusion than worship! They’re definitely more beneficial when the congregation is listening to the Word being sung. But I would love for any of these to work corporately – I challenge someone to prove me wrong!

The musicianship on the album is superb. Who was involved?
I had never produced an album before and it was liberating to be able to take the reins and bring these songs to life. I was thankful to have Act of Congress bandmates Tim Carroll, Chris Griffin and Connie Skellie on several tracks – making music with them is absolutely a joy. Ricky Skaggs’ fiddler, Andy Leftwich and bass legend, Byron House also made significant contributions. Brian Murphy and Ashley Spurling, who have produced great hymn rewrites over the past decade through Red Mountain Music, were also a welcome addition. Jason Elgin of Synchromesh Studios mixed and mastered the album and did a beautiful job creating one cohesive sound from so many different styles.

What other kinds of music have you done or do you plan to do?
This summer/fall The Corner Room will be releasing a five song EP of hymn rewrites and original worship songs called “What Great Mystery.”  As with Psalm Songs, we’ll release the album with lead sheets and chord charts for use in other church worship services. I’ve also written songs for Act of Congress in the last ten years. If you’re a fan of acoustic groups like Nickel Creek, then this band might be for you.

How do I connect with The Corner Room? WebsiteInstagram, TwitterFacebook

How can I get this album? You can buy it at the Corner Room store, or download it from Amazon or iTunes

OR

BE ONE OF TEN PEOPLE TO WIN A FREE DOWNLOAD! Leave a comment on this post telling me what one of your favorite Psalms is in 50 words or less. I’ll pick five comment for originality and 5 at random. You have until Sunday night at midnight (approximately). I’ll announce the winners on Monday morning. UPDATE: I announced the winners here

I thank God for his gifts and am looking forward to seeing how he’s going to continue to use Adam Wright and Corner Room Music in the future to serve the broader church. In the mean time, here’s one of my favorites from Psalm Songs.

 

, , ,

74 Responses to A New Soundtrack for the Psalms

  1. Jonathan March 19, 2016 at 10:53 AM #

    While there are many Psalms I could choose from, I have always been drawn to David’s heart of repentance in Psalm 51. Despite of his great error, he acknowledges that the Lord alone can make him clean.

  2. David Koh March 19, 2016 at 11:44 AM #

    Psalm 43. When I read Psalm 42 and 43, I am constantly reminded of the admonition by Martyn Lloyd-Jones and John Piper to speak truth to your self and not just to let it speak to you, which has been a wonderful encouragement in times of fear and anxiety. And Psalm 43 reminds me to plead to God to send out his light and truth to lead me to him, “then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy”! Sandra McCracken also has a wonderful song on her Psalms album based on Psalm 43.

  3. wflores March 19, 2016 at 11:48 AM #

    Beautiful Psalm 23!! It’s difficult to name a favorite Psalm because every day a read the book Psalms there is a new favorite Scripture. We need, both in English and Spanish (my native Language), more songs from the book of Psalm. For today I choose Psalm 34, first verses says: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul makes its boast in the Lord; let the humble hear and be glad. Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together!”. From El Salvador in Central America.

  4. Cara Barbee March 19, 2016 at 12:45 PM #

    I just memorized Psalm 121, so that is my current favorite. However, I also love Psalm 1, because way, way back in the dark ages, the director of my youth group wrote a worship song using that Psalm as the lyrics. Later, I sang it to my babies as I rocked them, and now find myself instinctively singing it to my grandchildren, praying that they would indeed be ‘like trees planted by the water.’ I am also reading and praying through the Psalms in my quiet times, so the Psalms are a big part of my walk right now. Thank you for making this album!

  5. Michael March 19, 2016 at 12:46 PM #

    Psalm 145. It makes me exhilarated to be adopted as His son. The world paints him to be an evil dictator who damns the world, when He is really the loving source of all good. If He wasn’t committed to His glory then he would rob us of Himself. Now THAT would be evil!

  6. juliepiz March 19, 2016 at 1:13 PM #

    I love the Psalms more and more as I grow older. Psalm 84 is a favorite, because it articulates my soul’s longing for God and speaks of being on pilgrimage to Zion. I also love how personal it is. And it always amazes me when God’s name is associated, as in verse 8, with Jacob, formerly a liar and deceiver. Truly all is grace!

  7. Hannah March 19, 2016 at 3:00 PM #

    Psalm 116:8 (ESV)

    For you have delivered my soul from death,
    my eyes from tears,
    my feet from stumbling;
    I will walk before the Lord
    in the land of the living.

  8. Issa Haddad March 19, 2016 at 6:40 PM #

    Great music drawn from the Psalms. I love it!

  9. Michelle King (@mikingpd) March 19, 2016 at 10:19 PM #

    Psalm 113 – This Psalm of praise is also a confession of the many attributes of God. He is Eternal, Holy, Glorious, Judge, Sovereign, Merciful, worthy of praise.
    Also I’ve never had a child so vs. 9 reminds me that I have many spiritual children through ministry and service.

  10. Ron March 19, 2016 at 10:57 PM #

    O my. One of the SWEETEST albums I’ve heard. 10 of the Psalms – word for word ‘effortlessly’ crafted from the ESV. What at a fragrant offering to Him this would be wafting throughout our home. Beautifully arranged, deliciously blue grass flavored! Undoubtably pleasing to Him. I love this. Thank you Bob for directing us to this blessing.

    As father of 5 beautiful ‘arrows’, I had the recent opportunity to write a ‘challenge’ for my eldest, Robbie, as a graduating high school senior. It was meant to serve as our parental encouragement as he crosses this threshold of manhood. The Lord graciously led me to Psalm 25 to encourage him that David’s prayer be a personal prayer for his life. It served as the roadmap for us to inspire him to:

    1. trust in Him as his God
    2. seek Him for his chosen path
    3. be assured that The Lord is a merciful, always good Master
    4. continually fear Him through faithful confession of his sin – for God’s name sake
    5. in times of distress, look to Him alone for rescue
    6. through honesty and integrity, place his Hope in God

    … for He alone is The Ransom for His people!

  11. Bob March 19, 2016 at 11:55 PM #

    I’m going to say psalm 13 because it reminds me of the band Act of Congress. Adam has been writing and performing christian music in the secular world for over 10 years. Check out “Love Comes for free” http://youtu.be/-B-HOZyXBZA

  12. Jay Morris March 20, 2016 at 1:38 AM #

    Psalm 115 calls me to worship our great God,who does His will and gives purpose to my life and it’s trouble, for His sreadfast love and faithfulness- in comparison to the feebleness of false idols.

  13. Michael Snyder March 20, 2016 at 8:37 AM #

    Psalm 119. Won’t win this for originality but maybe randomly…

  14. Padma March 20, 2016 at 8:49 AM #

    My favourite psalm is Psalm 23.

    I have experiences every single word and verse from the Psalm.

    I have faced trials, tribulations, sickness to the point of death. I know what starvation means!

    Yet! In all I experiences goodness and mercy of the Lord following me. He kept me swelling in his house till date and believe that He will till the day I see him!!

    I love him and I continue to support that Lord is my Spepherd, I shall not want!!

  15. Brent Bodenhamer March 20, 2016 at 10:49 AM #

    Psalm 88 because that’s the way life is. Psalm 103 because that’s the way life is.

  16. Chris Youell March 20, 2016 at 1:02 PM #

    Psalm 8

    3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
    4 what is man that you are mindful of him,
    and the son of man that you care for him?

    Can’t help but worship The Mindful Creator!

  17. Luke March 20, 2016 at 3:51 PM #

    It never dawned on me before, but I recently learned (in Mark Jones’ book called Knowing Christ) that Christ Himself read the Psalms during His earthly ministry. Now when I read the Psalms, I remember that they were not only about Him, but He too found joy and comfort in reading them.

    This idea made many Psalms stand out all the more, especially Psalm 22. Here, Christ would learn of the the suffering He would bear, not only in the flesh, but the wrath of God as He took our place. He would learn of this, but then see the glory and victory that would ultimately be His after conquering death for his people. What an amazing Savior we have!

  18. Sydney March 20, 2016 at 4:43 PM #

    Psalm 67:
    Let the peoples praise You, God;
    let all the peoples praise You.
    Let the nations rejoice and shout for joy,
    for You judge the peoples with fairness
    and lead the nations on earth.
    Let the peoples praise You, God,
    let all the peoples praise You.

  19. Joanna Rose March 20, 2016 at 5:27 PM #

    I love all of Psalm 103 (Bless the Lord, O my soul!), but verses 8-10 speak deep comfort to my soul:

    8 The LORD is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love.
    9 He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever.
    10 He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities.
    11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him; – Psalm 103:8-11

  20. Lyndon March 20, 2016 at 8:11 PM #

    Psalm 119

  21. cindy sereda March 21, 2016 at 5:52 AM #

    Psalm 139: 13 and 14. On March 12 and March 17, we were blessed with a granddaughter and grandson. Our son and wife had a baby boy and our daughter and her husband had a baby girl. We have been blessed from God with five little miracles, 3 yrs old and under in the last few years!,, Miraculous are Your works…

  22. Nick Murray March 24, 2016 at 11:20 AM #

    Psalm 73. This was a gateway psalm for me. Through it, I discovered that the psalms were a gift from the Lord to us, giving us the words to properly express the conditions of our hearts back to Him.

  23. Saint Lewis May 17, 2016 at 1:03 AM #

    Only just recently discovered this a couple months ago for myself, & I should’ve figured you’d have already know about it. Such a BEAUTIFUL CD, & the Psalm arrangements work very well!

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress. Designed by Woo Themes