Today is the official release date for Together for the Gospel Live II, the follow-up album to Together for the Gospel Live that came out in 2008. This new album contains 16 hymns, old and new, that we sang at the 2010 and 2012 Together for the Gospel conference in Louisville, KY.
Together for the Gospel emerged out of the relationships between four men: Mark Dever, Al Mohler, Ligon Duncan, and C.J. Mahaney. They found their experience of fellowship in and around the gospel so rich and encouraging they wanted to share it with others. So every other year, along with a few other speakers, they gather with thousands of mostly pastors, and seek to explore, revel in, and apply the riches of the gospel in teaching and song.
Like most of you, I’m used to singing hymns and modern songs accompanied by drums, bass, guitar, and keys. If your church’s music is more traditional, your singing might be accompanied by a piano, organ, and orchestra. Both settings can be used to amplify, complement, and support the truths we’re proclaiming.
At Together for the Gospel, we leave the band at home and I just lead from a piano. No pulsating drums, crashing cymbals, sonic synth textures, or loops (although I appreciate and use all of them in other contexts). The simplicity of the instrumentation combined with the depth of thousands of mostly men’s voices has a unique effect. Truth sings.
Most people are unaware that music almost wasn’t a part of Together for the Gospel because of the possibly divisive effect. The people who attend Together for the Gospel are a diverse group, musically speaking, and there’s always the potential to offend someone. Singing these hymns with simple accompaniment enables us to express and encourage our unity in the gospel rather than undermine it. And for that, I’m very grateful.
This isn’t the most musically creative album you’ll ever listen to. It’s not the most sonically advanced recording you’ll ever buy. Together for the Gospel Live II definitely doesn’t feature a lead vocalist that will “wow” you.
What this album does feature is profoundly rich biblical gospel truths, passionately sung by individuals who have been saved and transformed by Jesus Christ. The lyrics and melodies wash over you, feeding your soul, inviting you to join in. Which is exactly what a “worship album” is meant to do.
Here are a few things that make this album different from the first Together for the Gospel Live album:
1. 16 new hymns. New and old, familiar and unfamiliar, all pointing our minds and affections to the glory of Christ in the gospel.
2. Better sound quality. With more people we were able to capture a fuller congregational sound with fewer extraneous noises. Also, I think the piano sounds richer this time.
3. More singing, less talking. While I’m a strong advocate of talking between and during songs at the right times and for the right reasons, (I explain my thoughts in this seminar), we included less of my speaking on this album. Per Mark Dever’s direction, I also interjected comments during the songs less frequently. I think both changes make for a more enjoyable album.
4. Lyrics included: This time we printed all the lyrics in the liner notes, which are also included as part of the MP3 download. Makes it easier to add your voice.
5. 4 part hymn arrangements. You can download the 4 part arrangement for most of the songs (public doman and Sovereign Grace) from the Sovereign Grace Music website. Just click on the song title and the chart will be available for download on the left side of your screen.
6. Simpler accompaniment. Mark Dever and I work on the song list for Together for the Gospel, as well as how the songs are led. We have some very lively discussions! He’s encouraged me to play more simply so that the parts can be sung more easily. I tell Mark that since only 10% of the attendees are women and because at least 70% of the guys don’t read music, you’re not going to hear the parts very well. But in the end I defer. And I’m glad I did. As much as I enjoy being creative on the piano and think it can complement the lyrics, I think simpler playing makes these arrangements more transferable.
Here’s the track list (with a few notes):
- Praise to the Lord, the Almighty
- Come Praise and Glorify (from The Gathering)
- I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer art
- Speak, O Lord (Getty/Townend)
- Behold Our God (from Risen)
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- The Gospel Song (from Songs for the Cross Centered Life)
- Grace Greater Than All Our Sin
- I Hear the Words of Love
- Jesus Paid It All
- When I Survey the Wondrous Cross
- All I Have Is Christ (from The Gathering)
- I Asked the Lord That I Might Grow
- O Great God (from Valley of Vision)
- When Trials Come (Getty/Getty)
- We Will Glorify (Twila Paris)
And in case you missed the promo video, here it is:
You can purchase it for download from Amazon, iTunes, or Bandcamp, or buy the physical CD from the Sovereign Grace online store.
I pray these songs enable you exult in the priceless treasure of our Savior and live more passionately for his glory.
Love the new album, Bob, but I am missing hearing your “talking” on there. It added so much to the first album for me…it is so uplifting. But it still a GREAT album! Very excited to have it today.
Downloading now and looking forward to listening to this. It’s great that this is also available on Zune/X-Box Music so I can listen to it with my Pass and buy that way. I think this is the first time I’ve been able to do that the same day as Amazon, iTunes, etc.
I appreciate less talking and simpler instrumental arrangements. I do miss the idea of having a couple “Sing it like you mean it!” phrases thrown in the mix, though. ;-)
Peter, if you ever hear me say, “Sing it like you mean it,” you can feel free to rebuke me.
Will do, Bob. How about “Let’s give God some praise” after singing a song? ;-)
Just listened to “Grace Greater Than All Our Sin” – wow! Loved the mostly vocal ending – very, very powerful. Also appreciated “The Gospel Song” sung by the gathering. Really appreciating this album right now.
What a wonderful recording.
All of the points you’ve made about the production of the album are noticeable and appreciated, even down to the less percussive and more flowing effect with the piano.
I want to go and sing all of these with my local church this Sunday, believing that we’d actually be able to.
That doesn’t happen to often these days after listening to an album containing contemporary songs.
A lot of the time a normal response is ‘It’d be nice to be somewhere where we could sustain the level of music needed to carry those songs’, but this time it’s ‘We can do that!’.
Even if we don’t hear so much of what I affectionately thought of as ‘Mr Shouty’ during this recording.
Thanks for the sustained work on this project.
I was at T4G and will never forget the singing. I also was able to talk to you during one of the breaks. Thank you for taking the time to make this album. It is great!
Although I am not a pastor, but I have never missed T4G since 2006. Thank you for your efforts on making this album available.
If I downloaded the Album from Amazon, will I be able to burn it in a CD so that I might enjoy listening to it on my car also?
Daniel, absolutely. Thanks for your encouraging words.
Great work on the recording. I agree- the piano sounds richer. Pass it on to whomever mic’d the piano. Thanks for the hard work to record it, mix it and make it available! And I pray that God would continue to bless your new role in Louisville.
In January of this year our Church, we had attended for 30 years, closed it’s doors and was sold. My heart was heavy. I had no desire to go anywhere, and when we did, I would leave the service empty. I got into my daughter’s car some weeks later and heard a man’s voice on her CD player say ” There is no better Gospel; There is no other Gospel; But the One Gospel, Jesus Christ who died in our place to bring us to God.” The wonderful song “Jesus Paid It All” followed. For weeks I listened to that CD. The ENTIRE CD is a masterpiece filled with hope,praise and God’s Love through you, Bob Kauflin and every breath you took and every word you said blessed my soul and helped me remember the God we serve. No more pity party. When our new Minister visited our home, I gave him the CD and told him no words can describe the power of that CD. The new CD is good, but can not compare to the first.
Sue, thanks for your very encouraging words. So glad God is using the music we’re producing to encourage you.
Hi Mr Kauflin,
Just so you know, we are really enjoying the new T4G album in Christchurch, New Zealand!!!
Please pass on our thanks to all involved.
Bob, would it be possible to pass on your email address to me! I would like to contact you via email for something other than the purpose of this post.
Grace be with you my dear brother
NB: I click on “contact me” botton above, but it won’t work
Daniel, you can reach me at bob at worshipmatters.com
Hi Mr Bob Kauflin,I am orginally from Brunei but lived in Australia where my husband comes from.This is my first time I heard about you and heard your songs..only after I read your book worship matters.I love the book not finished reading it yet,though I am not song leader I am really encouraged when reading it just hope all those who lead worship or interested would read it.When I hear Jesus ,Thank you it really touch me..pray that you and your team continue to sing song that glorify God that God use you in a mighty way.God bless you all.Sariah
Thank you for your encouraging words, Sariah!