Every time Sovereign Grace Music releases an album we bump up against the competing values of seeking to create fresh sounds and arrangements and recording something that a group of musicians in a small church can pull off. Our most recent album, Grace Has Come, was no exception.
One song in particular that received a more dramatic production was “Our Only Hope is You,” by Neil and Kate DeGraide. It opens with a beautiful piano riff (played by Neil), and includes an orchestral cello part and a passionate lead vocal by Kate. The song is full of the angst of living with a hope that is not yet seen, but a hope in which we are fully confident.
But few churches could duplicate what we did on the album. So we’re starting The Acoustic Sessions, a series of videos that shows how our songs can be effectively played and sung by a small group of musicians. You know, the kind that are probably in your church. Our aim is to come up with arrangements that are fairly straight ahead and congregation friendly. We want to do this not only for Grace Has Come, but for other previously recorded Sovereign Grace songs.
We know we aren’t breaking any new ground here and are happy to be jumping on the bandwagon of doing everything we can to produce music that people can actually sing in their local churches!
In many cases the vocalists and musicians we use for the videos will be different from those on the album to communicate these songs can be sung and played by anyone. In this video the guitarist is Devon, my son, the female is my daughter, McKenzie, and the pianist is Jonatan Barahona, a good friend and brilliant keyboardist from Sojourn Church.
Hope you enjoy The Acoustic Sessions. And if you have any suggestions for songs you’d like us to work on, leave me a comment.
When I was at WGE this year I thought I’d love for the band to be stripped down to a more acoustic feel at one of the main sessions. My church uses ac. guitar, upright bass, piano, and some hand percussion (sometimes a violin)…but I never get to sit out and listen to that kind of band. Just a suggestion for next WGE. Thanks for doing these acoustic sessions! Excellent!
Love this version! Thank you for sound biblical lyrics. Curious, where was this filmed?
Christine, in our dining room, which has a piano in it. Fortunately, we’ve found other places to eat.
Please, please PLEASE do one of “The Gospel Was Promised”!!!
Tony, we certainly will!
Such a wonderful song. Thanks for caring for smaller churches in your approach to this song.
Can’t wait to hear more acoustic songs.
I’ve been wanting to do the song “I have a shelter” for some time but the timing/rhythm doesn’t feel right when played on guitar. We don’t have a piano player yet. Can you do this song on acoustic guitar?
Thank you for thinking of us (smaller churches) regarding your music. I am all in with this and am so grateful for it! As a church plant, we cannot duplicate the songs as published (with more instrumentalists/singers).
I am so THRILLED SGM is stripping down the accompaniment to some selections to make them more accessible for smaller churches like mine. We are used to DIYing simplified versions of SGM all the time, but to see how you guys do it is practical, helpful, and encouraging.
The thing I appreciate most in this version is the 3 part harmony: in a church where the family loves to sing together and loves to harmonize, you can only imagine what a joy it will be to worship with this piece!
One of the most challenging things I’ve found to learn as a music leader who has had no formal training in guitar playing or singing or leading or anything really, or anything really other than being an electrician by day, and relies heavily on youtube and gracious ministries such as SGM, Paul Baloches leadworship site and others has been learning arranging. When listening to well produced songs on albums such as “Grace Has Come” it’s really challenging to hear how a particular song could be done within the setting and abilities I have available to me as a leader. Though lyrically wonderful I had basically discounted “Our Only Hope Is You” as an option, but am super excited about introducing it this coming Sunday. Having another resource such as The Acoustic Sessions is a really exciting ministry to have available to glean ideas and learn more about arranging with smaller sets in a simpler way that is more accessible. Thank you for your commitment to share so graciously your songs and expertise.
I would also like to take this opportunity to cast my vote out for “Greater Than We Can Imagine” for an acoustic session.
Alfie, thanks for the encouraging words! We’ll put Greater Than We Can Imagine on the list.
Enjoyed the song very much. Keep up the great kingdom work!
What great music! Keep it up!
Bob, thanks for this – it’s really helpful. I think the songs on Grace Has Come are fantastic – full of truth and really well produced but I have struggled to see how we would use them in our church with our more limited musical resources. I was therefore going to drop you a line to see whether you’d consider doing an album along the lines of Emu’s ‘Songs for Little Rooms’ but it seems you’ve had a similar idea! Thank you – it’s really very helpful. If you could do some of the back catalogue as well that would be even better!
Thanks, Andy. We’re planning on going back and recutting some of our more produced, but congregational, songs.
Thanks for this – such a great idea! It feels like a good way of getting the most out of the songs. I wouldn’t want to lose the fuller recordings (that sit happily alongside GooGoo dolls and others on my iPod) for personal devotional listening. But a really good idea to give ideas for how songs might be used in contexts with fewer instruments – and also show which songs would work best like this. None of us wants to be the guy who chose a song that sounds great on record, but was always going to sound embarrassing with just piano and guitar. I wish you every blessing for ‘the acoustic sessions’ – which seems to demonstrate the concern for the local church that marks out so much of what SG does – so thankyou!
This is a great idea! I hope this idea grows.
This idea is such a blessing. We’re a church in Sydney Australia and struggling a little at the moment with music because so many of our musos have babies/young children and, with the usual trials and tribulations (as well as joys) that involves means it can be quite difficult to pull a band together some weeks. Recently we’ve ended up with just a guitar and drums. To have achievable versions of great, biblical songs is wonderful. Thank you … and for all the great music you make available.