There are 16 gems in this album—most of which should be familiar material if you’re a fan of Stuart Townend and the Gettys—like who isn’t, right?!
I mean, they’ve written hymns that have been covered by a host of Christian artists ranging from Philips, Craig & Dean, Newsboys to Kristian Stanfill and Passion and more! Add to that the fact that their songs have consistently topped Christian charts all over the world and expectations soar when you look at this album.
‘In Christ Alone: The Songs of Stuart Townend and Keith Getty’ – about the Songs
What can I say—this is a treasure trove of worship hymns penned by Stuart Townend and Keith Getty that are probably already prominent in the set-lists all kinds of churches everywhere!
As if that’s not enough, this project also has guest vocals by Tim Hughes and Joanne Hogg apart from Bluegrass Country music legend Alison Krauss!
The album opens with the title track “In Christ Alone” sung by Alison Krauss and Keith & Kristyn Getty. Even after hearing so many different versions of this timeless song over the years, the minimalistic arrangement featured here still manages to sound fresh with the lyrics and the voices standing out (it’s Alison Krauss after all!).
Depending on your denomination and theological beliefs, you may or may not have trouble singing the line “The wrath of God was satisfied”. Barring that, this is a brilliant song and is sure to be playing on ‘repeat mode’.
Joanne Hogg from the Celtic rock band ‘Iona’ and Margaret Becker join Kristyn Getty to sing a powerful arrangement of “Across the Lands”, an infectious hymn of praise and worship that’s totally God focused and congregational.
Stuart Townend leads another of my favorite hymns “The Power of the Cross”—no new arrangement here, it’s the same live recording from a previous project. If there’s ever an award for best Good Friday song, this song would be at the top of the nomination list—it has this uncanny ability to transport me back in time and almost witness the events at Calvary.
Kristyn Getty will forever be one of my favorite singers—her voice always moves me to worship like no one else’s! And it’s no different here when she sings “Speak O Lord”—it’s emotive, anointed and full of vocal artistry!
Stuart Townend returns to sing “Resurrection Hymn (See What a Morning)”—again it’s just an earlier live recording. If “The Power of the Cross” is one of the best Good Friday songs, then surely “See What a Morning” is one of the best Easter songs.
The second verse especially makes me visualize Mary Magdalene peeping into the empty tomb, turning away in tears and then meeting the risen Lord. The art of storytelling in their songwriting is really that good!
The project continues to maintain its lofty standard with Tim Hughes singing “O Church Arise”—another majestic hymn full of the story of God. With his own unique vocal style, Tim manages to make it his own.
Kristyn Getty sings “A Workers Prayer”—a mellow arrangement that captures and brings out the beauty of Kristyn’s voice on this compelling hymn.
“Every Promise” a.k.a. “From the Breaking of the Dawn” features Stuart Townend backed by the same ‘Celtic Country’ arrangement we are already familiar with.
“Holy Spirit Living Breath of God” is sung by Kristyn and continues to sound like gold. This is a wonderfully eloquent prayer to the Holy Spirit that’ll easily belong in the hearts of every Christian worshiper. Learn it now if you haven’t already!
We are reminded of the storytelling skills of Townend and the Gettys once again when Stuart sings “Creation Sings”—a lovely ‘Hallelujah hymn’ with a thanksgiving bent, apart from covering themes like creation, the Cross and the return of Christ.
“Benediction” a.k.a. “May the Peace of God” is the shortest song on this record sung by Kristyn. If your church has the practice of having moments of Benediction, this will probably make more sense to you.
In any case, “Benediction” is a great song of praise and worship with a powerful refrain that can easily fit into a modern worship set list too.
“Gethsemane” is a moving reminder of the horror experienced by our Lord when praying in the Garden before the Passion. It’s certainly another perfect song for Good Friday.
“By Faith” is the song that helped me discover Kristyn a long time ago. And it sounds just as great now as it did then. A unique hymn inspired by Hebrews 11 singing about the assurance and participation we have in our faith journeyed by those who walked in it before us.
Townend’s rendition of “Come People of the Risen King” comes up next. While I personally prefer Kristyn’s version (sorry Stuart!), nothing can take away from the fact that this is a cool, catchy, up-tempo call to worship.
“The Perfect Wisdom of Our God” follows quietly helping us to ponder and meditate on the unmatchable ways of our God. I love these lines especially:
And O the mystery of the Cross
That God should suffer for the lost
So that the fool might shame the wise
And all the glory might go to Christ
The record closes with “Communion Hymn”—another meditative lyric that helps us remain at the Cross with gratitude and worship. It’s such an ideal communion / post-communion song.
Thoughts about the album
After listening to ‘In Christ Alone: The Songs of Stuart Townend and Keith Getty’ a number of times, I do wish they had tried varying the arrangements a lot more—many songs are just re-productions of their existing versions. You end up wondering why buy another record when you have these songs already.
On the other hand, these songs are good enough to stand on their own simply with their lyrical brilliance—so why change the arrangements!
I guess it’s a tough call even though working with a completely different producer might have given this collection a different twist and appeal.
If by some awful tragedy you haven’t heard these songs before, you’ll discover a magnificent collection of songs that are masterfully written and composed.
If you’re like the rest of us who’ve heard, admired and sung these hymns for years, this project will help you fall in love with them all over again.
So buy it for yourself or gift it to someone—you won’t regret it.
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