Today, I’d like to review an entire album! Thousand Tongues produced the album, “Hymns for the Weary.” Thousand Tongues is a ministry that, “to cultivate worship for the glory of God through the joy of the church in Jesus Christ.” Their principles are conveniently summarized in the acronym T.H.O.U.S.A.N.D (T-True; H-Historical; O-Overflowing in missions and mercy; U-Understandable; S-Stirring; A-All of Life; N-Nourishing congregational participation; D-Deep).
The ministry has roots in the Reformed tradition. Much of their material is based on traditional hymns, classical hymns, and a few modern hymns. The ministry also aims to provide training for churches seeking to adopt their passion and philosophy of ministry. A load of resources are made available to local churches like course syllabi on worship and music and training seminars. I was blessed to contact them regarding some of their materials and they responded promptly and in a helpful manner.
The album is on my “studying” playlist on my laptop and it really fosters productivity as I prepare for sermons, Bible studies, Sunday School, or personal quiet times. The album has a total of 29 tracks of the most common and popular hymns of the Christian faith (i.e., Amazing Grace, Great is Thy Faithfulness, Holy Holy Holy, Be Thou My Vision, etc.).
Here is why I appreciate this project:
- Simplicity. The idea of simplicity does not mean there is a lack of musicianship. Often times in music the principle of “less is more” should be practiced. The album is done entirely on the piano. Each hymn is played with its traditional melody. This is a plus in that it makes the listeners feel at home and familiar with the song.
- Medley. The entire album is one long medley. In other words, David L. Ward states that the entire album is “gapless.” In essence, the entire album may feel like one long song. This is great since there are no awkward key changes or breaks and helps keep the listener at ease when listening.
- Instrumental. In other words, there are no lyrics. This may seem counter productive since the point of the ministry is to encourage deep worship to God, but I don’t think it is counter productive. The instrumental tracks help listener keep focused (perhaps in times of personal reflection). Since these are familiar hymns listeners can mentally trek along.