31 Days: It is Well with My Soul

I’ve mentioned before that I sing the hymn “It is Well with My Soul” to Aria (and now Noah) whenever one or both of us is troubled or afraid. It calms my spirit, and I can see its calming effect on the kids, as well. When we dedicated the kids a few weeks ago I asked my sister to sing the song with me because I wanted to share that part of our lives with our church family, and because I wanted to create a recording so the kids can hear me sing it to them whenever they wish. The production is not good, because it’s a simple recording of us singing live at church, but the recording exists, and that’s the part I care most about.

This is the last day of the 31 Days challenge. I’ve enjoyed the experience even more than I thought I would. I’m glad it’s coming to an end (I’m starting to run out of juice!), but I look forward to the opportunity to do it again next year. I’m honored to leave you with this recording of Jo and me singing “It is Well with My Soul“.

I hope I’ll see you back here tomorrow when we resume our regularly scheduled blogging!

31 Days: Just Released Christmas Music

I preordered these new Christmas albums, and they arrived on my doorstep today, their release date. Because of the auto rip feature I told you about, I had the digital copies before the physical albums showed up. Pretty cool.

Wrapped in Red ~ Kelly Clarkson
I was excited about this album, because I love Kelly Clarkson’s voice, and I could see the potential for a fantastic Christmas album. There are some good tracks, but overall I was disappointed. I felt there were a few missed opportunities. The album felt over-produced, and the rendition of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” was horrid. It sounded as though the duet was recorded in separate sessions. Clarkson’s sound was much stronger than her partner’s (Ronnie Dunn), and there was zero emotional connection. There are some good tracks, though – mostly the original songs. I was also thrilled to hear a cover of Imogen Heap’s “Just for Now”. I can’t recommend the entire album, but you might want to check out some of the individual tracks.

Under the Influence (Holiday Edition) ~ Straight No Chaser
This is an 8-track companion album to the regular edition of Under the Influence. The title of the album hints at the fact the guys are singing in collaborations with artists they admire. For the Christmas album only half the songs are duets (with Colbie Caillat, Otis Redding, Paul McCartney, and Ceelo Green). Of the others, two are upbeat holiday songs I could take or leave. A third is a beautiful rendition of “Amazing Grace”, and the last is called “Nutcracker”. This is the gem of the album. The group makes it’s way through many of the major themes from the ballet, but the lyrics view the annual holiday experience of attending the ballet from a male perspective. It’s spot on, and I can’t wait to see them perform it when Andy and I go to their concert in December. As a whole this album is not as good as either of their other two Christmas offerings, but I didn’t expect it would be, since it’s not a full recording. If you’re a SNC fan, it’s still worth the purchase, and even if you’re not you’ll want to listen to “Nutcracker”.

This YouTube video made Straight No Chaser an internet sensation, and led to multiple albums. If you like it, you’ll  like “Nutcracker”.

Here’s another good one. If you don’t like these, your sense of humor is broken. 🙂

31 Days: Songs for Focusing My Heart

We tend to use the word worship as though it were synonymous with singing, when it is not. Instead, it is the act of showing love, reverence, devotion, to God. Of course, the only way we can do that is if we are focusing on Him. While music is not worship, it is wonderful for helping us fix our hearts and minds on the act of worship. These are songs I listen to when I want to focus my heart for praise, for worship, just for right perspective.

The list isn’t even close to comprehensive. It’s only the songs I can think of fairly easily. I’d love to hear about the songs you return to when you need refreshed.

31 Days: Who Sang it Best?

Sorry for the late post today, friends. It’s been super-busy around here!

There have been many performances of the ever-popular Les Miserables, including two televised anniversary specials and a major motion picture. Today I thought we’d check out some of those performances. I’d love to hear which you prefer and why.

Colm Wilkinson (10th anniversary special)

Alfie Boe (25th anniversary special)

Ivan Rutherford (This picture is terrible; I’m sorry. This is the only video I could find of this fantastic singer performing the song. Just close your eyes and listen. Of the performances here, Rutherford’s the only I’ve seen live. He was amazing.)

Simon Bowman, Alfie Boe, Colm Wilkinson, John Owen Jones (I gotta say, I’m partial to this here feller’s voice)

So which one gets your vote? Is there another performance I should check out?