The Daily Tar Heel

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Monday July 4th

Music Review: Music from The Gathering Church

If anyone can make a compilation of traditional hymns and rework them into folk songs, Jeff Crawford is the right man to do it.

As music director of The Gathering Church in Durham, Crawford combines his experience as church music director with his presence in the local music scene as a producer and musician to render a new album that seamlessly combines tradition with variation, the old with the new.

Music from The Gathering Church

Hymns of The Gathering Church


Dive Verdict: 3.5 of 5 stars

Hymns of The Gathering Church, the second release from Crawford and company, is a timeless and traditional collection that has been transformed into fresh folk songs, all imbued with the spirit of gospel.

The album, which features contributions from Crawford and fellow North Carolina musicians including Megafaun’s Phil Cook, Mount Moriah’s Heather McEntire and Mandolin Orange, offers upbeat and folk-tinged renditions of many well-known hymns, without removing too much of their spiritual value.

Whether it’s Cook’s twangy vocals on “Leaning On The Everlasting Arms,” or Skylar Gudasz’s heaven-sent voice on the more reverent hymn “Be Still My Soul,” the album faithfully delivers a mix of stylings that toe the line of traditional and contemporary, yet maintain a careful balance. The musicians behind the album ultimately bring diversity and vitality, exalting each hymn to new heights.

Hymns of The Gathering Church leaves room for experimental tinkering but because of that, not all hymns have the same glorious transformation.

Even though the album has its standouts, it’s ultimately an overwhelmingly wholesome compilation that instills hope and faith. For believers, non-believers and anything in between, these hymns ensure you don’t have to look very far to find inspiration.

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