CD Review: Various Artists – Fanny Crosby/Newly Discovered Hymns & Songs

CD Review: Various Artists – Fanny Crosby/Newly Discovered Hymns & Songs

In 2016, a CD was released on the Integrity label titled Blessed Assurance: The New Hymns Of Fanny Crosby. I reviewed it and rated it at 3 stars, concluding that review by observing, “It’s too bad the producers did not make it a goal to present these new/old songs in more fitting, timeless styles.”

When I saw a couple of months ago that the concept was going to be revisited, I hoped Crosby’s material would be adapted in a manner more suited to her traditions this time. I was further encouraged when I saw that Wayne Haun and Trey Ivey were producing it for the StowTown Records label. One of the better songs on the 2016 CD was recorded by Ernie Haase & Signature Sound and then, in 2017, Ernie Haase & Signature Sound released “Give Me Jesus” which I considered to be the best song of 2017. Haun, of course, is EH&SS’s long-time producer and former keyboard player, and StowTown is a label that Haun & Haase co-own along with Landon Beene.

I’m pleased to report they have delivered. Fanny Crosby: Newly Discovered Hymns & Songs is a collection of 15 songs that could easily be slipped into a hymnal alongside Crosby classics like “Rescue The Perishing.” Four songs feature artist collaborations, while the remaining eleven feature popular groups including male quartets and mixed groups. The artists are a virtual Who’s Who of Southern Gospel along with the occasional inclusion of a Bluegrass artist (like Rhonda Vincent) or an Inspirational artist (like Charles Billingsley).

Traditional church organ appropriately begins the CD as Ernie Haase & Signature Sound sing “Shout Hosanna.” Legacy Five’s performance of “I Know The Sweet Voice Of The Shepherd” uses a full orchestration highlighted by flute fills. When Sally Berry, Rhonda Vincent, and Lizzy Long combine to sing “Beside The Cross,” there’s a distinct bluegrass flavor as you’d expect. Charles Billingsley is joined by Sisters for “God Of This Mountain,” and the setting is worshipful. In each instance, the singers are well-matched to the songs.

One stylistic surprise on the CD is “The Isles Of The Deep,” which features an a cappella performance by Triumphant. Another stylistic departure is the convention-style “A Crown Of Life” by the Mylon Hayes Family.

My one and only very minor critique of this recording is pacing. I’d like to have heard the upbeat Mylon Hayes Family song a little sooner just for the sake of variety. At one point, there are two songs back-to-back that start with almost identical flute parts.

As you can probably tell by now, I love this recording. It is a “must buy.” 5 Stars is my ranking. There are so many possibilities for adapting these songs for church congregation singing, choral products, and so forth. I hope those are being pursued as well.

With this review, we are adding a link to the album on Spotify (see below). I encourage you to use the link to listen to the CD for yourself. Then, please be sure to comment whether you agree or disagree with my rating. (The degree to which we receive comments on this and other reviews in the next few weeks will determine whether we include Spotify links when possible on all of our CD reviews.)

Producers: Wayne Haun & Trey Ivey
Label:
 StowTown Records
Song Titles: Shout Hosanna (Ernie Haase & Signature Sound/Don Poythress, Fanny Crosby, Marcia Henry, Wayne Haun); I Know The Sweet Voice Of The Shepherd (Legacy Five/Fanny Crosby, Lee Black, Sue C. Smith, Wayne Haun); Beside The Cross (Lizzy Long, Rhonda Vincent, Sally Berry/Fanny Crosby, Jeff Bumgardner, Joel Lindsey, Wayne Haun); God Of This Mountain (Charles Billingsley, Sisters/Carolyn Cross, Fanny Crosby, Joel Lindsey); Hold Me Up (Amber Nelon Thompson, Darla McFadden, Jason Crabb/Don Poythress, Fanny Crosby, Marcia Henry, Wayne Haun); The Isles Of The Deep (Triumphant/Fanny Crosby, Wayne Haun, Scott Inman); Calmly Resting In The Lord (The Erwins/Fanny Crosby, Jeff Bumgardner, Wayne Haun); Be Still (The Whisnants/Fanny Crosby, Jeff Bumgardner, Wayne Haun); Not In My Strength (The Booth Brothers/Don Poythress, Fanny Crosby, Tony Wood, Wayne Haun); I Know That Jesus Loves Me (The Collingsworth Family/Don Poythress, Fanny Crosby, Rachel McCutcheon, Tony Wood); Jesus (The Jim Brady Trio/Fanny Crosby, Jim Brady, Melissa Brady); In Another Hour Of Song (The Perrys/Fanny Crosby, Lee Black, Sue C. Smith, Wayne Haun); My Soul Shall Trust In Thee (The Guardians/Fanny Crosby, Randall Garland, Val Dacus); His Love Will Shelter Me (Jeff & Sheri Easter, Morgan Easter Smith, Tim Lovelace/Fanny Crosby, Joel Lindsey, Tim Lovelace, Wayne Haun); A Crown Of Life (The Mylon Hayes Family/Dianne Wilkinson, Fanny Crosby, Wayne Haun)
Rating: 5 Stars (scale of 1-5 Stars)

Overall Rating
5 out of 5

5

Excellent
5 out of 5
Category Audio, CD Reviews, Reviews

David Bruce Murray

David Bruce Murray is a church music director in Ellenboro, NC. He is the author of Murray's Encyclopedia Of Southern Gospel Music and the owner of both SGHistory.com and MusicScribe.com. David plays piano for Southern Sounds Quartet and the Foothills Community Choir.

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5 Comments

  1. Tad Kirkland
    Reply March 24, 20:33 #1 Tad Kirkland

    I started listening to this today and know It’a gonna take several listens to take it all in. Since it’s a Stowtown project, would loved to have had Cana’s Voice on this. Would’ve been nice to have had Amber Thompson as more that a harmony vocal. I liked the Hayes song but thought it most strayed from something Fanny would’ve written musically—but then again I don’t think she wrote music.




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  2. Zack Grant
    Reply March 24, 21:40 #2 Zack Grant

    Excellent project all the way around!!!! Lyric, performance quality, and production quality are all top notch. Has me hoping for a follow up volume at some point in the future?!?!?!?! I have to imagine there were lyrics to countless other Crosby compositions in the vault…..




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  3. Samuel
    Reply March 25, 16:02 #3 Samuel

    I listened to it on Spotify yesterday. I hope they publish some choir arrangements sometime.




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  4. Stan Henslee
    Reply April 17, 15:08 #4 Stan Henslee

    I “discovered” this glorious CD purely by accident last week while searching iTunes for a song. I agree that the 2016 Blessed Assurance: The New Hymns Of Fanny Crosby project was lacking save the EH &SS’s ” I Have Found A Priceless Treasure” and Ricky Skaggs & The Whites’ “All Is Well”. However, this collection is a powerhouse of SG infused talent that richly and sweetly fills the listeners ears with sweet gospel music. I had previously fallen in love with “Give Me Jesus” so I am in hope that there is even more gold to be mined from Fanny Croby’s unfinished treasures.

    A mighty AMEN to all the those who made this project possible.




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