The renewed interest in singing the Psalms has produced settings of all sorts. When I find a new Psalms project, I’m eager to find renditions that are either intended for congregational singing or are the kind I want to get stuck in my head and heart. The Corner Room, a ministry out of Cahaba Park Church in Birmingham, Alabama, recently came out with an album of Psalms that fits beautifully into the latter category. This excellent album consists of ten Psalms word-for-word from the ESV.
I have listened through Psalm Songs: Volume I about a dozen times. As a result, I have the better part of 10 Psalms memorized – and my wife can say the same.
When I first started listening through the album, I kept telling my wife how refreshing it was to listen to an album that was so well produced, with such good musicianship, and with music that serves the text so well. Some of the tracks – especially Psalm 13 – sound like they may have been recorded by Nickel Creek (that’s a good thing), while others – especially Psalm 8 – bring Andrew Peterson to mind. Even with some of those similarities, a distinct Corner Room sound emerges. They move through different genres and do it very well.
For whatever reason, I don’t get excited about an album very often, but I love this album (even though the mailman made me dig up $1.30 to pay for the postage!). I’ve found myself wishing I could make one or two of them more congregationally friendly. But alas, I will content myself with giving Psalm Songs a hearty recommendation to anyone looking for good music that will edify you as you listen. Buy a digital or physical copy.
A few thoughts on specific tracks:
Psalm 121 – A great way to start an album. I love the mandolin, the banjo, and the group vocals.
Psalm 23 – Beautiful. A nice piano line and good percussion.
Psalm 13 – The instrumental work on this song is impressive all around. Really fun and intricate.
Psalm 30 – This is one of my favorite tracks. The change in the shaker from being on the downbeat in the verses to the upbeat on the chorus is subtle, yet really effective.
Psalm 1 – The different vocalist, the focus on the piano, and the tempo make for a nice change in feel from the rest of the album.
Psalm 32 – This is the only track I don’t love. The feel of the song doesn’t seem to match the weight and tone of Psalm 32.
Psalm 127 – Beautiful vocals and song writing on this one. One of my favorites.