One of the last big things I was able to do with my former church before I came to Truro Anglican in Fairfax was release an Advent EP called “For Our Salvation”. It was released a year ago in December 2013. It features four Advent carols (arranged by me and orchestrated by Joshua Spacht), one instrumental piece (again by Joshua), and one of my original songs called “Beautiful Baby Boy“. The songs are arranged for band, strings, and feature a children’s choir as well.
The first song on the EP is “Once in Royal David’s City”, an old carol written by Cecil Alexander and Henry Gauntlett. This is the carol that usually kicks off “Lessons and Carols” services, and it’s a beautiful retelling of the story of Jesus’ birth, culminating with that great longing of ours to one day see him again.
I did a few things with the text:
1. I left out the verse that talks about how little children should be as “mild, obedient, and good” as Jesus.
2. In its place, I wrote a verse that explains: “He was given to pay our ransom / By His blood we are set free / Suffered He for our transgressions / Lamb of God upon the tree / Then He rose up from the grave / Risen King with power to save”.
3. I chose the version of the last verse that ends “…Christ revealed to faithful eye / Set at God’s right hand on high”, as opposed to the other version which says “Where like stars His children crowned / All in white shall wait around”. For some reason that last version doesn’t exactly elicit an exciting view of heaven!
Yesterday I let you know about the worship album we’ve released that I’m thrilled about. Today I’d like to announce that our Advent EP, “For Our Salvation” is also available at tfcamusic.org, iTunes, and Amazon. I posted the opening track last week as a free download.
I’m so happy with how this EP came out, mostly thanks to my friend Joshua Spacht for his incredible string orchestrations and my sister-in-law Caroline Crocker for conducting and arranging the youth choir who sings on it.
The EP features six tracks:
1. Once in Royal David’s City
2. Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence
3. O Come, O Come Emmanuel
4. Lo He Comes with Clouds Descending (my favorite hymn of all time)
5. And There Was Light (an instrumental piece by Joshua Spacht)
6. Beautiful Baby Boy (an original piece that I wrote)
The EP comes in at just over 30 minutes long and my prayer is that it helps you enjoy Jesus more this Advent.
Here’s the recording of Joshua’s instrumental track from when we recorded it in Nashville this past August:
Growing up in the Anglican tradition, I came to know the carol “Once in Royal David’s City” as the carol that kicked off a Lessons and Carols service. A child always sang the first verse and then the congregation joined in on the second verse. I didn’t realize until later in my life that the carol was actually written as a poem for children by Cecil Alexander but had made its way into the broader hymn repertoire of the church.
In my first few years leading contemporary services of lessons and carols I always avoided this carol because I wasn’t sure it would work in that context. A few years ago I started to use it and was glad I did. I ended up writing a new verse (verse 4) to get into a bit more detail about why Jesus came.
We recently recorded my arrangement of this carol as the opening track on our Advent EP, “For Our Salvation“, with full band, a string section (orchestrated and produced by my friend Joshua Spacht), and children’s choir conducted by my sister-in-law, Caroline Crocker.
I wanted to offer it as a free download in case you’d like to try it with your congregation.
You can listen to it here:
Click here for the chord chart.
Click here for the free mp3.
And here’s the lyric video.
About a month ago I mentioned that we’re working on two upcoming projects due to be released this November. One is a worship album and the other is an Advent EP. I’m thrilled about them both and I can’t wait to share them with you so they can be a blessing to you and so you can have some new ideas/songs/inspiration for you and your ministry.
The Advent EP is entitled “For Our Salvation”. Here’s the little promo blurb:
This 6-song EP, featuring band, organ, children’s choir, and strings, presents the story of the longed-for Messiah through fresh arrangements of traditional carols, and two new compositions. These songs will help you cherish Jesus and stoke your expectation to see him, one day, face to face.