Ken Jehle: Joy to Hymn
Ken Jehle album good change of pace
Fort Wayne native Ken Jehle is a musician’s musician, having played guitar in several local bands over the years including Angel X, Rhino, and most recently as lead guitarist for Pink Floyd tribute band Pink Droyd.
Jehle’s true passions lies with being a music teacher and classical guitar. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in music and has taught more than 30 years. He also leads the music department at Saint Joseph Church, something he takes great joy in.
Which leads us to Joy to Hymn, Jehle’s new album which combines his love of classical guitar and worship music. Joy to Hymn is an all-instrumental acoustic guitar release that is like worship music for fans of everyone one from Segovia and Julian Bream to Ry Cooder and Bert Jansch. Jehle’s expert and emotive playing gives us an album that can be enjoyed on both a spiritual and musical level.
Over the course of five songs, Jehle pays tribute to a higher power and to the musical masters that have come before. From the bluesy opener “They’ll Know We Are Christians,” to the hopeful mood of album closer “Joy to Hymn,” Jehle puts his faith and prodigious playing on display. “How Great Thou Art in Minor Key” gives us baroque lines and an almost slinky Django feel.
Jehle gives us his own take on “Amazing Grace” that I think Joe Pass would have been proud of, while “O Sacred Head, Now Wounded” drops us back into pastoral classical guitar.
Melody and mood are key here. Sure, there’s some impressive and lightning fast runs here and there, but the point of these tracks is to move the listener. These are songs for deeper contemplation, songs to play late afternoon as the shadows grow longer and the light dims. Joy to Hymn makes me think of the thoughtful songs heard on those early Windham Hill releases of the ’70s and early ’80s.
For a change of pace and something to sink into, Joy to Hymn is a great reprieve from the outside world, beautifully put together acoustic music that comes from a love of God and music.