In the realm of the prog rock that is normally emerging from my speakers, I will contradict any old coot who says, “Welp, they just don’t write ’em like ‘dat anymore!”
But when it comes one of my other musical fancies — worship — I have to observe that lyrics like, “Teach me some melodious sonnet/Sung by flaming tongues above; Praise the mount, I’m fixed upon it/Mount of Thy redeeming love,” have devolved into, “You are perfect in all your ways” (Repeat 8x or more as needed.)
Nope, they don’t write ’em like they used to.
So when Tim Bushong, helmsman of Syracuse Baptist Church and master of sliders at T-Bush Studios, produced the first Battle Hymns album, it was a breath of fresh air. He and the voices of his congregation injected new life and a lot of soul into the pages of old hymnals in some great arrangements.
Well, those hymnals are pretty thick, and he and the choir have dug deeper into the pages to give us Battle Hymns for Weary Souls II.
While the sound stays solidly in blues again, a flute and some strings on a couple of tunes go in a more Celtic direction. These hymns are more obscure than on the first outing, but Bushong picked those that have the meatiest lyrics. He included my favorite hymn, “Come Thou Fount,” so I shouldn’t complain.
If I do have one gripe, it’s that Bushong had his “studio ears” on and wanted to capture everything through the mics as cleanly as possible. So, the studio instruments are crisp and compressed, while the choirs are obviously in an acoustically imperfect sanctuary and are a little more fuzzy, so the sonic disparity between the two rooms is more obvious on this album. It’s certainly not enough make this release any less of a delight to listen to.
No, they do not write them like this anymore, so savor these gems from the past, delivered with a truckload of soul.