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  Bridges: Classical Hymns, Modern Worship
Artist: Various
Label: Waterfront Records
Length: 11 Tracks / 36:24

One of the biggest debates within the church today is between the use of hymns vs. the use of modern praise and worship songs.  Some churches focus on using hymns because of the theology within the songs and the tradition of using them and other churches use modern praise and worship songs because they tend to be upbeat and reach younger generations. This new CD is an attempt to bridge the gap in between the two camps by providing new arrangements to old, popular hymns.  

Unlike the rest of the CD, the first track, "Amazing Grace/ Jesus Loves Me" is unique in that while the arrangement is not the original one, it is an alternative one that has been used in churches for years. Ginny Owens' performance of "Be Thou My Vision" doesn't fit on the CD since it pretty much uses the original arrangement of the song. Many of the other songs on this CD just feel like a hymns version of the Smashups CD that came out a few years ago.  That project featured the vocals from one song over the music from another.  On that project part of the appeal is seeing how well the vocals from one song sounds with the music from another.  On Bridges, though, the music and vocals often do not sound well together.  Some of the songs that are slow and contemplative are given arrangements that speed them up to the point of the sound of the song clashing with the feel of the lyrics.  The most blatant example of this is the seventh track, Jason Ingram's cover of "It is Well".  The original hymn was a man's response to losing family members at sea and this version is too happy and upbeat.

The choice of hymns is also odd because some of the hymns used are ones that few people have any familiarity with.

Unfortunately the version that was sent for a review did not include the last track on the final release, Michael Tait's cover of "How Great Thou Art" so not only can that song not be commented on, but the CD length listed above doesn't include that track.

While the aim of this project is admirable, the ultimate result is one that will disappoint many listeners with its uneven feel and poor attempt at what feels like an attempt at a Smashups style hymns CD.

Burton Wray   January 12, 2005



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