The Gettys take a run at re-working some psalms, and add a bonus.

Label: GettyMusic
Time:  8 tracks / 36 mins

You already know what you are going to get with Keith and Kristyn Getty: thoughtful lyrics, polished production, a touch of instrumental joy and all of it coloured by Celtic verve and – since their relocation to Nashville – a touch of classic Americana.

The North Coast Sessions – the start of a project to cover the psalms in depth – is no exception, and is as rich as any collection released by the team. Some early tracks are typical Getty Celtic fare; while “My Dwelling Place” verges on the classical, given the tone of the violin’s contribution alongside the piano; whereas their beautifully understated setting of Psalm 23 – where Kristyn Getty’s pure vocals start only alongside a sparse, but full-bodied guitar – is closer to blues and gospel.

Keith Getty told me that this set is “just the best psalms I’d written” and so you’d expect it to be a good collection. Their take on Psalm 121 is particularly impressive. Set to the Irish folk tune “My Lagan Love” in Dorian mode (neither major nor minor key) and riding a deep, chugging rhythmic groove, “I Lift My Eyes” holds Celtic and Americana in a beautiful tension.

The set also includes “Psalm 150,” a vibrant, celebratory six-minute instrumental, which moves through several stages and includes some delicious rhythms.

“I Will Wait for You” adds New Testament reasons for our hope, as it covers our dependence on God, a theme shared with “My Dwelling Place” and “Lift my Eyes”; “Magnificent, Marvelous, Matchless Love” is as upbeat as the title suggests; “You Have Searched Me” is a song of openness to God, given his deep knowledge of us; and Psalm 23 is well known.

Lyrics to the delicate and beautiful bonus track “Inishowen” (named after Northern Ireland’s most northerly point) reveal a more contemporary approach. The song is in the vein of the psalms, but covers the beauty of a coastline under the Northern Lights and tells how, “following the ancient song, leads me to you.”  

The Getty team always talk about their triangle: deeper theology, a higher view of the arts, and creating music that families and churches in every generation can sing together. This is an excellent example.

You can read more about this release and what lies behind the Gettys’ approach in my interview with Keith Getty here .

Derek Walker