Prime Cuts: The Lord is My Salvation, Hear the Call of the Kingdom, Living Waters
Overall Score: 5/5
Two words in the titular of the Getty's new record need unpacking. They are "kids" and "hymnal." Often, creators of children's albums are so keen to make the music accessible to the little ones that they have stripped the record of any virtuoso. This is not so with "Getty Kids Hymnal," the backing, which features a full orchestra of bluegrass and Celtic instrumentation, is top-notched. In fact, the instrumentation is so top of the range that it is even than the Getty's own studio efforts. Second, the word "hymnal" maybe off putting for those who don't like to visit the music museum for their worship repertoire. But, other than a few traditional hymns, this album is essentially a re-imagination of some of the best songs written by the Gettys from their earlier compositions right up till their latest album "Facing a Task Unfinished."
However, a note of caution: if you are expecting Keith or Kristyn to sing lead, be prepared to be disappointed. Kristyn only is audible on the song "The Lord is My Salvation," the rest of the offerings are done by a kids' choir. If you think that's amateurish, the first song off the record will get you reassessing. This isn't your cutesy average Sunday school impromptu. Rather, what you have is a synchronized choir of children singing various harmonic parts. And when they come together, their voices are so seamless that you swear an angel must be stitching the parts together.
Nevertheless, there are two reasons why this CD is indispensable. First, the words of these songs are so rich that they are great teaching material for children as well as adults. Moreover, the accessible melodies of these tunes make these song easy to sing-along and to remember. When you or your children get to sing songs like "Living Waters," "We Believe (The Apostle's Creed)," and "Across the Lands," you have got the basics of Christianity - from Christology to soteriology to eschatology to missiology-- nailed. Thus these songs are great assets in educating us about Truth in ways that are fun, tuneful and memorable.
Second, you have got to give thanks to God for the creativity that goes into the instrumentation of the songs. If worship leaders would spend time adding more color to the way our music sounds, our worship services would not be boring. The Gettys, for instance, turn "Lift High the Name of Jesus" into a two stepping bluegrass romp that is so fun that it will want to make you get your cowboy boots out and boot scoot boogie along. While the Celtic flavored "Hear the Call of the Kingdom" has such an expansive charm that it makes you out and live out the words of the song. It's not an everyday occasion that a kids' album can solicit so much praise, but this record truly is an exception. Superb, simply superb!