Tune My Heart...Songs of Rest & Reflection (Lucid Artists/MA'M Recordings), a soundtrack for personal moments of peaceful worship from Andrew Greer & Friends, is now available at Parable Christian Stores nationwide, as well as via Apple Music and other major digital platforms.
Produced by Greer and Travis Patton and co-produced by Kyle Buchanan, the compilation debuted at #1 on the Parable Christian Stores National Retail chart earlier this month and is currently among the Top 5 releases on iTunes' Christian & Gospel Top Albums chart.
A collection of 12 cherished favorites and freshly-penned originals, Tune My Heart showcases Greer's collaborations with some of Christian music's most beloved artists. Highlights of the album include the African-American spiritual "Give Me Jesus," a duet by GRAMMY®-nominated singer/songwriter Cindy Morgan and acclaimed modern hymnwriter and recording artist Sandra McCracken; "What Wondrous Love Is This," an instrumental featuring Dove Award-winning roots-gospel singer/songwriter Buddy Greene on harmonica; the a cappella "Be Still My Soul" from classical crossover vocal group Veritas; GRAMMY®-winning Gaither Vocal Band member Wes Hampton's stirring "Take My Life and Let It Be"; and Greer's meditative "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing."
In addition, the orchestral title-cut, a reflective arrangement of "Nearer My God To Thee" and the Travis Patton-penned original "Cade's Cove" are among various instrumental selections inviting peaceful reflection throughout the project.
Q: Andrew, thanks for doing this interview with us. Being the co-host of the popular TV and streaming service "Dinner Conversations with Mark Lowry and Andrew Greer," you must have had interviewed many guests. Is there a particular episode that you would think is the most memorable?
Timothy, it is my pleasure. Dinner Conversations has afforded me a seat around the table with dozens of artists, and authors, and athletes, and thinkers, and overall good people I may otherwise have only waved a shy "Hello" to backstage or shaken hands with over niceties at an event. And a few of those guests' conversations were especially poignant. Kathie Lee Gifford's sheer passion for scripture and the history of the Christian faith was truly astounding. I have been fortunate to call Amy Grant a friend for a few years now, but her articulations on any given topic - our specific episode was themed by the tender topic of aging parents - are always brimming with fresh insight. Danny Gokey was surprisingly transparent about his long journey with depression.
But the conversation that remains in the forefront of my mind was with Russ Taff. At the midnight hour, we had a guest fall through and my co-host, Mark, called up Russ and within a couple hours he was on the set and around our table sharing his story of recovery from alcoholism (and religious legalism) publicly for the first time. Soon after a movie was being made about his pathway to recovery. Russ is a kind, gentle spirit with an enormous heart. I am better for having had time with him.
Q: Let's talk about your new record. How and why did you want to make an album for personal worship and meditation?
Tune My Heart came to be fairly organically. When my co-producers, Travis Patton and Kyle Buchanan, and I began talking through a possible song list - both known spiritual songs and new tunes we were writing for this record - the arch of each song, both melodically and lyrically, pointed to peace. Then as we began to dream up the sort of Appalachian-folk symphonic sound we wanted to shape the songs with, the natural bent was towards what the subtitle says, "rest and reflection."
I am usually much more into thinking through a record's theme or trajectory before picking songs, and then choosing songs to fit my thought process and the guidelines that creates. This process was quite the opposite, and more satisfying in the end as a result.
Then to think we would be releasing it in the middle of a very strange, and very tenuous season in our communities, our country, and in our world ... we could never have guessed. So without hyper-spiritualizing this response, perhaps the record truly made and directed itself "for such a time as this."
Q: If I am not wrong, you are only featured on one song as a vocalist. Was that a conscious decision to let other artists handle the songs with vocals?
Collaboration has long been a go-to in my professional and personal life. Some of my most requested music, my foray into TV and streaming series and podcasts, my first book, all of these endeavors were the benefit of collaboration. Even this record is under the moniker "Andrew Greer & Friends." I've just always felt a bit more whole and satisfied when working with others - especially in music. And one listen to Sandra McCracken and Cindy Morgan's haunting version of "Give Me Jesus" and I think most would agree I was smart to hand that one over to the ladies!
Since I arranged, wrote, and played on most of the other tracks, as well as produced the record, it felt like my fingerprints were all over this record, albeit not always heard to the unsuspecting ear.
Q: The album comprises of new tunes as well as hymns. When you were choosing the hymns, how did you narrow down your choices?
Great question because of how much I love hymns. I cut my musical teeth on hymns as a budding pianist. My mom taught me to sing parts as my voice changed through the pages and arrangements of the hymnal. I feel like my relationship with God was first inspired by singing hymns. All that to say, I have recorded quite a few hymns in my musical life, and so I wanted to both find hymns I had not yet lent my creative space to, as well as hymns that fit the feeling of peace and calm and moved me personally.
Q: I am a big fan of both Sandra McCracken and Cindy Morgan, what was it like working with them?
Who couldn't be a big fan of these two wonderful women? They host such kind, enormous hearts while inspiring and creating such profound musical pieces. They picked the African-American spiritual "Give Me Jesus" to cover, and Cindy added a new verse or two and the end result is nothing short of haunting. They also both happen to be friends. I played in Sandra's wedding to my friend Tim, and Cindy is one of my closest friends - so working with them is like a sunny day with a warm breeze!
Q: Who are some of your other guests on the record?
Buddy Greene is perhaps the most famous harmonica player in the world, as well as co-songwriter of "Mary, Did You Know?" and the name behind an entire catalog of his own wonderful acoustic-folk records. He also possesses a huge amount of musicianship motivated by his huge personal heart. Wes Hampton is a young, though longstanding, member of the Gaither Vocal Band. And though that might seem like an unlikely collaboration for me since I shy away from the sounds of Southern Gospel, Wes is simply gifted. And like Buddy, works from a big-hearted place. And finally the classical crossover group Veritas joined in on an early a cappella rendition of "Be Still My Soul." The fellas can just flat out sing and have become friends of mine, so I was thrilled to have them contribute to the record as a whole.
Q: What's the story behind the new cut "Cade's Cove"?
My co-producer and violinist, Travis Patton, wrote that song as a musical representation of the actual "Cade's Cove" in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee. I was thrilled to volley with him from the piano to make that song especially plaintive. It's a gorgeous melody and Travis did a wonderful job penning it to paper.
Q: My favorite song off the album is the closer "Benediction Song." Tell us more about this song.
What an interesting choice, Timothy! "Benediction Song" was the final song written for and to be added to the record. I personally didn't know if it had a place because of the song's more sunny demeanor. But as it turned out, the song creates a peaceful release (if not resolve) for the listener as they journey on past listening to this record, and journey on in life.
Q: In this chaotic times with the coronavirus pandemic, what do these songs have to say to us?
I think these songs say, "Peace." And I think God is peace. So in a sense, these songs, this record, create a pipeline to our Creator. Music is magical that way.
To purchase the new album, click here.