We have a few policies in the Dionne household in regard to Christmas music: 1) we don’t listen to it before Thanksgiving (a rule I gladly break for the Good Shepherd Band), and 2) we purchase a new album each year to add to the collection. By this point, we’ve amassed an eclectic mix of music…bluegrass, folk, prog rock, country, Renaissance, jazz, Herb, and, of course, Nat and Vince. Some we’ve abandoned, and some we’ve worn out. Three years ago with the release of the Good Shepherd Band’s Repeat the Sounding Joy we had a new favorite, particularly the powerful “The Lord at First Did Adam Make”:
Now this year—today—the Good Shepherd Band has pulled out the orchestral and sleigh bells (and, apparently, a newly acquired electronic keyboard) for their second Christmas album. They found some old, familiar but broken-down songs and brought them into the shop for a change of tires, a new paint job, and quite a few additional horses under the hood. You won’t have to sift through the album to weed out dumb songs about Jack and Nick and Rudy. These songs are about the Lord Jesus Christ and His birth as the Savior of man. I have only listened through the whole of the album once, but as was the case with their last offering, I expect this music will make a lasting imprint on my family’s celebration of our Lord’s incarnation.
I’ll call out a few of my favorites, quick impressions after one listen: the drum-heavy and guitar-gnarly “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen” is excellent (it takes second place to Jethro Tull’s instrumental version). “Fullness of Time” is musically and textually beautiful, wonderfully singable. Banjo in “I Saw Three Ships” made me smile and then the full Sufjan-ish orchestration had me dancing. I’m especially happy the album closes with some Scripture songs—the Magnificat, the Lord’s Prayer, and the Song of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis). Give us more!
Here’s a sample…have a listen and please consider purchasing the album so that the men who have set about this work of reforming the worship of the Church might be encouraged to keep going…