GRAMMY-nominated, Dove-Award winning musician and producer Stu Garrard (guitarist/songwriter for Delirious?) invited many of today’s top Christian/worship music recording artists to collaborate on Beatitudes, a remarkable 18-track (plus two bonus tracks) album. The recording is part of The Beatitudes Project, which is also a book, Words From The Hill (An Invitation to the Unexpected) and a documentary film, View From the Hill, currently in production.
Featured on the Beatitudes album are Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Hillsong UNITED, Matt Maher, John Mark McMillan, Audrey Assad, All Sons & Daughters, Amanda Cook, Propaganda, The Brilliance, Anthony Skinner, Terrian Bass, and Becky Harding (spoken word). Delirious? fans will especially enjoy “Holy Troublemakers,” a collaboration between Stu G and former bandmate Martin Smith.
In the opening track, Becky Harding extends an invitation–“listening to listen, not to respond.” Her spoken words, broken up into four recordings, carry us through the album with insightful poetry. The album, as a whole, is gentle. Nothing is forced or hurried, much as I imagine Jesus delivering his Sermon on the Mount. In fact, a few of the songs are a bit lengthy, allowing for meditation.
Christian music is primarily characterized by Christ-centered lyrics. The lyrics in Beatitudes dive deep into the meaning of Jesus’s pronouncements. Writers process the familiar passage from Matthew 5:1-12 into a new language so we hear it in a new way. Songs both encourage the sojourner and call the believer to action on behalf of the marginalized and forgotten. “Oh Blessed” starts us on the old-is-new journey.
If you’re a giver and not a taker
Walk the earth as a peacemaker…
When you feel at your weakest
Still you keep your heart open…
And you forgive when you’re hurt
Share your food, give your shirt
A few songs stood out as I listened intently and thoughtfully. First, “Let My Dreams Fly” (featuring former American Idol contestant Terrian Bass) has a dramatic sound. The hope-filled words captured me: “And so we ache for what is right while we reap what we have sown // And we become what we have seen, and we live by what we know.” Audrey Assad’s “I Will Be Your Home” is a timely message for our up-ended world. Assad is the daughter of a Syrian refugee who fled his home country to make a life in the US. For those without a place to rest their head, the promise captured in “I Will Be Your Home” is both inspiring and convicting. “I will be higher than a mother, safer than a place to hide // I will be more than just your shelter // I will be your home.”
While most of the album is easy on the ears, the opening riffs of “In the Middle” will turn your head. I love the grit in this rocking song. The message also rocks complacency–a call to be a peacemaker. “Meet me in the middle where the light don’t shine, where the bullets fly, where there are no sides // Can you meet me in the middle, and we can try to find another way.”
Propaganda introduces even more variety of sound with “Make a Little Trouble.” Stu Garrand explains the message behind the song.
Holy troublemakers are people who are compelled to live a life worthy of a pushback—a life worthy of persecution. They’re the people who don’t just hear the Beatitudes but who actually become the Beatitudes. They collude with this counterintuitive King and his upside-down message. (Stu Garrard)
I appreciated the way the album blends so beautifully with the book, Words from the Hill. The message in the book captured my heart, and this album echoes the blessings Jesus announced from the hill. This artistic offering is worth putting on repeat, allowing faith-filled encouragement and a call to action to find a place in your soul.
Beatitudes tracklist and featured artists:
- Listen pt 1 – ft Becky Harding
- Oh Blessed – ft Anthony Skinner
- You Will Make A Way – ft All Songs & Daughters
- Listen pt 2 – ft Becky Harding
- Carry On – ft Michael W. Smith
- Heaven Is Around Us – ft John Mark McMillan
- Let My Dreams Fly – ft Terrian Bass
- I Will Be Your Home –ft Audrey Assad & Hassan Al Zoubi
- Listen pt 3 –ft Becky Harding
- Oh Mercy – ft Matt Maher & Audrey Assad
- Morning Light – ft May Grant
- Undivided – ft Amanda Cook
- In The Middle – ft Stu Garrard
- Make a Little Trouble – ft Propaganda
- Holy Troublemakers – ft Martin Smith
- Listen pt 4 – ft Becky Harding
- The View from Here – ft Hillsong UNITED
- Listen (full version) – ft Becky Harding
Beatitudes released from Studiology Music with management, marketing, and distribution through The Fuel Music. It is available for purchase from iTunes, Amazon, and your favorite Christian retailer. For all the latest news and information regarding The Beatitudes Project, go to TheBeatitudesProject.com.