Cathedral Hymns and the rebirth of an Advent carol
Album cover design by Meg Schlabs at Wizardly.co
In conjunction with Holy City Hymns, Cathedral Hymns has released a new recording of the Advent carol "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." In a style evocative of HCH's 2013 and 2014 albums "Not a Word," "Advent Songs" and "Advent Songs 2," this version, titled "Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel," is an elevated acoustic interpretation that is mellow, soulful and often haunting.
Holy City Hymns was a previous collaboration of artists local to the Charleston Anglican community. It has birthed the Cathedral Hymns project, which focuses on music and musicians directly associated with the cathedral with the continuing purpose of reviving and reimagining classic hymns for a new appreciation — and not only for the younger generation. The arrangement keeps the original melody and lyrics while inviting enjoyment from a different musical angle, just as reading a favorite Bible verse in a different translation version can result in a deeper understanding of the Word.
The track features Andrew Avent on guitar, keyboard and lead vocals; Avent's solo EP "Remember" was released in 2019 to Spotify, Bandcamp, and iTunes. Anna Bruner, director of worship at the cathedral, and Meg Schlabs, cofounder of Wizardly, provide ethereal background vocals. Patrick Schlabs, the canon for cultural engagement at the cathedral, and Matt Zutell of Coast Records round out the instrumentation with a seamless blending of lap steel, organ, percussion, and other electronic elements. The result is mournful, worshipful, and musically sublime with a palpable sense of longing for the coming of Jesus.
The genius of this project is that while the music is set in a modern arrangement, mixed by Matt Zutell and mastered by Matthew Garber of For the Record Mastering, nothing of the hymn's sacred nature is lost.
Each album's proceeds will go to fund the next project, currently slated to be a 6-7 EP to be released in March 2021.
If you've played all your Christmas season favorites until you're singing them in your sleep, consider expanding your playlist to include Cathedral Hymns.