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One of the most refreshing things I’ve heard in ages!

Nice review of Something for the Soul published recently in Cross Rhythms:

Resisting the temptation to wax lyrical about Hewitt being an elder of the Christian music scene, realising some 40 albums and so on, just to say that this is one of the most refreshing things I’ve heard in ages; a tonic for the soul.

Reminiscent of early-Larry Norman and Bob Dylan in the ascendancy, this is quality roots music with intelligent, gospel-focused sentiment all spiced with honesty, humour and dare I say it, soul.

Sonically, it breaks little new ground, but you get the feeling that all those involved with the recording had such a blast, there in the studios in Bury St Edmonds. Hewitt is now a seasoned guitarist and singer-songwriter and is accompanied by an impressive selection of Christian musicians, including Beth Rowley, Pete Banks (of After The Fire) and Paul McDowell, accordionist of The Famous Potatoes and sometimes ‘Prof’ – when performing alongside poet Paul Cookson.

The musicianship is equalled by the quality of the songs, a rich variety of spirituals, protest-songs and anthems. It is difficult to choose a standout, as “No Injustice Will Last Forever”, “Wide Open Arms” and the title-track all jockey, but if I had to pick one, my recommendation is, “Tell ’em About The Dream Martin”, a reflection on Luther King’s famous speech and how the key section of it may never have been uttered, had the gospel singer Mahalia Jackson not shouted to him from nearby.

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Methodist Recorder’s review of Something for the Soul

Before Father Christmas there was a singer by the name of Garth Hewitt, or so it might seem.  Few artists from the early days, in what was loosely termed the “Jesus Music Domain” remain.  So just take this – Hewitt released his first album in 1973, “The Lion and the Lamb”.

 

Read the rest of this review by Tony Jasper here – SFTS Review Methodist Recorder

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Garth’s music – a view on Garth’s journey in music, song and justice

Forty years ago Garth’s music and song lyrics challenged what had become the established way of doing things within the Christian church in the UK. Firstly, he was a part of the movement within Christian music away from a particularly “sacred” sound, not afraid to bring Christian lyrics towards the mainstream popular style of music. This bridged the culture gap for his own and following generations between the church and the world in which they lived, and helped many within those generations find a way to explore their spirituality without the need to deny their inherent culture.  It did also bring condemnation from some within the established Christian churches who felt that these musicians were endangering the purity of the church by in some way secularising it, so it was not always an easy road but there was growing support for this new attitude within the church so it was not entirely lonely.

  Read more…

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Liberty is Near!

liberty-is-nearNow available – Garth sings the Chartist Hymnbook!

 

Garth chats about the new album in this short film here

 

As Britain’s first mass labour movement for political reform, the Chartists were struggling for social justice and human rights in Britain. When a copy of their hymnbook was recently discovered, with lyrics but no music, Garth decided to bring the songs back to life by adding music and recording them – to remind us that Christian songs about justice are not new!  And to highlight the responsibility of Jesus’ followers to make our voices heard on behalf of the marginalised in society around us.

Launched at the Greenbelt Festival on Sunday 25th August with Dr Mike Sanders, an expert on the Chartists, speaking, the album is now available

Read the text of Dr Mike Sanders’ talk here

This album is a project of The Garth Hewitt Foundation
in partnership with Kevin Mayhew

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Liberty is Near – the story behind the new album

GHLibertyphotoEver since I saw the photo of the National Chartist Hymn Book in the Church Times I was intrigued. I contacted Dr Michael Sanders, Senior Lecturer in Victorian Studies at Manchester University and he sent me the lyrics; the hymn book had been discovered in Todmorden Public Library. Michael had set about investigating its origins and he believes it is the only surviving copy.
Michael says the now obscure South Lancashire Delegate Meeting almost certainly compiled the tiny pamphlet.
I didn’t know a lot about the Chartists but I knew they were a significant labour movement calling for political reform and rights for working people. I’m learning much more now from Michael and others.
I was interested to see how they expressed their concern for social justice in a hymn – what was the theology or spirituality. Some of those writing worship songs today are now keen to express issues of justice in them. I heard one writer say this was a ‘new thing that God was doing’. I chuckled because when we search there are normally models that can guide us – this one being around 170 years ago. Justice has always been close to the heart of God – note the emphasis of the Hebrew prophets.

I feel awkward singing some of the lyrics because
Read more…

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Psalmist of praise and protest

STREET children from Africa, South America, India and Europe playing football in a Durban area last March; it’s the Deloitte Street Child World Cup, and it shows off the human potential of children failed by every social and political system. Durban itself has 2,000 street children; the Umthombo organisation, founded five years ago, helps keep them safe and fed. Read more…

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‘Let justice roll on like a river

Truth like a never failing ever flowing stream

Then tears of rage will turn to laughter

And people become what they should be

 

– Garth Hewitt

Let Justice Roll (The People of the West)

from the album Justice Like a River