Sounds like … other live projects hailing from the Passion camp, this time merging the pop/rock arrangements inherent to the series with the timeless lyricism of classic hymns
At a glance … this reverent collection may not break new ground in hymnology, but it does add a new twist to the lyrically and theologically starved modern worship scene
In an attempt to bring modern worship enthusiasts and traditional hymn lovers together, the best-selling Passion worship team has crafted Hymns Ancient and Modern, a compilation of time-honored hymns set to the popular praise sounds of Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, the David Crowder Band, Matt Redman and Christy Nockels (Watermark, and husband Nathan Nockels produced). Recorded live at Passion's Thirsty Conference at Northpoint Community Church in Atlanta, these timeless relics are given a punchy, near-stadium-rock feel. Melodies, syllables, and pacing are accommodated accordingly to infuse the project with both cadence and singability. Such is the case with the invocatory "Doxology," whose familiar four-line text gets stretched to more than four minutes with effective—though overlong—results.
Other classic renditions are more faithful. While Hall interprets the revered "How Great Thou Art" at a double-timed pace, he keeps the melody and spirit of the original intact. Nockels gives lovely performances of "Fairest Lord Jesus" and "Praise to the Lord, The Almighty," two of the more stripped-down tracks on the disc. Tomlin's "O Worship the King" is driving and celebratory, with electric guitars that keenly douse the song with a Celtic touch.
Though the Passion folks do these hymns justice, they also take some liberties with their arrangements. In keeping with the "ancient and modern" theme, they add simpler, iterative verses for breathing room ("O Worship the King," "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee"), plug their own lesser-known repertoire ("Be Glorified" shows up in "Father, Let Me Dedicate"), and insert a hallelujah or two for dramatic effect. Still, the extreme fusion of old and new generally works well, resulting in one of the more enjoyable and worshipful Passion projects.