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The Message: Psalms

The Message: Psalms
Our Rating
4 Stars - Excellent
Average Rating
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Release Date
October 11, 2005
Label
Bht Entertainment

Sounds like … shoe-gazing folk/rock in the vein of Elliott Smith, Ron Sexsmith, Over the Rhine, and Derek Webb, plus elements of indie-rock, electronica, and chamber pop.

At a glance … this one-of-a-kind compilation beautifully sets to music Eugene Peterson's popular paraphrase of Scriptures.

The Message paraphrase of the Bible, written by Eugene H. Peterson, has sold more than 20 million copies in various forms since its 1993 debut. The Message is so popular, in fact, that Bono namedrops Peterson in interviews and quoted from the text freely during U2's Elevation Tour.

That rock-star-and-common-folk accessibility inspired Phillip LaRue (formerly of brother-sister duo LaRue) and producer Monroe Jones to serve as project visionaries for The Message: Psalms, a concept album where a number of artists recorded a song based on their favorite Message translation of one of the Psalms. But the producers didn't just call on any artist. Most "special event" albums rely on big players and music hotshots, but The Message draws from a surprising mix of indie artists, newcomers, underground veterans, and big names of varying styles.

The Message: Psalms resembles the classic multi-artist compilations Streams or My Utmost for His Highest, if not in sound, at least in intent and theme. Those two projects took text from those beloved books and transformed them into lovely, prayerful meditations set to music. And with The Message, every song was similarly tailor-made for the album, sticking closely to Peterson's translation, almost verbatim.

"Eyes for You," for example, is a haunting, dreamlike supplication where Sarah McIntosh (of now defunct Chasing Furies) teams up with indie artist Phil Wickham for an almost word-for-word translation ...

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