This is their normal excellent fare: Irish vivacity, a touch of bluegrass and the propulsive excitement of songs like “O Church Arise” conveying solid biblical truths, all written with craft and purpose. It could be their best yet.
Time: 13 tracks / 67 mins + bonus
Since moving to Nashville the Gettys have already spread out from their Irish base to embrace a trace of American roots, but here – where they sing, “May the peoples praise You / Let the nations be glad“ – they have gone global, adding touches of the Middle East, Scandinavia and South Africa.
This suits the outward-minded spirit of this disc: its title track, commissioned by mission organisation OMF International, is a re-work of the 1931 hymn that sent 200 missionaries out to China.
Their musicianship has grown too. For example, bassist John Patitucci often plays with jazz giants, such as Chick Corea, Wayne Shorter, Joey Calderazzo (of Marsalis fame) and Vinnie Colaiuta, who was so breathtaking to watch on Jeff Beck’s Live at Ronnie Scott’s DVD. He is a prominent bassist here in both senses of the word.
With such an emphasis on quality, the music is given space to flower, especially on the nine-minute jazz/Celtic/bluegrass instrumental at the end. There is an intense Uilleann pipes solo on “For the Cause,” and the backing playing is exemplary throughout.
And just as you start thinking that they are re-working the same tunes that have seen them do so well in recent years (partly because a couple of these were on the recent live album), Ladysmith Black Mambazo dramatically appear, to add global guts to the stomper “O Children Come,” a track that would work well as a schmaltz-free Christmas song.
Bonus track “Consider the Stars,” one of their most beautiful songs, is another new style for their portfolio; and distinctive guest vocals from Fernando Ortega (on the excellent “My Worth is not in What I Own”) add to the variety.
Lyrically, there is a feast of content here, which covers themes such as refreshment from God among a general praise and missional mindset. “The Lord is my Salvation” (which picks up some discreet gospel power) and “For the Cause” both manage to get several key ideas all well-placed together.
I’m no fan of congregational singing behind the performance, but it is subtle enough here not to intrude too much.
Overall, this is their normal excellent fare: Irish vivacity and the propulsive excitement of songs like “O Church Arise” conveying solid biblical truths, all written with craft and purpose. Terrific.