I received a copy of the latest CD by Sojourn Music, “The Water and The Blood” to review two weeks ago. At the time, I had not heard of Sojourn and was completely unfamiliar with their music. In some ways, this was the best environment in which to review the CD, as I had no notion of what I was about to encounter.
From the first notes of the opening track, “Absent from Flesh”, I knew I had come across something completely different. Not a group of singles with sing along choruses hand made for rotation on Christian Top 40; not a rock, dance or pop album slapped with Christian lyrics and a Christian label; and not a praise and worship or gospel album trying to cross over for more appeal.
“The Water and The Blood” is an album, in the truest sense of the word. From the first track, the listener is drawn into a world of soaring guitars, soulful, heartfelt vocals, rootsy, bluesy rythyms and tender, praise filled ballads. The album moves through varying styles of rock, blues, Roots/Americana, southern gospel, soul, and Appalachian folk and country, mixing it all into a distinct flavor that is Sojourn.
It is an album that takes the listener on a journey, moving through energetic, uptempo tracks like “From Deep Distress” to the beautiful, soul-bearing worship ballad “Early My God Without Delay”. As I explored the album, I discovered new nuances and layers as the dynamics and emotion of the album drew me in deeper with each listen.
Remarkably, this album of true depth, beauty and soul is a modern adaption of the hymns of Isaac Watts. Watts, known as the “Father of English Hymnody”, was a pastor, poet and hymn writer in the late 17th Century. He is credited with over 750 hymns, many of which are well known and remain active today.
With “The Water and The Blood”, Sojourn has taken the inspiration of the gospel of Jesus, as set to music by Watts, and turned it into something strikingly new. A rootsy, truly American album it resonates with passion, a heart of worship, and a sound that is rooted in all the best of the past, yet is truly modern. It is a new way to worship, and is sure to draw you in as it drew me.