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Sandra McCracken is a singer-songwriter and hymn writer from Nashville, Tennessee. A prolific recording artist, McCracken has produced 14 solo albums over two decades. Her best selling release, Psalms (2015) received critical acclaim, followed by God’s Highway (2017) which made the top 50 on Billboard Heatseekers chart without a major label. She has had songs featured in TV, including ‘Ten Thousand Angels’ on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy and has over 15 million streams. Blending the old and new, Sandra has also shown a unique ability to recast sacred scripture texts into theologically rich yet accessible songs. Her thoughtful lyrics and gospel melodies in songs like “We Will Feast In The House Of Zion,” “Steadfast” and “Thy Mercy My God” have become staple anthems in churches across the U.S. As a published writer, she contributes a regular column in Christianity Today and released her first book “Send Out Your Light” in September 2021.  She has released three full-length albums in 2022. Here are reviews of each of them:

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  • More Sandra McCracken reviews
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  • Song of the Week Lyrics ~ Rejoice by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Rend Collective

November Songs – Shadowlands

Shadowlands consists of singer/songwriter Sandra McCracken, Brett Taylor, Director of Worship Arts at West End Community Church in Nashville, and acclaimed songwriter Luke Laird, who has written more than twenty number one Billboard singles. The title of the EP comes from the fact that the songs were written in November, 2021. The songs are written and produced by the band. All lead vocals are by Sandra McCracken, with the exception of “Quiet Mind”, on which Brett Taylor sings lead. The mostly acoustic songs feature excellent musicianship, songwriting and performance. This is one of my favorite releases of the year. I hope that there is a full-length follow-up to this EP.
Here are a few comments about each song:
Saving Me – This song features, drum, piano, acoustic guitar, backing vocals. bass, and a guitar solo. The song touches on forgiveness, grace and seeing Jesus face to face.
Key lyrics:
Finally free to struggle
‘Stead of struggling to be free

Let My Heart Be Moved – This was the first of the songs to be written by McCracken, Taylor and Laird. The song features percussion, backing vocals, guitar, bass and piano. In times of doubt, fear, unbelief and burdens sing this prayer.
Key lyrics:
Let my heart be moved
Draw me close and let make me new.
Healer of the broken
Keep my eyes wide open
To see you

Quiet Mind – This was the last song written for the project. The lead vocals are handled by Brett Taylor. The song features guitar, backing vocals, beautiful harmonies, drums, and bass. It is a prayer asking for the Lord to give a quiet mind and the peace to be still and know.
Key lyrics:
Tonight, give me a quiet mind

Hold Together – This was the first single from the project. McCracken described the song as a snapshot of real life right along with real theology. The song is based on Colossians 1:17: “And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” It features piano, guitar, bass, backing vocals, and drums.
Key lyrics:
Before all things
Through Him all things
Were created and belong to him forever
For by Him
All things for him we sing
In Him all things hold together

Hear You – This song features guitar, piano, bass, backing vocals, and drums.
Everyone is telling her what she needs to do, where to go, and what to say, but what she needs to is hear God’s voice.
Key lyrics:
I need to hear Your voice

Song for the Waiting – McCracken has said that this song is a lament, a lullaby. It weaves together a shared love for old hymns and folk music inflections into a new melody. It’s a song for when we are holding and waiting, a song to keep you company when you are waiting for the morning to break. This song features piano, percussion, bass, and backing vocals. The song samples the 1887 hymn “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms” by E.A. Hoffman.
Key lyrics:
You are the song in the night
Like bells on a hill still ringing
You are the song in the night
I cannot keep from singing

Favorite Songs:

Listen to November Songs here.

Light in the Canyon – Sandra McCracken

Light in the Canyon is Sandra McCracken’s 17th album and is the follow-up to her early 2022 covers album Carry Each Other. The excellent new album was recorded on a weekend retreat in the Texas hill country at Laity Lodge. She reimagines with a jazz sound, some of her songs that span two decades of songwriting as well as including a new song. McCracken is accompanied by musicians John Pattiucci, Jon Cowherd, James McAlister, Andrew Osenga and John Raymond, as well as background singers.  I especially enjoyed the outstanding piano work by Cowherd.
McCracken tells us that this is a collection of gospel songs, songs of truth and hope in an age of uncertainty.  They are songs that help us remember what we believe, like light in a valley.  They are also songs that correspond with her recent book, Send Out Your Light: The Illuminating Power of Scripture and Song. 
Here are a few brief comments about each song:
Send Out Your Light – This song was written by McCracken and is based on Psalm 43. The song features, piano, horns, backing vocals, and drums. A great opening song.
Key lyrics:
Send out Your light and Your truth
Let them lead me
Bring me to Your holy hill
To Your dwelling
Then I will go to the alter of God
To God my exceeding joy
Then I will praise You with all my heart
Oh my joy, my joy

I Will Sing – This song of worship was written by McCracken and Leslie Jordan. The song features drums, piano, bass, and guitar.
Key lyrics:
With my mouth
I will tell of Your faithfulness
I’ll declare, Lord, Your covenant
With my life

Trinity Song – This song about the Father, Son and Holy Spirit was written by McCracken. The song features piano, guitar and horns.
Key lyrics:
Holy Father, Son and Spirit
Holy Communion, Three in One
Holy Father, Son and Spirit
Holy Communion, Three in One

Thy Mercy, My God – The lyrics to this song were written by John Stocker, and the music by McCracken. The beautiful worship song has McCracken accompanied by piano.
Key lyrics:
All praise to the Spirit, His whisper divine
Seals mercy and pardon, and righteousness mine

We Will Feast In The House Of Zion – This song was written by McCracken and Joshua David Moore. The song features piano, bass, light percussion, and backing vocals.
Key lyrics:
We will feast in the house of Zion
We will sing with our hearts restored
He has done great things, we will say together
We will feast and weep no more

Hold To God’s Unchanging Hand – This song was written by Jennie Wilson in 1906. The song features bass, guitar, piano and backing vocals.
Key lyrics:
Hold to God’s unchanging hand,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand;
Build your hopes on things eternal,
Hold to God’s unchanging hand

Call Upon Him – This song about prayer was written by McCracken, Rachael Lampa and Trillia Newbell. The song features drums, guitar, piano, bass and backing vocals.
Key lyrics:
Call upon Him, call upon Him
There is power in the Name
Call upon Him, call upon Him
There is power in the Name

Have Mercy – This song, a prayer, was written by McCracken and Thad Cockrell. The song features piano, drums, guitar, and bass.
Key lyrics:
Have mercy on us
Have mercy on us, O Lord

Christ Is The Life Of The World – This worship song was written by Sandra McCracken. The song features piano, light percussion and guitar, horns and some excellent bass.
Key lyrics:
Let us lift up, lift our hearts,
It is good to lift our hearts to the Lord

Until He Comes Again – This new song, which features Andrew Osenga, is about remembering what the Lord has done for us as we celebrate the Lord’s Supper and long for His return. The song features piano, bass, drums, guitar, and backing vocals.
Key lyrics:
By this we remember in love
As we gather with bread and wine
We remember until He comes again

Favorite songs
Send Out Your Light
I Will Sing
Thy Mercy, My God
We Will Feast in the House of Zion
Hold to God’s Unchanging Hand

Carry Each Other – Sandra McCracken

I was introduced to singer/songwriter Sandra McCracken over the past few years when I saw her perform at the Gospel Coalition National Conference and Sing! conferences. Carry Each Other, her follow-up to 2020’s excellent Patient Kingdom (my favorite album that year), has her covering eleven songs that have meant a lot to her.
About the album, McCracken has said:
“We are each carried by certain songs through pivotal moments of our lives. Alongside my love for songwriting and old hymns, I’m so excited to share this collection of songs written by some of the modern, musical truth-tellers who have carried me through some of my own life-seasons. I hope these recordings will shine light as you listen, reminding you of some of the songs that have carried you, too.”
The album was produced by Tyler Chester, and features McCracken’s excellent vocals accompanied by piano, acoustic guitar, bass, drums, synth, backing vocals, and strings. I’m not generally a fan of a covers album, such as Switchfoot’s 2020 album Covers, and though I most likely won’t listen to this one as much as Patient Kingdom, I was glad to hear McCracken’s interpretation of these songs, some of which I knew and some I didn’t.
Here is the track list:
One – This song was written by Bono, The Edge, Larry Mullen Jr., Adam Clayton and recorded by U2.
Only Love Can Break Your Heart – This song was written and recorded by Neil Young.
Most of the Time – This song was written and recorded by Bob Dylan.
Everybody Hurts – This song was written Mike Mills, Michael Stipe, Peter Buck, Bill Berry and recorded by R.E.M.
Heart of a Girl – This song was written by Brandon Flowers, Dave Keuning, Mark Stoermer, Ronnie Vannucci Jr., Daniel Lanois and recorded by The Killers.
Anthem – This song was written and recorded by Leonard Cohen.
Fairest of the Seasons – This song was written by Nico, Jackson Browne, Gregory Copeland and recorded by Nico.
Weather with You – This song was written by Neil Finn, Tim Finn and recorded by Crowded House.
It Ain’t Me, Babe – This song was written and recorded by Bob Dylan.
You Can Never Hold Back Spring – This song was written Tom Waits, Kathleen Brennan and recorded by Tom Waits.
What’ll I Do – This song was written by Irving Berlin and recorded by many artists including Frank Sinatra and Bob Dylan.

  • We Will Feast in the House of Zion. Watch Sandra McCracken perform her song “We Will Feast in the House of Zion” from her album Light in the Canyon.
  • Sing We The Song of Emmanuel. Check out the new radio mix of “Sing We The Song of Emmanuel”, by Keith and Kristyn Getty, Matt Boswell and Matt Papa.
  • Your Will Be Done. Watch the new live performance of “Your Will Be Done” by CityAlight.
  • Sounding Joy. Listen to “Sounding Joy” by Ellie Holcomb, from her new EP Sing: Christmas Songs.
  • California Christmas. Watch this video of Switchfoot performing “California Christmas” from their new album this is our Christmas album.

Rejoice by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Rend Collective

This week’s song of the week is “Rejoice” by Keith and Kristyn Getty and Rend Collective from the Getty’s new album Christ Our Hope in Life and Death. The joyful song was written by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Ben Shive, Skye Peterson and Bryan Fowler. It was written out of a desire to answer the question, “How do we find opening songs that are energetic, full of joy, but rich in the Bible?” The song puts Paul’s encouragement in Philippians 4:4 into song: “Rejoice in the Lord now and always, sing it again we rejoice.” Watch the lyric video here.

Rejoice in the Lord now and always
Sing it again we rejoice
Delight in the love He has shown us
Gratefully lift up your voice
His gentleness among us
Will join our hearts with praise
We gather in His goodness
A family of grace 

With each breath He’s given, praise the Lord
In these times we live in, we will praise the Lord
Throughout every season I am sure
We have every reason to praise the Lord 

Rejoice and be anxious for nothing
Praying for all that you need
Come with a song of thanksgiving
Lay your requests at His feet
His peace will fall upon us
To guard our hearts and minds
In Christ who reigns eternal
The Shepherd of our lives 

With each breath He’s given, praise the Lord
In these times we live in, we will praise the Lord
Throughout every season, I am sure
We have every reason to praise the Lord

Rejoice in the Lord now and always
Tell of the good He has done
Worship the Lord to remember
All of the joy yet to come
The hope that burns within us
The dark cannot destroy
With praise that’s never ending
We say again rejoice

With each breath He’s given, praise the Lord
In these times we live in, we will praise the Lord
Throughout every season I am sure
We have every reason to praise the Lord

We have every reason to praise the Lord

Author: Bill Pence

I’m Bill Pence – married to my best friend Tammy, a graduate of Covenant Seminary, St. Louis Cardinals fan, formerly a manager at a Fortune 50 organization, and in leadership at my local church. I am a life-long learner and have a passion to help people develop, and to use their strengths to their fullest potential. I am an INTJ on Myers-Briggs, 3 on the Enneagram, my top five Strengthsfinder themes are: Belief, Responsibility, Learner, Harmony, and Achiever, and my two StandOut strength roles are Creator and Equalizer. My favorite book is the Bible, with Romans my favorite book of the Bible, and Colossians 3:23 and 2 Corinthians 5:21 being my favorite verses. Some of my other favorite books are The Holiness of God and Chosen by God by R.C. Sproul, and Don’t Waste Your Life by John Piper. I enjoy music in a variety of genres, including modern hymns, Christian hip-hop and classic rock. My book Called to Lead: Living and Leading for Jesus in the Workplace and Tammy’s book Study, Savor and Share Scripture: Becoming What We Behold are available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon.

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