Many of today's top recording artists, leaders in their respective genres in the field of Christian/Worship music, have been tapped for Beatitudes, a full-length album releasing from Stugiology Music April 21 with management, marketing and distribution through The Fuel Music. The first single from the project, "Oh Blessed," releases today to iTunes, Spotify and everywhere great digital music is sold, while the artists, album cover art and track listing are being revealed for the first time.
The recording is part of The Beatitudes Project, which is also a book, Words From the Hill (An Invitation to the Unexpected) from NavPress releasing in April, and a documentary film, View From The Hill, currently in production. The project reveals a wide world of connected stories: real people from all faiths and walks of life who embody mercy, poverty, meekness, the hungry and thirsty, the peacemakers, the mourners, and the pure in heart--as seen, heard and experienced through a 21st century lens.
Featured on the Beatitudes album are Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, Hillsong UNITED, Matt Maher, John Mark McMillan, Audrey Assad, All Sons & Daughters, Amanda Cook, Propaganda, The Brilliance, Anthony Skinner, Terrian Bass and Becky Harding (spoken word), as well as Martin Smith and Stu Garrard (Stu G), which marks the first time these two have recorded together since their band, the RIAA Certified Gold-selling, GRAMMY-nominated and Dove Award-winning British band Delirious?, disbanded in 2009. Collectively, these artists have sold more than 62 million records, won 11 Grammy, 90 Dove Awards and amassed dozens of hit songs and millions of followers on social media.
In addition to Garrard and cowriter Skinner, the first single from Beatitudes, "Oh Blessed," features The McCrary Sisters, widely known for singing backup with Elvis and Bob Dylan.
"'Oh Blessed' is the introduction song to The Beatitudes Project and is the only song so far that speaks of all the themes in the Beatitudes," says Garrard. "When things are broken and when things aren't working out, God is on our side and fully present with us. We can lift our heads and hear the invitation to carry on."
Over a decade in the making, The Beatitudes Project is the culmination of guitarist, songwriter and author Garrard's excavation of these "blessings at the bottom of life."
"The Beatitudes Project is meant to be a reset button in a world plagued with violence and division," says Garrard, who also authored the book. "These upside-down Jesus announcements on a hillside by the Sea of Galilee in Matthew 5 where Jews, Greeks, Romans and people of all ethnicities were gathered are a reminder that there is another way."
Representing the Beatitudes visually, noted musicians/artists Jimmy Abegg and Cory Basil collaborated to create eight different paintings that became the basis for the Beatitudes cover art and most of the artwork for the project.
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Listen pt 1 Becky Harding
Oh Blessed Anthony Skinner
You Will Make A Way All Sons & Daughters
Listen pt 2 Becky Harding
Carry On Michael W Smith
Heaven Is Around Us John Mark McMillan
Let My Dreams Fly Terrian Bass
I Will Be Your Home Audrey Assad feat. Hassan Al Zoubi
Listen pt 3 Becky Harding
Oh Mercy Matt Maher, Audrey Assad
Morning Light Amy Grant
Undivided Amanda Cook
In The Middle Stu Garrard
Make a Little Trouble Propaganda
Holy Troublemakers Martin Smith
Listen pt 4 Becky Harding
The View from Here Hillsong UNITED
Listen (full version) Becky Harding
Makers of The Peace (View From The Shepherds Field) The Brilliance
Oh Mercy Demo (View From The Writers Room) Matt Maher
A Passion Project| Posted April 25, 2017
Quite possibly the biggest collective project this year, Beatitudes is a beast of an album. Only part of this massive undertaking that has been over a decade in the works for former Delirious? guitarist Stu G, The Beatitudes Project also includes a film (View From The Hill) and a book (Words From The Hill) in addition to the twenty-track record. Featuring a plethora of today's top recording artists teaming up with Garrard, Beatitudes carries the underlying goal of sharing real life stories from people around the world who embody the traits found in the Beatitudes (Matthew 5), experienced through a 21st-Century lens.
Chilling spoken word track "Listen" by Becky Harding captures the listener's attention while opening the album, leading into laid-back "Oh Blessed" featuring Anthony Skinner. An early highlight, All Sons & Daughters lend their voices to the heartfelt "You Will Make A Way."
Piano-led "Carry On" from Michael W. Smith picks up the tempo a bit while offering lines of encouragement, much like John Mark McMillan's "Heaven Is Around Us." Newcomer Terrian Bass brings her soulful vocals to sonically intriguing "Let My Dreams Fly," contrasting well with vocal veteran Amy Grant's string-heavy "Morning Light."
Audrey Assad, the daughter of a Syrian refugee, takes on the deeply personal and hauntingly beautiful track "I Will Be Your Home," a song inspired by refugees. Assad also teams up with Matt Maher on "Oh Mercy," a moving moment on the album that sees the two voices mesh in perfect harmony. Bethel Music's Amanda Cook leads "Undivided" in such a powerfully elegant way, bringing the song to life with emotion and near-perfection.
Touching base with other genres, the album shifts sonically with Stu G's well-executed rock track "In The Middle" and rapper Propaganda's "Make A Little Trouble." A highlight for Delirious? fans, "Holy Troublemakers" reunites Stu G and Martin Smith for the first time since their band's days ended in 2009. Worshipful "The View From Here" from Hillsong United and well-crafted "Makers Of The Peace" from The Brilliance close out the album on high notes of creativity.
The Bottom Line: Beatitudes truly is a masterful work of art. An impressive record that carries both new and seasoned voices while displaying artists from a ranging spectrum of genres, Stu G did a remarkable job of creating this project with diversity while still conveying the central theme well through each track. With every song co-written by Garrard and its respective artist, Beatitudes accomplishes its mission by encouraging and challenging listeners from beginning to end with its personal and passionate feel.
Song To Download Now:
"Undivided" (Get it on iTunes here.)
Sustainable Future| Posted April 29, 2017
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