In 2003, I began having the idea of producing a hymn album. I had many hymn albums of my own and would mainly listen to them while driving. My house was about half an hour away from my work and college campus: this gave me plenty of time to listen to sermon tapes and hymn albums.
When the Lord called me out of darkness and into His marvelous light (the summer of 2002), He called me out from pursuing an ungodly path in the music industry. I was a mass communications major and pursuing a degree in the recording industry so I could work with independent punk rock bands. I was also in a small punk rock band at the time and dreamed of my band “making it.” However, I was fixed on working with these ungodly bands even if my own band didn’t make it. I saw nothing else in life that I desired following after other than my addiction to this ungodly music scene. I identified myself with this type of music and followed hard after it. All along, I did as those seven women we read of in Isaiah 4:1 taking hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach. I pretended to be a Christian, but I wore my own garments and did not follow Christ.
But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved me, even when I was dead in sins, hath quickened me together with Christ, (by grace I am saved;) and hath raised me up, and made me sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come He might shew the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward me through Christ Jesus. For by grace I am saved through faith; and that not of myself: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest I should boast. For I am his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that I should walk in them. (Ephesians 2)
After God called me out of darkness, I realized that I could no longer continue to listen to the music in which I was so addicted. God’s seed was now in me, and I could only but turn from this sinful music scene (1 John 3:3-9) and follow Christ. That year, I got rid of my cds, quit my band, and changed my college major.
I replaced my in-the-car music with sermon tapes and hymn albums. I would listen to a hymn album over and over before switching over to a different one. The Lord used hymn albums in my life as a great blessing in replacing my old music. I became more familiar with different hymns, and the Lord also used these hymn albums to prepare me for when my church called on me to lead singing.
After awhile, I became convinced that Primitive Baptists had not recorded enough hymn albums. I searched in and ordered from the Baptist Bible Hour’s catalog and bought what was available at Harmony Hill Singing School (TX).
I began feeling pressed to produce a hymn album. Ideas began coming to me, and I began working on a list of hymns that I would want on a hymn album. All the while, I realized that this was only an idea without an open door for it to become a work.
I had close to 50 hymn titles written down for the album. I then considered each hymn and how it would relate to the album. One by one and with much prayer, I cut the number of hymns in half. I now had close to 25 hymns written down on a piece of paper – arranged in order of how I’d want them to be on a hymn album. I also had the hymn album titled, “The Child of Grace”
I had met Dan Beauchamp at Camp Moriah the summer of 2002. Dan was a student at MTSU, and he lived in Murfreesboro, TN. Dan and I became close friends, and I would go to Murfreesboro to visit him on a weekly basis. His apartment in Murfreesboro was only 30 minutes away from my house in Smithville. I would go to spend an evening with him and end up staying the night. His couch was always available for me to sleep on, and the Lord greatly blessed our friendship.
One evening, a friend of Dan invited us over for a Bible study. Dan’s friend lived in the same area of apartments, but we had to walk over to a different building. After the Bible study (which was over 1 Corinthians 1), Dan and I were outside walking back to his apartment building. For the first time, I told him about my idea; and the Lord began that night to open the door for this work.
After telling Dan about the album, I asked him if he would consider singing on the hymn album. He expressed to me that he would love to sing on the album, and I hit him with another question, “Would you consider singing all four harmony parts?”
At the time, I had a 4-track tape recorder. I told him about this 4-track recorder, and he told me that he was willing to sing all four harmony parts. We were set to start recording the spring of 2004.
I was getting ready to buy a bunch of tapes for the recording. I went with Dan to Radnor Primitive Baptist Church one Wednesday evening, and I decided that I would ask Dewey Cooksey for some recording tips. I knew that Dewey worked in the recording industry, and I was sure that he could give me some good tips.
I told Dewey about the album, and he gave me some very good tips. During our conversation, I began to feel pressed to ask Dewey if he would consider helping us with this hymn album. I wasn’t sure how to ask, and I wasn’t sure how available Dewey was for this work. I knew he was a busy man.
So he had given me some good tips, and our conversation was all but over. I then asked him, “Dewey, would you consider helping us with this album?” I expected him to tell me that he was too busy, but Dewey said that he would help! and thanked me for asking! He quickly told me that I needed to consider not recording with tapes. He mentioned that David Box would probably let us borrow his 4-track mini-disc recorder. We asked David that night, and he said that he would let us borrow his recorder.
We were all very excited about getting started with this recording. However, Dewey learned about getting some new recording equipment for his computer so we could record directly to his computer. He also learned that his friend was going to let us borrow a very expensive and high quality microphone. It started taking some time for Dewey’s computer programs and equipment to come in and set up.
I began getting somewhat impatient and asking if we could just go ahead with the 4-track mini-disc recorder. Dewey told me and Dan that we just needed to give him some more time. He told us that we had no idea the difference that recording directly to computer was going to make.
The fall of 2004, my best friend was killed in a car accident. David Hassell Wallis died at the age of 20. The Lord blessed me to meet Dave the summer of 2002 at Camp Moriah. He quickly became my best friend. He lived in Ripley, MS, and we were constantly making plans for me to go down there or for him to come up here to spend a weekend or a week. The Lord clearly used Dave in my life to help convict me of neglecting prayer and to encourage me in following Christ. Christ is a friend above all others, but David Hassell Wallis was the best and closest friend that Christ had ever given to me. To lose Dave was more than a shock, and I can’t put into words the deep grief and sadness of such a loss.
For the remainder of that year, I was under constant attack from our adversary and struggled with thoughts of wanting to give up on the race I had been called to run (Hebrews 12:1). I struggled with the desire to live, and I just felt like falling down when walking.
Truly, when my race is over, I will sing with Moses unto God, “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed: thou hast guided them in thy strength unto thy holy habitation.” God gives strength to the weak, and Christ leads His own (Isaiah 43:2). God did not allow me to quit the race: for the love of Christ constraineth me (2 Corinthians 5:14).
Dewey had the recording equipment and was ready to start recording around March of 2005. The three of us were very excited with how the recordings were sounding, but our recording sessions were very spaced out in time. Dan graduated college that semester and was now living back in Memphis, TN. All of the recording was done at Radnor Primitive Baptist Church in Nashville, TN.
All three of us were hours away from one another, and the distance and our work schedules didn’t allow us to come together often to work on the hymn album. Between recording sessions, I struggled with feeling pressed to drop and add a few hymns during different seasons of the recording. Through much prayer, I decided on dropping down to 18 hymns.
A year later, we have finally finished recording. All the way up until the last recording session, I made changes on the list of hymns. I’m not sure how many “final products” I came up with, but I feel satisfied with the hymns that are now on the album.
My prayer is that God will bless this work. I pray that this work will bring glory to His name and encouragement to His children. I’m not sure how the Lord will use this hymn album. But I pray that it will be a blessing to your soul in this “low ground of sin and sorrow.” It’s a joy to know that this world is not our home. Time is quickly rushing us into eternity, and I pray that we will spend our days on this side of glory rejoicing in the riches of Christ. May the God of all grace richly bless you. To Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.