Singalongs & Pseudohymns
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Calgarian Mike R. Schuster has embraced an innovative approach to tackling the age-
While some continue to gravitate towards the time-
Enter the “pseudohymn.” Set to completely new contemporary melodies are the magnificent, doctrinally-
It’s not an entirely new concept. We’ve seen artists like Chris Tomlin tinker with the hymns. But Schuster takes it to a whole new level. Eight of the 12 tracks on his latest album are of the pseudohymn variety.
Released this January, Singalongs & Pseudohymns is Schuster’s third CD, following 2006’s Together and To The World in 2011.
The itinerant worship leader formerly on staff at Calgary’s Bow Valley Christian Church is also quick to point out, “I believe this is my best work to date.”
That’s quite the assertion. Schuster is clearly a gifted songwriter. The stirring melody and poignant truth of Redeeming Grace from his debut project will always be a personal favourite of mine.
But with the ancient hymns, Schuster mines centuries of eloquently-
Flowing together seamlessly are the remade hymns and four original co-
The impressive roster of musicians includes Vancouver’s Phil Robertson on drums, Spruce Grove’s Dave Janssen on bass, and Winnipeg’s Carlin Lemon on keyboards. Also elevating the sound is the superb violin and mandolin work on two of the tracks by Vancouver’s Spencer Capier, who frequently tours and records with Carolyn Arends.
Doing cameo appearances are Schuster’s former co-
Schuster appropriately kicks off the disc with As We Gather In His Name, a call to worship co-
Perhaps best summing up the project is a line from Almighty God, derived from a Presbyterian psalter published circa 1912. In the added chorus, Schuster proclaims, “with words old and new, in spirit and in truth, we worship You and only You Almighty God.”
Almighty God earned Schuster a Covenant Award nomination in 2015 from the Gospel Music Association Canada for “Praise & Worship Song of the Year.”
Of the hymn remakes, two each are derived from the works of Fanny Crosby and Henry F. Lyte. Able, which is taken from Crosby’s 1899 hymn, Able To Deliver, ranks as a personal favourite.
Truly a complete family undertaking, son Zach did the album artwork, while daughter Janessa and wife Jennifer offer their vocals. Even father and retired minister Dr. Siegfried H. Schuster served as a theological consultant along with Rev. Shafer Parker of Hawkwood Baptist.
Remarkably, Schuster has one of the best and most information-
Singalongs & Pseudohymns has much to offer for both private listening and congregational worship. Available for $15 plus shipping from www.mikerschuster.com and for $9.99 as a digital download from iTunes and CD Baby.
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