Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life (Paperback)

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This inspiring book is part memoir (Carrigan is both musician and music journalist), part tour of gospel music hits and artists, and part a quick history of forgotten parts of America. Music touches people’s hearts in deep and enduring ways that words often fail to do. We all remember the time and place where we first heard certain life-changing songs. Carrigan explores fifteen Gospel songs with enduring power: each chapter includes a brief history of the song, its setting, composer and lyrics, and illustrates its themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. 

Includes spirituals from Amazing Grace and Precious Lord, Take My Hand to Steal Away to Jesus and I’ll Fly Away. Each chapter explores brief history of the song, its setting and composer, examining key lyrics, illustrating ways it expresses themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. Fifteen Spirituals encourages readers to listen to favorite, or unfamiliar, Gospel songs to discover their transforming power.
Music lovers, musicians, readers of Christian inspirational literature, music historians, and fans of Gospel singers will want to read this book.

Table of Contents includes: Amazing Grace—God’s grace and salvation, Precious Lord, Take My Hand—Comfort & healing, Wade in the Water—Baptism, redemption, social justice, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms—Hope, community, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot—Death and hope, Will the Circle Be Unbroken?—Community, hope, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning—Expectation and new life, How Great Thou Art—God’s greatness, I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me—Work, love, prayer, Standing on the Promises—Faith, If Heaven Never Were Promised to Me—Faithful living, I’ll Fly Away, God’s Got a Crown—Heaven, Brethren We Have Met to Worship—Worship, Steal Away to Jesus—New life

About the Author

Guitarist and music critic Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. has been playing Gospel music all his life and writes about Gospel, Soul, Blues, and Americana music for No Depression: The Quarterly Journal of Roots Music and Living Blues. He’s interviewed many musical greats including Rosanne Cash, Rick Bragg, and Kris Kristofferson. Andraé Crouch’s If Heaven Were Never Promised to Me changed Henry’s life when he was playing in a Jesus band in college, and he’s worked in churches, played spirituals in prison ministry, and taught religion and music in various colleges and in workshops. He teaches classes on Gospel in churches and has developed an extensive playlist of songs for such classes.

Praise For…

“Believe in Henry Carrigan. Through strong faith, deep musical knowledge, a critic’s eye and a historian’s understanding, his affable masterclass through these religious classics offers pure joy and enlightenment. Not afraid to get deeply personal, Carrigan shows how living with these spirituals can help everyone bring their experiences to these classics. His insider’s expertise in a wealth of musical traditions offers widely inclusive descriptions of how these songs have given strength to the Civil Rights Movement as well as Appalachian family singers. At a time when the world seems to be coming apart, we need this book as a reminder of how these deeply spiritual songs should unite us all.” —Aaron Cohen, author, Aretha Franklin’s Amazing Grace

“I enjoyed reading this book, and not just reading, but listening to each of the 15 spirituals recorded by different artists. My favorite parts of the book are the reflections of the songs that give us insight to how we can apply the messages from each song to our daily lives. Music certainly speaks to my heart and each song has a powerful message. This book will have an impact on your life.” —Becky Brown, wife of Jim Ed Brown, author of Going Our Way

“There are some Hymns and Spirituals that have defied time and space and have lasted for many times passing, and it is because they were anointed to begin with. Great songs stand the test of time, and behind every song there is a story that we never get to hear. But thanks to author Henry L Carrigan, Jr. we will learn about Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life. Read and learn and be blessed, and the next time you sing or hear one of these awesome masterpieces… you will know the story behind the song.” —Joseph S. Bonsall, 45-year member of The American Music group The Oak Ridge Boys and author of 10 books

“Carrigan has birthed an absolutely essential examination of fifteen of the best-known spiritual songs of the last century. The book showcases the importance of the songs not only for the faithful but also for anyone who wants to understand the roots of American music. These songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley to Kanye West. They have had a gargantuan impact on the lives of millions and also on the art of music making itself.  Carrigan has given us the 411 in 15 chapters.” —Bill Carpenter, author of Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia, recipient of an NAACP Image Award nomination

"In Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life, Henry Carrigan not only chronicles the stories behind the hymns and spirituals we have heard our whole lives, but he challenges us to listen to them again, this time with fresh ears and an open spirit. Every chapter is a mini-lesson that uncovers the multiple layers of meaning in each lyric and why these songs in particular have such life-changing power. It’s an extremely helpful resource in terms of the history it shares and the theological insights it ignites." —Robert M. Marovich, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Gospel Music

“Fifteen Spirituals by Harry Carrigan is an incredible source and guide to some the most essential songs in the compendium of American music. You don’t have to be a believer to find comfort and transcendence in the songs he writes so poetically about. Carrigan writes with immediacy and intellect, but also shares a palpable love of the Gospel tradition that is so infectious, one cannot help but listen and be moved. I value this book for what it brings to me about the songs I have grown up with and loved all my life, and for its emphasis on how Gospel music shows us our own humanity and helps us in our search for unity and justice, in the face of fear and intolerance.” —Amy Ray, Grammy Award-winning artist, member of the Indigo Girls (1985-present)

Product Details
ISBN: 9781640600867
ISBN-10: 1640600868
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Publication Date: May 7th, 2019
Pages: 160