Featuring Matt Hammitt of Sanctus Real and singer/songwriter Bethany Dillon
By Amy Sondova What began as a discussion over coffee between three musicians has turned into In Christ Alone: Modern Hymns of Worship (Sparrow), a twelve-song collection featuring the vocals of Sanctus Real’s front man Matt Hammit and singer/songwriter Bethany Dillon. The classic hymns were rearranged by producer John Mark Painter (Fleming and John, Ben Folds, Jon Foreman) to add new flavor to traditional tunes.
The album’s title track, “In Christ Alone” is rhythmic and simple, allowing listeners to focus on the melodic tones of alto Dillon and tenor Hammitt, who blend nicely. Dillon’s alto range is a comfort to women who have trouble following the sopranos that dominate worship albums. “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us” is brought to life with a flute and guitar arrangement that highlights Dillon’s breathy voice. On another song, “On the Third Day”, Dillon sings, “For everything must die to rise again,” allowing her singer/songwriter sound to vocally capture the classic hymn.
Most surprising is Matt Hammitt’s range of singing ability. While listeners have enjoyed his voice on Sanctus Real’s albums for years, it is nice to see a different side of Hammitt. While he excels vocally on In Christ Alone, Sanctus Real’s rock fans may not prefer the album due to its contemporary worship sound. Taking on a much more traditional, orchestral sound, In Christ Alone seems to be marketed towards an older Christian audience.
Still, In Christ Alone is full of interesting melodies, beautiful arrangements, and good use of solo and group vocals. Instead of providing another me-focused worship album, Hammitt, Dillon, and Painter actually create an avenue of reverent praise before the Living God.
Also read Backseat Writer’s review of Sanctus Real’s latest album, We Need Each Other by clicking here.