Album review: "Hymns and Sacred Songs"
By Catherine P. Lewis
Friday, Feb. 24, 2012
Despite the secular flirtation of Sixpence None the Richer's hit song "Kiss Me," the '90s band at its core was a Christian group. As such, it's no huge surprise that lead singer Leigh Nash's most recent solo album, "Hymns and Sacred Songs," is a religious affair, as the airy-voiced singer takes on a dozen contemporary and classic hymns.
The material is a good fit for Nash's voice: The lilting sweetness of "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing" and the hushed whisper of "Song of Moses" mirror the songs' tone and lyrics. Nash (and her collaborators) wrote new melodies for some of the older songs, with an acoustic arrangement nicely complementing the simplicity of Henry Alford's "Come Ye Thankful People Come" and William T. Sleeper's "Out of My Bondage."
The only challenge with "Hymns and Sacred Songs" is the uniformity of its tone and message. There are no dark moments, no crises of faith - only devout, hope-filled praise. Even the bleakest song here, Fanny Crosby's "Oh Heart Bereaved and Lonely," sounds more joyous than bereft. It's not surprising for a Christian album to exalt blind faith, but it does make for a monochromatic listen.