I understand that in good writing being clear is more heavily weighted than being clever. All I want now is persuade you to listen to this album, so, no gimmicks here. This is going to be straight clarity. Perspicuity with a capital ‘P’.
In Feast Or Fallow is Sandra McCracken’s 7th full length album, and if you were to ask me, I would tell you that it is the crown among them. At this point I don’t feel like I can praise it enough. IFOF succeeds in everything it sets out to accomplish. It is beautiful, convicting, encouraging, edifying, and inspiring.
Sandra McCracken is a pioneer in the movement to write new hymns, something the church needs badly. I only have a download of the record (for now), so I can’t check liner notes to be certain, but I believe all but four of the 15 songs are written, music and lyric, by McCracken and/or her friends. Those songs not on this list (Give Reviving, I Glory In Christ, 980 Anne Steele, and Faith’s Review and Expectation – a reworking of the classic Amazing Grace) are older hymns, but set to new music. The lyrics of all the songs are powerful and effective. They do just what hymns are supposed to do… point out our failures, and Christ’s successes. Repeatedly as I listen to the album I am convicted of my self-reliance, and assured of my salvation on the basis of Christ alone. By the end I am run through the wringer, but there isn’t any trip that’s more encouraging to take
The sound of the album matches the lyrics in excellence. Derek Webb produced, and he did a spectacular job. It has a very organic, natural feel, but technology is clearly used to add textures and sounds to the music. It adds atmosphere and weight musically, that is quite fitting to the lyrical content.
I encourage to buy it (for less than $6 at amazon), but if you’re hesitant, at least pop on over to http://www.newoldhymns.com and listen to the whole record streaming for free. You can also hear an interview about the album at https://www.noisetrade.com/sandramccracken to get some insight behind individual songs. Be wise and discerning; stock up during the years of great plenty.