Ishmael's Songs & Hymns (2011)

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The Songs & Hymns album helps sum up part of my journey of living in pain but always trying to stay positive over the past 3 years. Here are some of the reasons I chose and wrote a few of the songs. I wrote ‘In the presence of the Lord’ to remind me that the nearest to Heaven that I can be (without actually dying) is knowing God is here with me, and praising in the presence of the Lord. This song needed to rock and make a loud statement and not just be a gentle reflection. On a more gentle vein but for a similar reason, I included Psalm 139 which no one but Andy could sing! In Heaven, in hell, in a hospital bed, on chemo…God is there! This song is now about 40 years old but I still have to hold back the tears each time I listen to it on this album. Martin’s voice seems to make ‘Oh the peace’ all the more powerful. Not only does this song simply sum up the life of Christ but it reminds me that Jesus has provided a very special peace, love and joy for those who follow Him. Admittedly over the past few years I have not always felt that peace, love and joy but I believe that they have always been there. It was an amazing experience listening as Dave recorded ‘Amazing love’. I wrote the song shortly after feeling God had let me down. Of course God would never let me down but He does allow things to happen that I as a human cannot understand. I knew I had to write a song stating as many wonderful things about God that I could think of and could squeeze into a few verses. I am running out of space but there were specific reasons why I included or wrote all the other songs as well. I needed to make statements, declarations and most of all praise! Finally I felt I must include the odd little song sung by Cathy. ‘I just thank God.’ There are still lots of things I don’t understand but there are also lots of things that I know to be true. Most of all I do know that ‘Ever faithful ever true, God I trust in you.’ My prayer is that God’s anointing is upon these songs just as it was on the guest singers when they sang them. Of course this album is not just about my journey, my hope is that these simple songs and hymns will be a help, a blessing and a true encouragement to other believers as they experience the ups and downs that life on earth brings. I am so grateful to Aaron, Andy, Dave, Cathy and Martin helping me out with the vocals as I recently had a throat op and did not want to risk singing all 13 songs...Anyway good songs deserve great singers...and these friends of mine I think you'll agree are some of the best! The songs and there singers are: God is here.God is present (Martin Smith) Almighty God is here (Andy Piercy) Blessed is the king who comes (Aaron Frith) Psalm 139 (Andy Piercy) May the peace and presence. (Dave Bilbrough) Oh the peace (Martin Smith) There is one true Messiah (Ish) Amazing love (Dave Bilbrough) Disciples of Jesus (Ish) I just thank God that it's true (Cathy Burton) In the presence of the Lord (Ish) Father you made us (Cathy Burton) Hallelujah. Praise to Jesus (Aaron Frith)

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