CD/DVD Review: Hymns from Home (Collingsworth Family)

The opening has a cinematic elegance: Footage of candles and other scenes from the Collingsworth Family home lies underneath a brief narration from Phil Collingsworth Sr. about the importance and impact of hymns. Then the scene shifts outside, where soprano and oldest sister Brooklyn Collingworth Blair sings the first verse of Amazing Grace solo, against a lush backdrop of rural Ohio scenery. Phil Jr. joins for the second verse. Then the camera’s focus pulls back a little farther, and the other two siblings (Courtney Collingsworth Metz and Olivia Collingsworth) join in. For the final verse, parents Phil Sr. and Kim join the now-complete family ensemble.

Hymns From Home is a CD/DVD combination; the CD contains eighteen songs, while the DVD contains an extra opening song. The CD is not a separate studio recording; it is the audio from the live program, minus the opening song.

The remaining eighteen songs are as diverse a collection of performances as you will hear any Southern Gospel group pull off: Solos, duets, trios, quartets, full family ensembles; acapella, piano-and-vocals, songs with full orchestration; piano solos, violin solos, and violin duets. It would be challenging to find any other six people in our genre who could pull off a program of this diversity and caliber, let alone six members of a single family.

Other genres certainly have talented vocalists and instrumentalists. But many other genres rely on their productions—ten piece bands, hundred piece orchestras, light shows, or smoke shows. Southern Gospel, though, has been blessed with generation after generation of singers who need nothing but three or four vocalists and a piano player to absolutely command the spotlight. Make no mistake, the Collingsworth Family can do that, but they have been blessed with an even rarer and more remarkable talent: They can stand in the spotlight and deflect its focus to the message of the songs.

Nowhere, perhaps, is this more apparent than on this projects’ centerpiece, “Burdens Are Lifted at Calvary.” Its subtle brilliance leaves the spotlight clearly on the message.

Many of the hymns have appeared on the family’s previous projects, but since these are live renditions, there are a number of arrangement variations; also, the children’s voices have matured since the original renditions, leaving these superior in a number of cases. These factors, plus the new songs (including “Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary,” “The Love of God,” and “My Wonderful Lord”) make the project a must-buy for Collingsworth Family fans. It would also make an excellent Christmas present for family and friends who love the great hymns of the faith but are new to this genre.

Traditional or Progressive: Traditional with several orchestrated songs.

Group Members: Phil Collingsworth Sr., Kim Collingsworth, Brooklyn Collingsworth Blair, Courtney Collingsworth Metz, Phil Collingsworth Jr., Olivia Collingsworth.

Credits: Produced by Kim Ryan White. Tracks recorded by Melissa Mattey. Assistant engineer: Steve Blackman. Musicians: Kim Collingsworth (on-site piano), Jason Webb (studio piano, keys, Hammond B3); Dave Cleveland (guitars), John Hammond (percussion); Craig Nelson (upright and electric bass). Vocal and instrumental arrangements by Kim Collingsworth. Orchestrations arranged by Wayne Haun and performed by The Nashville String Machine, contracted by Carl Gorodetzky. Mixed by Melissa Mattey and Tommy Cooper. Mastered by Alan Silverman. Film edited by Jacob Ryan. Filming director: Russell Hall. Lighting director: Jeff Hockman. Behind the scenes and interview footage: Tim Antkowiak, Jacob Ryan. Review copy provided.

Song List: Amazing Grace (DVD only); Brethren We Have Met To Worship; Holy, Holy, Holy; Come Thou Fount; The Lord’s Prayer; Take Time To Be Holy; My Wonderful Lord; And Can It Be; When We All Get To Heaven; Covered By The Blood; Since Jesus Came Into My Heart; Burdens Are Lifted At Calvary; The Love of God; In The Garden; I Need Thee Every Hour; Unclouded Day; At Calvary; My Jesus I Love Thee; Amazing Grace.