The monastic folk band shares some much needed joy with this lively, faithful tune.
The new recording was released on the Dominican Friars’ website, home of The Hillbilly Thomists, along with a note, which stated:
The Hillbilly Thomists, a bluegrass band comprised of Dominican priests and student brothers, have created this video as a token of gratitude to all those who support the preaching ministry of the Dominican Friars. May it lift your spirits during these trying times.
The band expertly builds the song, opening with a fiddle solo gradually joined by guitar, banjo, mandolin, and ukulele over a one-minute introduction. The sound quality on the instruments is excellent, considering they weren’t in a studio, and their vocal work is very impressive, especially when considering how hard it is to sing together when not in the same room.
The harmonies between the lead and backup singers are really tight, and around the two-minute mark, after the first chorus, the instruments all match up so well that they make their own percussion section from just the strumming of strings. Then the actual percussion comes in, with a snare drum played like a set of bongos. It sounds a little silly to describe like that, but the result is perfect for the intimate sound they’ve created.
The video follows the recent trend of isolation recordings, where each member is playing from their own socially distant space. Three of them were playing from Washington, DC — most likely from the Dominican House of Studies — while the ukulele and drums were in New York City, and vocalists came from Providence, Rhode Island, and Philadelphia. The banjo was the farthest removed from the group, getting piped in all the way from Rome, Italy.
We’re so glad to hear a new release from The Hillbilly Thomists, especially since their last album was dropped in 2017. Hopefully, “Sing Redeeming Love” will be the start of a new musical journey that will end with their sophomore album. If you haven’t heard the first, self-titled album, visit their portal on the Dominican Friars’ website to explore some of their videos. It has a lot of good songs on it, including this bluegrass rendition of “Wayfaring Stranger.”
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