The Old Baptist Hymnal holds a special place in Mark Hall’s life and memory. For the Casting Crowns frontman, these hymns offered his first view of not only religion, but salvation.
“My dad came to know the Lord when I was about 7 years old. He was 30,” Hall said. “The first time we went to church was the first time I ever heard my dad sing. The hymns are where we started. The Old Baptist Hymnal, that’s what church looked like to me. A lot of how we view God comes from music.”
While hymns still have a powerful impact on Hall’s life decades later, he thinks today’s youth can’t see the powerful message offered in these traditional songs because the music is outdated and often, well, boring by 21st century standards: “We just blaze right through them, kind of like Christmas carols.” Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® is helping Hall and his GRAMMY Award-winning contemporary Christian rock band present these powerful messages in a new way with Glorious Day: Hymns of Faith.
Glorious Day: Hymns of Faith, available exclusively March 2 at all 634 Cracker Barrel locations and at www.crackerbarrel.com, includes six new tracks recorded for this collection and six of the Platinum-selling Georgia-based band’s most notable songs. The album is the latest release through the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store® exclusive music program, offering a variety of new and expanded albums from both superstar and critically acclaimed artists, including Dr. Ralph Stanley, Brad Paisley, Dolly Parton, Zac Brown Band, Vince Gill & Paul Franklin, Clint Black, Michael W. Smith, Dailey & Vincent and more.
“Some of the hymns we changed totally to reintroduce them,” Hall said. “I think the hymns get lost because the culture changes. Some melodies will always be classic. ‘Amazing Grace,’ it will always be a classic. It’s very singable. But some hymns are so different, they don’t really grab this generation. One of our biggest songs as Casting Crowns is ‘Glorious Day,’ and it’s actually an old hymn called ‘One Day.’ The lyrics are amazing, but the music doesn’t really grab this generation. So we thought, ‘Let’s take the lyrics and start all over with the melody and make something new.’ You’re seeing that a lot in songwriting right now, bringing something back that needs to be remembered.”
Other classic hymns reinterpreted by Casting Crowns include “Nothing But the Blood,” “At Calvary,” “My Jesus I Love Thee” and “Beulah Land,” which has special meaning to Hall.
“’Beulah Land’ is one as soon as we heard there was going to be an opportunity to make a hymns record with Cracker Barrel, the first thing I thought was, ‘Oh, my goodness, I finally get to put ‘Beulah Land’ on a CD,’” Hall said. “When my dad got saved, he began singing in the choir and he began singing solos in church. Everything got started when he got saved. And ‘Beulah Land’ was a song that he sang all through my years growing up till I began singing it.”
Previously released Casting Crowns songs on the album include the popular cuts “Blessed Redeemer,” “Praise You in the Storm” and the title track. Casting Crowns is a 7-piece band that grew out of Hall’s youth ministry — he’s been a youth pastor for 20 years, including the last 14 at Eagle’s Landing First Baptist Church in McDonough, Georgia. Hall serves as singer and lead songwriter. The group also includes Melodee DeVevo on violin and cello, drummer Brian Scoggin, Megan Garrett on keyboards, guitarist Juan DeVevo, bassist Chris Huffman and lead guitarist Josh Mix.
Casting Crowns started when Hall began burning CDs for kids in the churches he served and made its major label debut in 2003. The group has since sold more than 8.2 million albums and is the top-selling Christian act since 2007, according to Billboard. It has scored nine No. 1 hits and won a GRAMMY Award and 17 Dove Awards among many other honors. Yet its mission remains unchanged all these years later.
“The cool thing about this is, this is the youth group band — that’s how it started,” Hall said. “And what’s also cool is this Wednesday… it’s the youth group band. We’re leading our worship because this is where we come from, this is what we do.”
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