New Faith-Based Country Compilation Features Alan Jackson, Wade Hayes and More
A number of well-known country names are featured on new installment of the Country Faith album series, Country Faith Hymns. Released in May, the 12-track album (which includes two additional tracks on the Cracker Barrel exclusive edition) contains songs of faith performed by, among others, Vince Gill and Amy Grant, Collin Raye, Alan Jackson, Brad Paisley, Gene Watson and Wade Hayes.
Hayes, who released his own Go Live Your Life record in 2015, sings "Just As I Am." The singer says it's his favorite gospel song.
"That’s one I remember vividly from my childhood, growing up in the Lakeview Church of Christ in Oklahoma," Hayes tells The Boot. "And as I’ve gotten older, I’ve really realized what the message is about: After years of studying and reading, I realized that He’s accepting us just as we are.
"If you have any kind of conscience at all, you carry around this burden of falling short constantly; I’m certainly no exception to that," he adds. "But just remember that we are forgiven, and He takes us as we are. It’s good news."
Hymns such as "Just As I Am" have become even more poignant to Hayes as an adult, especially following his recent battles with cancer.
"Singing those songs as a child, you don’t really understand what they’re about," Hayes explains. "It’s been very interesting to get older and, after spending all these years in church, discovering what you’re really singing about. I’ve really enjoyed that discovery ... As an adult, I think that’s the biggest deal for me, is really just discovering what they’re singing about, what it’s all about. It’s been pleasant, all these discoveries over the years. I’ve enjoyed it."
Watson, meanwhile, chose to sing "Help Me," which he says is the song that most accurately depicts his own walk of faith.
"I’ve recorded quite a few gospel songs, and I always loved recording them, because I was raised in church," Watson shares. "I appreciate all the gospel songs, but I don’t think I’ve ever heard or recorded a song that is any more true to 99.9 percent of the people walking around today [than "Help Me"]. How many people do you know of that haven’t been, in one way or another, to the point where they’ve said, ‘Lord. I need help. I can’t do it by myself'?
"It’s such a great song," he continues. "It says so much in such a short time."
The first Country Faith album, and an accompanying book, was released in 2013; a Christmas record and book followed in 2015. Deborah Evans Price, author of the books and co-executive producer of the Country Faith Hymns album (and former The Boot writer), says that this new installment is one in a long line of projects she looks forward to releasing, including a patriotic collection in 2017.
"Our plan all along with the Country Faith brand is to continue to do books and to continue doing CDs in the series," Price explains. "So it’s really exciting because what started out as one little book, and we thought it would be great to have a companion CD, now has blossomed into two books, three CDs now, planning on the fourth."
Country Faith Hymns and past Country Faith projects are available for purchase at CountryFaith.com.