Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life

Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life

by Henry L. Carrigan Jr.


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This inspiring book is part memoir (Carrigan is both musician and music journalist), part tour of gospel music hits and artists, and part a quick history of forgotten parts of America. Music touches people’s hearts in deep and enduring ways that words often fail to do. We all remember the time and place where we first heard certain life-changing songs. Carrigan explores fifteen Gospel songs with enduring power: each chapter includes a brief history of the song, its setting, composer and lyrics, and illustrates its themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. 

Includes spirituals from Amazing Grace and Precious Lord, Take My Hand to Steal Away to Jesus and I’ll Fly Away. Each chapter explores brief history of the song, its setting and composer, examining key lyrics, illustrating ways it expresses themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. Fifteen Spirituals encourages readers to listen to favorite, or unfamiliar, Gospel songs to discover their transforming power.
Music lovers, musicians, readers of Christian inspirational literature, music historians, and fans of Gospel singers will want to read this book.

Table of Contents includes: Amazing Grace—God’s grace and salvation, Precious Lord, Take My Hand—Comfort & healing, Wade in the Water—Baptism, redemption, social justice, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms—Hope, community, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot—Death and hope, Will the Circle Be Unbroken?—Community, hope, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning—Expectation and new life, How Great Thou Art—God’s greatness, I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me—Work, love, prayer, Standing on the Promises—Faith, If Heaven Never Were Promised to Me—Faithful living, I’ll Fly Away, God’s Got a Crown—Heaven, Brethren We Have Met to Worship—Worship, Steal Away to Jesus—New life

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781640600867
Publisher: Paraclete Press
Publication date: 05/07/2019
Pages: 128
Sales rank: 205,333
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.00(h) x (d)
Age Range: 3 Months to 18 Years

About the Author

Guitarist and music critic Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. has been playing Gospel music all his life and writes about Gospel, Soul, Blues, and Americana music for No Depression: The Quarterly Journal of Roots Music and Living Blues. He’s interviewed many musical greats including Rosanne Cash, Rick Bragg, and Kris Kristofferson. Andraé Crouch’s If Heaven Were Never Promised to Me changed Henry’s life when he was playing in a Jesus band in college, and he’s worked in churches, played spirituals in prison ministry, and taught religion and music in various colleges and in workshops. He teaches classes on Gospel in churches and has developed an extensive playlist of songs for such classes.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Amazing Grace 7

2 Precious Lord, Take My Hand 15

3 Wade In The Water 23

4 Leaning On The Everlasting Arms 33

5 Swing Low, Sweet Chariot 41

6 Will The Circle Be Unbroken? 49

7 Keep Your Lamps Trimmed And Burning 59

8 How Great Thou Art 69

9 When God Dips His Pen Of Love In My Heart 79

10 Standing On The Promises 87

11 If Heaven Never Was Promised To Me 95

12 I'll Fly Away 105

13 What A Friend We Have In Jesus 115

14 Brethren, We Have Met To Worship 125

15 Steal Away To Jesus 135

Epilogue 143

Acknowledgments 147

Selected Readings on Gospel Music 149

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Music is in Henry Carrigan’s blood, and his love for it bleeds onto the page. His writing is soulful, powerful, and—best of all—illuminating.”  Christine Ohlman, songwriter and vocalist, the Saturday Night Live band


“Henry Carrigan’s music reviews are striking because they are incredibly well written. It’s wonderful as an artist to get praised for one's work, but to be praised by a writer of such caliber brings it to another level. I feel fortunate to have been on that list!” Beth Nielsen Chapman, songwriter and singer, writer of Faith Hill’s “This Kiss”


"I've had the pleasure of being interviewed by Henry over the years.  He has a great passion for and vast knowledge of all kinds of music, and his writings are always thoughtful, insightful, and deeply felt.  I've no doubt that Henry will bring these same qualities to his book on gospel music." —Mandy Barnett, country and Americana vocalist


“Henry Carrigan has the ability to ferret out the essence of a musical creation and bring it to the world.” Eliza Gilkyson, songwriter and singer


"Henry Carrigan gives a unique style of interview, in that he tends to know more about the person he’s interviewing than the interviewee themselves. I was very impressed with his thorough and easy style and enjoyed the conversation very much." Steve Dorff, 2018 Songwriter Hall of Fame inductee


"The last few years have been a whirlwind for Darin and I. Our music has grown and our performances have become better, more important and to bigger audiences. Critical praise for our music is very important and unfortunately not every writer understands the minds of an artist. Henry is the rare exception. He doesn't write fluff pieces, so when you get a good review or a carefully constructed article it is priceless and a motivator. Henry is that kind of writer that artists want to do well for. He "get's it"!" Brooke Aldridge, 2-time IBMA Female Vocalist of the Year 2017-2018


"I knew of Henry and respected his work well before we ever met. After finally scoring an interview with one of my clients, one that was an important turning point piece, we finally connected on the phone. He is a truly fabulous person whom I have come to know and respect even more. I appreciate his style of writing, his attention to detail and the fact that he writes what is real and cannot be swayed in his opinion. Therefore, his work is so valuable to an artist when its published. It carries great weight." Brian Smith, President of Leadership Artists

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