Hymn Spotlight: And Can It Be That I Should Gain

Hymn Spotlight: And Can It Be That I Should Gain

Charles Wesley wrote six thousand Christian hymns, but this is arguably his best known.  Composed in 1738, he often worked in collaboration with his older brother, John, while they were both studying at Oxford. As part of a study group called The Holy Club, they were known to approach prayer, hymn writing and Bible study in an extremely methodical manner. As a result, their classmates […]

Hymn Spotlight: Now We Thank We All Our God

Hymn Spotlight: Now We Thank We All Our God

The Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648) was as long and as agonizing as it sounds. Martin Rinkart, a Lutheran minister, spent a good part of it in the walled city of Eilenburg, Saxony, where he wrote this hymn (circa 1636) amidst great distress and destruction. The walls did little good; armies had overrun the city three times, and pestilence, famine and overcrowding added to the pain […]

Aleeza Meir’s New York Life in Music

Aleeza Meir’s New York Life in Music

Aleeza Meir – Old First’s organist and pianist for the last decade – contends that musicians who come to New York to make a living must have more than just talent; they also have to have a little bit of luck. Looks like she’s been blessed with both: she is able to keep herself busy – actually extremely busy – working as a full-time musician. In addition […]

Michael Daves: Bluegrass and Electric At Vinyl Release Event

Michael Daves: Bluegrass and Electric At Vinyl Release Event

The vinyl edition of Michael Daves’ latest album has just been released – and it’s coursing with electricity! The reason: for his original February 2016 2-CD release (Orchids and Violence) Michael took 12 traditional traditional songs and interpreted them in contrasting styles: first bluegrass and then electric. Switch around the original CD title, mash up the contrasting bluegrass/electric versions of five songs on vinyl, and […]