Veteran singer/songwriter Sammy Ward returns January 31 with a highly anticipated new recording, Hymns Anew. Produced by Nathan Nockels (Chris Tomlin, Keith & Kristyn Getty), the Vibraslap Records release features fresh takes on five beloved hymns, as well as the original title-track written by Ward.
Showcasing a stable of classics-all with newly penned passages thoughtfully underscoring each song's message-Hymns Anew opens with the rhythmic, organ-driven "Wonder Working Power (There Is Power In The Blood)" and is highlighted by the original title-cut. A reflective piano ballad gently petitioning a perennial freshness of faith that honors Christ, "Hymns Anew" was ultimately inspired by Ward's love of hymns and the timeless Truth they carry.
The project also includes the bright, synth-pop "Blessedness (Leaning On The Everlasting Arms)" as well as "Make Me Whole Again (Nothing But The Blood of Jesus)," "Wondrously Saved (Glory To His Name)" and the contemplative "Perfect Plea (Oh How I Love Jesus)."
Q: Sammy, thanks for doing this interview with us. It's been a long time since you released your last record, tell us a little about your journey between records?
Absolutely... Thank y'all! I think the last time I recorded was around 2011 when I did a benefit EP for my hometown in Northwest Georgia after it had been hit hard by a tornado.
What a journey the years in between have been for me, including marriage, moves, kids-lots of life for sure! In recent years I've launched some new businesses and tech startups, if you can believe it. My right brain has finally met the left! I have several business projects I'll be launching this year too, and I also want to continue writing and recording more hymns, as well as some other songs.
Q: Why did you decide to come back with a hymns album?
I'm getting that question quite a bit, and understandably so. When I would pray over my daughters before bedtime, they'd want me to sing them a song, and it was like my heart and mind defaulted straight back to the old gospel Truths of the hymns. They loved these songs, and still do. I realized hymns blessed me too and I wanted to bring them back around somehow. The hymn writers were awesome. I've studied up on some of their lives and it's fascinating!
Q: What do you think are the values of hymn singing in churches?
I believe hymns are of utmost importance, and I strongly believe older and newer generations alike need to tune in to the timeless Truths found throughout the hymns. I hope people can listen to hymns and be encouraged, knowing just how good God is. Many in the Church today have never heard hymns and I hope to help change that. These songs are too good to be forgotten, too strong to not be sung and too transformative not to be heard.
Q: Can you recall a time in your life when a hymn spoke to you and gave you hope and joy in Jesus?
Absolutely! "Just As I Am" has really impacted my life. My home church back in North Georgia would sing this amazing hymn after the sermon, during the time of response. It reminds me that the Lord loves us right where we are, and how we as the Church-being the light of the world-need to do the same with others.
Q: How did you try to add your own spin to these hymns?
I considered so many hymns and picked out just a few I thought would be fun to "update" with a fresh take. Creating in the studio with Nathan Nockels has been a blast. It's refreshing to work with likeminded people and have fun doing it.
Q: You have also included a new original piece. Tell us more about this new song.
Indeed! "Hymns Anew" was ultimately inspired by my love of hymns and the timeless Truth they carry. This song is the title track of my EP, and my hope is to reintroduce some of my favorites to a new generation, making these "hymns anew" for generations to come.
Q: 2020 will mark the 20th anniversary of your record "My Passion." What are your thoughts about this album of yours 20 years later?
Wow, it's wild to realize that! It doesn't feel like that long ago (In other ways it does though, ha!). That album certainly set the tone and path of where I was heading, and what a journey it's been! I'm still proud of the project and I know some churches still sing those songs to this day, which is pretty cool. Hopefully Hymns Anew will be influential as well and touch many hearts for God's glory!