“I have to be more efficient when I work these days. I am learning not to place my kids and songwriting against each other in competition”
With one of the best albums of the year so far, Sandra McCracken’s new hymns project is balm for the soul. We asked her all about it.
In one of the few five-star reviews we’ve had so far this year, Sandra McCracken’s recently released In Feast or Fallow “presents us with perhaps the most beautiful, poignant collection on this side of the century,” as our critic wrote.
Five-star albums don’t come around every day, so we wanted to ask McCracken to tell us a little more about the project, how it came about, why she loves hymns, what “blended” worship looks like, how motherhood affects her songwriting, and what her husband, fellow folk singer Derek Webb, brings to her own process of making music.
The press notes say you asked, “What are we afraid of?” in 15 different ways on these 15 songs. Please elaborate on that.
Sandra McCracken: After making The Builder and the Architect in 2005, and realizing that there are churches and communities who are singing these songs, I wanted to make these melodies more sing-able, and the content more relevant.
I’ve noticed lately how pervasive the fear-driven “news product” is on our culture, and the church community is not immune. But we have great hope in the promise of the gospel, in the freedom of the Spirit, and in a God who C.S. Lewis tells us is not safe, but good. We have to combat fear with freedom at every turn.
Some of the things I wrote about are personal reflections or stories of the people I love—fear of economic crisis, of losing your job, of having a baby, of not being able to have a baby, of raising a child in 2010, of Obama’s political change, fear of not having any political change, fear of doubt, fear of spiders. The list is endless. None of these fears are fictional. And none of these fears are a match for the love of God.