Come along on an inspiring, enlightening and musically moving journey from spirited New Orleans gospel to hymns of the Emerald Isle and beyond with the second season of God’s Greatest Hits.
Learn the history behind some of the most well-known and loved songs in the world in this new series exploring more of the most divinely inspired music of all time.
Because music is so subjective, it is very difficult to pronounce any single piece the most holy or most divine. New songs and genres selected for the second edition of this first of its kind documentary series are not only popular and moving, but have stood on their own throughout history.
God’s Greatest Hits, not only combines contemporary renditions and archival performance footage, it goes behind the music and gives the fascinating history of each selection. Breathtaking performances are intermingled with discussions with musical luminaries, including critics, world class musicians and religious experts.
Once again, you’ll come away with a new appreciation of music you already know and love.
Scroll to down to watch Performance Extras and more.
#202: Songs of Freedom: Swing Low Sweet Chariot & the Negro Spiritual
The North American Recording Industry named Swing Low Sweet Chariot “Song of the Century”. It is just one song from a rich, painful and powerful tradition of music that emerged from slavery. This episode features songs such as Steal Away to Jesus, Motherless Child, Go Down Moses, Follow the Drinking Gourd, Children Go Where I Send Thee and Gospel Train, songs that have been immortalized by many singers over the years. With performances by Leon and Eric Bibb, Dave Wall, Ken Whiteley, The Sojourners and Carolina Chocolate Drops.
#203: Be Thou My Vision and the Emerald Isle
Be Thou My Vision is a 6th Century medieval Irish hymn based on an even older melody. Its origins involve both St. Patrick and a celebration of Easter. Itís not the only famous hymn to emerge from Ireland though. This episode also features performances of Morning Has Broken, Christ Be Beside Me, Hail Glorious St. Patrick, What a Friend We Have in Jesus, Irish Blessing, and All Things Bright and Beautiful with world-renowned Celtic guitarist Tony McManus and Suzie Vinnick, fiddler Maeve Donnelly, pianist Rick Wakeman, The Priests, Ken Whiteley and The Trinity Chapel Choir of Dublin.
#204: When the Saints Go Marching In and the New Orleans Gospel
This southern gospel hymn was actually a church spiritual with imagery from the Book of Revelations that gained fame in the hands of Louis Armstrong. Armstrong’s sister famously scolded him for daring to secularize this religious song. Traditionally very upbeat, the New Orleans funeral march is played in two ways: the first is very somber en route to the cemetery and then, very “hot” or upbeat on the way back. In this episode, we feature performances of When the Saints, Blessed Assurance, Down by the Riverside, Just a Closer Walk With Thee and This Little Light of Mine with The Zion Harmonizers, Ken Whiteley and Friends and The Rebirth Brass Band.
#205: Nearer My God to Thee & Songs of the Sea
This beautiful hymn is a plaintive call for God’s company. Said to the be the last hymn performed by the band on the Titanic as it went down, Nearer My God to Thee has given comfort to millions around the world. Many hymns have found a place on our coasts and oceans, including Oh God Our Help in Ages Past, Eternal Father, Strong to Save, His Eye Is On the Sparrow, Jesus Savior Pilot Me and Michael Row the Boat Ashore. With performances by The Bills, The Menno Singers, The Sourthampton Choral Scholars and the Afiara String Quartet with Justin Bacchus.
#206: Jerusalem: Hymns From The United Kingdom
Rock of Ages was said to have been written by Reverend Augustus Toplady during a fierce storm in the Mendip Hills in England. The reverend took shelter in a fissure in the rock and wrote the first lyrics on the back of a playing card. His was not the only contribution to the world of spiritual music to come from across the pond. Other songs from the UK featured in this episode include Jerusalem, How Great Thou Art, When I Survey the Wondrous Cross, Rock of Ages and Will the Circle Be Unbroken, with performances by The Menno Singers, Ken Whiteley and Friends, The Afiara String Quartet with Justin Bacchus and The Southampton Choral Scholars.