EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Church Music Today with Keith Getty on “Joy, An Irish Christmas” CD Release

UPDATE – Check out the image at the bottom of the post for pre-order information!

In December of 2010, I had the privilege of singing under the direction of Keith Getty for their 2010 Irish Christmas tour.  We posed thoughts on that worship service here.  During that service, the Gettys said they were releasing a Christmas CD “next year”.  Well, “next year” is here and Church Music Today has secured an exclusive interview with Keith Getty on their upcoming CD release:

1. (ChMT) The Christmas Tour in 2010 was a great success. I had the opportunity to sing in the choir at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary for your Christmas concert there. The instrumentalists were astonishing. The arrangements were lively and fresh. Did the reaction at those concerts inspire the upcoming recording? If it not, what exactly inspired the Christmas CD project?
(Keith) There were a number of factors. We were expecting our first child last Christmas, and that led us to examine the Incarnation in a new light. And  I also think last year’s Christmas tour convinced us that we should do it. The songs we perform during our concerts inspire the kind of album we record. I know that’s not how the music industry generally works, but we’ve found it’s what works best for us. After we test out songs and discover whether they’re lively, singable, and well received by congregations, the idea for a new project solidifies. We may tweak something here or add a few things there, but the songs that will go a new CD come mostly from our tours.
2) Churches are singing “Fullness of Grace”, “Glorious Light” and “Joy Has Dawned.” Will there be any new Christmas songs on the CD? 
The album is a collection of traditional carols as well as some new ones, all arranged in a distinctly Irish style. We wanted to include both because many people love hearing the traditional Christmas songs arranged in the Irish style but also were excited for some new carols. One of the new songs is called “Oh, Savior of the Fallen Race.” Additionally, we wrote a new children’s carol for our young daughter, Eliza Joy, called “Jesus, Joy the Highest Heaven.”
One of the particular things I love about carols is how they tell the story of the faith. In their earliest English origins, carols were songs that told stories. So in some ways, Stuart Townend and I have borrowed equally from the carol tradition and the hymn tradition since we use folk melodies and tell stories with our lyrics.
3. Great Christmas hymns are timeless. It must be a challenging thought to think that you are writing songs to be sung alongside “Angels from the Realms of Glory”, “Silent Night”, and so on. When writing the lyrics to the Christmas hymns, are you attempting to fill a void in current Christmas/Advent music to satisfy a need in worship? If not, what is your mindset?
I’m trying to write good songs that are useful for congregations to sing. How long they will be useful only time will tell!
4. Are the songs you are writing for this project being written for congregations to sing? Moreover, is every song you write written with that same mindset?
Not every song, but most of them. It’s our primary goal to write for congregations.
5. Can you share details? Such as: Title of project? Number of songs? Release date? Is Christmas Tour 2011 already planned?
The album, “Joy–An Irish Christmas” includes 12 tracks and will be released in October.  However, it will be available on www.gettymusic.com in September! And yes, a Christmas tour is in the works. Our website will list list all locations and dates.

Our thanks to Keith Getty and gettymusic for their cooperation with this interview.  To re-post this interview, simply e-mail me (dennisccook [at] hotmail [dot] com) for permission.


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