Garth Hewitt’s new album Something for the Soul is fourteen new songs full of energy – songs you go away singing. It’s a place of rest and encouragement for campaigners and activists, a place to draw strength and be renewed. Garth is saying that God’s way is the way of beautiful resistance, non violence, and standing with each other – if you do that you discover God in one another.
The level of production is superb, by Kevin Duncan of GingerDog Records and recorded in The Shrubbery Studio at Bury St Edmunds. “It was a great time,” says Garth. “Kevin is both an excellent producer, and an excellent musician. We were joined by a great bunch of musicians, including the tremendous vocalist Beth Rowley, and the three who have joined me on some of my recent gigs.” Namely Chris Rogers on violin, Paul MCDowel on accordion and Pete Banks on backing vocals. Pete was also joined by Abbie Goldberg and Cate Mellor on backing vocals.
“Several of the musicians played on Liberty is Near! and that turned out so well that we were keen to involve them again,” adds Garth, commenting, “A lot of happiness seems to have sneaked in as well.”
Two and a half of the songs were written at the Street Child World Cup in Brazil and they provide a prelude and a postlude for the album, which brings prayerful and meditative moments as well as the joyful and powerful songs.
This is a warm, friendly album with poignant moments reflecting something of the character of God in songs like ‘Steadfast Love’ and ‘Wide Open Arms’. Garth’s ongoing commitment to justice is reflected in ‘No Injustice Will Last Forever’ and ‘Beautiful Resistance’, both written in Bethlehem. There is also a very powerful track that will be the first single from the album, called ‘Tell ‘em About the Dream Martin’, and this looks back to Martin Luther King’s August 28th 1963 speech and the way in which Mahalia Jackson called on him to go into that very famous passage. Some of the songs are unexpected – Garth’s tribute to Iona called ‘It’s a Thin Place’, or a really different one from Garth called ‘Without a Song’ which affirms the importance of music, and a surprising song called ‘Chapel By the Sea’ which is an affirmation of church and sacred spaces. This links in well with the prelude and postlude on the album, which are songs for church.
Wherever you are on your journey this album seems to have something that will speak to you.