This collection of songs is in no way an accurate representation of the tradition of sacred harp singing. There are no shape notes involved here. There is just a crude voice and a few instruments, exploring the strange, oblique poetry that the early sacred harpists drew upon.
If you have never heard sacred harp singing, a tradition that is much more complex and transformative than what I am trying to accomplish here, a good place to start would be Matt and Erica Hinton’s documentary Help Me to Sing and its accompanying soundtrack. I should warn you though; sacred harp is not instantly accessible. To truly experience it, you must enter into the square, tap into the energy around you, and sing, sing, sing.
Songs played and mixed by Josh Compton
All arrangements by Josh Compton
The arrangement of “Idumea” draws heavily on Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton’s version
Mastered by Ron Flack
All words come directly from the Sacred Harp songbook
The Converted Thief, 44 (words by William Moore, 1825)
Idumea, 46b (Words by Charles Wesley, 1763)
Resurrected, 153 (Words from The Revivalist, 1859)
Lebanon, 354t (Words by Anne Steele, 1756)
Samaria, 26 (Words by Isaac Watts, 1719)
Jerusalem, 53 (Words by John Cennick, 1743)