NASHVILLE (BP) – Keith and Kristyn Getty, songwriters known for creating well-known modern hymns and for hosting the annual Sing! Worship Conference, will release a new album titled “Confessio: Irish American Roots” this Friday (Oct. 29).
Keith Getty told Baptist Press he and Kristyn spent an extended period of time in their homeland of Ireland with their four daughters in the fall of 2020, and this album represents “a hymn diary” of their time in the country.
Shutdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic provided a much-needed opportunity to slow down after 20 years of the couple’s songwriting and music ministry.
“We just thought here’s a chance to finally take a breath as it’s been a crazy, chaotic and extraordinarily wonderful 20 years and so much has happened during that time,” Getty said.
“We realized we might not have another chance for our girls to get to know the country they came from, their grandparents, their relatives, and all this kind of stuff so we thought let’s just go for it.”
Keith said the album was heavily influenced by his family’s time in the Ireland, where the couple had the opportunity to travel around teaching their children about their family heritage, as well as the way Christianity has been spread around the world from the country.
“I was honestly overwhelmed with going back to Ireland and realizing that in 17 centuries of Christianity since Saint Patrick came, just how Christianity has gone around the world from that country,” Getty said. “There is also a very emotional desire that my own children will know something of the heritage of their faith, and the great hymns of our faith.”
One example Keith provided of the legacy of Christianity in their family, is that Kristyn’s parents had the hymn “Great is Thy Faithfulness,” sung at their wedding. Years later, the couple would watch their daughter sing the hymn at a church service while they were sitting with their grandchildren who know all the words to the song.
“The point is if I teach my kids ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness,’ ‘Holy, Holy, Holy,’ or ‘Amazing Grace,’ I am planting something in them that they will have for the rest of their life as a valuable witness to Christ and His beautiful Gospel. And they can in turn hand it on to their kids.”
While in Ireland, the couple consistently hosted Facebook livestreams where they would perform hymns in their home to encourage people during the pandemic.
These song sessions are what Getty said inspired their work with both old and new hymns on “Confessio.”
The title “Confessio,” is a reference to a written work by Ireland’s Saint Patrick, and the songs on the album represent a combination of classic hymns as well as original songs by the duo.
The album includes classic hymns such as “Amazing Grace,” and “Be Thou My Vision,” featuring original arrangements from the Gettys, original songs like their modern classic “In Christ Alone,” and the album’s lead single “Pass the Promise.”
Guest performances on the 13-track album include artists such as Sandra McCracken, Alison Krauss, Kirk Whalum and Dana Masters.
The album’s version of the hymn “It Is Well” has already been released and is featured in the upcoming film “Sabina: Tortured for Christ, the Nazi Years.”
The film follows the true story of Sabina (Oster) Wurmbrand and her husband Richard, Jewish Christians who would go on to found The Voice of the Martyrs (VOM), an interdenominational missions organization that serves persecuted Christians around the world, after experiencing their own persecution in Germany.
Although Keith’s famous hymn “In Christ Alone,” which he wrote in partnership with Stuart Townend, just passed its 20th anniversary, Keith said making this album represents a sort of transition in their music ministry away from writing their own songs.
“We have transitioned from being people who are determined to write great modern hymns for the church today into people who are not only championing other people’s modern hymns, but are also championing the great hymns of the Christian faith,” Getty said. “That families and churches will be filled with the hymns that will last for generations to come, and the desire that people will know those hymns.”
Getty said he hopes listeners of “Confessio” will hear a wonderful picture of God that they can pass along to future generations through the music.
“I want people honestly to get a big and beautiful picture of the Lord Jesus,” he said. “I want them to get hymns that will live with them not just today, but tomorrow and so on. I want hymns that carry the promise that they will pass to the next generation. In this age of in-authenticity, there is something about the Irish-American roots of the music that draws us back to just some beautiful music.”