In 2015, I had the opportunity to interview Harry Connick Jr. who had just released his album, That Would Be Me. During that time I asked him if he would ever consider recording a Christian album. He said that he didn’t think that very many people would be interested into hearing him sing songs of mass, but he thought that the idea of doing a gospel album might be kind of fun. When I asked him if he was a “hymns guy” or more a “contemporary praise and worship guy.” He told me that he was “Definitely a hymns guy.” Five years later, he began working on his gospel album.
Some of the best art – music, paintings and the written word – have come from the darkest places. And during this time when most of the world has been under lockdown due to the Coronavirus pandemic, Harry used this time to reflect and create a new album of music, Alone With My Faith. The new album will be released by Universal Music’s Verve and Capitol CMG on March 19.
Connick wrote and arranged all of the songs, played every instrument, and sang every part. Both the album cover and the first video “Amazing Grace” were conceived and directed by Harry’s daughter Georgia Connick. In a recent press release, Harry, shared his personal journey in creating this singular musical work in his liner notes:
“In March 2020, right after news of the pandemic hit, when my tour was cancelled and I headed home for however long it would last, I decided to record some music. Not only because I wanted to, but because I needed to. With no tour dates in sight, and with everyone’s realities upended and futures uncertain, recording was what was necessary for me to help guide me through the uncharted odyssey in which we all unexpectedly found ourselves. I found myself alone (with my faith!) in my home studio, surrounded by instruments and gear, bursting with an abundance of ideas. I was able to go deep within myself as a musician and a man, uninterrupted by the normalcies of collaboration or human interaction. It was a sort of “musical isolation chamber”, a silent retreat, the silence only broken by the sound of my own voice, the instruments I played and the occasional microphone I inadvertently knocked over, as I’m not the most graceful recording engineer that ever lived!
“Seven months later, after countless tracks and edits, I can say that it was not only the secluded nature of the recording process, but the content of the songs themselves that helped me through this strange period. In fact, this was the first time that I found this level of comfort, peace and truth throughout the process of making music. Because the lyrics are all about the spectrum of faith, I found myself interpreting them in real time – they were allowing me to heal as much as I wanted them to help heal others. I didn’t have to pretend or put myself in another place or time, as one often does as a singer or actor.
“Besides the familiar, traditional songs, I wrote and recorded new music that tells the story of my experience during the lockdown. I, like most of us, felt joy, sadness, doubt, conviction, melancholy and inspiration – all the emotions that faith, or lack thereof, can elicit. Even though many of the songs are Christian, my hope is that they will resonate with people of all faiths, as it gives me great comfort to know that faith is an immeasurably beautiful gift that, with its universal spirit, can help bring us together in the most arduous of times.”
1. Alone With My Faith
2. Because He Lives
3. Be Not Afraid
4. Benevolent Man
5. Amazing Grace
6. The Old Rugged Cross
7. How Great Thou Art
8. God And My Gospel
9. Old Time Religion
10. All These Miracles
11. Look Who I Found
Main Images: Universal Music’s Verve and Capitol CMG
I write about pop culture, arts and entertainment in the greater Seattle area.