Safe From Harm Album Review
by Hunter Lynch
Our first Christmas together, my in-laws introduced me to the world of Tiles: small locating devices that attach to oft-missing things, such as remotes, keys, and wallets. I had no clue just how much I needed these things in my life until our girls came of age and began hiding my car keys on a regular basis. You see, my in-laws have this innate feel for practicality in the gifts they choose. Though I never know what I will receive for Christmas each year, there is no doubt that this present will work its way into the rhythm of my day to day life in a profoundly meaningful way. Under the banner of Yellowhammer Hymns, duo Andy Zipf and Chuck Colson, alongside the musicians of Christ Church Presbyterian, have created a wonderful sophomore album, Safe From Harm, that has done just that. It is truly a gift well given.
Sprung from the Scriptures
From the raucous, anthemic “Hallelujah The Lord Our God Reigns” to the solemn, beautifully crafted conclusion, “Against These Things There Is No Law”, the offering here is a Dylan-esque (yet wholly unique) collection of songs that engage the listener’s mind and body. “Good and Upright”, a personal favorite, is one of those songs that beckons the worship leader to encourage congregational clapping, regardless of context. The playful, bouncy piano mixed with the impeccable vocal harmonies of Zipf and team come together as an excellent vehicle for Psalm 25. Each song is packed with Psalmic material that looks to God as shelter, shield, and comfort, and what a time to be reminded of these truths!
There are so many examples of tasteful excellence to be found here. The instrumental settings constantly move, continually evolving with nary a throwaway measure to speak of, while striking a perfect balance between artistry and accessibility. Instead of distracting the listener, the musical chops on display are presented in such a way that never eclipses the wondrous lyricism exhibited throughout. Zipf’s warm, driving voice welcomes the listener in, with melodies that effectively serve the Scripture intricately woven into the DNA of each song. A particular vocal highlight, “Savior In Your Promise,” features Meredith Williams singing to the tune of “Savior Like A Shepherd”. The instruments are reserved, featuring light finger-picking and soft piano, showcasing Williams’ lilting, captivating voice. In the flowing, bluesy “Help Us To Love Our Brother” one finds a timely word for believers today: “Forgive us, Lord, help us to love our brother. Have mercy, Lord! Help us to love the other”, as Zipf leads us into confession, repentance, and a call for help. Our churches desperately need to be led in such a prayer, where truth and beauty meet to spur God’s people onward in the ministry of reconciliation.
For the Church
As a worship pastor, I am ecstatic to introduce some of these wonderful modern hymns to our congregation. It is such a challenge to strike the balance between ease of play, enjoyability of play, lyrical and melodic accessibility, and timeless quality of melodic choice, yet I feel like Yellowhammer Hymns have done just that. The work that Zipf, Colson, and the Christ Church Presbyterian music team have accomplished on this album is truly commendable.
Much like the good gifts that have been given to me in my life, this album has found its way into my daily routine. There’s an indispensable practicality to Safe From Harm that is evident in each song, and I’m certain that the Lord will use these songs for years to come; for the edification of His church and for His glory. Safe From Harm is releasing this year on August 13th on Spotify and Apple Music.