How to Sneak Cultural Musicology into Church!

I’m looking forward to performing my church’s Lenten theme song, “Ashamed No More” (by Valerie Wiebe), this Sunday. Musically, it’s going to be something like Ray Charles performing “Amazing Grace” (but not like his sweeping version with orchestral strings) meets the Beatles’ “Let It Be” (i.e., mostly piano). I’ve R&B-ized the song a bit with some extra 7ths, substitute chords that work better on piano (especially this killer, I must say, diminished 7th in the bridge), and gestures (e.g., melodic thirds) that show the mutual stylistic derivations of R&B and country music—which Ray Charles, and to a lesser extent the Beatles, obviously explored. Cultural musicology in church!

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