Every few months my friend Doug Gay emails new hymn texts he’s written, many of them Psalm settings. The latest was a setting of Psalm 104. He wrote the text with the 10.10.11.11 tune LYONS in mind (“O Worship the King”). It scans well to this tune and the tune brings out the regal side of the lyrics, but the more I worked with the text, the more I realized they needed a foil that would lighten them rather than heighten their majesty. And since Doug is Scottish, what could be better than an airy Celtic tune?
I wrote the tune the day before a songwriting workshop in which I was slated to present one of my songs. I decided to throw caution to the wind and introduce this brand new song to that audience. It went very well except for the fact that I had made significant tweaks to the melody that morning and was having trouble singing the my finalized melody. But today I have a few hours to record a demo, making sure I got the melody right. Take a listen or look and tell me: do John Bell and Keith Getty really have a corner on the market of Celtic hymns?