Update 10/2/20: Sheet music for this song is available here.
10 years ago, my friend Debra Rienstra wrote a hymn text based on Psalm 25, called “Foothold.” Not only that, she won the Fuller Seminary School of Psychology Fortieth Anniversary hymn competition with it. As I began to work on an upcoming service in which she, her bass/guitar playing husband Ron, and her jazz sax improvising son Philip would be playing, that song came to mind.
But I wasn’t wild about the KINGSFOLD tune that the text had been paired with. Don’t get me wrong–KINGSFOLD is a great tune. But it is overused: “O Sing a Song of Bethlehem,” “I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say,” “I Sing the Mighty Power of God.” The list goes on and on. More importantly, the tune seemed like the wrong vessel for this text. It moved too quickly to allow the deep inner life of Deb’s text to emerge.
So I, being the incessant musical tinkerer that I am, set about to compose a tune that would do the text justice while also allowing Philip to unleash his inner Coltrane. I’m always nervous about changing the music a poet originally heard in her ear, but in this case the poet gave me permission to share, so I must not be too far off base.
Want to play it at the piano rather than listening to Greg croon? See the link above for the PDF.