Hymn 9
(tune: Softly and Tenderly)

Here’s a brief look at the back story behind Hymn 9 from the Cherokee Hymn Book, played and sung to the tune of Softly and Tenderly.

The original Softly and Tenderly was written by American Will L. Thompson in 1880. It is among the most prolifically translated gospel songs.

When well known (at the time) evangelist Dwight L. Moody was hospitalized and barred from having visitors, Thompson went to see him. Moody insisted that he be allowed in. The story goes that Moody told Thompson, “Will, I would rather have written ‘Softly and Tenderly Jesus Is Calling‘ than anything I have been able to do in my whole life.” 

The Cherokee lyrics are 5 verses based on Psalm 146, praising God for His help. I use only verses 1 and 3 to somewhat constrain the track time a little. Verse 1 pledges eternal honor to God, and verse 3 says that good things will happen when you trust in Jehovah. In Cherokee, Jehovah is pronounced “yi-ho-wa” and you will hear that at the start of the second line of verse 3.

For my interpretation of this song, I decided on a change of pace. This CD is packed with multiple instruments, flute duets, vocal duets, with a good deal of spirit in each song. For this song, I start with an unaccompanied flute solo, followed by solo vocals, and use only a single guitar throughout. The track ends with the instruments fading out, first the guitar and finally the flute. I originally planned to use Hymn 87 (to the tune of Amazing Grace) as the final track, but after recording this track, decided it had to be the final sound images, giving an aural reinforcement to the image on the cover art showing the wagons disappearing slowly at the horizon. 

Listen here to a 1 minute preview of this track: