Because music is so subjective, it is difficult to pronounce any single piece the most beautiful or the most divine – but God’s Greatest Hits is a television series that does just that. It makes a case for the most powerful pieces of music ever written.
Through breathtaking performances, historical footage and interviews with critics, world-class musicians and religious experts, we experience songs with the power to move us, lift us and inspire us. Viewers will come away with a new appreciation of pieces they know and love in this half-hour series of divinely inspired music!
#3-1: It Is Well With My Soul: Songs of Inspiration
In this kick-off to the third season of God’s Greatest Hits, we explore the power spirituals have to lift and inspire us. Over the last seven years, singer/songwriter Ali Matthews has received 14 Gospel Music Association Covenant Awards. The Toronto Star has written, “Ali Matthews is an artist who shoots from the heart.” Here she sings Lead Me to Calvary and It Is Well With My Soul, as well as O Sacred Head Now Wounded with her good friend Jacob Moon. The recipient of the Toronto Independent Music Award for folk album of the year, Jacob also performs His Eye is on the Sparrow and I Heard the Voice of Jesus Say, two of his favorite songs of inspiration.
Episode #3-2: The Lower Lights: A Hymn Revival
In Provo, Utah, there is something of a revival going on. A group of musicians and friends began gathering in 2009 to revisit hymns: familiar hymns, overlooked ones, Hank Williams hymns and more. They call themselves The Lower Lights and they are trying to make the songs a part of our everyday life and not just music we hear at church. In this episode, we drop in on them as they gather to record once again. Featuring Leaning on the Everlasting Arms, All Creatures of Our God and King, Jesus of Nazareth and more.
Episode #3-3: Songs of Faith: From Coast to Coast
From Rock of Ages to The Rock! St. Johns, Newfoundland is a city of deep musical traditions. This episode features The Once, recipients of the 2013 Canadian Folk Music Award for best Traditional Album, who, along with singers Chris Andrews and Chris Kirby, know all about island life, and transport us to a rich and soulful place. Then we travel to British Columbia to meet singer/songwriter Jennifer Jade Kerr, who enchants us with a few songs of her own. Featuring How Great Thou Art, Just a Closer Walk with Thee, Were You There and Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing. This amazing half-hour will have you packing your bags for the coast.
Episode #3-4: Sweet Sweet Spirit: From Spirituals to Gospel
Although spiritual music and gospel music are two separate traditions, both share their past in African American history and faith. Spirituals were born out of slavery and gospel out of the first black churches in North America. This episode of God’s Greatest Hits looks at both. We feature soulful singer/pianist Andrew Craig, who has worked with the likes of Molly Johnson, Wynton Marsalis, The National Arts Centre Orchestra and the Oscar Peterson Quartet; as well as Juno-nominated singer Amoy Levy and singer/actor/poet Rebecca Campbell who perform songs such as Deep River, There is a Balm in Gidead, Jesus O What a Wonderful Child and more.
Episode #3-5: Joy and Sorrow: The Music of Judaism
The musical landscape of Judaism is instantly recognizable. From the traditional Hava Nagila to the re-emerging klezmer genre, the music has its own unique identity. Singer/Songwriter David Wall knows that identity well. He burst on to the Toronto music scene as the lead singer for the wildly popular Bourbon Tabernacle Choir but after leaving the band, he rediscovered his heritage, joining the acclaimed Flying Bulgar Klezmer Band. In this episode, David assembles a group of musicians, including Beyond the Pale, Marilyn Lerner and the hip hop artist Socalled, to take a journey though the world of Jewish music.
The Christmas season is defined by the sight of twinkling lights, the smell of roasting chestnuts and, of course, the sound of carols. This special hour-long episode brings together performers from the third season in a celebration of the holidays. Featuring vibrant performances from Ali Mathews, Jacob Moon, The Once, Chris Andrews, Andrew Craig, The Lower Lights and more, we hear stories about the holidays and through the music, try to determine why the power of Christmas carols has endured through the centuries. Featuring Gabriel’s Message, Angels We Have Heard on High, God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, What Child Is This and more.