I can’t list my favourite Christian artists without including at least one who has, like myself, migrated to Rome.
John Michael Talbot’s biography
does more justice in and of itself than I can in a summary, and you should read it – it’s well written.
As with most of my music, the one album of his I have dates from the mid-1990s. I remember when I bought it. I was living in Ottawa at the time, and still not yet formally received into the Church, although I had begun the Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults. I wanted to add something Catholic to my music collection, so I found a Christian book & music store and asked them if they had anything like monastic chanting. The closest they had, the lady explained, was this monk who plays guitar. I took a chance and bought the CD. It was “Troubadour For The Lord.”
Many songs on this compilation resonate with me, but his rendition of Psalm 131 stands out as unique for its pure simplicity. There is no harmony and sparse accompaniment; a chorus of male voices repeats the same melody (lifted from true monastic life, I’ve no doubt) throughout the short psalm. Considering the lyrics, the simplistic approach is perfect for the arrangement:
Unless you acquire the heart of a child
You cannot enter the kingdom of God
O Lord my heart is not proud
Nor haughty my hands
I have not gone after things too big
Nor marvels beyond me
Truly I have set my soul in silence and peace
As a child has rest in its mother arms
Even so my soul
O Israel hope in the Lord
Both now and forever
Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever, amen.
To listen to a sample of this song, click the Troubadour link above. It’s track #16 and you can hear 30 seconds of it there.