Fernando Ortega - The Shadow Of Your Wings: Hymns And Sacred Songs

Published Monday 19th February 2007
Fernando Ortega - The Shadow Of Your Wings: Hymns And Sacred Songs
Fernando Ortega - The Shadow Of Your Wings: Hymns And Sacred Songs

STYLE: Hymnody
RATING 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10
OUR PRODUCT CODE: 21824-12239
LABEL: Curb 8789522
RELEASE DATE: 2007-02-28
RRP: £13.00

Reviewed by Lins Honeyman

His first release since 2004, this collection of reworked hymns and sacred songs by US-based singer/songwriter Fernando Ortega is simply spectacular. Ortega's main aim for this release is to offer up music of meditation as an antidote to these loud and busy times and, with the utmost skill and precision that is now his trademark, he carries this off in style. The album itself consists of traditional hymns, some of which have been given new music by the man himself, together with a tasteful seasoning of outstanding original material containing expressions of praise that come close to matching the sheer poetry of the hymn writers. This is perhaps not surprising given that Ortega has used liturgies and Scripture as his inspiration during the writing process. New songs like the emotive opener "Grace And Peace" and "All Flesh Is Like The Grass" could well have been written in the same era as Thomas O Chisholm's "Great Is Thy Faithfulness" and standards such as "All Creatures Of Our God And King" and "I Heard The Voice Of Jesus Say" which also feature here. Using Ortega's voice and beautifully understated piano as the constant back drop, colour is added with the inclusion of the Turtle Island String Quartet on many of the tracks. Elsewhere, Ortega rubs shoulders with the likes of Ron Block and Dan Tyminski from Alison Krauss's Union Station and country legend Vince Gill whilst Krauss herself make a cameo appearance in the astounding call to worship "Sing To Jesus" - originally featured on 2002's 'Storm' and rerecorded in splendour here. Co-producer Gary Paczosa (who boasts albums by Alison Krauss, Dixie Chicks and Yo-Yo Ma to his name) rises to the challenge of what Ortega explained might be a more challenging album for him and expertly weaves each thread of sound together to form a lush yet simple soundscape that is almost ethereal and classical in nature. This is a cut above the rest in the field of hymns and sacred songs.

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.

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