Lanham releases live album of hymns, waltzes recorded in historic chapel session

April 7, 2024 | 12:09 am

Updated April 6, 2024 | 10:51 pm

Locally renowned bluegrass musician Randy Lanham has released a live record of 20 hymns and waltzes. Lanham was joined by other local musicians Chris Armstrong and Chris Joslin for the performance at the chapel of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph.

The full release, titled “Randy Lanham Soft Soothing Fiddle,” runs 61 minutes and is available on YouTube. A record release featuring 15 of the songs can be found on all major streaming platforms.

Lanham, the Education Director at the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame and Museum, played fiddle. Armstrong was on guitar while Joslin played dobro, mandolin, and bass during various songs.

The performance was inspired by Lanham’s personal experience while his father was hospitalized. The soothing power of music, as witnessed during his father’s stay, ignited the idea for this project.

“It was truly a God thing,” Lanham said, recalling the moment that led to the album’s creation. “After that, I felt like God reminded me of when I was young and learning how to play the fiddle, how much dad used to love for me to play him waltzes and hymns, and how he would fall to sleep listening. And then I was reminded of 15 years earlier when I was teaching at Maple Mount Music Camp how I played in the chapel and was blown away by the acoustic sound in the church. I had never played my fiddle in a room that sounded better and I never forgot. I always knew I would record there but it was not until now when it all made sense.”

After connecting with Armstrong and Joslin, Lanham contacted Wayne Morris to record the video and Blythe Dahlem to record the audio.

The recording session turned into a 3-hour jam of hymns and waltzes, with the three musicians spontaneously selecting and playing tracks.

“We would name a hymn or waltz that we knew and would just play it,” Lanham said. “Some times we would nail it on the first take and sometimes we would stop and maybe talk about a chord change or a certain part, then we would do it again.”

The effort resulted in a full-length video, featuring 20 songs and the stories behind them, highlighting the inspiration of the songwriters.

“My hope is that people listen to this music when they want to relax or ease anxiety,” Lanham said. “I believe there are many healing properties in music and hope this music helps people.” 

Lanham emphasized that the project was not aimed at financial gain but as a free gift to people.

“We did not do this to make any money from it,” he said. He is offering MP3 copies of the songs upon request via email, but there are no physical copies available.

The historical significance add to the depth of the project, Lanham said.

“The Church we recorded in is almost 100 years old, the fiddle that I played is over 150 years old, and many of the songs are 100+ years old. Many of the sisters that live there were watching from the video feed in their rooms and praying over these songs for this music to comfort people. That is powerful, and what an honor for us to be a part of this, all for God’s glory,” he said.

Sister Suzanne Sims of the Ursuline Sisters said they are already sharing the music with the sisters who are lonely or anxious in the St. Joseph Villa and others wherever across the country and South America.

In a partnership with Owensboro Health, the video will be added to their Arts in Healing Channel, extending its reach to more individuals in need of its soothing properties. Additionally, the recording will be broadcast on WNIN PBS on May 5 and May 17.

April 7, 2024 | 12:09 am

Share this Article

Other articles you may like