'Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Look Up)' - Nicole Nordeman

Nicole Nordeman, born 1972, won four Dove Awards in 2003 and has composed and recorded many well-known songs.

Here’s her song from 2013 which incorporates an old gospel hymn.in the chorus:


Gladys Knight & The Pips were an R&B/soul family musical act from Atlanta, Georgia, active from 1953 to 1989. The group was best known for their string of hit singles on Motown’s “Soul” record label and Buddah Records from 1967 to 1975, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” (1967) and “Midnight Train to Georgia” (1973). The longest-lived incarnation of the act featured Gladys Knighton lead vocals, with The Pips, who included her brother Merald “Bubba” Knight and their cousins Edward Patten and William Guest, as backup singers.

Gladys Knight (born 1944) has won 7 Grammy awards. She joined the Mormon church in 1997 and leads an award-winning Mormon choir.

The Young Messiah is a musical production of a modern adaptation of George Frideric Handel’s oratorio Messiah. There have actually been several productions that share that name over the years.

Gladys Knight sings a famous Easter-themed song from that oratorio in this video:

Thanks to Darrell Harris for this great find!

Canvases - Mike Young! // One Voice Family

Mike Young & One Voice Family present the title-track from the upcoming full-length album, feat. 10 spoken-word poems, scored with original music.”

Stream and get a free download of a new spoken word (with music) piece here:

Carols for Easter

1. In the December 1987 issue of Reformed Worship, Robert Copeland published an article on “Carols for Easter.”

He suggests a number of them from the Oxford Book of Carols, including these:

Several of the OxBC carols most appropriate for Easter have been arranged for choir by Alice Parker and Robert Shaw and published as octavos by G. Schirmer. These accessible and well-arranged carols include the following:

Hilariter (German; OxBC #96) Order no. 9952 
Easter Eggs (Russian; OxBC #94) Order no. 9956 
Love Is Come Again (French Melody; OxBC #149). Order no. 9959 
The World Itself Keeps Easter Day (OxBC #150) Order no. 9942

Another recommended octavo is “Polish Easter Carol,” arranged by Mary E. Caldwell (H. W. Gray [Belwin-Mills], GCMR 2778). Also, if you have a very capable choir, you may want to look at Gustav Hoist’s magnificent setting of “This Have I Done for My True Love” (the same text as “My Dancing Day”; available in the U.S. from Galaxy Music, 1.5080). A much shorter but also challenging carol is Max Bruch’s setting of “Christus ist auferstanden” (“Jesus our Lord has risen”) (Arista Music, AE 529) which would serve as an exciting fanfare or opening number.

The best recent collection devoted entirely to carols for this season is The Easter Carol Book, edited by Mervyn Horder (London & Mainz: Schott, 1982; Edition Schott 12072). The twenty-eight carols (in the modern sense) in this collection are all well-suited for group and informal singing and are adaptable for choral performance. [See below for song titles]

Songs of Jesus, by Salli Terri, is a set of nine lovely Flemish carols for an unaccompanied chorus of women’s voices; handbells are optional (Lawson-Gould, LG)51799). All of the carols in this collection are appropriate for Easter; “Our Father” and “The Bells,” both three-part canons, are also suitable for other occasions. The Easter carols include “The Last Supper,” “The Death of Jesus,” “The Song of Maria Magdalena,” and “The Seven Days of the Week.”

Read the entire article online at

2. In 1886, Dorsey W. Hyde published the songbookHymns and Carols for Easter Day.” See scans of the 10 songs at

and at


Thanks to Calvin College for being the ‘digitizing sponsor’ to make scans of the book available online.

The Easter Carol Book (1982) mentioned above is available at

Here are the songs included:

Alleluia (Mozart) * Alleluia (Boyce) * Cedit Hiems Eminus * Christ is Risen Again * Death and Darkness * Early Morning * Easter Eggs * Easter Morning * Good Christian Men * Good Joseph had a Garden * Hail, Easter Bright * Hilariter * I Danced in the Morning * Jesus Christ is Risen Today * Jesus, Life and Comfort Given * Let the Merry Church Bells Ring * Let the Song be Begun * Let us Sing this Easter Morning * Lord of the Dance * Now the Green Blade Riseth * O Sons and Daughters * Ring the Bell, Ring it Well * Slowly Winter Fades Away * The Angel rolles the Stone away * The Drums of Calvary * The Glory of our King * The Lamb’s High Banquet * The Whole Bright World * They were Beating as he dragged himself * The World itself keeps Easter day * This joyful Eastertide * Tomorrow shall be my dancing day * While Christ lay dead * Ye choirs of New Jerusalem

'Death Of Death' - Charlie Hall Band

Charles Eugene “Charlie” Hall III (born 1973) is a Christian worship leader and songwriter from Oklahoma City,Oklahoma. He is a member of a group of musicians and speakers that collectively form the Passion movement. See his extensive bibliography (over the last 20 years) at

Here’s a rousing song for Easter season: Death of Death.

The Death of Death in the Death of Christis John Owen’s definitive book on the extent of the atonement, circa 1670. I don’t know if Charlie was aware of this book title when he composed his song or  not.


Verse 1
We can’t come to the Father without the Son
We can’t turn His wrath without shed blood
We brought nothing to that satisfied
We were naked and poor deaf and blind

Man has sinned but God has saved
You rose and overcame the grave

At the death of death where love and justice kiss
We were born to sin and only You forgive
In Your final breath grace and mercy win
At the death of death You died and rose again

Verse 2
We weren’t just drowning, we were dead to the bone
You gave us hearts of flesh and took away the stone
The Word made flesh and love defined
You didn’t spare Yourself the Immortal One died

Hear Charlie talk about the song, and play it on acoustic guitar, in this video

'The Morning That Death Was Killed' - Steve Turner

Steve Turner is an English music journalist, biographer and poet, who grew up in Northamptonshire, England and has been publishing since 1969.

He’s written 20+ books; I started reading him around 2001.

Here’s his great Easter poem:

The Morning That Death Was Killed

I woke in a place that was dark
The air was spicy and still
I was bandaged from head to foot
The morning that death was killed.

I rose from a mattress of stone
I folded my clothes on the sill
I heard the door rolling open
The morning that death was killed.

I walked alone in the garden
The birds in the branches trilled
It felt like a new beginning
The morning that death was killed.

Mary, she came there to find me
Peter with wonder was filled
And John came running and jumping
The morning that death was killed.

My friends were lost in amazement 
My father, I knew, was thrilled
Things were never the same again
After the morning that death was killed. 


photo by Bruce McKay

John Mark McMillan - ‘Death In His Grave’

I first posted this song 2 years ago; here’s a new video performance.

Though the Earth cried out for blood
Satisfied her hunger was
Her billows calmed on raging seas
for the souls on men she craved

Sun and moon from balcony
Turned their head in disbelief
Their precious Love would taste the sting
disfigured and disdained

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

So three days in darkness slept
The Morning Sun of righteousness
But rose to shame the throes of death
And over turn his rule

Now daughters and the sons of men
Would pay not their dues again
The debt of blood they owed was rent
When the day rolled a new

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke holding keys
To Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

On Friday a thief
On Sunday a King
Laid down in grief
But awoke with keys
Of Hell on that day
The first born of the slain
The Man Jesus Christ
Laid death in his grave

He has cheated
Hell and seated
Us above the fall
In desperate places
He paid our wages
One time once and for all

For poetic analysis of the lyrics from a songwriting perspective, go here:

and the bottom of that page has a link to an instructional video where the composer shows the chords for the song.


Here’s how John says the song was born:

“Death in his grave” is loosely inspired by Steve Turner’s poem “The Morning That Death Was Killed” and the folk song “Jesse James”. “Jesse James” was originally recorded in 1924 by Bascom Lamar Lunsford but later versions by Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan sometimes included Judas in place of Robert Ford and Jesus as Jesse James.

Here is an excerpt of the Jesus / Judas version:

Jesus was a man, a carpenter by hand
His followers true and brave
One dirty little coward called Judas Iscariot
Has laid Jesus Christ in His Grave

I liked the idea of writing a similar song about Jesus and Death. I felt strongly that I wanted to write a whole song around the line “The Man Jesus Christ laid death in his grave”. It sounded like a great idea, but honestly, I almost didn’t finish this song because the weight of this subject matter. Plus I wanted to make it somewhat accessible without making light of the issues or coming across as trite. Still I knew this song belonged on “The Medicine” and through much blood and frustration I hammered it out.


Read the rest of John’s post about his song, including a line-by-line commentary focusing on the theological overtones, at

'He Gave His All' - Matthew & Ericka Knipp

Matthew & Ericka Knipp live in Atlanta. Here’s a new song they composed for the Easter season: Stream it below:

"He Gave His All" is a free single that was written as a reflection of the symbol of our faith and the emotions behind Christ’s sacrifice. Time is forever marked by this event and all of creation will be eternally defined by how we respond to it. This will hopefully be the first of many recordings and demos that are self produced at our home studio currently being put together in Atlanta, GA. Any tips left will be put towards further development of future recordings. We hope it speaks to you!

Download the song at

Now the Green Blade Riseth (Easter carol)

Here’s a wonderful Easter carol, published in 31 hymnals. The lyrics were written by John Macleod Campbell Crum (1872-1958) of England (of Scottish heritage). He was ordained as an Anglican priest in 1900.

His lyrics were published in 1928.

The tune is the well-known French carol from the 15th century, "Noël Nouvelet."

Here’s a studio version followed by the lyrics, then a live version.

Now the green blade rises from the buried grain,
Wheat that in the dark earth many years has lain;
Love lives again, that with the dead has been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

In the grave they laid Him, Love Whom we had slain,
Thinking that He’d never wake to life again,
Laid in the earth like grain that sleeps unseen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Up He sprang at Easter, like the risen grain,
He that for three days in the grave had lain;
Up from the dead my risen Lord is seen:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

When our hearts are saddened, grieving or in pain,
By Your touch You call us back to life again;
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again, like wheat that springs up green.

Here’s a score for the melody:


and you can find many arrangements (choir, handbells, organ, etc) for sale online.

Here’s more information on the song, from http://www.thesheepdip.co.uk/index.php?_a=viewProd&productId=688


Thanks to Darrell Harris for bringing this song to my attention.


You’ll also find good information on the song and on the composer in Michael Hawn’s recent writing here:

Resucitó (Spanish Easter Song, version 6)

Resucitó is a famous song, well-known throughout the Americas. It is sung in various musical styles; we’ll highlight some of them in a series of posts.

The song was composed by Kiko Argüello, born in Spain in 1939.

The following 4 paragraphs are taken from

After a profound existential crisis, Kiko embarked on a serious conversion that made him dedicate his life to Jesus and to the Church.

Convinced that Christ is present in the suffering of the poorest of people, Argüello took his guitar and Bible and left to live in the slums of Madrid, following the path of Charles de Foucauld. He abandoned his studies andpainting as a career, to go and live amongst the poor, building for himself a wooden shack in Palomeras Atlas, on the outskirts of Madrid.

Later on, Kiko encountered Carmen Hernández, a graduate in Chemistry and Theology. Thanks to the liturgist Father Farnés Schroder, they got in touch with the liturgical renewal of the Second Vatican Council and the centrality of the Easter Vigil. Inspired by the environment in which the poor were living, they encountered a form of predication that led them to the formation of a small Christian Community. This first community was mainly composed of Gypsies, illiterates, vagabonds, prostitutes, homosexuals, unemployed people who were drawn by the discovery of the love Christ had for them.

Through more contact with other parishes embracing different standards of living, little by little a Way of Christian initiation was begun for adults who were rediscovering the promises of their Baptism.

Read more about him at the Facebook page above and at this Wikipedia article:

He has been very involved with painting and architecture as well as music. He has composed nearly 200 religious songs, and this one is his most popular.

For versions 1-5, see my earlier post at

Here is version 6, done by Kent Leroy:

Resucitó, resucitó, resucitó, aleluya.
Aleluya, aleluya, aleluya, resucitó.
Final: Aleluya.

1. La muerte ¿dónde está la muerte?
¿Dónde está mi muerte?
¿Dónde su victoria?

2. Gracias sean dadas al Padre
que nos pasó a su reino
donde se vive de amor.

3. Alegría, alegría hermanos,
que si hoy nos queremos
es que resucitó.

4. Si con Él morimos, con Él vivimos,
con Él cantamos. ¡Aleluya!