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Music Review: A Beautiful Liturgy by A Beautiful Liturgy

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Updated May 15, 2017
Music Review: A Beautiful Liturgy by A Beautiful Liturgy

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Track Listing

Lord Have Mercy (A Modern Kyrie)
From Shore To Shore
O To Be Like You
You're Coming Soon (An Advent Song)
Today A Risen King

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Emilie Joelle and Rich Kirkpatrick are a daughter-father worship team based out of Southern California. With influences ranging from Gungor, The Brilliance, and Matt Maher, their sound might sound similar to The Civil Wars or even All Sons and Daughters at times. Uniquely, their songs build a bridge to liturgy. Liturgy means the work of the people. Emilie and Rich desire to make the work of the people in worship something beautiful through the songs they write and the way they lead in music ministry. Unique in modern worship is this connection to the past, translating it instead of running from it. Intergenerational expression of worship is also one of their passions.

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A Beautiful Liturgy
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There are not a huge number of Father / Daughter pairings in Christian worship music, Scott Cunningham and his daughters perhaps, but other than that there aren't many that I can think of. So that already makes A Beauiful Liturgy something special! Both Emilie and Rich are worship leaders in their own right, but it is only recently that they actually thought to work together.

As they bring a modern sound inspired by older more traditional forms of worship they have something quite unique. They also have a great sound between them, and a real chemistry that works through these 5 tracks. Starting with "Lord Have Mercy (A Modern Kyrie)" is a new take on the ancient, originally Eastern Orthodox liturgical prayer of Kyrie eleison which literally means "Lord, have mercy", in it's more recent liturgical form the phrase is repeated by the congregation as a prayer is recited. For some this may seem rather old fashioned, yet that prayer has been weaved through worship material that we sing without thinking about it. This particular track is a light acoustic with the straightforward and beautiful vocal from Emilie, as the track goes on there is a little more musical accompaniment filling in the gaps as the track swells with a bit of additional texture added on the vocal with some backing from Rich.

"From Shore To Shore" has Rich leading and Emilie supporting, this time the song is built on "O The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus" and it is the piano that takes the track forward with a few shimmering cymbals in the background which crash in at times like waves. As Emilie takes on the lead vocal role for the next couple of tracks it is a pleasure to get lost in. "O To Be Like You" is a reframing of American Hymnwriter Thomas O. Chisholm's "Oh To Be Like Thee". "You're Coming Soon (An Advent Song) with just a slow strum in the background from the acoustic guitar and a little percussion the responsibility for this song all falls on the vocal performance, and this delivers brilliantly, Emilie's vocal is just hauntingly beautiful as she sings to the Son of God about His incarnation, looking forward to the second coming.

Rich takes over for the final track on this too short EP, "Today The Risen King" which takes it's lyrical inspiration from Robert Lowry's "Low In The Grave He Lay" which, like others that have formed the basis of these liturgical reflections, is a fantastic hymn in it's own right. It has a great balance of Rich's vocals leading through with some added honey poured on with Emilie building up a Hallelujah in the end of the track. This is a beautiful blend of ancient traditions with modern songwriting.

I have to be honest, I wasn't totally sure that this would work, it could detract from the old classics that these songs are based on, or it could get bogged down with them. Instead they have used them as a springboard into something that feels thoroughly classically modern! I love the way it works and Emilie's voice is fantastic, Rich's isn't bad either but he hasn't got quite the same expressive voice as his daughter. The dynamic here seems brilliant and I hope that there is more that we will hear from this father / daughter duo soon.

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