Sandra McCracken's fourth release,The Builder And The Architecttakes her well-loved folk/rock songwriting and applies it to hymns. Whether it's old hymns texts with brand new music ("Thy Mercy," "Sovereign Grace") or new hymns ("Awake My Soul," "Rock Of Ages (When The Day Seems Long)"), Sandra's gentle touch delicately frames the often-weighty lyrics. Arrangements are sparse compared to her other records, with touches of cello, banjo, lap steel and upright bass giving the songs a shimmering fragility. "I Boast No More" features a performance by Grammy-nominated, Americana Music Association award-winning artist Buddy Miller.
The Builder and the Architect stands out among the many contemporary recordings of hymns. The less is more production and the alternative folk-rock creates a pleasant sound. It's decidedly acoustic with some retro-sounding electric guitars and Garett Buell's creative percussion, which more than makes up for the absence of traditional drums. Banjo playing that creeps along and what may be an accordion (but sounds like a recorder) give a couple of tracks a slight Sufjan Stevens … more