For years Jacob Rudd has been supplying the Catholic world with deeply introspective songs inspired by his dedicated faith, and he just keeps impressing us with each release. Now, he’s put his skills to work on “Psalm 1,” and its sweet melody keeps playing in our heads.
One of the pitfalls that many hymnists fall into when covering the Psalms comes in trying to pick out a portion of the text to repeat as a chorus. While this works well for responsorial Psalms, because it gives the congregation a chance to sing the prayer as one, the tactic does not always serve the text. The Psalms, after all, were written as continuous thoughts with each passage building upon the last.
Here, in “Psalm 1,” Rudd sings through the text without repeating any phrases and it makes the melody fit the text so well. The lack of a refrain allows the song to build naturally alongside the lyrics, allowing the musical textures to shift and change along with the poetic contours of King David’s prayer.
Building songs up is one of the things Jacob Rudd does best. “Psalm 1” begins with tender finger picking, when singing “Blessed indeed is the man who follows not the counsel of the wicked.” This changes to a more triumphant strumming pattern, however, as he reaches the line, “And all that he does shall prosper.”
This is just one example of Rudd’s subtle nuance, an attentiveness that suggests the artist has spent quite a bit of time considering how best to match his art to fit faithfully to the text and not the other way around. This subtlety is expanded upon as he adds some light vocal layering in the second half.
Jacob Rudd continues to be one of the most promising modern Catholic songwriters and one who gets us excited whenever we see a new release. Keep up with all of Rudd’s releases by following him on Facebook and YouTube.
Visit Rudd’s website to learn more about this faithful Catholic artist, husband, and father.