Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life

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Product Details

Paraclete Press (MA)
Publish Date
5.5 X 7.9 X 0.5 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

Guitarist and music critic Henry L. Carrigan, Jr. has been playing Gospel music all his life and writes about Gospel, Soul, Blues, and Americana music for No Depression: The Quarterly Journal of Roots Music and Living Blues. He's interviewed many musical greats including Rosanne Cash, Rick Bragg, and Kris Kristofferson. Andraé Crouch's If Heaven Were Never Promised to Me changed Henry's life when he was playing in a Jesus band in college, and he's worked in churches, played spirituals in prison ministry, and taught religion and music in various colleges and in workshops. He teaches classes on Gospel in churches and has developed an extensive playlist of songs for such classes.


"Believe in Henry Carrigan. Through strong faith, deep musical knowledge, a critic's eye and a historian's understanding, his affable masterclass through these religious classics offers pure joy and enlightenment. Not afraid to get deeply personal, Carrigan shows how living with these spirituals can help everyone bring their experiences to these classics. His insider's expertise in a wealth of musical traditions offers widely inclusive descriptions of how these songs have given strength to the Civil Rights Movement as well as Appalachian family singers. At a time when the world seems to be coming apart, we need this book as a reminder of how these deeply spiritual songs should unite us all." --Aaron Cohen, author, Aretha Franklin's Amazing Grace

"I enjoyed reading this book, and not just reading, but listening to each of the 15 spirituals recorded by different artists. My favorite parts of the book are the reflections of the songs that give us insight to how we can apply the messages from each song to our daily lives. Music certainly speaks to my heart and each song has a powerful message. This book will have an impact on your life." --Becky Brown, wife of Jim Ed Brown, author of Going Our Way

"There are some Hymns and Spirituals that have defied time and space and have lasted for many times passing, and it is because they were anointed to begin with. Great songs stand the test of time, and behind every song there is a story that we never get to hear. But thanks to author Henry L Carrigan, Jr. we will learn about Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life. Read and learn and be blessed, and the next time you sing or hear one of these awesome masterpieces... you will know the story behind the song." --Joseph S. Bonsall, 45-year member of The American Music group The Oak Ridge Boys and author of 10 books

"Carrigan has birthed an absolutely essential examination of fifteen of the best-known spiritual songs of the last century. The book showcases the importance of the songs not only for the faithful but also for anyone who wants to understand the roots of American music. These songs have been recorded by artists as diverse as Bob Dylan and Elvis Presley to Kanye West. They have had a gargantuan impact on the lives of millions and also on the art of music making itself. Carrigan has given us the 411 in 15 chapters." --Bill Carpenter, author of Uncloudy Days: The Gospel Music Encyclopedia, recipient of an NAACP Image Award nomination

"In Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life, Henry Carrigan not only chronicles the stories behind the hymns and spirituals we have heard our whole lives, but he challenges us to listen to them again, this time with fresh ears and an open spirit. Every chapter is a mini-lesson that uncovers the multiple layers of meaning in each lyric and why these songs in particular have such life-changing power. It's an extremely helpful resource in terms of the history it shares and the theological insights it ignites." --Robert M. Marovich, Editor-in-Chief, Journal of Gospel Music

"Fifteen Spirituals by Harry Carrigan is an incredible source and guide to some the most essential songs in the compendium of American music. You don't have to be a believer to find comfort and transcendence in the songs he writes so poetically about. Carrigan writes with immediacy and intellect, but also shares a palpable love of the Gospel tradition that is so infectious, one cannot help but listen and be moved. I value this book for what it brings to me about the songs I have grown up with and loved all my life, and for its emphasis on how Gospel music shows us our own humanity and helps us in our search for unity and justice, in the face of fear and intolerance." --Amy Ray, Grammy Award-winning artist, member of the Indigo Girls (1985-present)