It Is Well With My Soul

by Rick Paul

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about

By the time the COVID-19 lockdowns started here in Orange County, California on St. Patrick's Day 2020, I'd been having some trouble focusing on new creative work "thanks" to all the new information (and misinformation) flooding in regularly. For whatever reason, I pulled out a hymnal I'd picked up at a used book store a few years back and started playing through various hymns I'd been familiar with, be it from when I was growing up or from playing on local church worship teams over the past decade or so.

One of the latter type -- I think I initially learned it in the early 2010s -- felt particularly applicable to the times due to its story's having arisen from tragedy in the life of the lyricist, Horatio Spafford. He'd been a successful lawyer and real estate investor in Chicago, but his young son died, then he lost most of his properties in the great Chicago fire. A while after that, he made plans to travel with his wife and four daughters to Europe, but his family went ahead due to his having some business to wrap up first. On their way over, the ship they were traveling on sank, and only his wife survived. When he finally traveled over to join her, he wrote the lyrics to "It Is Well With My Soul" around the spot where his daughters had died.

I got thinking about recording the song. I wasn't quite sure how I'd do it style-wise -- I'd been thinking along a synth-oriented pop direction initially -- and I didn't start working on it immediately. In the meantime, a Facebook friend posted a link to a video of a bunch of Nashville session singers doing a virtual cellphone acapella version of the song on March 25th, and it was really good. In fact, it was good enough that I started having second thoughts. Eventually, though, I decided my version would be decidedly different -- there's no way I could do a virtual acapella choir recording! -- and I decided to give it a go.

I started my recording on Palm Sunday, and it ended up going in a much more rock-oriented direction than I'd initially expected. It took me almost exactly two weeks to finish the recording, and this is the result.

lyrics

IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
words by Horatio Spafford (adapted by Rick Paul)
music by Philip Bliss

When peace, like a river, attends my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
Whatever my lot, You have taught me to say
"It is well, it is well, with my soul"

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though Satan should buffet
Though trials should come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded
My helpless estate
And has shed His own blood for my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

And Lord, haste the day
When the faith shall be sight
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trumpet shall sound
And the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well (it is well)
With my soul (with my soul)
It is well, it is well with my soul

This arrangement © 2020 Closet Cowboy Music (ASCAP)
All Rights Reserved

credits

released May 15, 2020
Performed, produced, engineered, mixed, and mastered by Rick Paul. Cover artwork by Rick Paul.

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Rick Paul Laguna Hills, California

Rick Paul's songs combine memorable pop/rock and country melodies with mature, often thought provoking, lyrics on life and love. His singing has drawn comparisons to Dan Hill, Randy Newman, and Neil Young, while his piano playing is most frequently compared to Rick’s biggest musical influence, Elton John. Rick performs frequently in Orange County, California. ... more

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