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What's new: Jerald Simon's 'Hymns of the Heart' evokes inspiration, motivation (+video)

Published: Sunday, Aug. 30 2015 11:44 p.m. MDT

"Hymns of the Heart" is a collection of piano arrangements by Jerald Simon. (Jon Woodbury, Jon Woodbury Photography)

"HYMNS OF THE HEART," by Jerald Simon, Music Motivation, $8.91

Jerald Simon, a Mormon pianist from northern Utah, showcases his musical talent in the new album, "Hymns of the Heart." Simon combines his knowledge and experience for arranging and composing with his gift of playing the piano. The result is a unique and spontaneous take on nine familiar hymns of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

One of the most well-known hymns, "Did You Think to Pray?" has a simple melody layered with unexpected pauses and starts. He infuses power and triumph into the song, "I Know that My Redeemer Lives," without overstating the reverence.

"Joseph Smith's First Prayer," the longest track on the album, starts so quiet and simple and communicates feeling of that spring morning in upstate New York, complete with birds and a windy meadow, all within the sounds of black and white keys.

The track "Love at Home" takes on a slow tempo that rides the movement of the message. The final track, "Sweet Hour of Prayer," hones in on the private pleas of help and gratitude offered during sacred prayer. Listeners can relate to the rise and fall of the music and the grand style often found in the daily ritual of prayer.

Simon approached the making of this album with heart instead of his usual rehearsal and practice schedule. As such, all tracks are driven by the emotion of the music in the moment. The technique pays off. It's easy to be pulled into the depth of each track.

Simon understands the art involved in the pressure of each key on the piano. The arrangements tell a story without a single word being sung. The unexpected arrangements are peaceful and bring meditation to mind, great for a Sunday morning or relaxing in the evening with the family.

"Did You Think to Pray" played by Jerald Simon

Jerald Simon plays "Did You Think to Pray" from his new CD "Hymns of the Heart."

Amy Jo Wilde is a writer living in Brigham City, Utah. She blogs at www.amyjowilde.com and her email is wilde.amy@gmail.com. Twitter: wildeatmosphere

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