MSU Music Professor Releases Solo Piano Gospel Album

Jul 22, 2014

Dr. Todd Hill, Director of Jazz Ensembles at Murray State University, releases his new album "The Brown-Back Hymnal" a collection of solo piano gospel songs. On Sounds Good, we listen to some cuts from his album and talk about the inspiration for what Hill calls "Aunt Flossie meets Dr. John having a pianistic conversation on a dark corner in New Orleans." 

Hill's parents led a series of revival music in Henry, Benton, Weakley, and Calloway Counties and his father would begin the song service with "Everybody grab the brown-back hymnal," which happened to be the color of the hymnal in the service.

Featured Songs:

  • "Unclouded Day" - A very old hymn once covered by Willie Nelson.
  • "Jesus Lover of My Soul" - A relaxing song combining various melodies.

Most of the music is new arrangements of 19th century tunes, actual hymns and gospel songs of the Revival Era, ranging from very soft and peaceful to upbeat melodies.

"I know a lot of these things that I play push the envelope... I'm thankful [churches] are able to put aside their stereotypes of what musical genre is about and can follow me through those things. And I've been very lucky to do that over the years."

When performing at the United Methodist Conference in Memphis last month, Hill was approached by people interested in bringing his music to their church services. He says that was one of the inspirations that led to recording this album.

The CD is $10 and available at New Life Christian Bookstore in Murray and will eventually be available at online stores, iTunes and Amazon.

You can also ask Todd Hill for a copy of the album on Facebook or by email at