Chris Tomlin Review - Come Thou Fount

Review: Chris Tomlin - Come Thou Fount

Great contemporary Christian artist, Chris Tomlin has offered wonderful contributions to Christian and Sacred Music in bridging contemporary and traditional styles. One example is his arrangement of “Amazing Grace” in which he sings this universally known traditional hymn just as it was written. But he also adds a contemporary refrain of his own words and music to create a powerful pairing of the two styles.

Hymn of the Week

The Hymn of the Week for this week is “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing.” This hymn was written about 250 years ago by Robert Robinson and is often paired with the tune, “Nettleton,” by an anonymous composer. It has remained popular through the years and appears in many modern “traditional” hymn books.

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Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing - Hymn

Chris Tomlin Transformational Performance

Following the format he used with “Amazing Grace,” Chris Tomlin’s performance of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” is transformational. He begins with a background of repeated strumming of chords as might be sounded on guitar or keyboard. Next, a haunting, melody of three descending notes (La-sol-mi) is sounded four times over the chordal ostinato.

Then, a most unexpected musical entrance appears over the instrumental accompaniment—Chris Tomlin sings the first stanza of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing,” complete with traditional melody line and words exactly as written by Robert Robinson. Continuing, he immediately sings the second stanza in like manner.

Chris Tomlin's Voice

Chris Tomlin’s voice does not sound like a concert singer or a rock artist. Instead, he has a “natural” timbre that many would love to emulate while singing in the shower. His sound is sincere, masculine without harshness, rich yet with a certain breathiness, heartfelt and compelling, and his diction is crystal clear. His intonation is right in the center of every pitch. In short, it is impossible to miss the impact of the words and music he sings. This is his deeply-felt Christian witness.

Chris Tomlin Original Refrain

Chris Tomlin’s singing of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” continues. Following the second stanza, we hear for the first time his original chorus or refrain. 

How your kindness yet pursues me,
How your mercy never fails me,
‘Til the day that death shall loose me
I will sing; oh I will sing!

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Following this, He sings a third stanza of Robinson’s hymn, beginning “Oh to grace, how great a debtor…” with traditional lyrics and melody. Then, true to the new form he has established, Chris Tomlin twice sings again his original refrain, concluding with another rendition of the first line, “How your kindness, yet pursues me.” Finally, he provides the masterful touch of adding yet another refrain—the last line of verse and music from the traditional hymn.

Here's My Heart

Here’s my heart, o take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.

What a compelling Christian witness, connecting past, present and future! 

Thank you, Chris Tomlin!

Click below to hear Chris Tomlin’s performance of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing – Oh I Will Sing.”

Keep Singing!

Dr. Larry

About the Author Larry Frazier

Larry spent 24 years teaching music at the University of West Georgia to over 6,000 students. Ten years ago, Larry and his wife Mary Lynn, received comfort, support and inspiration from traditional Christian hymns while she overcame stage-three colon cancer. Larry is on a mission to help you discover God’s incredible power through the intersection of faith and Christian music in your life.

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