GREENSBURG, Ky. (KT) – Todd Young played hymns on his piano and recorded them to Facebook during the pandemic to relieve stress for himself and others.
He found an appreciative Facebook audience who showered his posts with likes, loves and shares. It also caught the attention of Matt Fouch, who liked what Young was doing so much that he asked him if he would be interested in doing some work for his record label.
Fouch invited Young to choose 20 songs from the vast collection of Fanny Crosby for the Instrumental Hymns and Worship label.
“I love to take the standard hymn and make it my own,” Young said. “I’ve always loved to do that.”
Choosing from the Fanny Crosby collection wasn’t as easy as he thought it might be.
“There are certain Fanny Crosby songs you just know, for instance, 'Blessed Assurance.' I was certain from the beginning I was going to do that one. Another loved one for years was ‘He Hideth My Soul.’ I knew that was going to be on there. After that, I was going on a journey.”
Young searched through the Baptist Hymnal and found 16 of Crosby’s songs, leaving him with four left to find. He went to Google and found a few but none that were familiar.
“I reached out to one of my friends, who is a musician, and he gave me a Baptist Hymnal from the 1970s and it had more than 20,” Young said.
He reworked the hymns with his own style and recorded them with home studio software and shipped them to Fouch, who was thrilled with the body of work. He released the album on Tuesday.
“I had this idea of different piano players playing familiar hymns and worship songs,” Fouch said. “It’s relaxing and reflective. It’s still songs they’re singing in their mind or are familiar to them. After COVID hit, I thought I really need to do this. People are needing something to help them relax and chill out.”
Young, who started taking piano lessons when he was 7, enjoyed the experience of putting together Crosby’s greatest hits into an album. He said his only goal was for “God to receive praise, honor and glory from it and to bring some peace and calmness into people’s lives.”
Young is the associate pastor at Greensburg First Baptist and serves on the Mission Board of the Kentucky Baptist Convention. He is the assistant moderator of the Russell Creek Baptist Association. He has a passion for piano, too, especially since 2010 after taking lessons from former Gaither pianist Tracey Phillips.
“I learned so much from her,” he said. “She completely changed how I thought about music. Completely transformed me. A lot of what people hear is a result of her influence on my playing.”
Fouch said individual pianists have their own style of playing.
“As I was listening through what Todd put together, compared to others, his style is totally different,” Fouch said. “That’s what makes the whole brand really cool. Different themes of releases but still familiar songs and different playing styles.”
He said future albums will include acoustic guitars and other instruments. Young’s entry was the fourth on the label for the Somerset-based company, Fouch said.
The producer said it’d be interesting to continue working with Young after the Fanny Crosby selections turned out so well.
Click HERE to listen to a selection.