Melding jazz, pop and classical styles, Juno and GMA Covenant Awards-nominated Mike Janzen independently releases his third album of Psalm interpretations, Songs from the Canyon, today (Nov. 1). Available at digital and streaming outlets everywhere from Wings Access, the project features Janzen musically painting vivid, powerful textures as he explores Creation’s awe-inspiring landscapes along with the deep, plunging canyons of life’s suffering.
Produced by award-winning Timothy Abraham, the album has a profound sonic diversity, resonating from soaring strings to a belting gospel choir. Rich cinematic textures grace these 11 innovative compositions, including on the song “Steady” and its companion music video. The video was filmed by Mitch Fillion at All Saints Kingsway in Toronto and features the Powerhouse Fellowship Soul Choir.
“This song was written as an anthem of hope to those who have braved the lonely valleys of loss, family breakup and injury,” shares Janzen. “During these traumatic times, there’s often a sense that our world is crumbling around us; however, the book of Psalms is a reminder that the hesed, or steadfast love of God, will carry us through whatever storm or tragedy we encounter.”
The album also features “Hallelujah (Psalm 104)” that Janzen recently performed on 100 Huntley Street; “Took Hold,” which includes guest vocals by Stellar and GRAMMY Award-winner Dee Wilson; and the lead track, “Echoes (Psalm 8),” that highlights Indigenous Canadian artists Ray “Coco” Stevenson (Cree/Objibwe) and Jonathan Maracle (Mohawk Nation). With Rich Mullins-inspired dulcimer and Snarky Puppy-like brass, “Echoes” explores how the fingerprints of God are seen throughout creation and how we can be guardians of that beauty.
“The song was written on the ancestral lands of the Anishinaabe peoples and is sonically inspired by the shared heritage of the landscape,” shares Janzen. “The musical presence of Coco Stevenson and Jonathan Maracle on this track are significant both in their artistry and in their cultural understanding of creation that resonates perfectly with the pre-modern poet who penned Psalm 8.”
“Mike brings a really imaginative and fresh voice to the current music scene,” says Joe Amaral as he introduces Janzen last month on 100 Huntley Street, Canada’s longest-running daily television talk show. “And whether it’s soul-stirring songwriting to mesmerizing piano solos…his music – it’s approachable, and it hits the deep places of the heart…He combines undeniable talent with the desire to create music that draws attention to God, the Father, the Maker.”