Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp

Upcoming Screening in Atlanta GA

Friday, March 26 2010 7:30PM - In anticipation of the 49th Annual Georgia Sacred Harp Convention, Trinity Anglican Mission (2270 Defoor Hills Rd. NW Atlanta, GA 30318 ) will host a screening of "Awake, My Soul" with filmmakers, Matt & Erica Hinton in attendance. Following the film, there will be a question & answer session with the filmmakers, as well as a demonstration of Sacred Harp singing. Admission is open to all ages, with a suggested donation of $5.

The 49th Annual Georgia State Sacred Harp Singing Convention will take place Saturday, March 27 & Sunday, the 28th, from 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. both days, at Sweetwater Chapel 1000 Pleasant Hill Road Lawrenceville, Georgia 30044-3330. Traditional "dinner on the grounds" at noon--please bring a covered dish to share. This is a free event. All are welcome, no experience necessary. Click here for a printable flyer.

7/14/09 Here are a few updates:

A review from the journal American Music says, "The footage of singing is as good as I’ve seen, and the sound is fantastic..." (read full review here)

Here's a piece about both Awake, My Soul and Help Me to Sing that had been written for Copper Press who evidently never published it: "...fierce and forceful and utterly transporting. Even well-known melodies like “New Britain” (also known as “Amazing Grace”) take on unfamiliar heft and complexity in these arrangements, as well as a volume that is nearly shocking." Read full review here.

Here's one about "Awake, My Soul" and Camp Fasola: Read Article.

Here are a few upcoming screenings/ airings:

Visit the Georgia Archives on Tuesday, July 14th @ 12:00 for a special Lunch & Learn on the rich tradition of Sacred Harp singing. Bring a lunch and watch the documentary “Awake My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp” which will be followed by a brief discussion.

Spivey Hall (Clayton State College, Morrow GA)
Sacred Harp/ Shape-Note Singing School- Hugh McGraw, Instructor
Friday, July 17, 2009 | Saturday, July 18, 2009 10AM-4PM
Screening of Awake My Soul on Friday at 2:00.

The Sage Gateshead,
St Mary's Square, Gateshead Quays, Gateshead, NE8 2JR, England.
"Awake, My Soul" Screening followed by a singing school with Cath Tyler
Americana Lounge
Sunday 26 July 12:00 pm
Venue: Northern Rock Foundation Hall

Tribute to Alan Lomax
Sometime in October, 2009
Screening of "Awake My Soul"
Cinematek- Brussels, Belgium
Baron Hortastraat 9
1000 Brussels
More here.

1/29/09- Recent new reviews of "Awake My Soul/ Help Me to Sing":

Popmatters reviewed "Awake My Soul & Help Me to Sing" (read full review here) , writing, "Something old and something new: a stunning portrait of Sacred Harp singing and its legacy.... If Awake My Soul consisted of only authentic Sacred Harp singing, it would be an invaluable archive of a form of music that few have heard of, much less heard. However, it also boasts a second disc, Help Me to Sing... The elegant melodies, the often poetic language, the sense of joy and hardship, the willingly offered spiritual vulnerability—many of Help Me to Sing‘s compositions pay fitting homage to these things."

The difficult to pronounce French magazine Les Inrockuptibles reviewed "Awake My Soul & Help Me to Sing" calling it a "Choral tsunami." Read the full review here, via a Google translation. We have no idea how they heard about it...

American Songwriter gave Awake, My Soul (the film) 4 stars **** in this review.

Ink 19 reviewed "Awake My Soul & Help Me to Sing", writing, "The first time I heard Sacred Harp music, I was f***ing floored. This was like no staid church music I had ever encountered before! This was an alien/outsider sound, completely bucking traditional notions of dynamics and choral techniques for a rousing, rough-hewn cacophony that is as ecstatic and strong as it is tremendously sad... If enough people are singing together wrong, it can suddenly become so right. The first disc is full of authentic recordings captured at various churches by the filmmakers, Matt and Erica Hinton. It's immaculate. The second disc, a collection of modern artists adapting songs from the Sacred Harp songbook, captures the gravitas and dirt-stained dignity of the music..." (Read the full review here)

1/5/09- End of the Year Wrap-up: We were honored to have Awake My Soul & it's soundtrack mentioned in several "Best of 2008 critics lists. Here are some highlights:

Three critics from Pitchfork named "Awake My Soul/ Help Me to Sing" one of their favorite albums of the year: You can see their lists here.

In other Pitchfork news, the final tally is in, and "Awake My Soul/ Help Me to Sing" was one of the best reviewed albums of the year, having received an 8.8 (out of 10). Only 5 new albums received higher scores on Pitchfork this year!

One of those five albums was made by Fleet Foxes (and it is very good, by the way). And they declared (on Pitchfork) that "Awake My Soul/ Help Me to Sing" was one of their favorite albums of the year, saying, "This stuff is creepy to me and it is excellent "confuse the crowd" house music to play before going on stage at a show."

Here are some other Best of the Year Lists we were named in:

The Memphis Flyer

Burnside Writers Collective


Lumino Magazine (Chicago)


Caterwaul Radio (WWUH)

Looking Closer (Jeffrey Overstreet named "Awake, My Soul" (the film) in his "Best films of the Year" list

Criminal Records "BEST ALBUM TO MAKE YOU WANT TO GET RELIGION: VARIOUS/SOUNDTRACK - AWAKE MY SOUL The in-store performance of the these Sacred Harp singers was the coolest I've ever seen in the history of Criminal Records. Every person who was working got goosebumps. I'm pretty sure Chris Daresta was inadvertantly saved. Wow!"

11/27/08 Thanksgiving- Here's the new video from Help Me to Sing: Songs of the Sacred Harp.

"David's Lamentation" by The Good Players

As previously available only at Paste Magazine's website. We found a corn-maze, so we made a video.

11/26/08 Awake My Soul is mentioned in this interesting article in the Portland Pheonix:

"Loud at Heart: A centuries-old singing tradition inspires twentysomething hipsters to praise the Lord..." Click here to read more.

11/21/08 Radio Interview with Matt Hinton:

Yesterday, Matt Hinton, director and producer of Awake My Soul was interviewed on Word of Mouth a radio show out of New Hampshire. Listen to the whole interview here. Or go straight to the mp3 here.

11/19/08 Watch the music video for "David's Lamentation" by The Good Players, exclusively at Paste Magazine's website.

"David's Lamentation" is the 3rd track on Help Me to Sing, the 2nd disc of the Awake My Soul soundtrack. This track was included in the sampler that came in every issue of the November edition of Paste Magazine. The Good Players are led by Stephen Nichols of Chattanooga, TN and are at work on a new record. Look for this video to appear on Youtube in the near future...

11/11/08 Awake, My Soul & Help Me to Sing mentioned in Stomp & Stammer here.
Also, there is a new review at BlogCritics here.

11/07/08 Spin Magazine gives Awake, My Soul & Help Me to Sing 4 Stars! Read review here.

11/03/08 Christianity Today's review of Awake My Soul says:

"Turn it up. Awake My Soul will make you want to sing." You can also read a longer version of Jeffrey Overstreet's review here, where he writes "Church music may not be the big-screen’s most scintillating subject. But stick with me. Awake My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp inspired me so much that I watched it again the very next day with my surround-sound system turned up to '11.' The DVD is on my list of 'Things to Give the Family for Christmas.'"

11/01/08 The November issue of Paste Magazine features a 4 page article on Sacred Harp and Awake My Soul! Check it out here. And here.

10/29/08 KQED in Northern California posted this review of Awake, My Soul & Help Me to Sing, saying:

"These are no ordinary church choirs. The music is rebellious in its disregard for musical convention, punk in its inclusivity, and powerful in a way that only music performed with true passion can be, regardless of what may have inspired it... The whole thing is wonderfully, strangely real.... [the songs on Disc 1] are relentless in their intensity and forcefulness..."

10/27/08 No Depression says "When you see [Awake, My Soul], you will remember it."

Read more here.

10/21/08: Pitchfork Gives Awake My Soul (Soundtrack) & Help Me to Sing an 8.8!!!

They call it "revelatory and exultant, dense with harmonic ideas and often overwhelming even on CD". Not bad, really. Click here to read the review.

10/20/08: Tim Eriksen Video.

On the same say we had our CD release party, we paid Paste Magazine a visit, and Tim Eriksen performed the songs that he and his band, Cordelia's Dad contributed to Help Me to Sing. Here's Tim playing "The Traveler" at The offices of Paste.

10/14/08: NEW CD NOW FOR SALE!!

After a limited release in September, the new CD is now widely available as of today, Oct 14. Awake My Soul (the Original Soundtrack) & Help Me to Sing are available as a 2 CD set. Help Me to Sing is a collection of various artists performing Sacred Harp songs. Featuring Jim Lauderdale, Richard Buckner, Woven Hand, Danielson, Rayna Gellert (Uncle Earl), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin), John Wesley Harding, Sam Amidon, Doc Watson, and many more. It is available by clicking here. and for digital download at iTunes and Amazon.

Already, the New York Times likes it: Click here to read.

And so does the Austin Chronicle: Click here to read.

Also, look for the 4 page spread in the November Paste Magazine- on Newstands now.

9/22/08 CD Release Party!

We had a fantastic CD release party in Atlanta at Criminal Records followed by a concert at The EARL. Here's Paste Magazine's coverage. In it, Josh Jackson writes: "No one has done more to help revive Sacred Harp singing among a younger generation than two of the men at the Earl in East Atlanta this past Monday night -- filmmaker Matt Hinton and musician Tim Eriksen. Hinton's film Awake, My Soul traces the history of America's oldest original musical tradition and the way it's thriving in pockets of the South. The original soundtrack features traditional renditions of old Sacred Harp (also called Shape-Note) tunes. But the Earl showcase was a release party for the second album associated with the film, this one featuring a variety of artists (Richard Buckner, Doc Watson, Woven Hand, The Innocence Mission, Elvis Perkins, Rick Moody, etc.) interpretting some of the genre's most well-known songs. After a screening of the film, Sacred Harp singers formed their square and belted out the powerful, haunting and otherworldly melodies in a setting that didn't much look like the old wooden churches they were used to. It was my first time at a singing, and I had a great time struggling to following along. Most in the crowd stood back, either soaking in the beauty or trying to figure out what it was all about.

Four of the artists on the new soundtrack performed after the singing -- Jeni and Billy, The Good Players, Eriksen, and Jim Lauderdale. Eriksen, who helped organize the singings heard in the film Cold Mountain, gave the night's stand-out performance. Fresh off an Eastern European trip, playing and teaching in Poland and The Czech Republic, the multi-instrumentalist was best at adapting the raw power of Sacred Harp to his own arrangements. Lauderdale finished the night with his well-crafted Americana whose roots draw deeply from the same well from which Sacred Harp singers have drawn." Click here to see the accompanying pics.

8/29/08: Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp is streaming for this week only at

"Sacred Harp is a haunting form of a capella hymn singing that has deep roots in the South. These songs are sung unaccompanied by any musical instrument, save the instrument given by God: The human voice. That is the sacred harp." So says narrator Jim Lauderdale in this amazing documentary, directed by Erica and Matt Hinton, which explores a little-known American musical tradition that stretches back two centuries. For more on this film and this music, be sure to check out Williams Bowers' most recent Puritan Blister, as well as Amanda Petrusich's review of I Belong to This Band: 85 Years of Sacred Harp Recordings.

7/18/08: New 2-CD Set! Look for it in late September!

Awake My Soul: The Original Soundtrack and Help Me To Sing: Songs of the Sacred Harp

Disc 1: The Original Soundtrack of Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp, the critically acclaimed documentary as seen on PBS stations and featured on NPR, in TIME magazine, Pitchfork, The Chicago Tribune, Atlanta Journal, The Oregonian, etc. The soundtrack includes traditional Sacred Harp singing, as recorded in rural Georgia and Alabama.

Disc Two: Help Me to Sing: Songs of the Sacred Harp performed by various artists. This is the first ever collection of popular music adaptations of Sacred Harp songs. "Help Me to Sing" includes 19 never before heard tracks which were specifically comissioned for this CD by the co-director of Awake, My Soul, Matt Hinton.

Disc One: Awake, My Soul: Traditional Sacred Harp Singing from Georgia & Alabama

1. China
2. Russia
3. Stratfield
4. Jordan
5. Marlborough
6. Bear Creek
7. Abbeville
8. Corinth
9. Lloyd
10. Eternal Day
11. New Britain
12. Delight
13. Panting For Heaven
14. New Jordan
15. Restoration
16. Prodigal Son
17. Schenectady
18. America
19. Antioch
20. Norwich
21. Consecration
22. Poland
23. Idumea
24. Cowper

Disc Two: Help Me To Sing: Various Artists performing Songs Inspired by the Film

1 "Blooming Youth" - Rayna Gellert (Uncle Earl) & John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin)
2 "Weeping Pilgrim" - Elvis Perkins in Dearland
3 "David's Lamentation" - The Good Players
4 "Africa" - The Innocence Mission
5 "The Christian's Hope" - Jim Lauderdale with Jeni & Billy
6 "Help Me To Sing" - Mac Powell (Third Day)
7 "Columbus" - John Wesley Harding
8 "The Traveler" - Cordelia's Dad
9 "Abbeville" - Liz Janes
10 "China" - All Things Bright & Beautiful
11 "Essay" - Tenement Halls
12 "Windham" - Richard Buckner
13 "Sermon on the Mount" - Danielson
14 "And Am I Born to Die?" - Doc Watson & Gaither Carlton
15 "Kedron" - Sam Amidon
16 "Consecration" - Woven Hand
17 "The Grieved Soul" - Rick Moody and Nina Katchadourian
18 "Vernon / Wrestling Jacob" - Tim Eriksen (Cold Mountain Soundtrack)
19 "Christian's Farewell" - DM Stith
20 "Bound For Canaan" - Murry Hammond (Old 97's)

Start listening!

For press inquiries, please contact Force Field PR.

Daniel Gill
1022 Milwaukee Ave.
Los Angeles, CA 90042
818-331-0830 (c)

1/10/08: Here's director Matt Hinton's interview that aired on Bob Edward's Weekend on December 8.

The complete interview (40 minutes) is also available through Bob Edward's website

"Awake, My Soul" is featured in the January 28 2008 TIME Magazine.

Click here to view

Across the Nation Airing

We’re happy to announce that “Awake, My Soul” will be airing across the country on PBS stations starting in late November. If you want to see it, please contact your local PBS station and request that they air it. Make it known to the programming department that it is available through APT. The following are the air dates we know about so far:

Please continue to check this listing of airdates. It
is updated frequently.

November 2007

Montana PBS
11/22 (Thanksgiving) at 10am

Georgia Public Broadcasting
Thursday 11/29 @ 10pm

December 2007

WBCC Orlando
12/9 7pm

WFUM Flint-Saginaw-Bay City
12/10 10pm

KYNE Omaha, KHNE Lincoln & Hastings-Kearny, KXNE Sioux
City, KRNE Rapid City, KTNE Cheyenne, WY-Scottsbluff,
NE, KPNE North Platte
12/13 10PM

WSRE Mobile-Pensacola (Ft. Walton Beach)
Saturday 12/15/07 5PM CT

KOZK Springfield, MO/ KOZJ Joplin-Pittsburg, MO
(Ozarks region of southwest Missouri, southeast
Kansas, northwest Arkansas and northeast Oklahoma.)
Saturday 12/15/07 9:30 PM CT

Alabama Public TV
Sunday, 12/16 @ 3:00 PM

KSMQ Rochester-Mason City-Austin (MN/IA)
Sunday 12/16/07 9PM CT

WNMU Marquette MI
Sunday 12/16/07 4PM ET

TPT/17 - Minneapolis, MN
12/18 @ 7pm

KVIE66 Sacramento
12/20 8pm & 12/21 1am (same night)

WNPT Nashville, TN
Thursday 12/20/07 11PM CT

WTCI Chattanooga, TN
Thursday 12/20/07 10PM ET

WEIU Champaign & Springfield-Decatur IL
12/21/07 8:00 PM CT
12/22/07 1:00 AM CT

KNME, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Sunday, 12/23 at 2:00pm.

KENW Amarillo TX/ Eastern New Mexico
12/23/07 11:00 PM MT

WYIN Chicago, IL
12/23/07 10:00 PM CT
12/25/07 7:00 PM CT

WTVI Charlotte, NC
12/25/07 10:00 PM ET
12/26/07 3:00 AM
12/27/07 9:00 PM

WETP - Knoxville, TN
Thurs. 12/27 at 9pm and then on Sunday 12/30 at 7pm

KTXT Lubbock TX
12/27/07 9:00 PM CT

Alabama Public Television (APT)
12/27/07 10:00 PM CT

KNCT Waco-Temple-Bryan
12/27/07 9PM CT

KEDT Corpus Christi
12/27/07 8PM CT

KVPT Fresno-Visalia
12/27/07 10PM PT

WXGA Jacksonville, FL
12/29 10pm

WTVI Charlotte
12/29/07 4:30PM ET

WGVU - Grand Rapids, Michigan
Sunday, 12/30 at 2:00 p.m.

KLCS - Los Angeles, CA
12/30 @ 10pm

TALNET Albuquerque
12/30/07 9PM MT

KVPT Fresno-Visalia
12/30/07 1PM PT

WTCI Chattanooga
12/30/07 2PM ET

KEDT Corpus Christi
12/30/07 11PM CT

KTXT Lubbock
12/31/07 2AM CT

January 2008

WKMJ Louisville
1/1/08 9AM ET

KET2 Lexington
1/1/08 9AM ET

KBDI Denver
1/4/08 7PM MT
1/6/08 12AM MT

WPTO Cincinnati, OH
1/6/08 7:00 PM ET
1/8/08 1:00 AM

WGBH Ch44 Boston, MA
Sun, 1/13/08, 3:30pm

KBDI Denver
1/15/08 9PM MT
1/16/08 12:30AM MT
1/18/08 7PM MT

KCOS El Paso, TX
1/20/08 5PM MT

WFSU Tallahassee, FL
1/20/08 2:30PM ET

WFSG Panama City, FL
1/20/08 2:30PM CT

WJCT Jacksonville, Florida
1/20 12:00 PM
1/30 6:00 PM

WMAV Memphis, TN
1/24/08 8:00PM CT

Mississippi Public Broadcasting
1/24/08 8pm CT
1/26/08 1:00AM CT

KTNW Pullman, Washington
Friday 1/25/08 10 PM
Sunday 1/27/08 5 PM

KBDI Denver
1/29/08 10:00 PM
1/30/08 1:30 AM

February 2008

2/2/08 6:00 PM
2/3/08 12:00 AM

Sun, 2/3/08 8 pm
Wed, 2/6/08 11 pm

KEET Eureka, CA
2/10/08 9:30 AM

KCETDC Los Angeles
2/15/08 7:00 PM

KWSU Spokane
2/17/08 2:02 AM
2/20/08 9:00 PM

March 2008

WKAR Lansing, MI
3/22/08 11:00 PM ET

WLAE New Orleans, LA

3/22/08 9:00 PM CT

KETC St Louis, MO 3/23/08 3:00 PM

WCVW Richmond, VA 3/23/08 6:00 PM

WUSF Tampa, FL 3/23/08
1:00 PM ET

WLAE New Orleans, LA
3/24/08 1:00 AM CT

10:00 PM ET

WKMU Paducah, KY
3/26/08 12:00 AM ET

UNCTV North Carolina?3/27/08 10PM

KETC St Louis, MO 3/28/08 3:00

WCVN KENTUCKY 3/29/08 2:00 AM ET

April 2008

WMHT Albany/ Troy NY
4/3/08 10pm

KAET Phoenix
4/17/08 12:00 AM

GPB Georgia
4/20/08 6:00 PM
4/21/08 12:00 AM

WCLP Chattanooga
4/20/08 6:00 PM
4/21/08 12:00 AM

WXGA Jacksonville
4/20/08 6:00 PM
4/21/08 12:00 AM

WFYI Indianapolis
4/20/08 1:30 PM
4/22/08 12:00 AM

4/23/08 1:00 AM

WUNC North Carolina
4/27/08 1:00 AM
4/27/08 5:00 AM
4/27/08 12:00 PM
4/27/08 7:00 PM
4/27/08 10:00 PM
4/27/08 11:00 PM
4/28/08 2:00 AM
4/28/08 5:00 AM
5/2/08 1:00 PM
5/2/08 9:00 PM
5/3/08 12:00 AM

WPTD Dayton, OH
5/2/08 10:00 PM
5/4/08 2:00 AM

WKYU Bowling Green, KY
5/4/08 9:00 PM

WMVS Milwaukee, WI
5/5/08 10:00 PM

KDIN Des Moines, IA
5/10/08 5:30 PM

KBIN Omaha/ Council Bluffs, IA
5/10/08 5:30 PM

KIIN Cedar Rapids-Waterloo-Iowa City & Dubuque
5/10/08 5:30 PM

04.21 - Tallahassee, FL screening of "Awake, My Soul"- Saturday April 21 7pm All Saints Cinema. For more,

04.27 - "Awake, My Soul" will be screened at Merlefest, the country's premiere Americana music festival on Friday, April 27 2007 at 5pm in Mayes Pit. We are honored to have 50+ of the finest Sacred Harp singers in the country join us for a demonstration singing following the screening. Many of these singers are featured in "Awake, My Soul" and on the soundtrack to the film "Cold Mountain"! For more,

12.10 - New Sacred Harp CD available, "I Belong to This Band".

9.15 - "Awake, My Soul" will be screened at the Sidewalk Film Festival.

8.18 -Southern Living has an article on Sacred Harp and have posted the first 7 minutes of "Awake, My Soul." Click here to read and watch!

8.17 - The store is open! We have the movie and movie poster for sale and soon we will have other merchandise.