“It was an awesome time. Every once in a while you meet somebody who is as genuine on the inside as they are on the outside.”

With Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, Out of Eden, Ashley Cleveland and other artists releasing hymns albums this year, Bart admits he thought the label might think it was a bad time. “I was guilty of second guessing the label,” he says, but instead of nixing the idea, INO president Jeff Moseley felt it was good timing. “He said, ‘There’s nothing greater for your record and the rest of the hymns records than to come out the way they are, because it’s creating awareness for the audience. It’s great timing.”

Bart loves seeing the resurgence of hymns, and he’s been enjoying the other albums that have been released. In fact, he didn’t record “I’ll Fly Away” because “Jars have done such an amazing rendition of that song, I wouldn’t even touch it with a 10-foot pole.”

He’s hoping that more contemporary church services will once again incorporate hymns into their repertoire. “Taking hymns out of the worship service is like kicking the elders out of the church,” he says. “It’s like taking all the older people out of the church that have so much wisdom and experience and knowledge. [The hymns represent] a vital part of where we came from, and when we forget where we come from, Lord knows where we are heading. There’s no question these songs are vital to the church. They are who we are, who we will be, and I just hope that people get into them again.”

One of the most gratifying things is how much his relatives are enjoying the record. “They are wearing it out,” he says. “They think I ought to be a country singer from now on.”

© 2005 CCM Magazine.  All rights reserved.  Used with permission.  Click here to subscribe.