Monday Melody – In Christ Alone

Our blogaversary giveaway begins this Thursday, guys!  You’ve been in the trenches with me for a year as we embraced all sorts of struggles (LOL!), even some we didn’t want to embrace!  Make sure to check back here on Thursday to participate.  Gotta be in it to win it!

Song/Album: “In Christ Alone” by Janna Long, on the album Janna.

Why it made the cut:   I honestly thought no one but Michael English could master “In Christ Alone.”  I mean, in the early to mid 1990s, this was “the song.”  Along comes Ms. Janna and swipes the crown away with a seamless, soulful rendition of this classic Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) hit.  

Highlights of this track are Michael Ripoli’s beautiful acoustic and electric guitar work, buttressed by sweet strings and Ms. Janna’s powerhouse vocals.  

Did I mention that Janna’s one of my favorite alto singers ever?  Girlfriend can rock out really hard, and throughout her debut solo album, which dropped back in 2002, she shows that she has the vocal chops to go it alone, as well as with her group Avalon.

“This song is very much about giving glory back to God,” said Janna in an interview after the release of her eponymous album. “The only reason any of us have anything is because of the Lord. People always ask me if there is one song I wish I’d written, and this was always it.”

This musical rendering of Philippians 3 confronts us with the plain facts:  we are to place no confidence in our flesh.  “In Christ Alone” is a sobering reminder that we find our strength and hope only in Christ. 

Artist:   Baltimore native Janna Long (nee Potter) is an alto singer par excellence.  The only original member of CCM quartet Avalon in the group’s current lineup of singers, Janna knew from an early age that she wanted to be a singer.  She recalls listening to Aretha Franklin and Patti Labelle and wanting to create that sound.  She sure has succeeded!

“A lot of artists sing about love and relationships,” Janna says. “Those are great, but I miss hearing songs that are blatantly about the Gospel. Music has power to heal and bring joy, and I always said if I ever got the chance to make my own record, I’d want to sing that kind of music.”

Before joining Avalon, Janna was a member of TRUTH, the long-running CCM ensemble that molded gospel stars like Natalie Grant and Janna’s fellow Avalon singers Jody McBrayer and Melissa Green.  She’s been with Avalon now for 14 years and is joined in the group by her husband, Greg Long.

Favorite lyrics:

In Christ alone will I glory
For only by His grace I am redeemed
And only His tender mercy
Could reach beyond my weakness right to my need
And now I seek no greater honor
Than just to know Him more
And to count my gains but losses
To the glory of my Lord

Sweet spot: From 2:32 to the end.  Precious!

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