Dominicana Records proudly presents The Hillbilly Thomists! After four albums of sacred choral music, the Dominican brothers have tuned their banjos and turned their attention to Americana folk and bluegrass. Their hope: to spread the joy of the gospel through the joy of music. The album largely revives old songs from the American folk tradition, with a few original arrangements and compositions from the friars as well. Familiar tracks include “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” “What Wondrous Love Is This,” and a new take on “Amazing Grace.”
Preview the album
What is a hillbilly thomist? In 1955, the southern author Flannery O’Connor said of herself, “Everybody who has read Wise Blood thinks I’m a hillbilly nihilist, whereas. . .I’m a hillbilly Thomist.” She said that her fiction was concerned with the ways grace is at work among people who do not have access to the sacraments. The Thomist (one who follows the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas) believes that the invisible grace of God can be at work in visible things, just as the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, in the person of Christ.
Traditional bluegrass music is playful and energetic; along with American folk music, it often contains explicitly theological themes: belief in Christ, the goodness of life, the pain of unrequited love, the finality of death, and hope in eternal life. It is a traditional southern form of testimony to the presence of grace in the human heart. So when it is played by Dominicans who study Thomas Aquinas, there is no doubt that what comes about as a result is Hillbilly Thomism.
In this album, we will present some old bluegrass classics, some great folk standards, and a dash of Scotch-Irish instrumental music. We hope you like it, and find it a source of simple joy.