Press Information

Distribution: All rights except North America for "Awake, My Soul" are currently available. All questions regarding the acquisition/distribution or broadcast licenses for this film should be directed to


Historical Sacred Harp images (click photo for larger version)

Press Comments about "Awake, My Soul"

"If you're a fan of American roots music, you won't want to miss 'Awake My Soul--The Story of the Sacred Harp.' Filmmakers Matt and Erica Hinton have done a fine job capturing the history, sound and spirit of this unusual but compelling art form that, trust me, you don't have to be religious to appreciate."
-Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune

"Awake, My Soul features some of the most raucous group vocals that have been recorded."

"The film, and subject matter, is fascinating and informative. Traditions such as Sacred Harp singing run the risk of dying out, but filmmakers like the Hintons do a great service to the American musical, and historical, communities by fanning the embers to cause interest in this tradition to continue to burn br /ightly."

"In the Hinton's fine documentary: You get the feel of the people and the wonderful sound of the music, and thankfully without any condescension. As an introduction to Sacred Harp, it's as amazing as the music itself."
-Birmingham Weekly

'Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp' is a fascinating history of a raw, overwhelming, unconventional form of Southern hymn singing."
-The Oregonian

"Matt and Erica Hinton's Awake, My Soul: The Story of the Sacred Harp... succeeds in immersing the viewer in a deeply-rooted and uniquely American musical culture... Awake, My Soul captures amazing recordings of the style in churches all over the American South."
-The Vanguard (Portland, OR)

On "I Belong to This Band: 85 Years of Sacred Harp Recordings":
"To quote Leonard Cohen 'God is alive, magic is afoot' in the soaring magnificence of Southern sacred-harp choirs, a robust, harmonically intricate blend of country joy and unearthly drone. It is living worship, too. The thirty hymns on this companion to the documentary 'Awake My Soul' were recorded as long ago as 1922 and as recently as last summer."
-David Fricke, Rolling Stone

"[I Belong to this Band is] a wide-ranging and satisfying overview of this powerful musical and cultural heritage...hear the way these massive assemblies of voices channel passion and fervor through tradition. This is stirring stuff on many levels. There's a rough-edged, yet perfectly-pitched clarity and elegance to these sides that points to the timelessness of Sacred Harp, giving solid evidence that these bedrock sounds are at the heart of the interchange that has enriched so much American music"
-Dusted Magazine

"I Belong to This Band is full of such history and mystery. The amazing thing is how Sacred Harp can sound so otherworldly, yet so American at the same time." (5 stars)
- Steve Terrell, Santa Fe New Mexican

"The contemporary vigor of the latter tracks, juxtaposed with the scratchy 78 transfers, argues well for the harp's unwavering thrum."
- Steve Dollar, Time Out Chicago

"Spectacular... Get enough people singing weird harmonies at the top of their voices and you start feeling a little sorry for the devil."
-Joe Dempsey, Washington City Paper

"["I Belong to this Band" is] a wonderful introduction to this vocal tradition, which includes some of America's oldest songs."(Dean's List)
-Insite Magazine

"Before punk's will and black gospel's spiritualism, before the catharsis of power electronics ... there was Sacred Harp singing... it is naked, incredibly powerful music. The large-choir recordings on I Belong to the Band swell when it feels like there's no room, they beat wings against the windows. They almost made me crash my car the other day. The unpolished quality of the voices...only accentuates the music's unbr /idled enthusiasm and sense of collectivity. Preservation is one thing, but raising the dead is a different trick entirely."
-Mike Powell, Stylus Magazine

"["I Belong to this Band" is] joyful and otherworldly, full of weird, perfect harmonies... the noises we make when we open our mouths and bellow don't change all that much, whether it's 1928 or 2006."