Henry Carrigan

Henry Carrigan writes about gospel, soul, blues, Americana, and country music for publications such as No Depression, The Quarterly Journal of Roots Music and Living Blues. Fifteen Spirituals That Will Change Your Life is his first book, released in May of 2019. 

Amy Ray, Grammy Award-winning artist, member of the Indigo Girls and Dahlonega resident praised Fifteen Spirituals. “I value this book for what it brings to me about the songs I have grown up with and loved all my life, and for its emphasis on how Gospel music shows us our own humanity and helps us in our search for unity and justice, in the face of fear and intolerance.” 

A native of Georgia (graduate of Dunwoody High School), Carrigan now lives near Chicago. In addition to being a writer and editor, he is an accomplished guitarist and has taught religion and music in various colleges and workshops. 

A biography of Emmy Lou Harris by Henry Carrigan will soon be released.

This inspiring book is part memoir (Carrigan is both musician and music journalist), part tour of gospel music hits and artists, and part a quick history of forgotten parts of America. Music touches people’s hearts in deep and enduring ways that words often fail to do. We all remember the time and place where we first heard certain life-changing songs. Carrigan explores fifteen Gospel songs with enduring power: each chapter includes a brief history of the song, its setting, composer and lyrics, and illustrates its themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. 

Includes spirituals from Amazing Grace and Precious Lord, Take My Hand to Steal Away to Jesus and I’ll Fly Away. Each chapter explores brief history of the song, its setting and composer, examining key lyrics, illustrating ways it expresses themes of comfort, healing, community, hope, and love. Fifteen Spirituals encourages readers to listen to favorite, or unfamiliar, Gospel songs to discover their transforming power.


Music lovers, musicians, readers of Christian inspirational literature, music historians, and fans of Gospel singers will want to read this book.


Table of Contents includes: Amazing Grace—God’s grace and salvation, Precious Lord, Take My Hand—Comfort & healing, Wade in the Water—Baptism, redemption, social justice, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms—Hope, community, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot—Death and hope, Will the Circle Be Unbroken?—Community, hope, Keep Your Lamps Trimmed and Burning—Expectation and new life, How Great Thou Art—God’s greatness, I’m Gonna Live So God Can Use Me—Work, love, prayer, Standing on the Promises—Faith, If Heaven Never Were Promised to Me—Faithful living, I’ll Fly Away, God’s Got a Crown—Heaven, Brethren We Have Met to Worship—Worship, Steal Away to Jesus—New life

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