Perhaps best known for sneering at Anita Hill, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) is rehabilitating his public image in time-tested fashion: Like Traci Lords before him, Hatch has cut his own CD, entitled My God Is Love. But let the buyer beware: The senator doesn't perform the songs, he just writes the lyrics.
The idea for Hatch's debut disc was born in 1995 when he met composer Janice Kapp Perry at a funeral and told her about his habit of writing poetry -- sometimes during boring committee hearings on the Hill. Perry, a member of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and owner of a religious record label, then set the senator's words to music and the two spent $50,000 recording the 13 songs, performed by a roster of Utah musicians and singers.
Though Hatch is a devout Mormon, the songs on My God Is Love are non-denominational paeans to Jesus, heavy on the crucifixion and resurrection imagery, with a heaping helping of sweet, sweet love. Not surprisingly, Nashville has taken notice; newspapers have reported that producers are pitching Hatch's songs to Garth Brooks, James Ingram, and Celine Dion. Hatch's label, Prime Recordings, says that Larry Gatlin and Christian-music star Sandi Patty also are interested.
Hatch and Perry are now toiling on Freedom's Light, a "patriotic album" featuring the song "Everyday Heroes," inspired by a speech that ex-President George Bush gave this month at Southern Utah University. Release is planned for mid-October.
In the meantime, we offer these audio highlights from My God Is Love [You'll need the RealPlayer]:
From "At the Foot of the Cross":
Felt his wounds, kissed his feet
Then my joy was complete
From "My Dearest Savior":
My dearest Savior
I hear thee calling
I feel thy power
Come from above
My dearest Savior
Let thy light fill me
Keeping me wholesome
Fit for thy love
From "Alleluia! Alleluia!":
I will boldly stand with him
Alleluia! I am now a
Christian soldier in this
World of sin
From "Heal Our Land":
Heal our land, heal our land
And help us understand
That we must put our trust in thee
If we would be free
Protect us by the power of thy rod
And keep us as one nation under God