Dennis Quaid is lending his voice to a “Friend.” On Friday (June 30), the actor and singer/songwriter shared his rendition of the hymn, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus.” A gentle choir, harmonica solo and lightly chiming bells accompany Quaid as he sings such lyrics as, What a Friend we have in Jesus/All our sins and griefs to bear/What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer/O what peace we often forfeit/O what needless pain we bear.
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Quaid honors the humble nature of the song with his soft delivery, ending with a spoken monologue over the sound of bells and simple acoustic guitar. “Wherever you are, if you’re in need, if you’re in doubt, if you’re in pain, call out his name, he’ll be listening,” he encourages.
“What a Friend We Have in Jesus” was originally written as a poem by preacher Joseph M. Scriven in 1855 and later adapted into a song 10 years later. Ella Fitzgerald, Amy Grant, Ike and Tina Turner, and Bing Crosby are among the vast-ranging artists who’ve covered it.
“What a Friend” is the latest release off Quaid’s upcoming gospel album, Fallen: A Gospel Record For Sinners. It follows his cover of Kris Kristofferson’s “Why Me Lord.” The album also features original songs “Fallen,” “God Gets Lonely Too,” Welcome Home” and others, alongside classic gospel hymns “I’ll Fly Away,” “Amazing Grace,” “Just As I Am” and more.
“Songwriting is almost like an affliction—it’s something you have to do,” Quaid previously shared with American Songwriter. “You can’t just get rid of it. If a phrase or idea gets in your head, it won’t leave you alone until you finish it. That’s basically what it’s always been for me—that’s the only way I can really describe it. And looking back, I can listen to old songs and know where I was when I wrote them. It’s like a diary or a journal in that way.”
Fallen will be released on July 28.
Photo Credit: Derrek Kupish/Courtesy of Adkins Publicity