Wes Hampton wants to introduce a new generation to hymns

By Michael Foust
Correspondent, The Alabama Baptist

Singer Wes Hampton is on a mission to introduce a younger generation of Christians to the music he, his parents and his grandparents sang as children.

You know: hymns.  

Hampton, the well-known tenor in the Gaither Vocal Band, grew up in rural West Tennessee singing hymns in a Baptist church. 

Hymns aren’t as popular as they once were though so Hampton has a plan to get a new generation hooked. His new solo album, titled simply “Hymns,” has 10 tracks, including some of the best-known hymns of history. He already is planning a sequel. 

‘Beautiful moments’

“I just don’t want hymns to get lost,” said Hampton. “There’s such great theology, such great truth and some beautiful, beautiful musical moments in them too. The new generation is not really hearing many hymns.”

Hampton acknowledges that the demographics of a Gaither Vocal Band concert trends toward older adults. But “more and more” young people are coming to the shows, he said.

“I want younger people especially to hear these songs,” he said. “They might be brand new songs to them. Maybe they will like them and play them in their cars and then their kids will hear them.”

This doesn’t mean Hampton isn’t a fan of contemporary music. He said Phil Wickham’s song “Living Hope” “just blew (him) away.” Hampton’s “Hymns” album even includes a modern hymn, “How Deep the Father’s Love.”

But songs like “Be Thou My Vision,” “Great is Thy Faithfulness” and “How Great Thou Art” — all on the album — aren’t as well-known to the younger audience. 

Outside of music Hampton is sharing another of his passions: cooking. 

Hampton began cooking after he was married in 1998, learning about the craft while watching Food Network shows. He loved it.

“I remember thinking, ‘This is really relaxing.’ … My hobby became cooking.”

He took his father-in-law’s advice and put together a cookbook, “Wescipes,” which is available at his solo concerts and Gaither Vocal Band shows as well as online. Incredibly the cookbook accounts for two-thirds of his sales.   

“Cooking is just my love language,” he said. “Whether [the result] is a disaster or not it’s fun for me.”

For more information, visit www.WesHampton.com.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Michael Foust covers the intersection of faith and entertainment as a media reviewer for The Alabama Baptist. He also is the husband of an amazing wife and the father of four young children.