The Ville du Havre, a ship that inspired “It Is Well With My Soul”

Do you remember what you were doing in 1876? I bet you weren’t writing one of the best songs ever. Neither was I. But we also weren’t experiencing major life tragedies like the writer of It Is Well. Actually, the song was originally called Ville du Havre. The title came from a ship by the same name. A ship that carried the writer’s wife and 4 daughters. If you want to know more about that story, I’d strongly recommend you look it up because it’s worth knowing about. But in short, the ship sank and all 4 daughters perished. As he was carried by boat to reconnect with his wife, he floated past where his daughters died, and soon after wrote Ville du Havre/It Is WellVille_du_HavreOK that’s heavy stuff. You know what will lighten the mood? Remembering that this song is so well-known, even your weird uncle, yeah, that one, has sung it. But still, I keep coming back to the 2 performances below. Watch and let your heart be moved!

First up is a haunting rendition of the song. I say haunting because of the woman’s voice. It’s low and raspy. Smoky and mysterious. Definitely adds an element of soul, and the guy does, too. I’d be acting silly not to mention the quality of his voice. Plus, it’s easy to see that he not only sings the lyrics, but he believes them. I love listening to someone sing from their heart. The trio is called Selah. Since this video, they’ve had a rotation or two in the female singer slot, but this girl, Nicol Smith (now married, Nicol Sponberg) is the Selah I love the most. And is it just me, or does she look exactly like Ashley S. from The Bachelor?

Ashley S from the Bachelor

Ashley S from the Bachelor (above) looks like Nicol Smith (in video below)

This second video is a newer take on the classic hymn. Typically I run away from variations of traditional lyrics and melodies, but not this one. It’s amazing. It’s so good I didn’t even notice they left the original chorus out of the song. The first guy to sing has a good voice, but then the girl comes in and wow, she’ll captivate you with her tone and vibrato. But then that first guy comes back in and steals back your attention with his sound. To keep it simple, I’d say with these singers and this song, “It just works.” Plus, I actually love when the girl messes up. See if you catch it. It’s a subtle reminder that beautiful doesn’t mean perfection. In fact, sometimes there is beauty in imperfection… because it’s real. These are 4 beautiful minutes you need to watch.
-Out of the Wilderness

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