When peace like a river attendeth my way, When sorrows like sea billows roll, Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, It is well, it is well with my soul.
Singer and actor Casey Elliott was familiar with the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul,” but it was new to Clotile Bonner.
“I actually had never heard this particular hymn before! So when Casey asked if I would sing a duet with him on this song, I immediately thought that I would be singing very similarly to how I sing the hymns at church. I was wrong.”
Their respective newness to or familiarity with the hymn didn’t seem to play any factor in either singer’s performance of a gorgeous new duet rendition. You can listen to the full track in the player below.
Clotile Bonner is also a singer and actress, and her brother Mauli Bonner arranged the hymn for this duet. When she and Elliott first heard the arrangement, both singers instantly knew how special this recording would be.
“Once you decide the cover a certain song, you then have to come up with an arrangement that enhances the song for your voice and gives it its own flavor,” Elliott shared. “When Mauli Bonner sent us his arrangement, I knew instantly that it was exactly how it should be. As I starting singing along with it, I felt it was my favorite arrangement of the song I’ve ever heard.”
Clotile wholeheartedly agreed. “There was no telling how truly beautiful, and powerful the song was going to be until we were in the studio listening to Casey sing. The Spirit immediately entered the room. We were all amazed at the collaboration, and at how special the arrangement really was.”
Mauli Bonner’s experiences while working on the hymn may provide some insights into what makes it so special and beautiful.
“I was working on this song while going through trials of my own. It was a healing experience for me as I searched for the right rhythm and melodic patterns that could resonate with the message that no matter what I’m going through it is well with my soul. By the end I had a stronger testimony in knowing that we can rejoice in our trials and know that the Lord is over all.”
Horatio Spafford, the man who penned the hymn originally in 1873, also wrote from a place of trial and sorrow. He was inspired to write the words after his four young daughters tragically died when their ship sank crossing the Atlantic Ocean. The creative new arrangement from Mauli Bonner and heartfelt performances from Clotile Bonner and Casey Elliott do a masterful job of conveying the hymn’s original message and capturing Spafford’s own journey.
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“I wanted the song to feel like a journey,” Mauli Bonner explained. “One filled with trials, hope, and peace. I wanted to make the duet feel like two soloists with two very different journeys that somehow weaved in and out of one another throughout the song. I knew that Clotile and Casey have a unique ability to translate lyric and melody into a spiritual and emotional experience. And they did just that.”
As for the primary message of the song, all three musicians had a different takeaway, but a variation on a theme.
“I love the first few lines of the song,” Elliott said. “I love that reminder that is good times or bad times, whatever our circumstantial lot, it is well with our soul. That’s God’s promise. He so often reminds to fear not. We’ve got this because He’s got us! When we stick with God the sun will rise on even the darkest night.”
Clotile Bonner shared, “I hope people take pause when they hear this song and reflect on how the Savior has accompanied them through their trials in a way that strengthened them to be able to say ‘It is well.’”
“I hope that this song allows listeners to find peace in difficult times,” Mauli Bonner said. “I hope they find hope in hardship. I hope they find comfort in knowing that their Father in Heaven is aware of them and that no matter what they’re going through, all is well.”