(To learn how to play, watch the video below, or download the free sheet music.)
Words to Love Lifted Me were written by James Rowe in 1912, music by Howard E. Smith, in Saugatuck, Connecticut. Love Lifted Me is in the Public Domain.
James Rowe’s daughter described Howard Smith as a small man, with very arthritic hands twisted and knotted. In spite of this, he and her father would work together; her father humming the music while Howard played and wrote it down. One creative; one practical; both a single team.
James Rowe was the son of a copper miner. At 24, he quit his job with the Irish government and moved to America. He lived a life of variety, spending time working the railroads, later as an inspector for the Hudson River Humane Society, and eventually in the music industry. He even worked with his daughter, making greeting cards together. Seems he excelled at working well with others. With a number of hymns to his credit, Love Lifted Me is the most recognizable.
Howard Smith’s history is a little sparser. He was a church organist for many years. In spite of his arthritis he must have been pretty good, to play for an entire congregation on a regular basis. Credited with the music for Love Lifted Me, and a number of other gospel songs, he lived from 1863 to 1918.
On a personal level, we sang ‘Love Lifted Me’ pretty often in church. It wasn’t the ‘foot-stomper’ that I preferred, but it has a beautiful message, and a fun melody. As far as I’m concerned, the team of Smith and Rowe hit a home run. As a young boy I always enjoyed the music service, and this was one of the ones that made it into my repertoire as an adult. Most of my playing has a very southern flair, and that’s fine with me. What I didn’t realize until listening to this recording, was that it has a slightly different rhythm from the usual. More syncopation, or possibly a touch of Calypso? I’m not sure, but surely hope you enjoy it!