About Jesse

    A veteran newspaper reporter, Jesse tells stories of regular people living with passion, struggling against injustice or simply practicing their faith. Through songwriting, magazine journalism and essays, Jesse aims to describe the human condition, especially the search for transcendence.


    The Atlantic

Beer & Hymns

DIGITAL LYRIC BOOK: You can open this on your smart phone or tablet and read the words to sing along!

We gather on the first Sunday night of each month at 7:30pm at Fullsteam Brewery in Durham and on the second Sunday of each even-numbered month (Feb, April, June, etc.) at Trali Irish Pub in Morrisville, plus occasional events in Chapel Hill, Carrboro, Winston-Salem and elsewhere. Visit our EVENTS CALENDAR to keep tabs on where and when to sing with us.

“We’re tired of consuming.” — read coverage of Durham County Beer & Hymns in the Episcopal diocesan magazine

“Here, you are your next-door stranger’s neighbor.”  – read a testimonial essay by Beer & Hymns member and Durham News columnist Hannah Mitchell

Durham County Beer & Hymns is supported by individuals, businesses, congregations and denominations. We raise funding behind the scenes so that we can maintain every hymn-sing as a free event for the public and direct our tip-jar collection to common-good organizations such as Open Table, the Reality Center, InterFaith Council for Social Service, Habitat for Humanity, NC Rails-Trails, KidzNotes, Urban Ministries, World Relief, Girls on the Run, INSIDEoUT, Super Cooper’s Little Red Wagon Foundation, Latino Educational Achievement Partnership, DurhamCares, Raleigh Rescue Mission and others. You can make a tax-deductible donation made out to Durham Presbyterian Church, with Beer & Hymns in the memo line. You can mail to 1102 Clarendon St., Durham NC 27705. You can also give online (Just add Beer & Hymns in the memo box after you’ve clicked “Review Donation and Continue”). For more information, please email durhamcountybeerandhymns@gmail.com.

A multi-instrumentalist and singer, Jesse leads communities in sacred hymns and spiritually rich pop songs with a folk style influenced by the country Gospel tradition. He has worked as contemporary music minister in a couple of churches and is founder of Durham County Beer & Hymns, an inclusive, rowdy hymn-sing currently meeting at 7:30pm on the first and third Sundays of every month at Fullsteam Brewery. Read Jesse’s public invitation to Beer & Hymns printed in the Durham News.

Here is Jesse’s original interpretation of an ancient Christ Hymn embedded in the text of Colossians 1:


1. Be Thou My Vision

2. This Train

3. This Little Light of Mine

4. Amazing Grace

5. O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing

6. Holy, Holy, Holy

7. Hallelujah, Leonard Cohen

8. Psalm 40, U2

9. Go Tell It On the Mountain (Civil Rights/Exodus version)

10. Down by the Riverside

11. Come Thou Fount

12. All Creatures of Our God & King

13. Three Little Birds (Bob Marley)/Blessed Assurance (Fanny Crosby)

14. Blood of the Lamb, Woody Guthrie

15. Dear Prudence, The Beatles (w/ Spirit of the Living God)

16. A Mighty Fortress

17. In the Garden

18. Just a Closer Walk with Thee

19. How Great Thou Art

20. Leaning on the Everlasting Arms

21. I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For (U2)

22. Peace Train (Cat Stevens)

24. Abide With Me

25. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

27. I Saw the Light

28. Shall We Gather at the River

29. In the Sweet By & By

30. Morning Has Broken

31. Let It Be, The Beatles

32. When the Saints Go Marching In

33. Great is Thy Faithfulness

34. Canticle of the Turning

35. Christ the Lord Is Risen Today

36. When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

37. He Leadeth Me

38. We Will Understand It Better By and By

39. We Shall Overcome

40. Come Ye Sinners, Poor & Needy

41. Get Together, The Youngbloods

42. If I Had a Hammer, Pete Seeger

46. One of Us, Joan Osborne

47. Turn, Turn, Turn (Ecclesiastes/The Byrds)

48. It Is Well With My Soul

49. Hava Nagila

50. Wade in the Water

51. Precious Lord, Take My Hand

52, 54, 55. Down to the River to Pray, Jacob’s Ladder, I’ll Fly Away

53. Near the Cross

56. Somewhere Over the Rainbow

57. Lord of the Dance

58. What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love (Burt Bacharach)

59. Stand by Me, Ben E. King

60. Everybody Hurts/Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior (REM/Fanny Crosby mash-up)

61. Teach Your Children, CSNY

62. Blowin’ in the Wind, Bob Dylan

63. Be Still My Soul

64. I Love to Tell the Story

65. Poor Wayfaring Stranger

66. Breathe on Me Breath of God

67. There is a Balm in Gilead

68. Victory in Jesus

69. My Sweet Lord, George Harrison

70. What A Wonderful World, Louis Armstrong

71. Spirit in the Sky, Norman Greenbaum

72. Hard Times, Stephen Foster

73. Draw Me Nearer, Blessed Lord

74. I Shall Be Released, Bob Dylan

75. Bridge Over Troubled Water, Simon & Garfunkel

76. A Change is Gonna Come, Sam Cooke

77. Mary, Don’t You Weep

78. People Get Ready, Curtis Mayfield

79. Go Down Moses

80. We Shall Not Be Moved

81. Redemption Song, Bob Marley

82, 83, 84, 86. Eyes on the Prize/Oh Freedom/Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around/Deep River

85. Get Up, Stand Up, Bob Marley

87. Every Grain of Sand, Bob Dylan

88. You’ve Got A Friend, Carole King

89. His Eye Is On the Sparrow

90. Forever Young, Bob Dylan

91. My Shepherd Will Supply My Need

92. Prayer of Peace, David Haas (Navajo prayer)

93. Lean on Me, Bill Withers

94. This Is My Father’s World

95. Let’s Go Crazy, Prince

96. Learning to Fly, Tom Petty

97. Space Oddity, David Bowie

98. Blackbird, The Beatles

99. The Ballad of Love & Hate, Avett Brothers

100. Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus

101. Here Comes the Sun, The Beatles

102 Birds, Neil Young

103. What’s Going on? Marvin Gaye

104. Head Full of Doubt/Road Full of Promise, Avett Brothers

105. Instant Karma, John Lennon

106. Revive Us Again

107. For What It’s Worth, Buffalo Springfield

108. Long Train Runnin’, Doobie Brothers

109. Give Me Love (Peace on Earth), George Harrison

110. Sunday, Bloody Sunday, U2

111. Into the Mystic, Van Morrison

112. There’s A Wideness in God’s Mercy

113. The Times, They Are A’Changin’, Bob Dylan

114. Sweet Hour of Prayer

115. Somos El Barco, Pete Seeger

116. Up Above My Head, Sister Loretta Tharpe

117. The Sound of Silence, Simon & Garfunkel

118. Dame La Mano

119. You’ll Never Walk Alone – Gerry & The Pacemakers

120. If You Wanna Sing Out, Sing Out – Cat Stevens

121. Guantanamera, Marti-Angulo-Seeger

122. Orphan Girl, Gillian Welch

123. Danny Boy, Frederic Weatherly

124. Let the People Sing, The Wolfe Tones

125. Sweet Pitchers of Mercy, Jesse James DeConto/The Pinkerton Raid

126. Ring Them Bells, Bob Dylan

127. Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution, Tracy Chapman

128. De Colores

129. This Land Is Your Land, Woody Guthrie

130. The Weight, Robbie Robertson/The Band

131. Everyday People, Sly Stone


H1. Love Came Down at Christmas

H2. O Come, O Come Emanuel

H3. Happy Xmas (War is Over), John Lennon

H4. Little Drummer Boy/War on War (Wilco)

H5. Come Thou Long-Expected Jesus

H6. Angels We Have Heard on High

H7. Light One Candle, Peter, Paul & Mary (Hanukkah song)

H8. What Child Is This?

H9. O Holy Night

H10, 11 & 12. I’ll Be Home for Christmas/White Christmas/Blue Christmas

H13. Mary Did You Know?

H14. Silent Night

H15, 16 & 17. Holly, Jolly Christmas/Feliz Navidad/Auld Lang Syne

H18. God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

H19. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)

H20. It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

H21. We Three Kings

H22. Ki Imcha        C Am F Dm      G G7 C    (Repeating lyrics)

H23. Joy to the World

H24. Hark, the Herald Angels Sing

H25. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas

H26. The First Noel

H27. Jesus, Save Us From Christmas, Jesse James DeConto/The Pinkerton Raid

H28. Good King Wenceslas