The Story Behind Nothing but the Blood of Jesus
Robert Lowry was an American preacher who became a popular writer of gospel music in the 19th century. His best-known hymns include "Shall We Gather at the River", "Christ Arose!" and "Nothing But The Blood Of Jesus."'
When asked to explain his methods of composition, in particular, whether in his own hymns words or music came first, Lowry replied:
"I have no method. Sometimes the music comes and the words follow, fitted insensibly to the melody. I watch my moods, and when anything good strikes me, whether words or music, and no matter where I am, at home or on the street, I jot it down. Often the margin of a newspaper or the back of an envelope serves as a notebook. My brain is a sort of spinning machine, I think, for there is music running through it all the time. I do not pick out my music on the keys of an instrument. The tunes of nearly all the hymns I have written have been completed on paper before I tried them on the organ. Frequently the words of the hymn and the music have been written at the same time."
Excerpt from Biography of Gospel Song and Hymn Writers