But he sings a TON of ballads, too... traveler songs, family songs, snapshot story songs. I remember seeing some of his lyrics posted on some friends' xangas back when those were the blog of choice. It wasn't until I took his music with me on an iPod shuffle to Italy 2 years ago, and listened to them on a bus in pouring rain that I was struck by the beauty of his non-hymns. I love his love-songs ("She's my rose/my Virginia, she's a rose"), his descriptions of the elderly ("She will turn your pity down/Turn away and frown/ Old girl/ She may have a prayer for you/ She can read you, too/ Old Girl."), his depictions of life as a traveling musician (in my heart I'm always a bard ;D), and most of all how he snaps a shot of someone's life, and draws you in to figure the story out for yourself. He does this hauntingly well in "City of Sorrows," singing as one of the exiled Israelites looking over their shoulders at ruined Jerusalem and weeping aloud. Not quite a ballad, but close. He sings worshipful hymns and songs from the heart to God... all with that guttural "h" that belies his Hispanic origins. :) Check him out! I'm going to play his album "Storm" all over again.
PS- those of you who came to my wedding might remember Fernando Ortega's name, as our processional was his version of "All Creatures." To this day, it sounds incomplete to me without snare drums, and uillian pipes... :) Some day I'll figure out how to post a link so those of you who didn't get to come can hear the song. Our musicians blessed us SO MUCH!!!