|Yearnings for holiness and God’s presence | Posted August 08, 2013
Audrey Assad has captivated listeners with her artistry and emotionally stirring recordings. In 2010, she released her debut album, For Love of You which spawned the hit songs “For Love of You” and “Restless.” It was one of the best-selling albums by a new artist that year, and she was nominated for Best Female Vocalist. She returned in 2012 with Heart, which featured the standout songs, “Sparrow,” “Blessed are the Ones,” and “O My Soul.” Her album was flawlessly produced by Marshall Altman and received overwhelming praise from critics and fans. As it goes in the world of music-making, Audrey lost her recording contract, and right away launched a successful Kickstarter campaign, returning with her first independent album, Fortunate Fall, released on August 13th.
If you liked her previous vertical focused songs, “Everything Is Yours,” “Show Me” and “O My Soul,” then you are in for a treat with this album, which flows beautifully from song to song, and is set in three movements. The first movement includes the title track, “Help My Unbelief” and “Humble.” The songs are all prayers and personal confessions of submission to God. I really love how expressive these songs are, and they allow listeners to reflect on profound words like “O happy fault, o happy fault, that gained for us so great a Redeemer, fortunate fall, fortunate fall, that gained for us so great a Redeemer.” As expressed in Luke 7:47 (NKJV): “Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Audrey loves a lot, and that is evident in “Help My Unbelief,” where “I know, I know and I believe, You are the Lord, help my unbelief” and “Your burden is light and Your yoke is easy” are her cries of submission phrasing biblical truth in a creative and personal way. The global Church can all sing this song to “My Lord and My God, help me believe.” Amen. “Humble” is a gorgeous offering to Jesus, proclaiming, “You gladly carried Your Cross, never refusing Your life to the weakest of us…Humble, humble, Jesus.” The chorus perfectly captures John 3:30: “we bow our knees, we must decrease, You must increase, we lift You high.”
“O Happy Fault” transitions to the next movement, which includes my three favorite songs, “Lead Me On,” “I Shall Not Want” and the single “Good to Me.” The piano based songs include more comforting and “Restless” biblical refrains such as “I will dwell in Your house forever, lead me on.” Audrey is inspired by Confessions, where Saint Augustine states "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." “I Shall Not Want” is a moving piano and strings laced ballad. The song includes confessions: “From a need to be accepted…from a fear of humility”— “Deliver me, O God, and I shall not want, when I taste Your goodness, I shall not want.” What a great way to ask the Lord to cleanse us of our iniquities. He is the great Deliverer and you can sincerely pray these words along with Audrey and know that when you “taste and see that the Lord is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!” (Psalm 34:8). “Good to Me” is an unashamed adoration proclaiming Psalm 121’s: “I lift my eyes to the hills where my help is found.” I love the refrain “the foxes in the vineyard will not steal my joy, because You are Good to Me.” Amen to that!
“Felix Culpa” transitions to the final movement, which include expressions of Jesus’ promise to give us another Helper, the Holy Spirit, as He tells us in John 14:16 (NKJV): “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever.” “Spirit of the Living God” keeps the worshipful flow including these words: “so shall we know the power of Christ, Who came this world to save, so shall we raise with Him to life, which soars beyond the grave!” Closing song “You Speak” is a wonderful reminder: “You liberate me from my own noise and my own chaos, from the chains of a lesser law, You set me free...in the silence of the heart, You speak.” Amen.
All of the songs on Fortunate Fall are a wonderful companion in my personal prayer and devotion time. “Lead Me On,” “I Shall Not Want” and the single “Good to Me” are among my favorite songs this year, and this is a very soothing album that leads me to the Throne Room of Grace. Audrey has always had an indie artist sound to her music, reminding me of singer-songwriters like Ingrid Michaelson, A Fine Frenzy and Jewel. Unlike those artists, however, this album was written for the Church, which is an absolute blessing and honor for me to savor and pray these songs along with my favorite female singer. Audrey puts her full passion behind everything she sings, and is an avid reader of Scripture and other faith-based influences, which makes her lyrics even more rooted in Truth. I agree with, and say Amen to every single note of every song on Fortunate Fall. These are great songs to pray along with Audrey and express your own yearnings for holiness and God’s presence.
Song to download now: “Good to Me” – http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00DVUY2IM/ref=dm_dp_trk1
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|Audrey Assad's Fortunate Fall into Praise & Worship | Posted November 11, 2013
Until this album I was unfamiliar with the music or career of Audrey Assad, but after hearing one of these songs on the radio, I felt the desire to take a chance on this melancholy adult contemporary CD. Mostly comprised of soft piano rock, I am reminded of someone like Sarah McLachlan or Tori Amos sitting in front of the keys and pouring their heart out. The difference here is Assad is pouring her heart out for God.
Beginning with a song of quiet ethereal tones we soon realize her focus is on praise and worship, with self-reflecting, quietly uplifting music that praises God. Next comes Piano and bells, along with angelic choral voices on “Oh Happy Fault”, a track that is near instrumental and just a little over two minutes long. This seems to be designed to get one into a worshipful mood.
As if to prepare you for her church of musical worship, she implores “Lead Me On”, a song of the Lord’s presence and guidance. As she declares ‘I will dwell in your house forever’, we are nothing less than moved.
Piano and chamber strings take us into “I Shall Not Want”, before they bring us to the album’s centerpiece, “Good To Me.” This track, a celebration of God’s love, features a full band with light distorted guitars and a confident rhythm section. The listener may easily find themselves singing along for the lyrics at one point seem to be taken straight from a page of her Bible: “Your goodness and mercy shall follow me all my life.” The final refrain with its sing-along phrasing made me want to walk into my local community church and lead a revival, it’s so uplifting and encouraging.
As we move into the latter half of the Cd we are treated to “Felix Culpa”, an instrumental dominated by piano and chamber strings. Quiet and reflective, it gives us time to take in the full message of the previous song and prepare us for what comes next. What I noticed at this point was the album runs like a church service on CD. Moments of reflection, worship, praise, and even hushed instrumentals afford you a moment to pray without being too distracted.
“Spirit Of The Living God” makes this evident with lyrical phrasing that reminds one of a Celtic chant, before easing into the album’s finale, “You Speak”, where Assad ends these musical praisings with the truth that ‘In this silence of the heart, you speak.’ A great ending to an equally good CD. I recommend this to those who want to take a moment to reflect on God’s glory and how he works within us, or those who like their worship music just a little quieter than other worship albums on the market.
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