Release Date: January 5th 2018
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Have My Heart
- Back to Shore
- Cannot Be Moved
- I Am Yours
Under the same independent label as music singer-songwriter veteran Holly Starr (Artist Garden Entertainment), newcomer to the music industry scene, Brooke Robertson, has unveiled something unique, powerful, emotive and encouraging in this new EP that released on Friday January 5th, compelling enough to even declare that she is quite possibly one of the new artists to look out for this year ever since Zach Williams broke into stardom a few years ago. Louisiana based, this worship-pop project that sounds very similar stylistically and musically to that of Holly Starr herself, is something refreshing, having an acoustic-pop vibe that seemingly isn’t covered as much in CCM as it should (a la Ellie Holcomb, Bethany Dillon, Lindsay McCaul etc.). Produced by Seventh Day Slumber’s Jeremy Holderfield, and also featuring co-writes with Carrollton’s Joel Rousseau and acclaimed singer-songwriter Allison Clarke; we have been met with 4 songs full of personal moments of reflection and honesty as I see a promising music career as Brooke continues to pour out her heart in not only these songs on the EP but hopefully in everything she makes going forward. With the title track already released to iTunes (as well as an accompanying music video), Brooke has utilised her platform well, as Have My Heart EP continues the trend of EP’s coming from left field and impacting me in a good way (alongside other EPs of late- Against the Odds, Paper Planes, Famous For and Heartland, from Carmen Justice, Adam Agee, Alexis Slifer and John Tibbs respectively!).
While the EP only stands at 4 tracks, it is the quality of the songs that makes up for the shortness. As Brooke relays to us about the concept of the EP and what she hopes for us listeners to grasp when hearing these songs, ‘…it’s my desire that people will find hope and draw closer to Jesus when they hear these songs. I want to encourage others to rely on God’s plans and not their own. The journey of discovering God’s purpose for your life is something I think we can all relate to, and I believe with my whole heart that true joy is found when you give everything over to Him…’ Title track ‘Have My Heart’ encourages us all to trust God in all circumstances, that ‘…Your arms are holding me tight, they won’t let go, my heartbeat is a token of Your love for me…’, how we often experience the Lord even in the darkest of circumstances. God holds us tight even if we don’t see it, and that the little things we often seemingly take for granted is enough for the Lord to make something beautiful of something not as appealing in the sight of man. Produced with just an acoustic guitar and Brooke’s soulful voice (reminiscent of similar ethereal voices a la Lauren Daigle, Lindsay McCaul, Holly Starr and Bethany Dillon), ‘Have My Heart’ is the perfect start to this 4 track EP!
Throughout the remainder of the EP, Brooke invites us to worship alongside her in each of the three songs, all of them still carrying a more acoustic-driven pop-worship presence, similar to the title track. ‘Back to the Shore’ has a solid piano presence, and is a heartfelt prayer that shows Brooke pray an odd yet equally timely and necessary prayer- asking the Lord to ‘…don’t let me forget the sorrow, don’t let me forget the pain, with every struggle I go through, Lord, I’m learning how to trust You more, the same waves that held me under are the waves that led me back to shore…’ While we may want to forget the pain and sorrow, they are with us so that we can remember how good and faithful the Lord is, and how far He has brought us in our lives up until this point, so that in turn, He can in fact bring us through the sorrow and adversity at this moment. And while God never cause any bad thing to happen towards us, He will use them in whatever way to get our attention, so we can fully be immersed in His presence and rely on Him for all things, knowing full well that everything that happens, be it good or bad, will be used by God for His glory and our good. ‘Cannot Be Moved’ is yet another CCM-esque pop radio-friendly, upbeat melody that states that when our hope is in Jesus, our defender and Father, our Healer and friend, we are in a firm foundation, and whatever comes cannot shake or move us from what we already know. In a similar vein thematically to Jeremy Camp’s ‘Can’t Be Moved’ from his 2015 album I Will Follow, Brooke encourages us through the acoustic guitars and light instrumentation that ‘…I will not be shaken, by what the world is saying, when I rest in Your truth, I cannot be, I cannot be moved…’ The EP ends with ‘I Am Yours’, quite possibly one of the most emotive and powerful ballads I’ve heard since ‘Famous For’ by indie worship leader Alexis Slifer. The song itself speaks about how wonderful and awesome it is to belong to the God of creation, for us to be called sons and daughters and heirs of the most High King. Musically the track is much more ambient and spacious compared to the remainder three, often showcasing light synths and keyboards to deliver a sense of reflection and pondering of the lyrics, more so on this track compared to the rest of the songs on the EP. Still, this EP closer is my favourite song on it, as Brooke invites us to worship alongside her, all the while remembering the lengths it took for us to be His and for Him to be ours.
What else can I say about this EP? No seriously, this EP, though independently released, sounds very similar to that of any other album that has a label backing. Which stands to ask the question- can an EP/album be great even if the artist is not on a label? Of course! Brooke Robertson is a product of such a declaration as this. Have My Heart EP is an EP that is as emotively captured as it is powerful and musically ‘simple’ yet challenging and comforting all at once, as the lyrics of these 4 songs showcase the journey in which Brooke is on at the moment. Real, raw and honest; the EP is centred on Christ, as it should be. And if her first EP sounds like this- and the only way for any artist is to improve as the years go on- then she’s going to have a very bright and acclaimed career as the months and years continue on. Well done Brooke for this EP, can’t wait to your full length album, whenever it arises!
3 songs to listen to: Have My Heart, Back to Shore, I Am Yours
RIYL: Holly Starr, Moriah Peters, Lindsay McCaul, Bethany Dillon, Ellie Holcomb