Release Date: October 7th 2016
Reviewed by: Joshua Andre
- Ubi Caritas
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- Be Thou My Vision
- I Wonder As I Wander
- How Can I Keep From Singing
- Oh The Deep, Deep Love Of Jesus
- Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet
- New Every Morning
- It Is Well
- Even Unto Death
- Abide With Me
- Softly And Tenderly
- Be Thou My Vision (Fox Sessions)
- How Can I Keep From Singing (Fox Sessions)
- New Every Morning (Fox Sessions)
- It Is Well (Fox Sessions)
Originally signed to Sparrow Records, pop/folk singer songwriter Audrey Assad, over the past few years, have released plenty of engaging and inspiring material- having already released 3 albums and 2 EP’s over the past few years (The House You’re Building in 2010, Heart in 2012, Fortunate Fall in 2013, and O Happy Fault and Death Not Be Proud in 2014), as well as an EP titled Arrow under the moniker LEVV. In my opinion, Audrey’s song writing prowess is in the same category of Jon Forman of Switchfoot, Brooke Fraser, and Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe. With Audrey dropping Inheritance earlier this year, we are now introduced to Audrey’s deluxe edition of the brand new album released recently. Though I somewhat am a bit baffled as to why this deluxe edition of Inheritance did not release on the same day as the standard edition, the album nevertheless is a reminder of God’s faithfulness, and immense love for us. With the melodies being so much more mellow, ethereal sounding and mysterious, as well as referencing Jesus more overtly; Inheritance is one of the most confronting and comforting albums in 2016, with the deluxe edition of the album containing a bonus track and a few live versions of a few of the songs from the album. So what are you waiting for? Audrey has created a musically brilliant piece of work, which is well worth the listen! And though you can all read my review of Audrey Assad’s Inheritance from earlier in the year right here; let’s recap for those of you who want to read my thoughts all in one place. So how has Inheritance shown us how Audrey as grown as a singer and worship leader?
Opening the album with the Latin sung keys driven “Ubi Caritas”, the Gregorian melody used on Maudy Thursday as the backdrop of washing feet; we are presented with a Holy Spirit inspired melody, despite me not knowing or understanding any of the lyrics, as Audrey authoritatively declares that Jesus is with us wherever there is love, and we can indeed praise and worship Him from a sincere heart and the promise that He will never leave us. That passion and intense love for our Maker and Saviour also flows into the rest of the album, where we are met with well-known and unfamiliar melodies. “I Wonder As I Wander”, originally a Christmas carol, is now an introspective prayer and reflective piece, reiterating that Jesus’ coming to Earth as a baby and dying for our sins, for each one of us personally, still boggles the mind, while the piano and acoustic guitar led “How Can I Keep From Singing” has Audrey marvelling at creation and the boundless, endless qualities of Jesus Christ; and the 2 minute piano only duet “Oh The Deep, Deep, Love Of Jesus” with Fernando Ortega, may seem short, but nevertheless contains some solid gold and truth, with Audrey and Fernando both reiterating that Jesus’ love stretches out higher than the highest mountain and deeper than the deepest ocean.
“Jesus’ Blood Never Failed Me Yet” originally confused me as I was expecting the Delirious? guitar rocker of the same name, yet with light electric guitar present in this 2 minute melody, Audrey’s version of a hymn I haven’t heard before, is just as profound, as she reminds us all of the power of Jesus’ blood and His faithfulness- while the album closer “Abide With Me” (nope, not Matt Maher’s smash hit single!), is another obscure yet compelling and poignant hymn, led by piano and strings, and has Audrey fervently crying out God’s praises, and asking God to be with us, to let us know that He is here with us during times of trouble and circumstances when we need him. With Audrey also covering well known melodies “Holy, Holy, Holy”, “It Is Well” and “Be Thou My Vision”; Audrey skilfully and brilliantly covers them to perfection, though these three songs, being the most loved and most popular, therefore are the three of the track-list most likely to be noticed to be botched up if Audrey in fact did drastically change the lyrics, or the melody. Thankfully, Audrey keeps all three songs close to as what we know and remember as she can, with her pristine and beautiful voice being able to expertly capture the eternal meaning of the lyrics.
The last two songs on the standard edition of the album are originals from Audrey. “New Every Morning” (most likely to be a modern hymn in the near future, which could also be easily be sung at church on a Sunday morning) is lyrically one of the simplest yet effective melodies I’ve heard in a while, with Audrey highlighting the eternal fact that God’s mercies are new every morning. With the song in part being inspired by John 1 and Genesis 1, the song highlight for me is an epic crescendo that builds and builds culminating in a majestic instrumental refrain is a stellar added touch creating depth. While “Even Unto Death” is another favourite of mine, as Audrey recounts the fact that we will stand steadfast in our faith and our belief in Jesus Christ, even unto death, that ‘…Jesus, You are my only hope, and You, my prize shall be, Jesus, You are my glory now, and in eternity…’, complete with a soft piano introduction followed by a professional, stirring orchestral crescendo, ending a high quality album. “Softly And Tenderly”, a lesser known hymn, starts the deluxe version of the album, and is an piano led inspiring and motivational piece driven by the keys, and thematically and lyrically about looking forward to going home to Jesus in heaven; with the final four songs of Inheritance Deluxe Edition showcasing Audrey’s worshipful heart for Jesus in a live setting- 4 out of the 5 bonuses are live versions of songs from Inheritance (“How Can I Keep From Singing”, “New Every Morning”, “It Is Well” and “Be Thou My Vision”), and each of these versions are recorded to perfection. Kudos to Audrey for drawing us all into a deeper relationship with God as she passionately reiterates God’s goodness and immense love lavished out for us!
Though Audrey Assad has been very busy of late, with her full length LEVV side project full album release sometime soon (I’m not sure when, but perhaps early 2017?); it’s still evident that Audrey’s busyness doesn’t compromise the quality in her song writing and singing. With O Happy Fault and Death Not Be Proud being some of 2014’s buried treasures; Audrey has provided us with an edifying, worshipful and inspirational experience in Inheritance and greatly built upon this solid foundation in the deluxe edition of the album as well. With Inheritance and Inheritance Deluxe Edition almost guaranteed to succeed, despite the unfamiliarity of some of the songs, I reckon you should definitely check out this album on iTunes! Well done Audrey, and I can’t wait to hear more of your inspiring and encouraging material in the near and far future!
4 songs to listen to: Holy, Holy, Holy, It Is Well, New Every Morning, Even Unto Death
RIYL: Nichole Nordeman, Ellie Holcomb, Sara Groves, Brooke Fraser