Release Date: March 18th 2014
Reviewed by Joshua Andre
Originally signed to Sparrow Records, pop/folk singer songwriter Audrey Assad has already released 3 albeums over the past few years (The House You’re Building in 2010, and Heart in 2012- both through Sparrow Records; and Fortunate Fall in 2013 independently), display her song writing prowess that I feel personally is in the same category of Jon Forman of Switchfoot, Brooke Fraser, and Bear Rinehart of Needtobreathe. Self-producing Fortunate Fall; the new studio album was somewhat of a change for Audrey, as it contains more slower paced reflective tracks meant for the church, as she explored the details and reasons why humans need love and acceptance. One of the most confronting and comforting albums in 2013, Audrey returns this year with a brand new EP Death Not Be Proud (reviewed here!) and a live release O Happy Fault. With 5 tracks being live versions of some of Audrey’s hit songs from previous albums (as well as a worship cover), fans of All Sons and Daughters, Ellie Holcomb and Nichole Nordeman are sure to love this album. For me it is one of the most underrated albums on 2014 so far- Audrey has definitely done it again! She’s created a lyrically rich and musically brilliant piece of work, this is well worth the listen!
Most of the tracks from Audrey don’t stray too far from the originals, as Audrey sings intimately and passionately in a live setting, putting the piano at the forefront and centre like in the studio versions. Often also speaking words of encouragement to the audience in these songs, there’s something special about the live record that draws me in more so than the studio version- the night is was recorded was obviously Holy Spirit anointed and God breathed!
“Humble” opens up with a moving piano riff, and is where Jesus’ humility is explored, and how God is fully man and fully God. On of th highlights on Fortunat Fall; Audrey’s vocals worked well against the crisp and distinct piano in the studio and also here! As the pristine and passionate vocals declare that ‘…we bow our knees, we must decrease, You must increase, we lift You high…’, I am reminded of the humility of Jesus, at least within the first 30 years of his life. It takes guts and courage, to be humble and modest, and this is a quality that I admire very much. Though very similar in melody and vocals to the studio version, dependability and reliability is something that I can praise and commend Audrey for; for this vulnerability and relatability- a knack for not sounding cliché while still praising God with all her heart.
The rousing piano led ballad “Lament”, depicting how once we receive salvation and live for Jesus, sometime we subconsciously try to earn our way to God (and also showing us how Jesus wants us to be like Mary, who just sits at His feet and listens to what He has to say) has Audrey wrestling with that dichotomy and tension in this song, with the lyrical content gives us something to ponder and wrestle with; while the Matt Maher co-written “Lead Me On” (not Amy Grant’s song of the same name!), is rooted in Psalm 23, where this calm and soothing tune states that ‘…I will dwell in Your house forever…’, with the theme of being in communion with Jesus keeping life in perspective. “I Shall Not Want”, once again another slower ballad that is fit for the church, is a prayer where Audrey asks God to deliver her from the brief and fleeting desires and inclinations of this world. In essence asking God to remove any part of her life that doesn’t point to Him; this is a courageous prayer and I definitely congratulate Audrey for being so transparent, in a world where people are becoming more and more concerned with the world and what it has to offer. Audrey also asks God to deliver her from her fears, insecurities, and other negative thoughts, and that’s pretty cool as well.
The last song from Audrey on this EP, apart from a stirring and moving 2 minute piano led rendition of the Paul Baloch written “Open The Eyes Of My Heart”, is “You Speak”. A piano ballad, that does not build up but still accentuates the lyrics and vocals quite well, and eloquently reminds us that God sometimes speaks to us the loudest in the silence, sometimes with words and sometimes with His creations; the song fits nicely with what I long to have as part of my life. I have always longed for a daily routine time where I can talk to God and tell Him what’s on my mind, and though right now my quiet time is very sporadic at best; what Audrey has reawakened and reinforced within me is that the importance of something is related to us finding time or not finding time for it. As Audrey has once again made me yearn for more of God’s presence, I am happy to give Audrey tons of acclaim for this stellar effort and brilliant EP. Bring on studio full length album #4, I’ll definitely be listening!
Though Audrey Assad is releasing her LEVV side project full album sometime in 2014, and Audrey already has released almost an album every year; it seems as if 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 so far; Audrey has provided us with an edifying and inspirational experience that will be guaranteed to succeed. Is O Happy Fault, and Death Not Be Proud for that fact, near the top of my list for favourite EP’s? Yes it is! Should it be near the top of yours? Most definitely!
- Open The Eyes Of My Heart
- Lead Me On
- I Shall Not Want
- You Speak
3 songs to listen to: Humble, Lead Me On, You Speak
RIYL: Nichole Nordeman, Ellie Holcomb, Sara Groves, Brooke Fraser