David Leonard – Open House Sessions EP

Integrity Music

Release Date: August 21st 2020

Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre

David LeonardOpen House Sessions EP (Amazon mp3/iTunes)

Track Listing:

  1. Heart of Worship
  2. Build My Life
  3. Stand in Your Love
  4. Way Maker

David Leonard is a man of many hats. His most recent one was being part of a worship duo called All Sons and Daughters that recently disbanded as of 2018. In fact, for me it’s felt that All Sons and Daughters broke up too soon. With David and Leslie Jordan, the other half of the duo, making music together officially as All Sons and Daughters for the past 7 years, we have been blessed to hear this critically acclaimed duo make some of the most heartfelt, honest, raw, real and most poignant worship songs this generation has ever seen. Songs like ‘Called Me Higher’, ‘Rising Sun’, ‘Oh Our Lord’, ‘All the Poor and Powerless’ and ‘Oh How I Need You’ have been standouts over the years- but as of 2018, the band went their separate ways, and now, All Sons and Daughters are no more. It is a sad moment in Christian music history when a band that is most underrated and equally impacting and poignant decides to take a step back and change the course of their individual music careers. Nevertheless, just as Martin Smith continues to pursue worship music even now, long after the departure of Delirious?, what eventually transpired out of this duo splitting was a reinvigoration of David in his own passion of music, and what has come out of 2018/19, all culminated in his solo album release The Wait that released in March 2019. That album was a powerful one, and you can read the review of the album here- standout songs include those such as ‘Know Your Heart’, ‘Wanderer’, ‘I Will Wait’ and ‘Come As You Are’. But as great as The Wait was, the album as a whole didn’t really scream ‘corporate worship album’, rather it was more of the individual type. It took a little time getting used to, considering that all throughout his All Sons and Daughters tenure, Leslie and him were creating corporate worship songs. Now fast forward to 2020, and a studio album and an acoustic album later, we see yet another offering by David, this time, it’s the Open House Sessions– an EP that houses four worship covers of popular songs of now and yesteryear- ‘Heart of Worship’, ‘Build My Life’, ‘Stand in Your Love’ and ‘Way Maker’.

There’s nothing much to say here. Just to note two things- these 4 songs in and of themselves are very, very powerful. David’s voice is very powerful. Marry them together, and you get an almost flawless EP (the only drawback is that it’s only 4 songs, maybe a couple more to round out a long-ish EP? Nevertheless, this is a collection of four songs, where David plays the piano over some looping percussion, and the song just grows from there. Is he the greatest worship cover artist? He does an excellent job, but the titles for ‘greatest worship cover artist’ will always go to Shane and Shane and previously, Phillips, Craig & Dean. Sorry David, but this EP is still good. And in some ways too polished. Regardless, these songs are good, poignant, and emotional even. When hearing the nostalgic hit ‘Heart of Worship’, even I started to tear up a little. That’s how desperate David’s voice is in his worship for Christ. And it is in this vulnerability of the artist in these songs, that people who hear this can also be vulnerable in a place of worship, too.

With this EP, and the last album, being more acoustical compared to the previous first album David has explored, I am reminded that that acoustic music can and should bring about different emotions compared to their original rousing, and declaratory counterparts. Nothing against the rousing mode of ‘Stand in Your Love’- the original, but more often than not, it is the reflective melodies that pierce the heart the most. For this EP, I’ve felt that these acoustic worship renditions, ooze a lot of passion, but that’s just me. I’ve always been partial to the acoustic album- I’ve loved all of Phil Wickam’s Singalong acoustic series, and various other acoustic songs from varying artists, I’ve always admired the fact that they can create a sense of passion and awe, with just their acoustic guitars and their voice. For David, this worship EP, the acoustic rendition of The Wait album, and The Wait before it, are such albums, that can be enjoyed if you enjoy David’s previous work in both All Sons and Daughters as well as needtobreathe, not to mention if you like worship artists like Chris Tomlin, Elevation Worship or Vertical Worship. David is continuing from where All Sons and Daughters left off; and doing it nicely I might add. A standout EP given to us in August 2020, David’s music career is just begun. Here’s to many more albums of the same quality, or even better, than his first solo album, first covers EP, and first acoustic album too!. Well done David for this collection of 4 songs- a certain to be on rotate and repeat on my iTunes playlist in weeks and months to come!

3 songs to listen to: Way Maker, Heart of Worship, Build My Life

Score: 4.5/5

RIYL: All Sons and Daughters, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Housefires

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