Provident Label Group
Release Date: March 3rd 2023
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Good Lord
- Every Hour
- Help Me Believe
- Let Him In
- Light a Fire
- Good Lord (feat. Katy Nichole)
- Every Hour (Acoustic) (feat. Josh Baldwin)
- Good Lord (Live)
- Light A Fire / Great Are You Lord (Live)
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 disbanded as of 2018. In fact, for me it 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 from 2011 – 2018; 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. In 2020, amidst the tumultuous time of COVID-19, David offered up the EP Open House Sessions housing four worship covers of popular songs of now and yesteryear- ‘Heart of Worship’, ‘Build My Life’, ‘Stand in Your Love’ and ‘Way Maker’. Now three years on from that, David’s new offering is just as emotive, powerful, and compelling. Plans released in March 2023, and standing at 10 tracks (really, it’s just 6 new songs, and four live/acoustic renditions of some of said 6 songs), David’s new set of worshipful tracks is a great follow-up to The Wait– while David’s first album was more of a contemplative individual worshipful album, this new long-ish EP is a much more ‘corporate worship’ atmosphere, reminding me in every good way, of David’s previous band All Sons and Daughters.
With 3 iterations of ‘Good Lord’ (original recording, a duet with singer-songwriter Katy Nichole, live recording), two of ‘Every Hour’ (original recording, acoustic version featuring Bethel worship artist Josh Baldwin) and again another two of ‘Light A Fire’ (original recording, live medley with ‘Great Are You Lord’), these three songs form the backbone of this 10 song album, both musically, lyrically and thematically. ‘Good Lord’ the song is about the faithfulness of God, and how His hand can often be seen in our lives at certain pivotal points, always showcasing who He is and His steadfast nature throughout our times of difficulty and trouble, or as David himself puts it, ‘…when I look back and see where I came from, God’s hand is so evident. It’s hard NOT to be thankful. He’s been with me every step of the way, there in every moment. He was good then, and He is good now. #GoodLord…’ I myself enjoy the powerful duet with both David and singer-songwriter/newcomer Katy Nichole, but all in all, in whatever iteration, ‘Good Lord’ is as great standout on the album. ‘Every Hour’, also covered by Josh Baldwin on his own album Where the Glory Is, is featured here on Plans as both its original version as well as an acoustic duet between David and Josh- the song itself speaks about how we need the Lord, every hour of every day, and that not a single moment goes by in our lives where we don’t need Jesus. Or as David himself puts it, ‘…’Every Hour’ was birthed when I was leading worship at my dad’s college, where for the past 30 years he was a pastor and where I started leading when I was 15. My father was leaving to become the pastor at my home church, so during one of his last gatherings at the college, he asked me to lead worship. I was doing Matt Maher’s “Lord I Need You” and out of that song a spontaneous moment happened, which is special because I’d never written a song that was birthed out of the same place that taught me how to lead worship. It was really cool to have it come out of that moment and space…Just like everybody else, through these last couple of years, I’ve really realized that the need for God is great. For me, I tend to try to make reminders and try to live in the space of constantly trying to remember, and this song has been that for me. It’s become an anchor point that I’ve been able to fall back on and I’m really proud of it…’
‘Light a Fire’ is the other song on Plans that is repeated more than once- both the original version and the live version (featuring a medley with ‘Great Are You Lord’) are equally as emotive and poignant, and the song itself offers hope, comfort and peace, as David reminds us through the song, that our fire and passion for the Lord can be revived and stoked once again, reawakened through prayer, fasting, devotional time, worship, and meeting with other fellow Christians. God can help us restore passion burning in our lives, something that was once in our lives before, but now is seemingly dimmed because of busy schedules and life just getting in the way. As David himself relays, ‘…I think we all desire to feel this connection with God, and I think music is this interesting thing that kind of crosses all lines and allows us to connect without rules. And I think the way we get to do that, and the way we get to craft songs and the way we get to put down what’s on our heart and what’s coming out of our soul is a really beautiful thing…’ We’re reminded that God can use whatever media and medium He wants for us to connect back to Him- even through song. The ‘long-ish EP’ is then rounded out by ‘Help Me Believe’, ‘Let Him In’ and title track ‘Plans’- ‘Help Me Believe’ is a prayerful moment by David to the Lord, asking Him to ‘…help me believe that the best is yet to come, help me believe that Your work isn’t done, break open my heart, awaken my mind and give me the strength to help me believe…’; while ‘Let Him In’ is a moment where David utilises the acoustic guitar as the prominent instrument, allowing us to be impacted by the moving lyrics of how we ought to let Christ into our daily lives so that He can shape and mould us into who He knows we can be, and into who He longs for us to be as well. ‘Plans’, the title track, rounds out the long-ish EP/album, and in a similar theme to that of ‘Plans’ by Rend Collective, David reminds us of all the plans that Christ has for us, plans beyond our wildest dreams, plans for a future and a hope for us, so that we can surrender that trust His plans, far greater, vast and more complete than we can ever come up with or conjure ourselves.
So there you have it…David Leonard’s second album, Plans. Though it’s been 3 years between projects (his 2020 EP were 4 acoustic covers), the result is nevertheless something that is indeed worth the wait, as songs like ‘Every Hour’, ‘Light A Fire’ and ‘Good Lord’ start becoming some of my favourite songs over the last year or so. With these songs delivered in a much more radio friendly/worshipful tone compared to his acoustical/experimental atmosphere on his 2019 album The Wait, David’s new project is one of enjoy, especially if you’ve been a fan of David’s previous outfit All Sons and Daughters, or if you love similar-styled artists like Katy Nichole, Josh Baldwin, Phil Wickham or even Chris Tomlin. Well done David for this collection of 6 songs (and a further 4 alternate versions). Looking forward to seeing how songs like ‘Good Lord’ and ‘Every Hour’ impact people in the upcoming weeks and months ahead.
3 songs to listen to: Every Hour, Good Lord, Light A Fire
RIYL: Leslie Jordan, All Sons & Daughters, Katy Nichole, Josh Baldwin