Release Date: July 29th 2014
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- Not of The Night
- What This Love is For
- Learn To Love
- Unfailing Father
- My Anchor True
- Good Things
- The Waking Hour
- The Time of Singing Has Come
- Welcome Us Home
- Child of the King
‘…We have a deep longing for others to know and understand God more clearly and deeply as their heavenly Father. I pray our music can help provide healing for those who have been abandoned or have lost their earthly fathers, as well as draw people to the Father’s heart for the first time…’ For the Fatherless. A band name. Also their mission and their focus, derived from the personal experiences of both husband and wife Brian and Christa Yak; this duo gives us 10 songs full of heartfelt emotion as the debut album from possibly one of this year’s standout new worship artists, becomes a plethora of encouragements to the person who may feel like God has abandoned them, just like their own earthly father. With a vision in mind, Brian and Christa aim to bring about healing and restoration with their songs as these 10 melodies bring themes of God’s love, comfort and His fathering nature to the fore.
While both Brian and Christa have different stories to tell- she lost her father when she was younger to a brain tumour, his dad left his family due to a drug and alcohol addiction; the common element is the same- absentee parents. What this album hopefully does (which I reckon it powerfully succeeds at) is to bring us to a place where we rely on Christ and know He takes care of us, even when those around us fail to do so. A topic that seems taboo in church, the Yaks remind us to foster good relationships with our earthly fathers, and know that even if our fathers aren’t up the standards we may often place on them, we ought to remember that ‘…we are not of this night…we are Yours…’ (“Not of The Night”).
Originally from Christa’s solo 2010 EP Christa Ciotti, “Learn to Love” was immediately a standout, as we hear Christa fervently using the melody as a prayer to God as she sings out her frustration of how fleeting our lives are, longing for humanity to focus on what matters. With an acoustic guitar, powerful drums, and Brian singing enthusiastically in the second verse, Christa brings “Learn to Love” and its message of focusing on the love we give each other and the relationships we have to be our legacy comes to a head in the chorus, poignantly declaring that ‘…I know I’m not alone, I know I’m not the only one to wonder where we went wrong, I’m still searching for a hope that’s strong, surely heaven above, won’t be enough til we learn how to love…’ If and when we love without reservation and without condition, all our relationships will be futile as we project past mistakes, hurt and regret on present situations. A song to place love first and foremost, both singers bring her personal experience of losing fathers into the emotion of their voice, making the song much more authentic and hopefully encouraging to whomever listens.
There aren’t that many bands, duos or even solo artists out in both the mainstream and Christian music industry that focus primarily on singing songs to uplift and inspire a specific group of people- those whose fathers, for one reason or another, aren’t in their lives currently. For the Fatherless attempts to fill this void, and through these 10 tracks, we see the duo’s efforts being shown in a poignant, emotive and comforting way. “Not of The Night” is the first song on the album, and just like “Learn to Love”, both Brian and Christa trade lead vocal duties seamlessly as the message of us having the light inside us (Jesus) is portrayed from the get-go. Giving us a reminder of how we are not of the night, but rather, belong to Jesus and thus need to showcase the love inside of us to those we meet, this pop-radio friendly melody is a great first track, and enough to pull in listeners to hear the theme of redemption and worth by God, not only through this track, but throughout the rest of the album as well.
“What Love is For”, one of the most real and comforting songs on For the Fatherless, showcases a message of inclusion as this strings and powerful drum prominent melody ignites within us a sense of urgency to share God’s love, knowing we need to be ‘…calling all the broken, calling all the poor, calling all the ones who are hungry for more, that’s what this love is for…’, while “Child of the King” spots an accordion to bring a Northern Irish feeling to the tenth track on the album, one that asserts the poignant truth that we are children of the King, and no circumstance, happening, fault of our own, or even lie we believe will change the fact. “My Anchor True”, the longest song on the album, boasts an acoustical congregational-worship melody where both Christa and Brian trade vocal duties as we see the theme of God being our steadfast anchor woven in the track. The emotive theme plays nicely into the musically subdued background, as we focus more on the lyrical poignancy that is prevalent, more so on this track.
“Good Things”, the most upbeat and CCM-like out of the 10 tracks, gives us a celebratory moment to savour as Christa solely carries the melody with grace as we hear that “…I am not forgotten, You know my name…You have good things for me…”, and with the unique instrumentation in “The Waking Hour” (acoustic guitar strums as Brian longs for us to be awake when the time comes for God to come and show up in our lives and the lives of others), “The Time of Singing Has Come” (banjo as the song becomes a model of how a love song to the Lord could look like) and “Welcome Us Home” (piano and the powerful voice of Christa as she invites us all to believe that ‘…Father to the fatherless…You welcome us home…’); it is the emotional “Unfailing Father” that means the most to this inspirational duo.
‘…if someone were to ask which song summed up the heart of For the Fatherless, “Unfailing Father” would be it. It was one of the first songs born out of this ministry. I really don’t think Brian and I even completely understood how true and powerful these words would be in our own personal stories…’ With just a piano and vocals, both Christa and Brian deliver the truth- that God our Father will never fail us, even if our earthly fathers do. The album’s central melody despite it being the album’s most musically subdued, this is a song for anyone searching for a father. While Brian’s reconciliation with his own father didn’t go to plan, he nevertheless gives us encouragement, knowing that despite not receiving his own father’s love, he received it from both his step-father and his heavenly one. A song to enjoy, yet also proactively take action upon as we seek out our fathers to tell them our love and affection; “Unfailing Father” is one of my favourite songs on the album. Well done Brian for such a revealing melody and one that’ll impact whomever hears it!
For the Fatherless have made a great first impression as they utilise their powerful harmonies and poignant lyrics to deliver some of the best theme-specific albums I’ve heard since Steven Curtis Chapman’s Beauty Will Rise. Fans of Christa’s first album, or other similar artists like Selah, Kari Jobe or Natalie Grant will be sure to enjoy For the Fatherless, and the depths of treasures packed within the 10 tracks. From standouts like “Not of The Night”, and “Unfailing Father”, to “Child of the King” and “Good Things”; this is sure to propel the duo to hopefully a label signing and much more publicity and popularity in the near future!
3 songs to listen to: Not of The Night, Unfailing Father, Child of the King
RIYL: Selah, Natalie Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, Kari Jobe