Stone Table Records
Release Date: April 28th 2017
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- This Little Light of Mine
You know when I reviewed JJ Heller’s most recent song ‘Free Indeed’ a little under a month ago, and wrote in that review that JJ has recently enacted this new initiative by signing to Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that many individuals use, sort-of-like-a-Kickstarter-but-not-really, where she aimed to release at least one new song each month for the foreseeable future? Well, here’s the new song from JJ, and this one is quite possibly one that every person would know, because we’ve at least sung this song, or a variant of it, when we were younger in Sunday School. Yes…JJ Heller has covered ‘This Little Light of Mine’.
While I won’t delve into JJ and deliver a background (you can find all of that in my ‘intro’ and ‘conclusion’ paragraphs of previous reviews from JJ), I will say this- JJ Heller is quite possibly one of the most underrated independent female Christian artists within the industry still active at the moment (add Kerrie Roberts and Audrey Assad to that mix as well!). Powerful and poetic, enthusiastic and engaging; JJ has embarked on a journey- we don’t know whether at the end of releasing these songs, it’ll amount to an album (or EP), but what we do know is that her heart and passion is shown in every song she sings, including this new children’s song. Nevertheless, JJ has been asking for pledges- just small amounts, so that she can continue making music and creating her craft for the near future. The result? ‘Free Indeed’ and ‘This Little Light of Mine’…for now.
Starting off the song with a light reverbing piano and JJ’s hauntingly refreshing voice declaring out ‘…this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, let it shine, let it shine, let it shine…’, we are reminded to shine brightly everywhere we are, being ourselves regardless the situation, and letting the love of God burst out of us as we interact with our fellow man. It is a reminder to always consciously choose to allow the Lord to work through us on a daily basis, even during the moments (and especially during then) when we may not feel like ‘shining’. To shine is to radiate, to express in an outward tangible way what the Lord has done for us. To show others the love that we’ve been shown, to give freely and love without condition. This is what the basis behind ‘This Little Light of Mine’ is, and while I know we as children singing that song all those years ago didn’t really fully understand or even grasp what the message could mean, hearing the song now makes the message ever so impacting and encouraging.
With this song also being released to supporters of her PATREON page prior to official song release on iTunes, we are reminded by such a song as this that our light inside us ought to be shown to the world. That we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. There’s a great passage in Matthew that speaks about this and reminds me what the message of ‘This Little Light of Mine’ really is about- You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. (Matthew 5: 13-16) Encouraging right? Or is it daunting to express and shine for the world to see, even if we believe there’s nothing in our lives worth revealing? Regardless, this song ought to be an encouragement, to us and those around us, that our light, our joy, our care and concern for others, our happy demeanour, all these things need not to be locked away, but to be embraced and be shown, as we see that the only way, and I mean, the only way, for people who may not know Jesus to consider Him, is to see us in our element, see us with the change on our faces. As we visibly show the change He has made in us, it’ll be more believable to others, and then they’ll want to see what makes us so happy, what makes the light inside us so bright, contagious and infectious?
As JJ delivers arguably one of the most encouraging and poignant songs I’ve heard since “Free Indeed” (maybe, just maybe, these collections of songs over the next year will be JJ’s most emotive and poignant yet!), this is a song not to be missed by anyone- it doesn’t matter if you enjoy hardcore, screamo, pop, worship, rock or even acoustic or folk; but JJ Heller, and the honesty and realness she writes her songs with, is an artist certain to be enjoyed no matter your genre preference. As we have witnessed from her 2015 album The Sound of a Living Heart and her new songs “Free Indeed” and “This Little Light of Mine” JJ’s best years of songwriting and singing are sure to be ahead of her. Well done for a well written song, can’t wait for next one in about a month’s time!
3 songs to listen to: This Little Light- 3 times for nostalgia sake!
RIYL: Audrey Assad, Sara Groves, Brooke Fraser, Amy Grant, Jason Castro