Release Date: June 1st 2018
Reviewed by: Jonathan Andre
- One & Only
- Where Should I Be (feat. His Own)
- Your Voice
I’ve always loved to hear new artists from time to time. Not just the new artists that are heavily publicised by the Christian labels, from Capitol CMG, Word Records, Provident Label Group and Centricity Music, to Fair Trade Services, Bethel Music and Gotee Records. But rather, other newer artists not on labels, often I find their music much more compelling and real, honest and raw, hopeful and encouraging as often it is when there is no labels that artists can create without any restrictions or barriers. This is certainly true of newcomer and Catholic CCM artist Teresa Paterson. Entering into a very slim group of Catholic musicians within the CCM industry (comprising of popular CCM worship artist Matt Maher and Audrey Assad, and to some extent pop/CCM sister group Cimorelli…there may be others, and if so, they’re lesser known); Teresa Peterson’s passion for music and a heart to see people’s lives transformed and encouraged by music that lifts the spirit and challenges people in a spiritual and life-altering way; is very much present and evident in this new EP titled Faithful, that recently released to iTunes in June of 2018. As Teresa said herself, ‘…”I see a woman, crying out to God. Praying for rain, believing it will never come. I hear the Lord saying, “I am faithful.” After spending an entire year writing an album solely dedicated to God’s faithfulness, this word—spoken at a conference of 1000 people—pierced my heart like a white hot arrow. I was the only one who began to sob in the entire room. The jarringly intimate reality when Jesus crashes into our brokenness and suffering everything changes. Only walking in the promises of God, I wrote Faithful to speak life to all the barren circumstances of my life. Like the woman in Isaiah 54, this album rejoices in the breakthrough that is yet to come. He is faithful…’ It is in this light that this new EP was created, as Teresa unveiled her second musical project earlier this year (her debut was in 2016). While she may not be as known in the CCM industry until many, many years down the track, this new EP of hers is nothing short of remarkable; and is a certain listen if you are a fan of similar indie worship/pop artists like Elizabeth South, Elizabeth Hunnicutt and Joanna Beasley.
Standing at 5 tracks, Teresa’s sound can be described more of an indie-pop sound, with primary focus on vertical music fit for services on Sunday morning church services- basically, worship music. And while her passion and zeal at the moment can’t necessarily trump the popularity of many, many other worship artists right now, the way her music is seen and heard now, her popularity is only going to increase. ‘Deeper’ starts off the EP in such classic worship fashion, and with her voice almost sounding like a very young Meredith Andrews mixed with indie worshipper/singer-songwriter Joanna Beasley, I am pleased with how Teresa presents this upbeat song that is very reminiscent of anything upbeat song Meredith Andrews would do in her music discography. In fact, if you were to have said that this new song, in fact, this new EP was a rare one from Meredith Andrews from the archives all those years ago, I probably would’ve believed you, that’s how similar sounding Teresa’s vocals are to a young Meredith Andrews. And that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. ‘Deeper’ starts off the EP with true worshipful fashion, as Teresa cries out ‘…I’m calling out Abba, my Father, to you I surrender, standing on the edge of Your shore. I want to go deeper…’, as the EP moves along to ‘Faithful’, that sets the tone of pace down a little as Teresa brings forth the theme of God being faithful through all circumstances, as we reflect and worship alongside the heartfelt and often at times piercing and confronting words- ‘…father of glory and light, you bring the dead to life, you are the first and the last, redeemer of my past, oh God, you are, you are faithful…’
God is always faithful, regardless of what we believe our circumstances to be, or what we think God should undertake in these circumstances, and ‘Faithful’ hopefully encourages us to look inside ourselves to see if we really believe God is faithful always, or if we should change our outlook as we’re reminded that His faithfulness never changes, rather it is our perception of it! ‘One and Only’, ‘Where Should I Be’ and ‘Your Voice’ are the three remaining tracks on this 5 song EP, each one of them musically sounding different, but each of them delivering a quasi-united theme that has been running through the EP as a whole- ‘One and Only’ is a prayer to the Lord for Him to be our one and only, as we fervently declare He is our salvation and song; while ‘Where I Should Be’ brings forth a unique piano introduction as well as an orchestral backdrop to deliver what I reckon is the most musically diverse song on the EP (arrangement and musically-wise). The song itself is a worshipful ballad that could’ve fit right onto an early Meredith Andrews album- and now, should fit right at home on a Sunday morning setlist currently at the moment. ‘Your Voice’ is the remaining song on the EP, and this time, Teresa ventures into the country music genre, as her voice more-or-less suits a genre that isn’t really that popularised for…well, just because pop is very much more marketable than country, simple as that. But for Teresa to declare a worship song about us longing and hearing God’s voice amidst all the noise, in a country setting, is nothing short of ingenious and compelling.
A great way to end an EP full of life, hope and encouragement, there is practically nothing that is lacking from the EP…well aside from the fact that this EP is too short. As Teresa unveils herself, ‘…I tend to write from an autobiographical place, so Faithful really has come from my prayer over the last few years. I wanted to write an album that speaks life into barren circumstances. To joyfully press into the promises of God even though we have yet to reach a promised land. Like the barren woman rejoicing in Isaiah 54, I wrote Faithful as an anthem to who God is and who I am as His daughter. He’s so good! We wanted Faithful to be more of a ‘summer worship’ EP, so I hope those who listen to it are able to turn it up, roll the windows down and feel encouraged after listening…’ And it is with this quote above that I leave this review, because nothing much can sum up what I reckon Faithful is about aside from the quote. I love the fact that many times artists give their own perspective of what they want for the EP/album, and their thoughts behind the thought processes of how their album went, from conception to recording and post-production, and reading the interview that Teresa does with Louderthanthemusic.com is nothing different. A new artist in an industry that is seemingly saturated with worship artists galore, Teresa nevertheless stands out, to bring an EP full of refreshing new songs to sing to the Father. Well done Teresa for this collection of songs, can’t wait for the next one, whenever it arises!
3 songs to listen to: Deeper, Faithful, Your Voice
RIYL: Meredith Andrews, Joanna Beasley, Love & The Outcome, Elizabeth Hunnicutt, Elizabeth South