Audrey Assad’s newest album, Evergreen, is her first full album of original work to be released in 4 years. While the official release date comes later this month, those who supported her Pledge Music campaign got an early download of the album to enjoy at the end of January.
After listening to the album a few times, a few things stand out that will wet your appetite for the release!
One, this is definitely music to be enjoyed as an album. There is a beautiful flow between many of the songs, and you feel the interconnection of the album both in its musicality and its spiritual themes if you take the time to listen to it in full. The songs make eachother more powerfully felt when taken in as a whole. This is an album to listen to driving alone on an old country road, or in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter night. Let it sink in!
One of the treasures of Assad’s music is how much of it can be taken to meditation and prayer. Assad herself describes the album on her Pledge Music page as “full of songs about rebirth, the rebuilding of trust, and the discovery of joy and love in the deepest corners of my own broken heart.” From a listener’s perspective, it could be added that the album is honest about the broken human experience, and the heartbreak and interior challenges associated with the walk of faith – but laced through the brokenness is the thread of hope and the choice to believe. There is a strong emphasis on the truth that God is ever-present to us. The lyrics present a beautiful witness of fidelity through spiritual darkness.
Musically, Audrey explores the nuances of her Christian contemporary-pop genre. “When I See You” employs a joyful praise and worship style. “River” features a short rap by Propaganda, which offers contrast to her more stripped down and intimate songs like “Little Things with Great Love”, a prayerful song that is based on a well-loved quote by St. Teresa of Kolkata, primarily accompanied by piano. Assad employs a variety of instruments including strings, several songs starting simply with voice and piano and layering as the song goes on. What you won’t find is much emphasis on guitar accompaniment; if you are looking to cover one of her songs, reach for your keyboard!
Stand-out song of the album? While that is a personal call for each person, “Drawn to You” is a strong contender. The lyrical and calm beauty of the song, and the acceptance of suffering and faithful love that shines through is very moving, especially as it is placed at the end of an album that explores – in Assad’s own words – “wounded faith.”
This is music that can take you through the penitential season of Lent straight into the hope of Easter. If you are looking for a relatable Catholic album, honest about the human condition but full of faith, hope, trust, joy, and love, pick up “Evergreen” when it releases on Feb. 23.