Life Below 14th Street

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So this is a story about a guy in NYC. Some parts of the story are amazing, some hilarious, others confusing, some interesting, but always honest. Like any good story it has a lot of characters. It usually involves a lot of different passions. That means this story involves you as much as it does me.

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A music review: Audrey Assad’s “Heart”

Okay, so I don’t typically write music reviews. I myself worked in music a long time as a songwriter (For Atlantic and Sony) and have always seen my fair share of “talent”. I’ve worked with pop artist, country artist, christian artist, and beyond. The Christian music scene has always been interesting to me. A lot of people write about what they want us to know about; God, Jesus, etc. I never understood why most haven’t written from a place of sincerity, meaning just writing from their own personal journey.

Then there is Audrey Assad. It’s really interesting, I’ve only just gotten into her music over the last year and what I’ve discovered isn’t just a good “God loving” artist, I’ve discovered a really incredible storyteller. What you get in Audrey is a person who is a great writer that happens to be a believer. That makes a huge difference in the quality, and the draw of her sound. What you hear is someone who is writing from an honest perspective. Someone doing her best to figure out life as it comes. I love this. You get a deep sense of truth, and transparency but with the understanding that there is a long road ahead. This is incredible, and few artist in that scene can do it any justice. 

That being said, lets look at her new album. Heart is really quite unique. It’s her sophomore album following up “The House Your Building”, which was a really welcomed album into the music scene. What Heart does is bring what I think is her real storytelling ability to light. She has the ability to speak from the condition of her own heart in its various seasons. 

My favorite song has to be “Lament” maybe because my own personality tends to lean towards “Hyper-emotional”. There is however, something in this song that makes me uncomfortable. Living in NYC, a song like this rings so true for me at times. From a musician standpoint I love the vocal layering they do to her voice at around the 1:50 marker; its subtle but gives this great throwback feel to songwriters of our parents generation. On the exact opposite swing you have “Won Me Over” and it feels that if The Boss himself was a female he’d write a song like this. I know that’s a big call, to compare her to Bruce, but honestly you can hear the influence that an artist like him has in her music. It really comes through in this Americana type of storytelling. The first song “Blessed Are The Ones” is just gold. It makes me want sip a nice whiskey, shut my eyes and listen. The melody line in this song is just perfect, it also holds true for the song “The Way You Move”.

My wife absolutely loves “Sparrow”. I’ll often wake up to her singing it while she gets ready for work. This song is probably the most obvious “Christian” song in the group in my opinion. Again, she writes and presents a really deep truth in a way that is genuine, unforced, and hopeful. This is what makes it far better than most of the stuff you’ll hear in that genre. The musicianship in this album is really great. I’m a guitar player myself and have been playing for a really long time. Her band does a great job of blending, layering, and adding to the story. It’s not like most Christian songs that lead with these overused lead electric hooks, which in my opinion, is boring. Just listening to the music alone lets you know there is some serious talent backing her up and it comes through effortlessly. 

In the end what I see is an artist who is genuinely progressing. I’m excited for her to continue just writing good music; and because of who she is there will always be moments of truth interwoven in the music. I genuinely think she is a true artist, not just a “Christian” one and I wouldn’t be surprised that her music carrer continues to flourish and go down some unexpected and exciting roads. If you’re someone who genuinely enjoys the art of writing and storytelling regardless of your faith background Audrey is someone who should be in your rotation. The best art is always honest, and true to the individual who creates it. Audrey does an incredible job and should be damn proud of this album. Yes, I said “damn”. 



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    words. Especially...ones about whiskey.. :)
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