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All Sons & Daughters, Season One - Album Review

All Sons & Daughters, Season One - Album Review

By Ed Rotheram, Barry Westman on March 26, 2012

In All About Worship’s first collaboration to span 2 continents, Barry Westman (Janesville, WI) and Ed Rotheram (London, England) have each chosen their standout tracks from All Sons & Daughters’ existing EPs, and each taken a look at one of the new songs. We hope you enjoy it!

This past week sees the release of Franklin-based worship duo All Sons & Daughters’ debut full-length album, Season One. Comprised of their 2 EPs Brokenness Aside & Reason To Sing, with a couple of brand new tracks, this album brings together the last 18 months of worship leaders David Leonard & Leslie Jordan’s design for a great addition to the current crop of acoustic worship duos. The combination of natural acoustic feel, tight vocal harmonies and a constructive yet poetic approach to songwriting creates an amazing synergy. Let’s take a closer look:

“All The Poor & Powerless”

Ed: My first pick comes from the Brokenness Aside EP - “All the Poor and Powerless” begins with a beautiful piano introduction (the amazing technique shown in the recording of the piano is a great feature of this record as a whole). The song takes on a great feel when the drum loop comes in - I really like the stripped back, progressive feel to the song. The lyrical reference to the Great Commission in the bridge adds a great dimension to this song:

“Shout it, go on and scream it from the mountains, go on and tell it to the masses that He is God”

The final stages of this song see a wonderful overlaying of the chorus on the bridge, creating an amazing texture, filling any room with sound and praise.

“Brokenness Aside”

Barry: This is the title track from their first EP, and since it came out, it has spoken to many people about God’s amazing restorative power from brokenness to beautiful.  The song starts with an honest, simple verse just asking the question “Will Your grace run out if I let You down”, almost hesitantly, as if afraid to ask.  Then the chorus comes in with the addition of piano and vocal harmonies to reassure us - “But You are a Savior and You take brokenness aside and make it beautiful”.  This song highlights the vulnerability in the vocal sounds of this duo, while also showing their range as it builds to the powerful climax. Simply amazing!

“Reason To Sing”

Ed: My second pick is the title track of their second EP - “Reason To Sing”. Praising God when times get hard is one of the struggles that many Christians face - and one that David and Leslie found was going on in their own church. The awareness of a desperation for God in this season gave them a vision for writing songs for the seasons that their church was going through, and through it, God revealed to them that He is the reason to sing at any time, because He has the world in His hands. What really spoke to me was the line:

“Your peace is the melody, will You sing it over in me now?” - reminiscent of Zephaniah 3:17 in which Zephaniah speaks of the Lord rejoicing over us in song.

“Spirit Speaks”

Barry: Also from their Reason To Sing EP, this song highlights the theme of waking up and walking in wholeness Leslie referred to about this second EP.  The verses talk about how the Spirit lives and moves in us, and once we’re awakened to His love and grace, our response is to listen to what He is saying, go where He leads, and love the least of these. It’s a powerful song, and a challenge to the church to not only look inward and upward, but also to look outward and share his love with those around us.  Musically, this song is a bit more straightforward than some of their other more unique stylistic songs, which lends itself to being a very usable song for the congregation to sing.

“Your Love is All Around”

Ed: My last pick is the new song “Your Love is All Around”. A song that speaks in the first verse of the vast qualities of God’s love - His mercy, grace, compassion, life-giving qualities and freedom we find in Him. This is a song that, for me, shows that, although All Sons & Daughters’ undeniable strength is primarily in writing choruses and bridges, that their writing of verses is spot on too. This song has raised a question for me though - in the closing sections of this song they introduce the “this is all my hope and peace” part of “Nothing But the Blood”. This hymn has been widely used recently, and while I am all for the fusing of the old and the new in worship songs, I wonder if they had sat down to write the last section with an original choice of words, whether their lyrics would have come out broadly the same, or with a touch more individuality? I’ll leave you to decide on that one.

“Dusk To Dawn”

Barry: This is the other new song that is included on Season One, and it actually was written as a collaboration with Stu G, both in the songwriting and recording.  Stu G said in a recent tweet that this song was inspired by Lent, and it seems like the phrases “Tomorrow’s freedom is today’s surrender”, “We look to You as our hearts remember” and “Lord as we give you more Your spirit swells within” may have been inspired by that focus.  This lilting, peaceful song has a unique sound, mainly because of the 3-part harmony in the vocals instead of just the two; a very nice addition!

Season One is an amazing compilation of the All Sons & Daughters repertoire to date, including these two new songs. In addition, the extended version of the album includes song story videos and music videos for three of the songs on the album, chord charts, instrumental version, and an album play visualizer that displays the lyrics along with each song.  For fans of All Sons & Daughters, this is the ultimate collection, and one that you surely will not want to miss!

Rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review by Ed Rotheram and Barry Westman

(review copy provided by Integrity Music)

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Barry Westman

Barry Westman

Barry has served in worship ministry for 20 years, currently serving as Worship Pastor at Bethel Baptist Church in Janesville, Wisconsin. He was born and raised in Minnesota, husband to Tina, and father to three beautiful children - Chad, Emily and Olivia. He usually leads worship from the keyboard and loves to play board games!