Audrey Assad’s latest album is a breath of fresh air. A Catholic by confession amongst a sea of Protestants in the Contemporary Christian Music scene, her music embodies so much of what has been lost in popular Christianity, namely tradition, reverence and reflection.
Many a Christian artiste has attempted to revive an old hymn by rewriting a tune or arrangement, or by grafting on a chorus. For the record, I don’t have an issue with contemporary arrangements. However, the problem with such an approach is that the original (theological or musical) essence of the hymn often gets lost in its latest evolvement. There are good reasons we’re still singing “Amazing Grace” and “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross”–and I don’t think it’s because a chorus has recently been tacked on for climax.
Part of the inheritance that we have as Christians in the 21st Century are timeless, Biblical truths weaved into song. Assad takes care to preserve this treasure by bathing these hymns in some musical TLC (tender loving care). Ageless gems like “Holy Holy Holy” and “Be Thou My Vision” are revived to great effect. Less familiar ones like “How Can I Keep From Singing” and “Oh The Deep Deep Love of Jesus” are brought to today’s light.
Inheritance is a collection of hymns stripped down yet profound, haunting yet hopeful, almost contemporary yet refreshingly medieval. The greatest compliment that I can pay Assad is that her original track “Even Unto Death” doesn’t sound out of place in this collection. The story behind the song is worth investigating–it gives us an glimpse into the heart of the artiste before her God.
Audrey Assad, 2016, Fortunate Fall
About the Reviewer: When not spending time with his girls, Elliot Ng may be found playing football, making photographs or grooving to a beat.