Prime Cuts: Here's My Heart, First, Come Alive (Dry Bones)
Lauren Daigle is the success story of 2014. Last year, Daigle's debut single for Centricity Records "How Can It Be" inches all the way into the echelon position of the Billboard Christian Song chart and it lingered in the top-tiered positions for the longest time. And her ensuing EP "How Can It Be" became a Billboard Top 20 Christian Album champion. Part of the reason why Daigle had such an impressive start is because when she sings about the marvel of redemption on her hit single she sings with an affecting depth. A holy gravitas that comes out of her firsthand experience of what it means to be seriously ill when she was 15 and to experience Christ's redeeming grace. Now nine months after her EP's release comes Daigle's full-length album. This LP features the same cover picture and shares the same titular with the EP. But that's not where the sharing ends. Eight out of the twelve songs here had already surfaced on the physical CD pressing of the EP. This means that essentially, this new full length album only contains four new songs.
Of the new songs, "First" lives up to its titular in terms of being of prime importance as far as the Kingdom of God is concerned. In a culture we often treat God as a tag-on in life, "First" brings to the fore the teaching of Jesus to make God our ultimate and utmost treasure. "My Revival" and "Loyal" gets us into Daigle's mettle as a contemporary balladeer who does wonders with the piano. "Here's My Heart" which incorporates a tinge of Rend Collective Celtic-esque ambiance is Daigle at her worshipful best as she renders her heart before the Lord in this moving piece of prayer.
With Adele-esque piano riffs coupled with a strong bass line, "I Am Yours" opens up the proceedings introducing us to the summery pop feel of the record. And right from the get-go, Daigle is not shy in allowing the Lord to claim the ownership not only of this record but her entire being. Giving God full reign is Mabury and Michael Farren penned "Trust You," a paean that has autobiography weaved all over it. Inspired by her grandfather's recent passing, Daigle sings this ode of absolute trust in the Father with an abandon that is indeed pulverizing. Beginning softly in her slightly grainy vocals before exploding into a chorus that marvels at the forgiveness the Cross of Jesus brings, "How Can It Be" is a worship anthem that will get congregation after congregation singing in no time.
Most engaging are the songs where Daigle engages Scripture thoroughly in her worship. Best among the bunch is "Come Alive (Dry Bones)." Not since Paul Wilbur, has anyone make Ezekiel's prophecy of the dry bones come alive with such vivid creativity and imagination. Moving on to the New Testament to the words of Jesus on the Sermon on the Mount is the Celtic-tiled string laden "Salt and Light." Without any other scaffolds is the stark lay-it-all-down worship ballad "Once and for All." With just the piano as her accompaniment, the awe and majesty of a life surrendered to the sovereignty of God has never been more glorious than on this beautiful number. If you are into worship music sung with heart, soul and abandonment, "How Can It Be" is it.
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