Prime Cuts: Shepherd King, Holding You, Lift You High
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
This is the type of record that can crack the strongest edifices of doubt and fear. Australian singer and songwriter Bel Thomson has a way with a song. When she sings, she brings out a faith that is so adamantine that even the most antagonist heart will crumble. Pair that with songs that are Christ-exalting and what you get is an explosive set of spiritual dynamites. "Seasons" is this Aussie's 4th studio effort and it's also her most faith-filled album. Stepping out of her comfort zone, she flew thousands of miles in order to record these 8 newly composed songs (plus 2 interludes of Bible readings) in Nashville with Ed Cash (Chris Tomlin, Kari Jobe, Steven Curtis Chapman) serving as the album's executive producer.
"Seasons" is touted by Thomson as her most personal album date. All the songs (all co-written or written by the Thomson herself) are diary entries lifted from her walk with the Lord. Album opener "Won Me at the Cross" hits the Gospel right at the bull's eye. Detailing how the Lord had saved her, "Won Me at the Cross" is an apt opener not only for the record, but it's the perfect prelude into Thomson's own "seasons." Fans who like light percussion and synth-led pop of say Meredith Andrews and Ginny Owens will love "The Name of Jesus" (which finds Thomson sharing vocals with fellow Aussie Nathan Tasker).
Not quite on par with the aforementioned tracks is the lead single "With You." A tad weak in the song's melody, "With You" is passable without being the best candidate for the album's vanguard single. Exceptional though are the pair of ballads, namely "Holding You" and "Shepherd King." Wearing her heart out on her sleeve, "Holding You" is a mother's prayer for her newborn. The ballad is not only heartfelt but it is pedagogical. Within the span of 4:28 minutes, we get a glimpse of how Godly mothers ought to pray for their children. "Shepherd King," on the other hand, is Psalm 23 appropriated and set into music that is heart-lifting.
"Lift You High" and "Great is Thy Faithfulness (My Inheritance)" find Thomson excelling within the worship genre. With a voice that recalls shades of Kari Jobe, one would hope Thomson would grace us with a live worship album in the near feature. Straddling between the worship and CCM divide, this is a diverse collection of songs that ought to satisfy fans of both subgenres. And with Thomson's deeply affecting vocals and her thoughtful words, "Seasons" is a delightful glimpse into the singer-songwriter's journey.