Prime Cuts: Christ Be All Around Me, Great Are You Lord, This is My Inheritance
Overall Grade: 4.5/5
Not too long ago, Integrity Music broke the template when it came to worship music. They signed two left-of-center acts, namely Rend Collective and All Sons and Daughters. Both teams had sounds that were tangent to the predominantly rock-based norm then. At the risk of caricature, they have carved a nu-folk niche that opens up a rustic vestige to worship music that was refreshing and different. Both artists were handsomely rewarded as they began to be the purveyors of a new sound which led to a string of hits. Yet, both artists are not monolithic. Rather, they have their own distinctive sounds. Rend Collective explores a harder rockier side of the genre, while All Sons and Daughters are strapped in softer acoustics coming across with a warmer ambience.
Four albums with Integrity Music later, All Sons and Daughters, comprising of Leslie Anne Jordan and David Alan Leonard, have decided to walk their separate ways. Thus, this final album arrives with a ring of sadness. "All Sons and Daughters Collection" is a retrospective collection of 15 songs derived from all four of the duo's catalogue without the inclusion of any new or unreleased material.
So, what can we say about All Sons and Daughters in the light of this newly released disc? First, All Sons and Daughters have brought a sense of tenderness to the worship genre that is endearing. With the use of her teary and yet crystalline upper register, Leslie Ann Jordan brings an inimitable vulnerability to "Brokenness Aside" that gets beneath the notes and melody into the heart. While many worship songs are selfishly individualistic, the duo give voice to the overlooked with "All the Poor and Powerless." Then, they get to the heart of our perennial anxieties with "Rest in You." The words have such a diary-like frankness that we can't help but feel like the duo are singing about us.
Second, All Sons and Daughters have avoided the temptation many nu-folk singer and songwriters are often guilty of. They have avoided crafting songs that are far too self-indulgent that they are deprived of hooks and tunes. Case in point being their signature hit "Great Are You Lord." Ranked #3 on the CCLI chart, "Great Are You Lord" has such a strong hook that you can't help but sing the chorus in a couple of listens. Equally strong is "This is My Inheritance," the lead single off their last studio album "Poets and Saints." In fact, all the up-tempo songs on this collection are all so catchy that they worthy candidates to be sung in churches, including "Rising Sun," "Christ Be All Around Me," and "Call Me Higher."
Nevertheless, with such lavish praises, why isn't this album awarded a 5 out of 5 rating? One thing that chips this collection from possessing an A+ grade is that the duo tend to be formulaic at times in their compositions of their ballads. Most of them seem to follow a tacit dictate of a piano introduction before the augmentation of some orchestral swirls. This has led to a sense of "same-ness" when you listen to these ballads back to back. Other than such a minor criticism, this is an excellent collection that lays bare the duo's remarkable ingenuity and their organic sound.