Canadian indie band Allswell makes its debut with the 10-track Arise, a worshipful, acoustic album filled with songs of hope and longing reminiscent of The Brilliance, Bifrost Arts and All Sons & Daughters.
The band is composed of husband/wife Drew and Danielle McTaggart, who also perform as the mainstream pop duo Dear Rouge, and Drew's brother, Scott McTaggart, a Vancouver-based pastor. The trio began recording together as a creative spiritual outlet and an opportunity to share their faith, taking the name Allswell to reflect the style and intent of the music.
All three McTaggarts lend their voices to Arise with Drew also heard on guitar, bass and banjo, Danielle on keys and Scott on guitar, keys and drums/percussion. Their good friend and studio engineer for the project, Daniel Klenner of Vancouver's North Bluff Studios, provided additional drums, percussion and guitar work. And lush strings by guest musicians on cello, violin and viola round out the sound.
Arise is available now through all major digital sales and streaming platforms, including Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora. Additional information is available at Allswell and by following the band on Instagram and Twitter @allswell_music and on Facebook @allswellband.
Q: Thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with your own journey, how did the Lord bring the three of you together?
Drew and I are brothers and have been doing music stuff together since we were kids. Drew married Danielle in 2011. All three of us have grown up in the church and have been playing/singing in church since we were kids - Drew and I in the Vancouver area, and Danielle in Red Deer, Alberta. Because of our upbringing we all share a deep love for the church and music that brings people closer to God. Over the years we've separately been a part of multiple Christian/Worship projects, but wanted to do something together, just the three of us, but never had the opportunity. Finally, we had written songs that we felt were important to share, carved out some time in the studio together, and Allswell was born.
Q: Why and how did you choose the name "Allswell"?
When we went into the studio to record this album in January, 2019, we actually didn't have a name yet. That wasn't intentional, but in hindsight I like how it worked out. The process was a lot like having a baby. It made more sense to wait to be with it, see it and experience it before choosing a name. It was Danielle who mentioned the name 'Allswell'. At first it didn't make the top of our list, but the more we thought about it, we liked the meaning and felt like it was right. We liked that it sounded positive and hopeful. We also liked the nod to Shakespeare's play, "All's Well That Ends Well". In the end, the name seemed to fit the personality of the music.
Q: In your press release, you said you want your songs to provide "a space for the recovery of peace." How do your songs help us to recover peace?
Peace is more than just the absence of noise or conflict. The biblical word for peace is "shalom", which is more about fullness and wholeness. There are so many things in this world that are promising a version of fullness and wholeness, but it doesn't compare to the shalom that God promises. I guess these songs can help people recover peace by helping them encounter Jesus - the Prince of Peace. A friend described this album like a warm cave you could crawl into and experience God. I really like that, and hope people feel free to crawl in!
Q: On your new album, I really love your fresh rendition of the hymn "Be Thou My Vision." Why did you decide to tackle this hymn?
Thanks! Glad you like it. We've always loved the hymn too and have led it in church many times. It's a unique hymn. I don't know many other songs that talk about God being "our vision" - which is how the hymn starts and ends. Apparently, the original version of the hymn had 5 verses. We chose three, and added our own bridge. I remember one Sunday we were leading worship together and Drew had the idea to repeat the line, "Jesus, be my vision"... I loved it. I think the church loved it too, and we've been singing it that way ever since. When it came time to record this album, we knew we wanted this song on it.
Q: With this new record, did songwriting come easy for you? What was the most challenging song on the album to write? And why?
I would say it was a mix of some that came really easy, and some that we labored over. For me personally, "In My Mother's Womb" was the most challenging. It's such a deeply personal song, and I had been holding onto it for about 2 years. The song came out of a time when I was experiencing some pretty heavy doubts and insecurities. The song, which comes almost directly from Psalm 139 was such a simple and beautiful reminder that even when I don't feel God close to me, I still know he's real, and that he's with me and for me. At first, I wasn't going to share it, and thought it would just remain one of many personal songs that are just between me and God. But, Drew and Danielle encouraged me to consider adding it to the album. I'm glad we did.
Q: Many of our readers are worship leaders and they may want to sing your songs in churches, where can they access chord charts and lead sheets of your music?
Thanks for asking! Lyrics are available on our website here:
And, chord charts are available upon request here:
Q: How do you want these songs to impact your listeners?
Our prayer is that through these songs people would know that God is real, that he is with them and for them. And, as we mentioned before, our hope is that these songs create space for the recovery.