Prime Cuts: Salt and Light, Come Alive (Dry Bones), Once and For All
Many contemporary Christian artists may sing about the marvel of redemption, but when Lauren Daigle does it with her smoky alto she commands attention. There's a holy gravitas that resonates within this Louisiana native's pipes that we can't help but be drawn in. And she does have an uncanny way of pulling us in into a deeper appreciation of God's forgiveness on her latest single as well as her title cut "How Can It Be." Part of the reason why Daigle can unearth such affecting depth is because she has had firsthand experience of what she has been singing about: "Though I fall, you can make me new. From this death I will rise with you, His grace reaching out for me." Though Daigle grew up in a region steeped in blues, country, zydeco and Cajun music, Daigle has always put music on the backburner until she contracted a devastating illness when she was merely 15 years-old.
The infecting virus took such a toll on Daigle's life that she was kept away from school for nearly two years. During this time of convalescence, God birthed within her a passion for music. After which, she began leading worship in church, contended for the American Idol, released an EP with a local band, before moving to Nashville. While on Music Row, she sang backing for Jason Gray's hit "Nothing is Wasted" before landing for herself a deal with Centricity Records (Jason Gray, Unspoken & Lindsay McCaul). Teaming with top-notched producer Paul Mabury (Hillsong UNITED, Brooke Fraser & Darlene Zschech), Daigle also got to write these 9 songs with a red carpet of scribes including Jason Ingram, Michael Farren, Joe Williams, James Tealy, Paul Duncan, Michael Farren, Paul Mabury, Justin Ebach, and Leslie Jordan.
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.