One of the year’s best is now better
Inheritance Deluxe Edition
Artist: Audrey Assad (www.audreyassad.com)
Label: Fortunate Fall Records
Length: 16 tracks/approximately 1 hour
One of the year’s best releases is now even better. Audrey Assad teams with acclaimed cellist Cara Fox to reinterpret four songs from the original release in a neoclassical style. Cello, violin, harp, electric guitar and drums blend together live on “Be Thou My Vision,” “How Can I Keep from Singing,” “New Every Morning” and “It is Well with My Soul.”
The addition of the harp stands out and adds a beauty not heard on the originals. It’s an underutilized instrument in popular music, which is a shame because it has such pure tones. Though it is mixed with the other instruments, I found myself listening for it.
“New Every Morning” is a gorgeous original. The line referring to the beginning of creation, “You broke an unbroken silence” is a beautiful bit of poetry. In a way, I might summarize the whole release as poetic.
Worship leader Sarah Kroger adds her voice to “How Can I Keep from Singing” and “It is Well with My Soul.” The former starts with “I Wonder as I Wander.” You can almost feel the cold. Imagine a winter night with stars overhead. It then seamlessly transitions to the warm “How Can I Keep.” It’s like going from darkness to dawn. The music is radiant.
I may prefer this version of “It is Well.” It seems a little less traditional. The original features a congregation, but I like just hearing Assad and Kroger.
“Oh, The Deep, Deep Love of Jesus” remains a favorite from the initial release. It is coupled with the music associated with “Morning Has Broken” and includes Fernando Ortega, who along with Assad is excellent in adapting old lyrics.
In my prior review I never mentioned the opening track but feel compelled to do so here. “Ubi Caritas” is an ancient text sung entirely in Latin. As one reviewer noted it sounds more Celtic than Gregorian. It’s haunting but holy as captured on this YouTube video, which includes a translation. Assad writes, “I began this record with ‘Ubi Caritas’ because it felt like the perfect way to begin a collection of songs that shaped up to be a love note from me to the church.”
This is artistry that is relevant but timeless. It combines a judicious use of technology with mostly ancient verse. The latter springs to life anew.
The excellence makes me want to investigate all of Assad’s subsequent releases, and maybe even prior ones.
The reworked songs, dubbed The Fox Sessions, include live videos contained on a DVD or flash drive. So those who purchase this Deluxe Addition will have even more to savor.