Young women leading the way
Artist: Kerr, Hannah
Label: Black River Christian
Length: 11 tracks/43 minutes
Hannah Kerr and Lauren Daigle have something in common. They each give voice to a maturity and wisdom beyond their years.
They sing to God in a musical language of today—pop/rock with underlying hip/hop rhythms. I also hear some Euro rock influences on Kerr’s Overflow. In between driving guitars, subtle accents from over the pond shape the tapestry of sound. These small sonic details are among my favorite moments.
Kerr has a hand in the songwriting, which teams her with some of the best: Scott Krippayne, Matt Maher, Joel Houston and Meredith Andrews, to name a few.
Similarly, many of the musicians are seasoned pros: Stu G one of the prominent ones. Is that shades of Delirious I’m hearing?
Mark A. Miller does an admirable job of blending organic and programmed styles. I wonder though why the peak levels seem high, saturating the sound. Was this intentional to give it more of a raw and rugged feel? Or is it just my imagination and/or a limitation of my sound system?
“Warrior” is a metaphor for life as a battle, and serves as a terrific opening song.
Staring down the face of fear
Gotta keep breathing
When the negative is all you hear
Gotta keep believing
I easily identify with the thought that we live in a time of fear and negativity that seems to be getting worse. It’s a challenge but essential to stay in an attitude of faith, as suggested in the song.
Kerr did not have a hand in the songwriting, but she sings the chorus with forceful conviction:
You’ll never stop me, I’m a warrior
When I fall down, I get stronger
Faith is my shield, Your love is the armor
Pummelling guitars and strong vocals make this powerful song her own.
“Never Leave Your Side” is a plea set in the context of a ballad. The chorus is sung from God’s perspective. In addition to the comforting sentiments, what makes this standout is the beautiful wash of keyboards and gentle guitars.
Kerr co-wrote “Your Love Defends Me” with Matt Maher. His imprint is recognizable in the structure and lyrics. It builds to a crescendo at the end with a gospel chorus.
The closing, “Be Still and Know,” features Mark Hall of Casting Crowns. It’s more subdued than the other tracks, being primarily piano and string-driven, but it’s a highlight. The opening lines set the stage for the encouragement contained in the title:
When your heart is anything but quiet
And peace feels a million miles away
When the world is heavy on your shoulders
And you don’t know the path that you should take
Debuts like this and How Can it Be by Lauren Daigle add depth to the modern worship genre. This kind of praise and adoration appeals to me more than some of the simplistic forms that emerged at the beginning of this movement. I don’t mean to discount their value at the time or even now. I just appreciate the growth and maturity in music made by Christian artists, in all categories including modern worship.
We can be grateful to live in such a time as this when artists have a vision for continued innovation and service to others. Young women like Kerr and Daigle are among those leading the way.