Album Review: Evergreen by Audrey Assad

In another life, I had a job at a newspaper (okay, it was just my junior college paper) and wrote music reviews. So I am going back in time to channel that writer and would like to share my thoughts on Audrey Assad’s newest album, “Evergreen”.

Now I am a little late becoming an admirer of this singer/songwriter. I just never connected with her music, and honestly, over the last seven years, I didn’t listen to a lot of Christian music. But that’s another story. 😉

About a month ago, I heard a podcast with Audrey Assad. She was honest in discussing her journey of faith and struggles over the last few years. Something I could relate to.

In that same podcast, she talked about her latest album “Evergreen”. She said it was one of the most honest albums she’d ever released. That is most certainly self-evident from the first track to the last.

Assad is meticulous in her arrangements of each song and the order they appear on the album. Each song unfolds taking the listener on a journey of faith, struggle, honest questioning, doubts, and return to a renewed faith after a descent into what might seem to be chaos.

Her title track “Evergreen”, opens with a picture of God on a cross in the midst of Eden. It is love personified. In spite of all this, the singer expresses doubts, as many of us do,  our cognitive dissonance of what we think love and paradise should look like and what they actually are.

Still, she presses forward and declares to God in “Deliverer”, echoing the words of 1 Corinthians 13:

You are not possessive, You respect all things
You are not invasive, You have no envy
You are not insistent, You do not force me
You are not controlling, You make me free indeed

“Little Things with Great Love” is a call to believers to think about how the smallest things equal big things in the Kingdom of Heaven.

“Joy of the Lord” has a more somber melody than one might expect. To me, this reflects how so often we walk through this life with pain, suffering, and hardships, but underneath all these things we can find joy if we realize we are not alone and remember we’re called to identify with Christ’s sufferings. Assad’s refrain at the end, “I have a river of life flowing out of me,” brings a touch of nostalgia to the listener to help them reconnect to the care-free nature of childhood.

Assad reflects on the injustices in the world and declares her desire to see God’s righteousness and justice to flow in “River”.

“He will stand with us, to liberate the poor
Nothing can stop us, our help is from the Lord.”

The questioning begins in “Unfolding”. One really gets the sense of the struggle of the maturing believer who all of the sudden feels as though the presence of God has been removed for their life and feeling lost and unsure of how to move and be in the world anymore.

This concept of questioning and doubts is further explored and expounded on in “Teresa”, which was actually inspired by the life and memoirs of Mother Teresa, who dedicated her life to helping the poor. The song speaks of feeling on the outs with God, a kind of spiritual darkness and silence from God that is meant to increase our faith.

“Irrational Season” is a surrendering to the feelings of absence from God and yet still pressing forward in faith, finding a way to hope in a good future, settling into a new kind of peace that doesn’t make sense to a rational mind. It’s about being okay without having all the answers and knowing we won’t have all the answers this side of heaven, but also knowing we must still continue to press on into the unknown.

In “Wounded Healer”, we get the opportunity to proclaim our love for our Messiah after the fog has cleared and we’ve resolved to move forward in our newly, strengthened faith in God, His faithfulness, His love, and His promises.

We can let everything go when we gaze at our Savior as Assad sings in “When I See You.” He brings life and wholeness,

My eyes more open the closer You come
My heart unfolds like a flower in the sun
My fear grows cold in the light of Your love
My heart unfolds, I’m coming undone!…
My eyes more open the closer You come
My heart unfolds like a flower in the sun
My fear grows cold in the light of Your love
My heart unfolds, I’m coming undone!

The old hymn “Immanuel’s Land” is a song of hope and longing for the day when all will be made right, and we will never be separated from God again. We will have that sweet oneness with our Messiah our soul longs for. His final grace bestowed on His beloved creature.

“Drawn to You” closes out the album. Assad sings,

After everything I’ve had
After everything I’ve lost
Lord, I know this much is true
I’m still drawn to You

After the loss of innocence, the questioning, the doubts, the struggle, after all these things (hopefully) is a more authentic relationship with God.

Seldom, have I heard such honesty and vulnerability in Christian music. If you are going through a time of growth, this is definitely an album you’ve got to hear. Personally, I found the journey on this album authentic, refreshing, and healing.

And that’s my take on “Evergreen”! I hope you’ll check it out if you haven’t already.

Blessings and Shalom,