Artist: Elizabeth South
Title: Do It Afraid
Release Date: 11/1/11
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- I Will Trust You
- Arms of the Saviour
- Fall To My Knees
- Do it Afraid (feat. Rick Florian)
- Desert Rose
- Holy, Holy, Holy
- I Will Trust You (Instrumental)
- Don’t Give Up
A full-time elementary music and drama teacher, as well as a recording artist, Elizabeth South has worked with Dove Award-winning producers and engineers to record and distribute her second album, Do It Afraid, which released into Christian bookstores and online on November 1st 2011. With vocals comparable Amy Grant, Francesca Battistelli and Rebecca St. James; Elizabeth’s latest album was inspired by a recent Joyce Meyer talk that inspired her late last year as she describes the moment on her website, ‘…many of us have a difficult time getting rid of those feelings [fear] no matter how much we pray or believe…if we wait until we no longer feel afraid, we may accomplish very little for God [and those around us]…’ This notion of conquering tasks, even if we feel so inadequate, to the point of trembling at our feet, is a certain theme through these 11 songs, understanding that God is with us always. Through listening to the collective mixture of genres, from pop and ballads to dance; Elizabeth has created moments of hope and surrender that indeed touches the soul of many listeners; myself included. As I listen to this much underrated artist, I am certain to claim that Do it Afraid is an instant hit for fans of music that can delve in an touch the soul, healing wounds and scars in the process!
Both ‘Don’t Give Up’ (2011) and ‘I Will Trust You’ (2010) were released prior to the release of the album, both distinctly different in musical style. ‘I Will Trust You’ is a made-for-radio guitar driven song about the one of the hardest of emotions to understand; trust, let alone trusting in the maker of the universe with our very lives. With a repetitious guitar hook that energises the weary soul, Elizabeth launches into declarations of who God is, ‘…You are God forever and ever, evermore my friend; You’re my refuge always in trouble, guide me to the end…’ knowing in her heart that God will always stay right beside us during times of trouble. A hopeful ballad that proclaims who He is, this song has struck a chord with both radio as well as me personally. Listening to this song is certainly refreshing as we all proclaim to God, ‘…I will trust You…’! ‘Don’t Give Up’ is the total opposite musically, but similar in that it lifts the soul, urging listeners to never give up on our love (for Christ and for each other)! An electronic dance beat that places Elizabeth at the helm of a different, yet refreshing and energising musical genre; Elizabeth belts out her hopes and dreams for every listener ‘…don’t give up, don’t give in, find the freedom that love can give…’ With techno beats and dance undertones; we are encouraged to not give up, because God hasn’t given up on us yet. If we’re breathing, we still have a purpose. What an amazing song for the last track!
‘Higher’, ‘Arms of the Saviour’, ‘Fall to My Knees’ and ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ are all standout tracks on an album that is described as both ‘…healing and uplifting…’, reassuring as I listen to the vocal harmonies peruse through each track with such awe and brilliance. ‘Arms of the Saviour’ is a reflective anthem about how we are safe in God’s arms; and that ‘…though I’ve been searching for treasure that’s lost, it’s a journey that calls me back home…’ There are moments during our lives that God calls us to Himself so we can continue to delve deeper into His love for us, and through this piano-based melody, this is certainly one of those moments. Coupled with the strings and poetic lyrics, ‘Arms of the Saviour’ is one of my favourite songs from Elizabeth! ‘Fall to My Knees’ and ‘Higher’ are more upbeat, with stronger guitars within each melody as Elizabeth conveys themes of being in awe at God’s love and strength (‘Higher’) and giving praise to the Lord for what He’s done for us to travel back to Him (‘Fall to My Knees’). With the lyrics ‘…Your love’s higher than the mountains, wider than the canyon deep, deeper than our hearts’ emotions, longer than the world we see…’ (‘Higher’) resemblant of Ephesians 3:18; I am able to rest in the confidence that God’s love is unending. ‘Fall to My Knees’ is pure worship at its rawest, with Elizabeth proclaiming that ‘…I’ll lift my hands and I’ll fall to my knees, and I’ll worship the One who created all things…’ against the undertones of a strong bass line, light percussion and a prominent keyboard. Falling to our knees, knowing who He is and how He has reached through time and space to pursue us as His children; is the only response we can give to a God who is so awesome, majestic and holy! Lastly, ‘Holy, Holy, Holy’ is certainly ‘Fall to My Knees’ Pt 2 as Elizabeth peels back the layers and exposes some of the most heartfelt words you can say to your Saviour and friend; ‘…Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come…’ With a strong piano base, the lyrics are more pronounced, and much more poignant as listeners bask in the knowledge that God is worthy of all our praise and adoration!
From the themes of reassuring the listener that God still loves us in spite of what we’ve done, that one day we’ll ‘…stand on glassy seas…’ (‘Still’); to giving up the ugly and deepest parts to God, to be ‘…ready to surrender it all…’ unto the feet of the cross (‘Surrender’); Elizabeth’s central theme of trust runs through each song. With a strong piano focus and lyrical imagery, Elizabeth has created some heartfelt songs, but none as more poignant as the title track, ‘Do It Afraid’. Featuring Rick Florian, formally from the band, ‘Whiteheart’, Elizabeth sings with her heart and soul, addressing one of our biggest stealers of our joy: fear. Through acoustics, brilliant harmonies between Elizabeth and Rick, as well as a soft keyboard riff throughout the song; Elizabeth shows that even if we do feel afraid about things, we know and understand that God is always with us, and that sometimes, we ‘…just have to do it afraid…’, because when we let go of our worries at the feet of Jesus, our loads will be lighter, we won’t worry because we’ll know that God will use every circumstance for His glory. One of my favourites on the album, ‘Do it Afraid’ is certainly for those who need the reassurance that God is with us, every step of the way when we’re feeling worried or discouraged about a certain decision to make. God will always be by our side, and that is a promise that’s worth proclaiming!
Overall: With her songwriting skills comparable to Ginny Owens and Natalie Grant; Elizabeth South has produced a beautifully crafted second album, full of songs that will lift the spirit and sooth the soul. Tackling everyday issues isn’t easy and Elizabeth has used her own experience by reading Joyce Meyer’s book of the same title to unveil some of the most confronting issues that listeners may not want to deal with, ‘what happens when you’re paralysed by fear?’ Through musically sound arrangements and honest lyrics, I am able to rest in the fact that God is my fortress and I have nothing to fear. Well done Elizabeth for such a deep and meaningful album!
RIYL: Francesca Battistelli, Natalie Grant, Ginny Owens, Amy Grant
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3