Album Review :
Jadon Lavik - Roots Run Deeper

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Artist: Jadon Lavik
Title: Roots Run Deeper
Label: independent
Release Date: 9/18/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre


  1. Fairest Lord Jesus
  2. Great Is Thy Faithfulness
  3. Closer Walk
  4. Be Thou My Vision
  5. My Jesus, I Love Thee
  6. Doxology
  7. It Is Well
  8. How Great Thou Art
  9. Solid Rock
  10. Be Still, My Soul

Jadon Lavik is one of those artists where you can recognise his voice, and recognise the songs, yet can’t pick his name even if you wanted to. That’s how I was when I was listening to him a few years ago, with his songs ‘Father’, ‘Nothing Compares’ and ‘What If’. With a vocal range and pitch closely resemblant to Australian Paul Colman, Jadon has been able to write some of the most underrated melodies in the last few years, with songs like ‘Surrender’, ‘Shine’, ‘Love’, ‘Let It Go’ and ‘Never Alone’ being some of my favourites from this acoustic/soft rock artist. Releasing his first hymns project Roots Run Deep in 2008, his second hymns effort is one of my favourite hymns records ever, narrowly being beaten by Avalon’s Faith: A Hymns Collection. Though produced independently as a free download on his website, Roots Run Deeper features 10 timeless hymns, some staying true to the original melodies while others having a grand makeover; as Jadon reminds us of God’s faithfulness to his children, and that ‘…my hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness…’ (‘Solid Rock’). Though most songs I’ve heard before, Jadon brings them back into front and centre, some sung in a new light with a new melody, bringing along with it a freshness and vitality that lets me yearn for more (now I have to listen to Roots Run Deep after this!). From first song ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’ to last ‘Be Still, My Soul’, Jadon has been able to allow listeners to listen to hymns and hymns redone; placing this album as one of the most underrated in 2012!

Featuring some of my favourite hymns of all time, Roots Run Deeper is able to capture the intensity and passion of Jadon, as well as weaving in a mixture of hymns and hymns redone (with their melody altered to create a new song with the same profound message) to create a musical journey enriched with hopeful promises as I remind myself through Jadon’s music of God’s promise and provision in my life through my 22 years of existence. With an interesting alteration of the melody, ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’ starts off the 10 song collection with a great rendition as Jadon passionately proclaims Jesus as fair, worthy of all the honour that we give Him. With an upbeat tempo full of guitars and percussion, this melody that’s almost unrecognisable in tempo and tune compared to the original slower version; sets the stage for some nice hymn work as Jadon covers some of the greatest hymns of history. ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ is similarly altered like ‘Fairest Lord Jesus’, in song melody with an added bluegrass-style instrumentation with banjos and percussion; yet with the same message of proclaiming God’s faithfulness, that ‘…great is thy faithfulness, o God my Father…’ ‘Be Thou My Vision’ is a swaying grooving message of thoughtful prayer as Jadon, sounding exactly like Paul Colman, gives God a solemn request, to ‘…be thou my vision, o Lord of my heart…’ With some hand claps and feet stomping, this bluegrass-themed song offers us one of the best songs on the record. ‘It is Well’ is another well-known hymn on the record, and though not my favourite version of the song (Kutless’ rendition on It is Well is much more compelling!), Jadon has been able to make the hymn his own, complete with bluegrass elements and acoustic guitars as this subdued reflective song reminds us of our peace we have in Christ.

With many hymns redone on the album, it’s nice to see a new and fresh approach to these timeless hymns, one of such is the one-verse song ‘Doxology’, stretched to over four minutes full of added stanzas and lyrical moments of praise, all against the setting of country-style genre worship. With ‘Doxology’ being a ‘…catchy tempo and inventive refrain…[providing] a spirited lilt to the song’s already reverential timbre…’, Jadon cries out ‘hallelujah’, a fitting moment of surrender to Christ who is worthy of our praises, until such a moment when ‘…He’ll be back for me…’ With a different take on such a timeless song, Jadon’s ingenious reinvention of ‘Doxology’ will be in history as one of the greatest hymns redone ever (except for Chris Tomlin’s ‘Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)’). ‘How Great Thou Art’ is another favourite hymn of mine and starting with a piano intro, Jadon sings the famous words ‘…oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, consider all the worlds Thy hands have made…’ that lead into one of the greatest declaratory statements ever made in history, proclaiming to God how great is. One of the most famous hymns ever, second to ‘Amazing Grace’, Jadon has created a country-style song with just as much heart and passion as it would’ve been if it was a full anthem with lots of guitars or drums. Kudo’s to Jadon for an honest portrayal of worship in ‘How Great Thou Art’.

With many familiar songs on the album, there were three, ‘Be Still, My Soul’, ‘My Jesus I Love Thee’ and ‘Closer Walk’, that weren’t necessarily that familiar with me, but nevertheless; these songs are still top notch from an artist that is able to feature ‘…well-known classic hymns with a refreshingly organic, country-folk vibe…’ With each of these melodies infusing similar lyrical themes together, ‘Closer Walk’ is a prayer for us to continually walk close to the Lord regardless of circumstances, ‘Be Still, My Soul’ offers our souls solace that God will be with us even during the times when those around us may leave us; and ‘My Jesus, I Love Thee’ is an assurance for our hearts, knowing that we love because He first loved us with total and unconditional acceptance. Though hearing these songs for the first time on this record, Jadon has delivered these songs almost flawlessly as the message is heard loud and clear, that Christ has loved us before we can even love ourselves. What an amazing thought! Thanks Jadon for such a sobering end to such a melodically diverse album!

Overall: With each of these songs showing a different side to hymns and their place in our 21st century musical culture, we are able to have access to cleverly instrumentally structured songs of hope and faith, coupled with one of the most underrated and understated artists in the last few years. Roots Run Deeper is one of my favourite hymns projects, and certainly up there for most underrated albums of the year! With this album proving that hymns certainly have their place in this ever changing world, we are given a light, reflective album to cherish for years to come full of songs that have been with us throughout all of our lives. Though always changing their melodic tune or their instrumentation, hymns are the foundation and some of the inspiration of songs today. Well done Jadon for giving us a re-imagining of timeless classics that have led me to hope that another label signing is hopefully not too far away!

RIYL: Paul Colman, Josh Wilson, Brandon Heath, Steven Curtis Chapman

Buy the Album: iTunes/Website