Album Review :
Lindsay McCaul - If It Leads Me Back

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Artist: Lindsay McCaul
Title: If It Leads Me Back
Label: Reunion Records
Release Date: 1/17/12
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre


  1. Say My Name
  2. Ready
  3. Come Rest
  4. Take My Hand
  5. Face to Face
  6. You Never Change
  7. Speak
  8. Hold on To Me
  9. Where Do You Go?
  10. Let Go
  11. If It Leads Me Back

Lindsay McCaul is a refreshing sound to the Reunion Records roster. Touring on the Come to the Well Tour with Sanctus Real and Casting Crowns, Lindsay’s piano driven acoustic sound and honest lyrics sends the listener on a journey of the soul through these 11 motivating tracks; reminding them to stop and rest in the promises that God has for us. Produced by Jason Ingram, who produced albums from Meredith Andrews and Tenth Avenue North; the Chicago-born singer/songwriter has written every song on the album with much passion and enthusiasm. With the introduction of Lindsay into the Christian music industry that is still male fronted, the future for the female Christian artist is bright.

With the first single, ‘Come Rest’, revealing the Martha and Mary dilemma within all of us, Lindsay speaks about the heart of the song, that we can feel like ‘…it’s so easy to fill up your time with events and different things going on…even things that are good…but they can start to be bad if we’re trying to do them apart from time with God…’ We need to lay down the things that are hindering us from being the Mary that Jesus wanted us to be instead of being the Martha we are right now. The guitar driven song is at first glance just a radio single, but there is a powerful vocal moment in the chorus ‘…When you say come, rest; should I be working so hard? When you say love, rest; did You want hands or my heart?…’ that leads us to understand that this song is anything but another radio single. We are in this performance mentality; needing to perform to prove to others or ourselves that we are good enough. But Jesus offered freedom in His death, and showed us our identity that isn’t in performance. God wants to rest in Him; so that we are able to understand what He wants for us to accomplish. When we are busy we could miss some things that the Lord may want us to know; and this song has helped me realise that God indeed gives me the strength the keep running this race called life, if only we stop once in a while and rest at His feet.

Each one of Lindsay’s songs is so rich in biblical revelations and emotional lyrics; with ‘Ready’ being one of them. With a powerful soft electronic piano hook that draws the listener in; the song speaks about the times that we come to the Lord asking for forgiveness from the aspects of life that we keep running back to. As Lindsay poetically sings in the chorus, ‘…You are ready to answer every time I call, You’re waiting to catch the pieces as they fall…’ we are reminded that Jesus is always ready for us to draw near to Him, to acknowledge that the masterpiece He’s making within us is worth the ups and downs of life. He is always ready to come to us, and the hesitancy that is stopping us from engaging with the Lord is our issue that we need God’s help with.

‘Hold On to Me’ has a similar theme to ‘Ready’, with the issue of Peter turning away when the rooster crows a familiar sight in today’s society. As Lindsay explains; every time ‘…I have these great intentions…I so often fail… it’s another opportunity for me to realize that its the Lord who is the One that’s holding on to us…[Jesus is] the one that intervenes through all of our best intentions, because that’s really all we stand on…’ God always holds onto us, even during those moments when we cannot hold onto ourselves. Through Lindsay’s chillingly haunting vocals together with piano and a rhythmic snare drum beat; she sings out ‘…So hold on to me cause I’m not good at holding on…when I am barely holding on, You hold on to me…’ God holds onto His children and never lets us go. We need to ask the question if we’re willing to do the same.

Lindsay’s songs all have a treasure to be discovered. Issues are in every song that applies to each of us. ‘Say My Name’ is a personal song about Lot’s wife and how she looked back at her homeland and was turned into salt. This song is also about not looking back at past mistakes and looking forward to the plans that the Lord has in store for us to experience. As Lindsay describes it, ‘…He can make beautiful things out of ashes – He uses us even though we’re fallen people. But we have to walk away from things of the past and move forward into what He is calling us to…’ We have been made new, but we cannot look around or behind us, but to the future. Longing and waiting for the Lord’s return in the song ‘Face to Face’ is another topic that every person wonders about. This song has a strong guitar hook and earthy vocals on similar vein to Bethany Dillon, creating a sense of eeriness, awe and mystery at once, which exactly describes the exact day Jesus comes back. Til then, we just wait in anticipation. ‘Take My Hand’ deals with struggling’; the need to ask God to take our hands like how Peter asked Jesus to pull him out of the water. He will always pull us through, and we just need to trust that He has our best interests at heart. The mesmerising song is further enhanced with the use of synth keyboards and acoustic guitars, with a focus on the lyrical content rather than building the music to a crescendo.

Finally, my favourite song is the ballad ‘Where Do You Go’; that speaks of a time where one may feel like the Lord is not directing them to the path that they believe He wants them to take. But the Lord is continually speaking. There are just obstacles in the way preventing us from hearing the Lord at a point in time. As I reflect on the lyrics, ‘…It’s by faith we live, it’s by faith we see and believe…’ taking a step of faith into the unknown and trusting that God provides signs for the next step to take can be daunting. We can just cry out to God as it is shown in the song ‘Speak’ ‘…Speak to me; I’m longing to hear Your voice in the night calling out. Come meet with me, You’re all I desire, for Your love is better than life…’ Regardless, we need to understand that God’s ways are higher than ours, we may not understand everything that He does, but we still trust Him, because He is our Father. Both these two songs highlight Lindsay’s vocals and her ability to combine acoustic guitars, keys and drum kicks and produce some of the most powerful worship moments on the album.

Overall: Lindsay McCaul has beautifully crafted 11 songs that should hit a chord with everyone. Through the use of her experiences; these simple yet profound melodies will stir up reflective moments in the listeners. The album is summed up in this lyric of the title track, ‘If It Leads Me Back’; ‘…I will face the storm and surrender all I have if that’s what I have to do, if it leads me back to You…’ God knows best in our lives and He will do anything to gain our attention. Whether we become the Mary or the Martha in this situation is clearly up to us. We still need to live our lives, and face the storms and situations that we encounter. Once we are able to rest in the promises that He has in store for us, our worries will be replaced with trust and peace. An album for those who are yearning for rest, Lindsay has recorded an excellent debut project. Be on the lookout for her next album!

RIYL: Nichole Nordeman, Christy Nockels, Rebecca St. James, Bethany Dillon

Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3