Artist: Tammy Trent
Title: Sunny Days
Label: September Day Records
Release Date: 8/6/13
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- Sunny Days
- Glow in the Dark
- We’re Letting Go
- Welcome Home
- You’ll Come
- Fall At Your Feet
- Your Grace is Enough For Me
- I’m Running
- Stronger Now
- Don’t Let Him Be The Last To Know
Releasing in the same month as albums from prominent artists like Stellar Kart (All In), Love and the Outcome (Love and the Outcome), 1 Girl Nation (1 Girl Nation) and The Digital Age (Evening:Morning); pop worship artist Tammy Trent’s new album Sunny Days is one the most upbeat, jovial and energetic album releases since albums from Kerrie Roberts and Capital Kings earlier in the year. Known for being widowed at a young age in 2001 only to come out of her pain with a few albums released in 2006 and 2008, Tammy’s heart for ministry and worship is evidently shown amidst the musical backdrop of dance beats as we listen to possibly one of my favourite albums to be released in August 2013 so far. As Tammy shares that ‘…this musical offering has brought me to the most beautiful season yet on my personal journey from love to loss and into a deep understanding of God’s faithful commitment to us through life’s growing moments…’, we are invited to journey through the poignant title track ‘Sunny Days’ to the declaratory worship cover ‘You’ll Come’ and the heartfelt anthem ‘I’m Running’. While not necessarily the most popular CCM/pop artist currently, Tammy has always been able to deliver encouragement and motivation when necessary, with Sunny Days being no exception. Familiar with Christian radio since 1995, Tammy’s music is a testament to God’s grace and mercy over her life, and just like the personal loss of Steven Curtis Chapman’s daughter in 2008, Tammy’s decision to keep moving and believing that something great and beautiful can bloom and blossom out of something tragic is a wonder and a testimony to God in every album she makes. Reminding me vocally of Natalie Grant, this is a great album to purchase if you enjoy similar artists like Natalie, Rebecca St. James, Mandisa or Francesca Battistelli.
Both ‘Don’t Let Him Be the Last to Know’ and ‘I’m Running’ are the two radio singles from the album, and each remind the listeners of God’s closeness to us despite our circumstances in a reflective melody and an upbeat dance anthem respectively. With both songs written from personal and heartfelt circumstances, Tammy channels a bit of Natalie Grant vocally to delve into the issue of loneliness and abandonment in both these songs. Reminding us to run to Jesus when we’re afraid and lonely, the percussion, electric guitar and electronic keyboard prominent ‘I’m Running’ gives us encouragement in the words ‘…I’m running straight to You…’, something to remember in the middle of our difficulties- that Christ isn’t too big to handle the things we throw at Him. As Tammy wrote the song for someone who felt lost, abandoned, broken and empty; it is a clear reminder for each one of us to ‘…keep running, but run straight to the one who will do more than just get you through the storm. You are never alone…’ ‘Don’t Let Him Be the Last to Know’ is a slightly slower track with more of a keyboard and looping percussion focus, as listeners hear the swaying beat and the encouraging lyrics of how ‘…when you’re down and feeling low, don’t let Him be the last to know…’
Something we all need to be reminded of, it is when we first come to Christ with our problems instead of trying to tackle things on our own that we can find peace, freedom and solace, as we lay everything down at Jesus’s feet and surrender all our worries unto Him. A great song to end the album with, both ‘Don’t Let Him Be the Last To Know’ and ‘I’m Running’ give us great perspective and each remind myself personally of Jeremiah 29:11, one of my own favourite Old Testament verses. With both songs very radio friendly, Tammy uses each of them to convey God’s promise of a purpose and a future for each and every being on the planet. As we trust God and ‘…allow the Lord to walk this road WITH you…’, we’ll understand that ‘…He’ll ALWAYS be the FIRST to know exactly how you feel and what you need…’ With both these songs standouts on the album, Tammy’s first set of singles certainly give a great impression to the rest of the songs and Sunny Days as a whole. Well done Tammy for these uplifting and compelling songs of hope, unconditional love and acceptance.
With a pop-dance musical atmosphere throughout the whole album, Tammy presents each song with a ‘sunny’ feeling, with each melody giving myself a smile on my face as a listen. While this album may not necessarily contain any ‘hits’ to be celebrated in years to come, it does provide some energetic fun and enjoyment, with the album a great choice to listen to in the car on long drives or during the summer when all you’re doing is watching sport on TV or just chilling and relaxing with friends. The introduction of the title track ‘Sunny Days’ musically reminds me of a similar electronic beat to that of ‘Me Without You’ by TobyMac, as Tammy sings about the sunny days she enjoys with her family and friends. A feel good song that reminds us that ‘…I’m grateful the storm is at an end…’, the upbeat song of praise is a call to worship to a God who gives us great things, even in the moments of suffering and pain as we grow in our walk with Christ in the moments when it seems like He is indeed farther than He assures us He is. With the song encapsulating the whole theme of the album- that we should praise God and give Him thanks regardless of our emotions or circumstance; it is a great first track that leads into upbeat track after upbeat track.
Songs like ‘Glow in the Dark’, ‘We’re Letting Go’ and ‘Fall At Your Feet’ employ similar musical beats and backdrops to incorporate electronics and keyboards and remind listeners of our God-given potential as we live our lives without fear, condemnation or judgement. ‘Glow in the Dark’ is for those who aren’t necessarily as confident in their identity as they would like to be as Tammy encourages us that we are the spark and hope the world needs as we carry the love of Christ within us; while ‘We’re Letting Go’ gives us a keyboard riff and electronics as the song embraces a surrender-like moment, calling us to let go and dance to the news of our salvation and freedom in Christ. ‘Fall at Your Feet’, finally, is an honest cry of mercy and grace as Tammy acknowledges that as we bring our faults and hurts and fall at Jesus’s feet, He heals and brings everything together to make something beautiful in our lives and that of others. These three dance melodies with heartfelt and prominent themes to contemplate and think about certainly anchor the album both musically and lyrically, with each of these tracks being some of my favourites on Sunny Days. Well done Tammy for these refreshing and enjoyable songs of praise and adoration.
Tammy delivers a few worship melodies on Sunny Days, one of which is the Hillsong cover ‘You’ll Come’. Staying quite true to the original Hillsong recording by Brooke Fraser, Tammy powerfully declares the truths of how ‘…chains be broken, lives be healed, eyes be open, Christ is revealed…’ to the light electric guitars in one of the only songs on the album that’s not electronically based musically. ‘Your Grace is Enough for Me’ enters with a light keyboard and electronic drum and percussion loop as Tammy provides us a melody full of confidence and certainty as she reminds us that God’s grace is infinite and neverending; while it is ‘Welcome Home’ that is a great surprise and an excellent rerecorded song from Tammy, originally recording this song in 1997 on her album You Have My Heart. While I haven’t heard the original recording, many Tammy enthusiasts have heard this 90s track, complete with strings, keyboards and a distinctive 1990s feel musically (you can probably tell by the music which era a song is created in). Now rerecorded with a looping percussion and a prominent keyboard focus instead of the vocally prominent 1997 melody, we are able to re-live one of Tammy’s classic hits in a fresh new way as she encourages the broken and hurting with the comforting words of how the Father welcomes us home into His presence as we delve more into Him and trust that He works all things to His glory and our good. A song that’s now one of my own favourites (and thereby also encouraging me to listen to more of Tammy’s earlier work); ‘Welcome Home’ also anchors the album in both a musical and lyrical way, as we hear a song that fits right at home with the other 21st century dance-pop orientated music.
Overall: Sunny Days is exactly that, a bright sunny album full of pop and dance prominent melodies to infuse the soul and target a message of hope and encouragement in a fun and enjoyable way. While Tammy’s musical career may not necessarily be as flourished or jam-packed as other equally or more popular artists currently; her music still is relatable and never shies away from the topics of hope, loss, regret, forgiveness and transformation, subject matter crucial to be discussed in today’s society. From ‘Welcome Home’ to ‘You’ll Come’, ‘Sunny Days’ and ‘Don’t Let Him Be the Last To Know’; we are met with an album that’ll certainly speak to a variety of listeners from all walks of life. A must purchase if you’re a fan of contemporary pop like Natalie Grant, Britt Nicole or Mandisa, Tammy’s 6th studio album is perhaps one of my favourite from her (granted, it’s possibly the first one I’ve actually listened to from start to finish), again giving myself resolve to find a way to check out Tammy’s earlier music. Possibly one of the most underrated female artists of the 1990s and 2000s, Sunny Days is certainly a standout for me personally in August 2013. Well done Tammy for such an inspirational and compelling album.
RIYL: Rebecca St. James, Natalie Grant, Mandisa, Britt Nicole, Francesca Battistelli
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3