Album Review :
Yancy - Roots For The Journey
By Jonathan Andre in Reviews | Comments closed
Title: Roots For The Journey
Label: Yancy Ministries
Release Date: 5/21/13
Reviewer: Jonathan Andre
- The Joy
- His Eye is On The Sparrow
- White as Snow
- Our God Reigns
- No Other Name
- I Don’t Want to Go
Famous for touring with artists like Nichole Nordeman and the Newsboys, as well as covering songs from artists like Third Day (‘Your Love Oh Lord’), Chris Tomlin (‘Not To Us’, ‘Our God’), Aaron Shust (‘My Saviour, My God’) and Tim Hughes (‘Here I Am to Worship’); Yancy has been making music for both adults and children for a number of years now. Co-writing Avalon’s ‘I Don’t Want to Go’ and Jaci Velasquez’s ‘Something Beautiful’ (and each of these songs becoming great hits by each of the respective artists) throughout the years; Yancy’s musical ministry background as a pastor’s kid (PK) led her heart into CCM and children’s music, and while she’s not necessarily the most recognisable artist within the Christian music circle, Yancy’s passion for creating music with heart and hope has always been the same, with Christ continuously shown through her music, whether it be CCM or children’s. From recording pop to children’s music, to even having a song from Jesus Music Box debuting on Rapzilla.com (‘Always With Us’ w/ Canon); the evolution of Yancy’s music throughout the years has incorporated many musical styles, with her latest album Roots for the Journey (released a mere 2 months after Jesus Music Box) incorporating a more scripture-in-song acoustic lullaby style. While many listeners could fall asleep to this (which makes this album great to soak to when you’re in your quiet time), this album takes a unique look at what it means to take words of scripture and place them in a melody. With ‘I Don’t Want to Go’ certain to give great appeal to listeners as they see that the last song on Roots for the Journey is destined to promote intrigue and expectation to listeners for the album as a whole; we are still reminded through the acoustic sounds and the simplistic melodies that to have a child-like heart rather than the complex adult mindset is something worth exploring, as these simple yet equally profound songs show us the Father’s heart for us. From ‘Safe’ to ‘Trust’ and ‘Healer’; each of these songs flesh out a certain topical theme explored in the bible. While not the most publicised album in May this year; Yancy’s heartfelt praises are still presented, with Third Day frontman Mac Powell endorsing her when he declares that ‘…I feel that it will not be long until many more people discover the heart, faith and passion for music and ministry that Yancy possesses…’ Yancy’s latest album is a must-purchase for anyone who has loved her music before or enjoy some laid-back lyrically-easy learning songs about our identity in Christ and how we ‘…don’t want to go somewhere, if I know that You’re not there, cause I know a me without You is a lie…’ (‘I Don’t Want to Go’)
‘I Don’t Want to Go’ is one of my favourite songs sung by vocal group Avalon. Recorded by the group on their 2001 album Oxygen, the hopeful prayer of us letting God know that we don’t want to go anywhere are be anything without God in there with us is such a humbling response full of reliance, thanks, gratitude and ultimate respect as we reflect on Christ’s sacrifice for us. With an acoustic guitar and the song sped up instead of the piano driven 5 minute melody originally recorded; Yancy’s rendition of what I declare to be a classic song in all of CCM history is just as poignant, profound, heartfelt, honest and emotional. While shaving off about a minute and a half, it is barely noticeable as Yancy declares the powerful words of how ‘…You changed my world when You came to me, You drove a passion in my soul down deep…’, Yancy still gives us a great version of one of my favourite inspirational uplifting songs (alongside MercyMe’s ‘I Can Only Imagine’ and Casting Crowns ‘Voice of Truth’). With light acoustical touches to showcase a song that can have the same poignancy even when it is stripped down and played acoustically; this is a perfect end to an album full of identity affirming melodies. Also remaking the beloved hymn ‘His Eye is On the Sparrow’ (just like how Audrey Assad placed her own melodic and lyrical twist on the heartfelt hymn classic), I have never really heard the original hymn until this version. Despite this, the words of this song still ring powerfully in my ears as I am reminded of the verse in the Bible where Jesus states to his followers that just as God cares about the sparrows, surely He ought to care for each of us. While the song can be on the slower side, it does give us a timely reminder of our worth in the eyes of the Father who loves us unconditionally. Written a few centuries apart, I can see both ‘His Eye is On the Sparrow’ and ‘I Don’t Want to Go’ somehow going hand in hand- with one song giving us reassurance of our value in the eyes of Christ and the other a personal declaration to God that we don’t want to go anywhere without Him as our eyes are opened to our identity revelation. Well done Yancy for these two beautifully crafted songs, and certain song highlights from Roots For the Journey!
‘Safe’ crafts a piano-influenced melody of declaring how God is our strong tower, the shelter in which we seek refuge with against all the events and circumstances that come our way, as we witness at how scripture-in-song works. Not for everyone, I’m sure scripture in song has been around for a long time, and as Yancy uses this technique a lot throughout her latest album, ‘Safe’ is just one of many where the lyrics are inspired directly from bible verses, and from first hear of many of the tracks, it seems like words and phrases were taken straight from the Word without any alteration to fit rhythm, rhyme and the like. As ‘Safe’ reassures us that God keeps us safe regardless of our own situations; ‘The Joy’ starts off with a lullaby feel and light keyboards as Yancy sings with her soothing voice that there are mercies every morning, and that every day is chance to continuously sing of God’s praise. ‘Hope’ is a bit over two minutes and with light electronics, Yancy recites Isaiah 40:31, where Isaiah declares that those who hope in the Lord will have their strength renewed, soaring on eagle’s wings and resting in the promises of our creator. A great way to be constantly reminded with scripture, I’m sure these songs will solidify biblical truths, especially during a technological age where reading is left down the priorities list in favour of music, TV shows and movies.
‘Creator’ gives us a unique representation of Psalm 139:13-14 as Yancy declares God’s creative spirit within us; that the creation doesn’t stop with us when we are born but continues as we live out each day. Continuously being renewed, remade and refined to become more Christ-like each day; Yancy’s message of hope and rebirth continues to inspire in ‘Trust’, with light glockenspiel being the anchor musically to the heartfelt lyrics sung reminding us that ‘…I will trust in the Lord with all my heart…’ It is when we see the intricate details to our very own creation and the care God took that shows us that we can trust Him with everything that we have and are. Acoustics is Yancy’s best friend also in ‘White as Snow’, a Jon Foreman cover and perhaps one of my favourite songs on the album alongside ‘I Don’t Want to Go’. Paraphrased from Psalm 51, the song reminds us that God’s love wipes and washes away all our dirty stains. The honest cry of ‘…would you create in me a clean heart, oh God? Restore in me the joy of your salvation…’ is one of my favourite highlights of the song, and one to immerse yourself within as you realise the lengths Christ went to for our slates to be rid of the dirtiness seeping within it. ‘Our God Reigns’, straight from Jesus Music Box, is played acoustically with keyboards and glockenspiels as Yancy declares God reigning above anything else, whilst also delivering songs with messages about healing and restoration (‘Healer’) as well as a heartfelt song directly referenced from John 3:16 (‘Call’). With each of the songs stripped back revealing its organic musical style, we are swept into the emotion tied to these melodies, coupled with the fact that I’ve never really heard of a root-sy album until now. Full of hope, life and enthusiasm, it shows that even with an absence of musical loudness, worship can still be offered as we hear how scripture-in-song can still be such an enticing musical genre even years later!
Overall: Powerful and profound, all of these songs utilise scripture in a new way that brings a whole new meaning to acoustic organic music with a touch of scripture-in-song. While popular during the 1970s, Yancy proves that scripture in song still has its place within the CCM industry, with Roots for the Journey an album that’s destined to become one of my favourite albums released in May so far. A fun-filled album full of heartfelt promises and words of affirmation and truth, Yancy’s joyous heart and worshipful personality shines through on all of these 12 tracks. Recorded by Yancy 12 years after it was written, ‘I Don’t Want to Go’ proves to listeners why such a song can stand the test of time, with the Avalon-covered melody hopefully being one of my favourite CCM songs ever in years to come. While scripture and song is not your average album to listen to, Yancy does it in an acoustic way, and fans of Rend Collective Experiment, Francesca Battistelli, Avalon or Josh Wilson will be able to immerse themselves in Roots for the Journey! Well done Yancy for such an enjoyable and compelling album full of hope as we sing along to the poignant words of how ‘…I don’t wanna go without Your touch, without Your love filling me like an ocean, Your grace is enough…for me…’ (‘I Don’t Want To Go’).
RIYL: Avalon, Rend Collective Experiment, Josh Wilson, Francesca Battistelli
Buy the Album: iTunes/Amazon mp3