Music Review: The Wait by David Leonard

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Updated June 07, 2019
David Leonard - Know Your Heart (Official Music Video)

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David Leonard has been playing, singing and writing music since college when he and friends formed the band Jackson Waters. He later performed with NEEDTOBREATHE before a season of recording as one-half of the GRAMMY Award nominated worship duo All Sons & Daughters. Based in Franklin, Tennessee, David has also been busy as an owner and producer for the Dove Award winning studio/indie label The Creak Music.

Now, the writer behind songs Great Are You Lord, All The Poor and Powerless and God Who Moves The Mountains returns with his first solo album, The Wait. Steeped in a sense of worshipful longing and wrapped around themes of identity and God's faithfulness, The Wait is David's story told in song.

The 12-track studio recording captures a season in David's life the good and bad, questions and hopes sung from the perspective of a husband, father, friend and child of God.

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The Wait by David Leonard
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All Sons and Daughters were a phenomenally successful Christian duo who brought the church some beautifully performed, and written, heartfelt worship. Last year that season came to an end, but it was always planned that they would both continue in their individual callings. So David Leonard brings us this album of worship which charts his worship and walk through different seasons of life that we can all identify with.

If you liked All Sons and Daughters because of the acoustic and folk sound that they brought then you this album may give you a bit of surprise because David has definitely brought a more electric sound to this album, even from the very opening of the first track. "Wanderer" is a song of someone who is living a life to please themselves, but as they do so they begin to realise that they are fooling only themselves. God will find that prodigal and bring them home, no matter how far they wander and remind them that they are a child of God. The emphasis of the first verse is very much on the vocal which is just overlaid over a pulsing electronic note, in the second verse we have some drums added, and as we get to the chorus things come together in a crashing declaration of being a child of God! The opening of "By My Side" has an industrial feel to it and reminds us of Christ's presence even in the darkest moments of our lives, it's also got a message for these times which we often forget, we are not in control, but Jesus is. Easier said than done, but there is a simple reminder that we have His presence, but we also have to let go and surrender to Him.

"Signs of Life" is an uptempo number which is how sometimes we feel alone, going through the motions, maybe feeling dead inside, but there is life to be found in God. When God speaks, how do we know it is Him? Through the clutter and noise of this world, it is sometimes hard to discern His voice to us, and this cry of the worshipper is found in "Know Your Heart" which has minimal backing but expresses the heart of the seeker, looking for the revelation of Gods heart for them and the world around them. The next two tracks are a slow-build song which starts with a great organ intro which is just over a minute long and then the song itself is a response from God. "Come As You Are" is for anyone struggling to hear or feel the presence of God, or feels a distance, this is our invitation to come to God as we are. We don't have to make ourselves right before Him to hear from Him or to feel His heart for us. This is such a beautiful song, as someone who sometimes feels God is distant and that I have to 'do' something to feel Him this is a reminder that I am already welcomed and accepted.

There's a shocking start to "Share This Burden" as there is a discordant piano to open, but this track is about community and as believers sometimes we are faced with things that we feel that we cannot carry alone. Jesus has promised that His yoke is easy and His burden is light, so we must remember first to share our burden with Him, but we are also in a community, whether that is church, or some other group, where we can share things and lift each other up, pray in agreement with each other and generally encourage each other in our faith and life. "There's Nobody" is about the desire to emulate Jesus in our lives, looking at aspects of Jesus' life and deciding that I want to be more like Him.

Waiting is something that none of us likes, and so often we feel like when we have prayed we have waited quite long enough, but sometimes we have to wait to see the answer to our prayers. So "I Will Wait" is a declaration song that we will wait on the Lord, but also in that time of waiting we can remind ourselves of what God has done for us in the past and that in the waiting we can praise God for what is going to happen. Often we can look to what we want to see in the future and we have a hope, but we forget to praise God for all the blessings and lessons that we are learning in the now. There is always a purpose in the waiting. It's in this time of struggle that sometimes we feel that God is distant and that is addressed in "Distant God" and reminds us that He is no such thing, God is always present in each moment and this track is a strong reminder of that!

Based on Psalm 139 v 23 -24 we have the track "You Know Me" where we marvel that God knows us and can soften our hearts and bring life to us again. God doesn't write us off, He knows us inside out, even the stuff we don't like and He forgives us and gives us new life. How we feel about ourselves, our failures and disappointments are not how God sees us! There is something of a similar theme in the next track "Threads" too. This is a song of surrender to allow God to unravel us into His amazing love. The final track of the album is called "The Little That I Know" and no matter how much we think we know about God we are still only barely scratching the surface of who He is. This song which is quite stripped back emphasises that the one thing we do know is that God is loving and good.

One thing I love about this album is that despite the slightly different style it's the vocal that really is the key focus for each and every track. These are not really Sunday morning worship songs, but they are definitely worship. These are a group of songs that deal with our fears and doubts, they speak to our failings, but also speak of the deep love of a Father who is, in His very nature, love. He is closer than we realise and any distance we feel is an illusion. For me "Share This Burden" and "Come As You Are" are two of the best and most needed songs that I have heard in quite a while. This is really an excellent album and I know that this is one that will be in my personal playlist for a long time. It might have a different sound to it from All Sons and Daughters, but the heart behind it is still one of worship and David Leonard is one of the best writers in the Christian arena at the moment. Not everything works on this album but there is certainly a lot more that hits the mark than misses it!

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