|Encouragement For The Fatherless | Posted August 25, 2014
Couple Brian and Christa York first met as vocal students at the musically inclined Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee, where they soon realized a common link between themselves: Christa's father died of cancer when she was a child, and Brian never knew his biological father. The two bonded over their shared knowledge of what it's like to grow up without a father. Thus For the Fatherless was born. Their passionate mission is to let people know that "We all share the same Father who loves us more than we can understand, regardless of our experiences with our earthly fathers." And they strive to preach that message through the medium of music.
Now living in Buffalo, New York, For the Fatherless is releasing their debut album to the world. On this album, For The Fatherless emotionally stirs their audience with their charming folk duets and their reassuring message that God is the perfect loving father that every one of us needs.
The album starts off with the uplifting "Not of the Night," and immediately Brian and Christa's years of vocal training is felt. Their voices are clear, powerful and blend harmoniously together as they rejoice that our identity is found in something bigger than our mistakes and failures. Following the opener is what I would consider not only the best song on the album but one of the most powerful songs of the year. "What This Love Is For" is a pure gospel message: "Calling all the broken, calling all the poor, calling all the ones who are hungry for more, that's what this love is for. Come to the table, come take your place, come to the feast there are none turned away, that's what this love is for." It is a lyrically refreshing song that truly makes the love of God present.
A series of three inspirational ballads follows, bringing more truth and comfort to listeners. "Learn to Love" features a standout verse from Brian as they wrestle with the struggle of selfish ambition and the need to love. The simple piano and strings arrangement of "Unfailing Father" is a nice change, although the lyrics and theme are very similar to "What This Love Is For." Closing out the slow set is "My Anchor True," which features another building arrangement as Brian and Christa declare that God alone is strong enough to hold onto.
Succeeding the series of five ballad-style songs, is a sudden change to three up-tempo songs in a row. The first of these, "Good Things," while it's still encouraging, falls a little flat with well-tread lyrical themes. "The Waking Hour" and "The Time For Singing Has Come" follow up with a similar catchy sound (reminiscent of Casting Crown's "Thrive") and the theme of arising to praise and glorify God. Things slow down again with "Welcome Us Home," which is a really powerful track that says "Father to the fatherless, You restore our brokenness, Father to the homeless hearts, We belong inside your arms."
Bringing For the Fatherless to an end is definitely the most sonically different song on the album. "Child of the King" has a waltz-y feel accompanied by accordion and a soft use of acoustic fingerpicking on the guitar reminiscent of the recently disbanded The Civil Wars. It creates a nice end to an album full of truth and encouragement as it continues to remind us that God has adopted us and called us His own.
For the Fatherless is a solid, catchy, and moving debut full of important messages presented by powerful vocals. The emotional arrangements of many of the songs just add emphasis to their words. If their mission is to comfort us and help us realize that we all have a perfect Father in heaven, they are doing things right. With songs like "What This Love is For" highlighting the album (and the year), Christian music fans should definitely be picking up this release.
There is some room for improvement for the duo as the themes and lyrics tend to become a little bit repetitive by the end of the album. Rearranging the track listing so that the three up-tempo songs were more spread out also would have been a nice change. Regardless, it's an overall wonderful release that I have been and will be listening to over and over again.
Song to Download Now:
"What This Love Is For"
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