Fresh, yet Cozy| Posted February 15, 2018
Singer-songwriter Jordan Whitmore's first outing as her side project, EUFAULA (her middle name), is a soothing, heartening, Americana-tinged worship record that balances hymnlike rhythm, singer-songwriter emotion and corporate worship accessibility. Full of hopeful themes and vertical, unpredictable lyrics, Whitmore artfully puts her stamp on the worship genre with EUFAULA's debut, Between the Hills.
What it Sounds Like:
We're seeing worship infiltrate every area of music these days, and it's pretty awesome to see it find its way to Americana. Acoustic and slide guitars, B3 organ, Opry-style harmonies, fantastic production and a commanding (yet still gentle) vocal performance by Jordan Whitmore make this project stand out sonically.
Spiritual Highlights: Between the Hills contains a beautiful back-and-forth of themes, going from a declaration of our need for God, to a resounding song of His power and goodness and grace. This back-and-forth continues throughout the project. The final two songs talk about the day when everything will be made right in Christ, and tenderly detail the "beautiful exchange" of our heaviness for His rest.
Best Song on the Record:
"You Keep My Life," a beautiful take on Psalm 121, and a song that talks about how, despite dangers and troubles in this world, God has us in His hands. It's one of the more congregational, mid-tempo songs on the record, and thus, easier to sing along to.
EUFAULA is giving us something fresh (yet cozily familiar) in the worship space, musically speaking, at a time when experiencing something new is hard to come by.
Americana Worship| Posted February 01, 2018
EUFAULA is the second project for Dallas born singer-songwriter Jordan Whitmore. Her first full-length record, released in December 2014, was recorded with Austin producer Brian Douglas Phillips. After a successful Indiegogo campaign, she returned to the studio to work with Phillips using her middle name Eufaula as a new worship music identity to share songs inspired by scripture.
The 10 track album Between the Hills has a good mix of upbeat and reflective songs. Many of the songs are scripture or scriptural truths put to music as a way to process and heal from an especially difficult time in Whitmore's life. "Although it felt like my heart was breaking, I felt God nearer than ever," she has shared. "And through prayer and tears and meditating on God's promises, songs began to come to the surface."
"My Mountain" is thoughtful and meditative during the verses and brightens in the chorus: "He is the rock I stand on / when darkness covers the light / darkness covers the light." "I Am Loved" has an Ingrid Michaelson vibe with Whitmore showing off her vibrato while the song keeps a happy, chill, resting in God's love vibe. The electric guitar is used skillfully here, weaving in and out, filling out the song in certain places and taking other moments to add in riffs.
The second to last track "There is a Day" is led on the piano, and was inspired by John 16:33. This song encourages believers to look forward to the day "when we will weep no more / when all of our pain and sadness will turn to joy." Whitmore shares, "I think something special happens when we take a little bit to just focus on God and who he is. When we look to Him and remind our own hearts of His goodness and His faithfulness, it changes the way that we look at our situation and we find hope through that process." The chorus ends with the lyric "So we hold on hope / We know that there is a day."
The Bottom Line: EUFAULA's writing style leans toward Country/Americana, and her musical phrasing is reminiscent of Alison Krauss, although vocally she has a meatier, throaty sound. The lyrics of her new project Between the Hills marry both, resulting in an album that is heartfelt, offers hope and encouragement, and is an enjoyable listen.
Song to Download Now:
"I Am Loved" (Get it on iTunes here.)