Acclaimed singer, songwriter and author Audrey Assad releases amidst 5-star acclaim today (Feb. 23) her first album of all new songs in four years, Evergreen, from Fortunate Fall Records with Tone Tree Music distribution. The album is available at digital and streaming outlets globally, with iTunes, Spotify, Amazon.com and Apple Music accessible now through the link https://rma.lnk.to/evergreen.
Forging through the flames of personal pain in the deepest corners of her broken heart, Assad’s Evergreen features songs of rebirth, identity, the rebuilding of trust and discovery of joy and love. The album was conceptualized in the summer of 2016 when Assad reignited her musical friendship with “I Shall Not Want” co-writer Bryan Brown, who co-wrote and co-produced “Evergreen,” the first song from the sessions that cemented the album’s title.
“I remember looking up the tree of life and finding out that it was believed in some Jewish traditions to be a sycamore fig tree, which is evergreen,” recalls Assad. “I loved the idea that the tree of life, which I had always naively imagined to be some little backyard fruit tree, was actually a towering, season-less one. It is also said to be the sort of tree that Zacchaeus climbed to see Jesus, and that story has been a great comfort to me…”
The lead single from Evergreen, “Deliverer,” hearkens back to Assad’s hit-making streak on Sparrow Records, beginning with self-restrained beauty that eventually blossoms into a wall of sound as it speaks of Assad’s attempt to look at the term from fresh angles. “All along I had thought Jesus was my deliverer from God—it turns out that, among other things, Jesus actually delivers me from my worst ideas about God.”
Another standout on the album named a “masterpiece” by Aleteia is the sublime gentleness of the piano ballad “Drawn to You,” which includes a chorus co-written with Matt Maher while the verses were written after Assad’s first connection with her trauma therapist. “I wanted to compose something that honored my grief, and the pain in every human heart that might find a refuge in the song.”
There’s also the Celtic-flavored stomp “Wounded Healer,” which was co-produced with Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson, Brandon Heath, Colony House) and inspired in part by a book by Henri Nouwen of the same name. “I heard the term first from him and fell in love with the idea that Jesus rose from the dead still bearing his wounds and went to heaven with a wounded body. It's something I try to meditate on frequently, to seek out what mysteries God might be revealing about himself in it. I hoped to achieve an Irish sense of melody without a lot of traditional Irish sounds—layering and editing synth samples and pianos to create the sound for the opening line was one of my favorite things I did on the whole project.”
Receiving Apple Music / iTunes “Hot Tracks” and “Pre-Orders” features, adds to Spotify playlists such as “WorshipNow” and “New Music Friday Christian,” and placement on Amazon Music “Fresh Christian,” “Top Worship Songs” and more, Assad’s Evergreen is also gathering recent or upcoming covers, features and reviews in such diverse and significant media outlets as Charisma Magazine, Catholic Digest, HomeLife Magazine, Simple Grace, CatholicTV, JesusFreakHideout.com, HollywoodJesus.com, Worship Musician and many others.
Relevant Magazine says Evergreen is “chipping away at bad ideas about God” while Sojourners Magazine names the album “new and noteworthy.”
Highlighted as one of the top “albums to know,” CCM Magazine says the album mixes “courage, vulnerability, and hope in her poetic lyricism, lovely piano melodies and pristine voice” as The Christian Beat echoes that Evergreen is “a compilation of stirring and moving melodic songs” and Today's Christian Entertainment adds that it’s “certain to be one of this year's most memorable releases.”
“Trying to process all of the themes on Evergreen feels a little like excavating gems from marble: the treasures are deep and manifold, but even the process of handling such a quality encasement for them is a pleasure in and of itself,” writes NewReleaseToday.com’s Mary Nikkel in her first 5-star review in four years. “If you are a mourner, a worshipper, a skeptic or in any desperate want of spiritual shelter, Evergreen will feel like home to you…Evergreen will be one of the richest musical experiences of the year.”
“I hope that Evergreen is a healing oil in the wounds of whoever comes across it. I am stumbling towards health and wholeness and I desire that for anyone who hears this music,” shares Assad. “I recognize that some of the themes and stylistic choices are perhaps slightly different than where I have been camping as an artist for the past few years—but I am hopeful that it will be a solace and sanctuary for anyone who needs peace and joy in their lives. It has been a labor of hard-won love and emerged from the deepest parts of my spirit.”