Mike Donehey, a songwriter, performing artist, author, and podcaster to name just a few titles, is set to release his first solo album.
Encouragement. Radical vulnerability. Acknowledgment. Acceptance. Mourning. Honesty. These are just a handful of the topics Donehey tackles in his upcoming collection of eleven songs birthed out of his struggle to learn what it takes to truly flourish in any and every circumstance.
When the world was impacted by the pandemic, Donehey, like so many others, found himself struggling. Tenth Avenue North, the band that he founded and led for so many years, was amicably disbanding and planning their farewell tour when everything stopped. With the tour canceled and the band officially over, Donehey found himself lost, not only about what his next steps were going to be but was feeling like - in his own words - a dried-out sponge.
Writing during the pandemic became the anthem he needed to sing for himself, and, as the title song explains, he directs to Psalm 126 that in Christ he has what he needs to truly flourish. "If you want more joy, allow sadness," Donehey says. "Grieve to get where you need to go because the more you shrink your sadness, you're numbing the pain of hope. Flourish isn't an album of naivete, it's acknowledging that I was in a desert to appreciate the streams running through it."
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An Invitation to Flourish| Posted August 31, 2021 What You Need To Know
Although vocalist Mike Donehey only recently started releasing music as a solo artist, he's no stranger to the Christian music scene. For 20 years, Mike was the frontman for the celebrated band Tenth Avenue North. Shortly after they disbanded in 2020, Mike decided to continue to make music.
By the end of 2020, he released his debut single "Better," followed by two EPs. Flourish is Mike's first full-length solo album, featuring his hit radio single "All Together." The 11-track record, written during the COVID-19 pandemic, expresses Mike's desire to flourish through pain.
What it Sounds Like
Compared to Tenth Avenue North's albums, Mike's new album Flourish has a slightly different sound. With this solo project, Mike is inviting fans to see a more personal side of him. It feels like this is what Mike's career has been leading up to. The record is filled with honesty, and every song tells of what God has done in his life. All of these songs are raw and real, and it almost reminds me of Tenth Avenue North's The Things We've Been Afraid to Say EP. Mike's new music has a singer/songwriter vibe to it, and I love seeing him experiment with this project.
This album was birthed out of the pandemic. Without a doubt, 2020 was a year filled with division and heartache, but this record reflects the opposite. Every song, filled with unity, tells of how God can use pain and make it beautiful. The album has many different spiritual highlights, with valuable life lessons. It's filled with messages about God's faithfulness and His provision.
But, the biggest theme throughout the record is trust. These songs point to the character of Jesus and how He won't let us down. We can trust that He has a plan that is bigger than our own and that we're going to flourish in it. The title track says it all, "I'm gonna flourish/Your promises are water for my soul/I know I'm gonna flourish."
Best Song on the Record
There are so many great offerings on this record; every song is unique in its own way. But, the catchy opening track, "Standing At The Edge of My World," would have to be the best. It's a great intro to the album, setting the stage for the sound and theme of the whole record. The song's production is outstanding. It also has a sense of adventure, which invites listeners to take risks: "I can fail, but You won't/It's true/Every breath is an offer from You/Would it be enough to keep me from/Standing at the edge of my world."
Overall, Mike has released an impressive debut record. I've been a fan of Tenth Avenue North for years, but I was a bit skeptical when I heard that Mike would be releasing solo music. I knew it would be different, and it is. However, Mike continues to deliver powerful lyrics, just in a slightly different setting. This feels like a new beginning for Mike, and I can't wait to see what else he has in store for us.