AN NRT EXCLUSIVE CONCERT REVIEW
A Night with Jessa Anderson
NRT's Kevin Davis shares his experience hearing Jessa and Jordan Anderson play at his church in Quakertown, Penn.
 


Drawing from an influential pool of strong female songwriters such as Sara Groves, Nichole Nordeman and Ginny Owens, Jessa Anderson's music reflects a constant wrestling with the unknown and the darkest parts of humanity right alongside the gritty, everyday things that make up the human life.

"I always gravitated toward women who were writing their own music and just that honesty. That's what I like to listen to, and hopefully that's what I'm communicating when I'm writing songs, too," she shares.
 
Jessa and her husband, Jordan Anderson, blessed my church, Calvary Chapel of Quakertown, Penn. with an acoustic night of worship on Saturday, Oct. 13, 2012. They were looking for an opportunity to reach listeners with their music, message and ministry. This event was created with Jessa's fans in mind, providing an intimate night of worship and fellowship. They also led worship at both of our morning church services, blessing us with the beautiful and reverent leading of worship staples, "Desert Song," "Lead Me To The Cross," "Hosanna," "How Deep The Father's Love For Us," "Christ Is Risen" and "Stronger," along with Jessa's original worship song "Worship The Lamb."
 
They opened the concert with "Not What I Thought," which was also released as a single prior to the release of their current album and is one of many standout songs on Not Myself Anymore. Although at first the song seems to be a fun pop song, wait until you really savor the lyrics and Jessa's emotional vocals, and then the weight of her songs will hit you. 
 
In "Not What I Thought," Jessa weaves her story into a hooky song and confesses, "I have learned to use this love as a weapon, I am caught up by the common as usual, I have nearly followed `til my Spirit was numb, I continue the ascent of never-ending, collecting all but things that matter the most." Those are some of the strongest and most honest lyrics I've heard in the past year, all in a song that reminds me musically of hit songs "99 Times" by Kate Voegele and "You Belong With Me" by Taylor Swift however rather than singing about being jilted by a boyfriend, Jessa is confessing directly to God.
 
"One of my favorite songs to do live is ‘Everybody Has Those Days,' because I'm seriously having one of 'those' days all the time! I'm so clumsy!" laughed the transparent songwriter as she introduced her next song. "I have these near-misses all the time! Let's be honest: everybody has bad days." 
 
She was quick to add that being a Christian doesn't mean life is always perfect, but that "God is good at the end of the day." "Everybody Has Those Days" is a deceptively upbeat song that once again hits me where I am emotionally when Jessa confesses, "No one ever accused me of being the best, And no one really understands what's going on in my head, I'm feeling alone and I'm feeling like sort of a mess, Can't make sense of anything, And so I'm telling myself over and over again, Everybody has those days."
 
No matter where you are in your walk with Jesus, Jessa's song "Worship The Lamb" is a salvation message that causes me to break down and remember that Jesus truly came to die, and rose to set us free. There is nothing we have been given that is more valuable than our salvation. This song moves me to reflect on just how much Jesus endured for His bride to purchase us from the grave. "Worship The Lamb" is about submitting to the Lordship of Jesus over our lives and acknowledging that "All I am, At my best, I am merely a breath for You." Amen to that! 
 
Next she sang my new favorite Jessa Anderson song, "Giving Your Heart Away." She recently released an amazing music video, highlighted by great production, introspective lyrics and of course, Jessa's great singing. Jessa's an artist in every sense of the word. I'm captivated by how her new song moves me emotionally and connects me spiritually to the Truth behind the song "Giving Your Heart Away." (Check out the music video here.)
 
"Fireflies" is a hit song in any format, and has great biblical truth and has profound lyrics in the second verse professing God's brilliance, "Everything around me, Reflects Your light, You shine brighter than fireflies, I'm surrounded by Your brilliant glow, And I marvel in wonder at the sight I behold, I am running with an empty jar, Want to capture it all, I'm chasing after Your heart."
 
If you like "gourmet" music with heart-wrenching lyrics like JJ Heller and Sara Groves, Jessa's music is for you. One of the stand-out moments of the concert was when Jessa performed the title track, "Not Myself Anymore." The song has a bluesy Brit-pop piano style emotional vocal like Adele's hit song "Someone Like You," and it's also a break-up song. However redemption is found in last line, "So why can't we just be friends, When that's all we were before?" 
 
What's so relatable is how Jessa's "relationship" songs are relevant for everyone. If you know Jesus, then you especially know the ultimate answer to the quest for love can only be found in Him which is Jessa's conclusion in every song.
 
Another song that captivated me was her closing song, "I Won't Break." Musically, it has a Brit Rock guitar riff, and it moves me like "Fix You" by Coldplay.
 
Jessa's album is truly the CCM album and artist I've been waiting for as a major fan of mainstream pop song singer-songwriters like Kate Voegele, Taylor Swift and Colbie Caillat. If you like Bethany Dillon, Sara Groves and Audrey Assad, you probably like female singers that make you think while you enjoy their sweet vocal style and catchy, worshipful songs. Not Myself Anymore by Jessa Anderson is one of the most captivating albums I've ever heard, and was one of my Top 5 Albums of 2011. Don't hesitate to host Jessa and her husband Jordan at your church. You'll be blessed, nourished and refreshed.

NRT Lead Contributor Kevin Davis is a longtime fan of Christian music, an avid music collector and credits the message of Christian music for leading him to Christ. He lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and three daughters.

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