Addison Road [Stories]
Posted June 16, 2010
For an “accidental” band formed in college by now husband and wife Jenny and Ryan Simmons, along with guitarist Ryan Gregg, bass player Travis Lawrence and original drummer Jeff Sutton, Addison Road sure has had a purposeful impact on Christian music. Their self-titled 2008 release on INO Records garnered strong reviews and chart-topping singles, and songs like ”All That Matters,” “What Do I Know of Holy?” and “Hope Now” still resonate with listeners. But the success became intermingled with a season of struggle. Their van and trailer were stolen twice, along with their gear, and once the van was finally recovered it was soon totaled in a collision with a fallen oak tree. The songs on their new album Stories became part of a theme without the band realizing it, a theme the members would soon experience quite personally. The first radio single, “Fight Another Day” (written by TobyMac), is a good example. “We’ve never done anybody else’s song, ever, but he felt sure the song sounded like us,” Simmons recalls. “We had no idea when we recorded lines about feeling the flames when the fire gets hot that we would actually have everything we own literally burn up in a fire.”
“Fight Another Day” is a great anthem in the style of Toby’s hit song “Get Back Up” and is a surefire hit for the band. I’m a huge fan of the electronic music of the 80’s and for me the best part of this album is the musically diversity of the songs. The pulsing beats of “Won’t Let Me Go,” “Don’t Wait,” and “Where It All Begins” which include a Depeche Mode type musical vibe blend perfectly with gorgeous ballads “Change In The Making” and “Need You Now.” “Show Me Life” actually features a synth-pop keyboard part, harmonica, guitar and banjo all in one song which for me is musical genius.
As if those songs aren’t enough to make this an incredible step forward for this up and coming band, the true stand-out songs for me are the incredible re-writes of sorts. “This Little Light of Mine” has the familiar chorus of the children’s song and is a stirring anthem written by Ryan Gregg. The song could be recognized as a tender letter of encouragement from parent to child, but it somehow takes on greater significance for any child of God seeking hope to keep battling through life’s journey. The other song that gives me goose bumps is the closing song “My Story,” which Jenny wrote based on the hymn “Blessed Assurance.” The song’s message arose from a time when Simmons was so empty and exhausted that she questioned her calling in music ministry. A good friend confirmed her feelings, but then reminded her of her place in God’s plan, saying, “The only thing I know for sure is that I’ve watched you over the last five years be a part of God’s story. This isn’t about you, it isn’t about your family or your story, it’s about you being a part of God’s story.”
The messages behind the songs are what truly lift this album to that upper echelon of albums released this year, and for me this is one of the top 5 albums of the year. This is a 5 star album. If you liked Addison Road’s debut album, then you’ll absolutely LOVE Stories . This is an excellent album and I can’t get enough of the musical hooks, Jenny’s vulnerable and sincere vocals and the extremely poignant lyrics.
Rating: 9.7 out of 10 (97%, A+)
Review written by: Kevin Davis | Review can also be found here.
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