Prime Cuts: Weak, Proudly, Trusted, Heaven's Eyes
Overall Grade: 3/5
Think JJ Heller or Audrey Assad or Kristine DeMarco. Though Jillian Edwards may be the daughter-in-law of Grammy winner Steven Curtis Chapman, her songs bear little sonic resemblance to his. Instead of emanating from a rock-pop palette, the songs of Edwards move in the ethereal balladry sphere. What works in Edwards' favor is that she has a soft breathy vocal expressing a deep-seated vulnerability, making these songs tug at the heart. If you are into worship music that comes across like a contemplative and poetic post from a blog, these seven tracks will work wonders for you.
What could easily be a career song for Edwards is "Weak, Proudly." The song's picture of letting Jesus on the throne while we sit on the mat is so endearing, and yet it is so much needed today. This is precisely what worship is about. Another favorite is the acoustic-sounding "Trusted." The song is prided for the variegated contexts Edwards creates to show how Jesus can be trusted: the falling the sky, the darkness, and the storms. And for Edwards to sing about hearing the voice of Jesus in these cacophony of disruptions is just priceless.
There's so much truth in a song like "Heaven's Eyes." Edwards captures poetically how fickle our heart with lines like "Your mercy's a song that I know by heart/but I forget the words the moment I start to trust/anything else or anyone else but you." Then she counter our capriciousness with such sweetness of Jesus that you can't help but melt into worship. Of note is the title cut "Meadow," a song that marvels at the closeness of Jesus; it's also the only song on the record with a more prominent beat and drive.
Like many singer-songwriter projects, there's a same-ness that prevails over the entire record. A couple of the songs such as "But I Know You" and "Mighty God" may have merits on their own. But after reflective tracks like "Heaven's Eyes" and "Weak, Proudly," these similarly-sounding ballads could be substituted with songs of a different tempo and style, making the record sound more diversified.