Everything breathes freshness and authenticity in the new, self-titled album by acoustic-folk duo All Sons & Daughters. Leslie Jordan and David Leonard weave scintillating harmonies atop uncluttered arrangements and tasteful instrumentation. Like a rootsy version of Keith and Kristen Getty, All Sons & Daughters expresses scriptural truths in poetic fashion, making music form-fitted for personal, liturgical, and corporate worship.
This is no accident. Worship leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, Tenn., Jordan and Leonard were focused less on art for art’s sake than they were on writing music for their local body of believers. And they wanted it to be transparent, describing their music as “songs of desperation, acknowledging our need for God.”
A flurry of strings captures a bit of this desperation on the opening track “You Will Remain.” The steady heartbeat of a kick drum, however, soon brings stability from turbulence while Jordan acknowledges, “You, oh Lord, are my stay.” A melodious acoustic guitar soon picks up the groove and zips around like a playful lark while Jordan continues to spin the wholesome tale: “All I have is found in you/Christ in me all things true.” Gentle slide guitars trace out a big sky horizon of Jesus’ eternality, “You were/You will be/You always are/the great I AM.”
Turbulence takes more of a foreground role in “For Your Glory And My Good,” a raw and wry picture of spiritual struggle co-written with Derek Webb. “The older I get, the more I experience life, the more I experience my own depravity,” Jordan explained. A tango rhythm and Spanish castanets provide flavor as Jordan ruefully sings, “I’m not bargaining, for nothing’s hidden from your sight.” Rushing to Jesus makes her a fool in the eyes of the world but her great need drives her to embrace that mockery even as she embraces the lover of her soul: “Come ruin, come ridicule/for recklessly I come/I run to you.”
A simple prayer for safekeeping, reminiscent of the childlike “As I lay me down to sleep,” starts the action in “Tonight.” But soon Leonard is reflecting on the grand vista of God’s faithfulness where, “All I see is your beauty chasing me.” Dulcimer, banjo, drums, and hand-clapping launch the song into a Mumford & Sons-type jam celebrating, “Your Love is deep and Your love is wide/and I will rest in your arms tonight.”
Several songs on the album seem specifically liturgical, though this in no way lessens their personal appeal. The upbeat “Victory” makes a wonderful way—akin to communion—to celebrate, “In the final breath/of Love’s great death/a cry that shattered the veil.” Whereas, “We Give You thanks” seems like a benediction because that’s exactly how it is used, according to the duo.
Through spiritual reflections and accessible arrangements, All Sons & Daughters offers a unique combination of earthy and sacramental, providing the palpable sense that God breaks into ordinary lives and ordinary moments. They also give a renewed vision for the power and blessing latent in each local manifestation of the church universal. “We hope that somehow our story, and that fact that these songs are birthed out of community, instills some sort of passion and desire for local church again,” Jordan explained to The Church Collective.