“How do I grieve what I can’t let go? It’s got a hold on me.” Coming out of what she calls an “irrational season of doubt” sparked by distress for suffering people around the world, and especially in her ancestral home of war-torn Syria, Assad sings with renewed conviction in the truths on which she bases her life.
As on her 2016 album, Inheritance, classic hymnody echoes through these songs. “Drawn to You” quotes “Christ the Solid Rock.” The exquisite “Immanuel’s Land” retunes Anne Cousin’s 1854 poem “The Sands of Time Are Sinking.” The joyous “The Joy of the Lord” even ends with a few rounds of the children’s chorus “I’ve Got a River of Life.” “Little Things with Great Love” and “Teresa” pay tribute to the compassion of Calcutta’s most famous
Piano remains Assad’s primary instrumental tone, but accompanied this time around by more sequenced percussion and spacious synths than usual.
Co-produced by Assad with Bryan Brown and Ben Shive, most of the tracks gravitate toward the contemplative and somberly shimmering, but much-in-demand rapper Propaganda adds an unexpected but welcome edge to the trance track “River.” Gospel singer Jason Eskridge deserves special mention for elevating “The Joy of the Lord” and “Wounded Healer” into something extra-special. Assad’s own luminous voice remains as longing and expressive as ever, a welcome balm for all seeking refuge in the God who knows the answers that
we do not.