I’ve loved Jason Gray’s music long before a major record label came calling for him. When I was working in Christian radio in Minnesota in the late 90s, I first discovered him as a local talent and was blown away by the honesty and transparency of his music.
As the years have progressed, Jason’s just gotten better and better. His latest release, A Way To See In The Dark, just elevates him to a whole new level. The interplay between his acoustic guitar driven tunes coupled with subtle electronic touches and unusual percussion mixes brings Jason to a place where he really elevates the music you could hear on Christian radio.
The opening track and single “Remind Me Who I Am” is not only the opening statement of the project but it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the disc. Honesty in lyrics, a cry to God for Him to speak in our lives, almost overshadows the music. I loved the percussive thump driving the song. The video is below…watch and enjoy or play the track while you read the rest of the review.
The whole album has tracks that just slammed my soul. I’ll be up front and admitting that this album hits me right where I am right now so it’s possible you won’t have the same impact by these songs. Still, lyrics like this sample from “Without Running Away” carry a weight that can impact anyone at any time:
Where pain’s an addiction
That keeps me buried alive
But when it’s all that I know
I’m afraid to leave it behind
Haven’t we all been in that place? Where we’re hurting but the unknown might be worse so we stay trapped in the pain where we know what’s hurting us? And the simple music arrangement on that song just enhances the confessional feeling of the song.
Fear is a major theme in this record. Two of the strongest tracks, “Fear Is Easy, Love Is Hard” and “No Thief Like Fear” tackle the idea of fear being a major mountain in our way. ”Fear Is Easy, Love Is Hard” really resonated with me not only lyrically but the guitar mix on the song has a strong, haunting quality to it that reminds me of the California rock/country sound of the late 80s. There’s an Eagles-esque feeling to that guitar tone and hook.
The album is full of lyrics that just hit home with me (and I’m sure many if not all will hit home with you). The song “The Other Side” just speaks a lot of the things I’ve come to realize through a difficult year.
On the other side it’s easier to see the way
His hand provides just in time to save the day
And I realize the mountains I was scared to climb
Aren’t as big as I thought they were
When I’m on the other side
It’s getting to that other side that’s the problem!
Overall, this is a very solid album from top to bottom and Jason Gray’s best full length effort to date. It’s well worth your time to pick it up through iTunes or from a website called The Rabbit Room.
(Note: No FTC required disclaimer here. I didn’t get anything for free to review the album.)