Is it linguistically correct to start out a story, paragraph, or in this case an album review with one simple word? If not, I guess language etiquette will be cast asunder as I begin this review with an emphatic…..
WOW! Being that Jodi is a self-proclaimed baseball fan, I was going to quote the Windy City’s very own Harry Carey and drop a classical “ Holy Cow!” but that’s two words and I didn’t want to change my opening sentence.
What do you do when you want to make a killer album? You head to the infamous Ranch of course, and team up with none other than Josiah Prince (of Disciple). Side note: I think someday soon, when Disciple introduces the band it will be “and on guitar is Josiah Prince of The Ranch…. Just saying. Okay, back to the business at hand. The cohesiveness and bond between these two artists is glaringly evident from the first cut of the EP. According to Jodi, Josiah brought his “forever rocker” style into the duo that meshed perfectly with the vision she had for her music. With the addition of his intuition and his rock roots, not to mention his producer “secret sauce” (apparently that’s an industry term) they created quite the artful mosaic of tunes.
“Fearless”, the EP, starts out with a familiar friend in the form of the previously released single, Offend. Being that once again I am late to the party on an artist, this was the first song of Jodi’s that I ever heard. From the moment I listened to the lyrics of Offend, I was hooked. I love the bold stance the lyrics take with the inquisitorial statement - “Would you offend for the Gospel?” Well, a quick listen on one of our live shows you would conclude that my answer would be a resounding, YES, yes I would! When a song shines the light on certain religious establishments who seem to dabble in the world and then drops the line “ a house of undone wretches, I’m all in! Next up on the EP is Jodi’s latest single release, and the title track of the EP, Fearless. When I first started listening to it, I thought I mistakenly tuned into a rugby match and The Haka was being performed. The chant on the intro of Fearless on paper might seem like an odd choice but in this instance, it not only works, it works brilliantly! This song is the epitome of a warrior’s battle cry that is sorely needed in today’s world with the constant attack that the enemy is throwing at many of us. The track is saturated with hope and that we need to stand fast and be fearless and that the one True King will lead us through all of our issues, anxieties, and fears.
Psalms 55:22 “Cast your burden upon the LORD and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken.”
Next up - another previously released track, Unravel where Jodi unleashes and showcases the strength and range of her vocals. If her voice in this song does not produce chills up your arms and back, it’s entirely possible that you are wearing every piece of outerwear from the Carhartt winter collection. And yes, this comes from someone that prefers metal over all other genres…. It is that good. I love how Unravel starts with an electro-pop vibe before Jodi comes in with her soft bluesy vocals that continue to build and build until we hit a ridiculously insane crescendo that brings the whole track together. Josiah’s addition of adding layers along with his seemingly magical way he uses his guitar riffs to coincide with Jodi’s vocals is simply amazing to listen to.
The EP continues with three brand new songs that each have the ability and sustainability to stand on their own as singles, and I’m sure they will be released as such in due time… at least they better be. Lean encourages the listener to lean on the rock, the word and stay steadfast in our fight. Such a powerful message again that is sorely needed in today’s world.
The next track is arguably the hardest song on the EP and to absolutely no surprise to anyone, could possibly be my favorite. The incredible guitar riffs along with kicking it up a notch on the drums (literally kickin it) on Bandaid makes this track the one that you are going to restart from the beginning multiple times. Jodi shows her diversity with her vocals as she comfortably drops into her “rock-chick” persona as she tells you to rip the band-aid off of your problems. This song has a fun-vibe feel to it, especially when she is razzing the imaginary “batter” (awesomeness - since I’m a baseball guy) all the while hitting on tough subjects. It emphasizes that we can’t just dwell on issues and remain stagnant, but rip the band-aid off and move on so you can grow in your faith and leave your troubles behind. Your scars will tell a story and will lead to a great testimony down the road, so trust in Jesus and continue down the path.
So how do you finish off an album that has a bit of everything as far as genres go? Well, naturally you go with a rock / reggae combo of course. Shine is a great way to finish off this fighter’s album with the instructions to go out and live your best Godly life. God gave you this wonderful gift of life so let your light shine brightly so people will want that spark that you have. It is a wonderful reminder that as Christians, we are often perceived, fair or not, by how we act and more importantly how we treat others. If we do indeed shine more of God’s light and less of our own, we will draw more people into the Kingdom.
The entire Fearless album is a call to all of us that no matter what the world may think, we must stand steadfast and strong and not give two cares about what they think of us. We must not be afraid to Offend for Jesus.
2 Corinthians 2:16 “To the one we are an aroma that brings death; to the other, an aroma that brings life. And who is equal to such a task?
Yes, I will choose the aroma of life and I have a feeling there will be quite a few people offended along the road.
This EP should gain major traction and hopefully will be picked up by Christian stations everywhere and dropped into their regular rotation because it has the ability to reach a wide range of people, believers and non-believers alike. If they do not add it to their regular rotation, I would offer them a little advice. Fire your program director, media director, or whoever else makes content decisions at your station because this is too good to “take a pass on”.
We love the fact that Jodi stands bold and fearless in a world that has become weak and fearful and is not going to waver from her ministry.
We need more Kingdom Warriors like Jodi Essex who are not afraid to call good, good and evil, evil.
Isaiah 5:20 Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.
Drew - Radio13.FM
Artist: Jodi Essex
Producer (and a whole lot of other stuff): Josiah Prince
Mix Master: Matthew Acaini & Sam Moses