Just about the only memory I have from the first time I visited Walnut Creek Church is that there was a guy smoking outside the front door. I mean, he didn't even seem embarrassed about it. The front door, people.
It turned me off. I immediately questioned what kind of church would condone such activity and speculated on all of the other ways they were turning a blind eye.
Fast-forward 14 years later, and I work at that church. I'm literally sitting at my desk in their East Village location writing this article. What in the world happened to me?
The Man in the Mirror
My freshman year of college, I came face-to-face with the messy path of pursuing the person of Christ with others or loving the tidy life I had laid out for myself in isolation. I think this is why I resonate with Andrea Marie's new album, Low.
In her latest release, she sings like someone who is looking in the mirror and having the kind of moment where you examine your face and wonder, "Who have I become? What am I doing? Why is life so messy?"
"In her latest release, she sings like someone who is looking in the mirror."
Andrea Marie, who is a member of the Knoxville-based band, United Pursuit, is married to popular worship leader and recording artist, Will Reagan. The Reagans are part of a collective of musicians who play a live-streamed worship concert each Tuesday night from the Fifth Ave House in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Low, which is Andrea Marie's second solo album, is filled with piano-driven introspection and brilliant vocal writing. Thematically the project is clearly spiritual but feels intentionally devoid of specific Biblical references. The album vacillates between cinematic and simple, dramatic and innocent, reflective and groovy.
The title track, "Low", is the album's strongest cut. Thoughtful drums, a memorable hook, and rich strings will get you looking forward to the next track.
The album reaches an emotional climax on "Are You There", when Andrea Marie ponders, 'Where are you? Are you there?' and 'If I saw you out walking, would I know that it's you?'
"Beyond My Years" is a beautiful piece about love, regret, and assurance. "Feel it All" and "The Truth About the World" riff on the desire for significance and authenticity.
The Art of Evoking
Do yourself a favor and let Andrea Marie lead you on a journey of confession and self-examination. Low is so special that I didn't even notice she is smoking on her album cover.