Wander With Me: Overdue Review

Today I bring you a very special review of a very special item.

I realized that while I’ve shouted about this album rather a lot since it released earlier this year, I haven’t actually gone through and listed all the things I love about it! Which is a major oversight on my part. So… buckle up, because I have things to say!

Also, if you’re needing some Christmas shopping ideas… just sayin.

Wander With Me – this song invites the listener to come on the musical journey with the artist. It is a tribute to any creative person who has struggled from obscurity to any amount of fame, and highlights the true reason any artist puts their efforts out into the world: for the fans. And it is a sweet thank you note to those same fans, “For wandering along with me, I wrote this song for you.”

Wildflowers in a Mason Jar – John Denver is another all-time favorite musician of mine, but I have to admit, even he never sang this song so beautifully! This song hearkens back to a simpler time, and makes one long for the “good old days.”

Rise and Fall – this gorgeous gem of a song underscores the poignant theme of the entire album… encouragement. Brittany Jean sings from her heart the beautiful message of encouragement that can be given freely from one person to another. To root for someone through it all, to believe in someone’s talent when they can’t believe in themselves, to cheer them on until they are strong enough to find their own confidence, that is the message of this song. And really, what more could a person want than a fan like that?

Wilderness for Heart – this song is for the adventurers! It calls to those who yearn for the wilderness, who have a need to take the road less traveled. It celebrates those who don’t settle for the path of least resistance. 

Smoke and Mirrors – THIS SONG! What can I say? Powerful is simply not an eloquent enough word. With its meaningful lyrics and the gorgeous, deep tones of the cello underscoring the message, this incredible song is a beautiful, powerful tribute to the brave soldiers who were involved in the Benghazi attack of Sept. 11, 2012. The chorus, “I see you through the smoke and mirrors” may mean many things. Perhaps it means that some people can see who was truly responsible through all the “smoke and mirrors” that were used to cover up this fiasco. Or perhaps it is meant for the soldiers themselves, that some of us still SEE them, and remember their heroism and bravery in spite of everything that has been done to try to downplay their heroics and sacrifice. Either way, this is a new favorite of mine.

Dear Heart – This may be my favorite song on the entire album. (Though I could easily say that about every song). I’ve heard the artist say that this song was inspired by the moment in “Voyage of the Dawn Treader” by C.S. Lewis when Lucy calls out to Aslan in the darkness and an albatross suddenly appears and she hears Aslan’s voice saying, “Courage, dear heart.” And that is exactly what this song is. A burst of light into a dark world. It is like listening to a love-letter from God. This song is simply lovely, and in its uplifting lyrics and pretty melody, this song is guaranteed to speak encouragement straight to the heart of anyone struggling against discouragement and self-doubt.

Courage, Dear Heart

The Runaways – This cheerful, more upbeat song is a reminiscence of childhood. With a plethora of familiar childhood games mentioned (ghost in the graveyard, kick the can, bubblegum in a dish, etc) this song is sure to spark some sweet memories. But I also love how it turns the idea of a “runaway” on its head. The “runaways” in this song are not running AWAY from something, but rather TOWARD their dreams.

Then You Don’t Know Me – This is another song that turns things upside down. In an era where songs about breaking up and smashing someone’s car to pieces or waiting up with a shotgun for their significant other to show up or walking out and giving up are running rampant, this is a beautiful song about the courage it takes to stick with someone through tough times. In the song, it is clear that the singer’s love interest has fallen on hard times, and that he is expecting her to walk away. But… in a moment of steadfast loyalty and courage, the singer declares, “If you think I’ll run, think I’m out the door, if you think I’m gone, thinking I want more than you can give… then you don’t know me at all.” I have also heard that parts of this song were inspired by the mini-series “North and South.” For any who have watched that show, I’ll leave you to guess from what part.

Really, Truly, Only – This is a song for introverts like myself – and may be my favorite on the album, partially because I identify with it on a personal level, and also because I just love a song that makes me laugh, because not many do. Not sure if it’s the medium, but music that makes me laugh is rare, so I appreciate it more when I find one that does… if that makes sense. (This is a good one for anyone who loves an introvert, as well)! This song sweetly and oh, so gently pokes a little good fun at a glimpse of a classic introvert/extravert relationship, and it is so true and so hilarious. Makes me laugh every time I listen to it. I can see the entire story clearly in my mind as the singer paints me a picture of a fancy evening out, the rush of hugs and enthusiastic greeting of friends, and the introvert… trying gamely to keep a brave face, but really… they’d rather be at home… perhaps just hanging out with that ONE special person, the only person they can think of that they would choose to be with over being alone. *grin*

Like No Tomorrow – while Really, Truly, Only makes me laugh every time, this song brings me to tears each time I listen to it. With its poignant, achingly accurate lyrics about the agony of miscarriage, of losing a precious baby, this song portrays a glimpse into the lives of a couple hoping for a child and then dealing with the agony and sorrow of loss. “My heart broke across the kitchen floor,” the artist sings, and I am transported back to those moments of unutterable grief. In the final verse the song reveals their tentative joy of being granted a second miracle – and yet also the very real fear of losing yet another child – “I’m so scared to lose again.” Having lost two babies myself, this song speaks to my soul in a way few songs can, and despite the sorrow it reminds me of, it also soothes the ache. Though I never got to hold my sweet sparrows, I keep them in my heart forever. “Leave the storm behind just know that you were mine // Sparrow fly // I’ll love you like no tomorrow…”

Little Sparrow (3)

Forever Young – this final song is the perfect way to wrap up this album. I’ve never heard the original version by Bob Dylan, and I honestly have no desire to listen to it. Any other version of this song would simply fall short after hearing it in Brittany Jean’s soaring soprano.

I love every song on this album, and that’s not a normal occurrence for me. I eagerly await album #4!

Get your own copy of this delightful CD today (or grab a copy to give as a Christmas gift!)

Find out where Brittany Jean will be performing live!

Unlimited Dragon Eggs (but my graphic maxes out at five, so….)

dragonEgg5star

Also, completely unrelated, but “overdue review” is super fun to say. hehehe

~ jenelle

10 Comments

AJ Homes

Jenelle….this Review is as Beautiful as the Album and Music itself. The careful thought and writing that went into this Analysis/Commentary is SUPERB!

The two of you should collaborate on some songs once in awhile!

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Nancy Jean Walker

Superbly written, Jenelle! I love reading your take on the songs and it will add to my enjoyment when listening to this album. (But, I must say, while reading your review about “Like No Tomorrow” the print seemed to get a bit blurry!!) ;)
Thanks for sharing this!

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Brittany Jean

Oh, Jenelle… Thank you so much. You just made my whole year.
I’m sure you can relate with your books and beloved characters, but I’m always hoping my songs will find a home with someone… I’m so glad they have a home with you!

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E.F.B.

I love this review, Jenelle, and I think I’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with Brittany’s lovely voice. I’ll definitely be getting her music when I get my annual iTunes gift card for Christmas. :)

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