Saturday, March 08, 2014

CITY HARBOR


In Matthew 11:28 Jesus says: “Come to Me all who are weary and I will give you rest”.  City Harbor is the duo of Molly Reed and Robby Earle.  Molly has written on songs for artists such as Amy Grant, Francesca Battistelli and Danielle Bradbery.  She is married to Mike Grayson of MIKESCHAIR.  Robby has also been a songwriter and worked as a singer.  City Harbor’s full length debut is simply called CITY HARBOR (2014, Sparrow Records).  The producers are: Ben Glover, David Garcia, Ed Cash, and Matt Bronleewe.  In her thanks, Molly writes: “Jesus, great is Thy faithfulness.  Be glorified with each note we sing and each show we play because it is for You”.

‘Like I Am’, a cheerful adult contemporary song, starts things off.  It tells of God’s unconditional acceptance of us: “Somewhere in my desperation/You give me this invitation/To leave the guilt I’ve carried/To know that You accept me/Even with my complications/Your love has no hesitations/You see the good, You see the bad/And You love me, You love me like I am/I am not my failures/I am not my flaws/I’m not defined by my mistakes/Only by Your love”.  ‘Come However You Are’, the record’s first single, was penned by Molly Reed, Robby Earle, Ben Glover, and David Arthur Garcia.  This one is a light pop song of spiritual invitation: “Come with your regrets/Come with the things you can’t change/Come with all your fears and all your shame/With everything/Come with the pieces of your bruised and broken heart/Don’t wait, don’t wait.../Come however you are/Come with all your heartbreaks/Come with all the mistakes you’ve made/And lay them down at the cross”.

Molly Reed wrote the nice ballad ‘I Still Believe’ alone, when she was battling depression.  It speaks of the blessed hope we have as believers in Christ: “I know that it is not the end/On the day that I take my last breath/You will be there to welcome me forever for eternity/And that’s the reason I believe”.  I can hear country music influences on ‘Lift It Up’.  This song includes these great words of faith: “How many times God/Have You been faithful?/I know You’re right here/I know You’re able/You’ve got a plan God/Your timing’s perfect/Even in the darkness/I know You’re working”.

‘Somebody Tell Them’ is an inspiring song that urges us to share the hope we have found in Christ with others: “There’s a child on the subway/His story’s written on his face/The pain he’s felt is enough to fill a lifetime/He doesn’t know any other way/Somebody tell him that the lost are saved/Somebody tell him that his debt’s been paid/And let him know Love is calling out his name/Somebody tell him he’s a child of the King/And there’s an end to the suffering”.  Justin Ebach, David Moffit, and Ben Glover wrote the quiet, pretty song ‘I Will Rest’.  It points to God as the ultimate Source of security: “I will rest, I will rest/In the promises that You have given me/I will rest, I will rest/All Your goodness and mercy follow me/They follow me.../You’re my shelter, my refuge, fortress for my soul/I will trust You/You’re my Shepherd...”

‘Heartbeat’ is an upbeat song of testimony: “I remember the first time that I felt You in my life/I was different for good/I started seeing the world with new eyes/A new hope, a new mind/And that’s when I finally understood/You are the center of everything/And You are moving inside of me/You are the heartbeat (3X)/You put the light inside my eyes/You make me come alive”.  ‘Your Love Still Wins’ utilizes strings by David Henry and contains these intimate words of inner dialogue: “Sometimes the days go by and I start to wonder/Why pain lives on/Why we have to suffer/And I don’t understand and I might not ever/But I do know that You walk among us/And I hold on to the things You’ve promised/This world will put up a fight, but You’ve conquered it/Whatever comes in my life/Your love still wins (3X)”.

‘You’re There’ would be a nice fit on daytime Christian radio musically.  It tells of God’s faithfulness: “In the middle of the night, You’re there/When everybody’s giving up, You’re there/When I’m falling and crashing/Wondering, asking/Does anybody out there care?/You loved me through my deepest pain/You’re with me on my darkest days/And I’m never alone ‘cause wherever I go/You’re there”.  The last song ‘Leave It Here’ has Molly Reed, Jason Walker, and Connie Harrington as writers.  It offers us a simple, yet profound, solution to life’s troubles: “There is healing at His feet/Suffering finds complete relief/Trade your fear and pain for peace”.

Robby Earle says: “In the midst of so much darkness, it’s so incredible to sing about what’s good and true.  We all have this need, this insatiable longing for something more”.  To their credit, City Harbor does not take a preachy tone, and they don’t talk down to their audience.  Molly and Robby share lead vocal duties and their voices go well together.  This album sounds very contemporary and relevant to young adults musically.  Fans of FFH, Jenny & Tyler, and Love & The Outcome will like CITY HARBOR.  I’m rating the album 88%.  For more info visit: www.cityharbormusic.com and www.sparrowrecords.com.  This Spring the duo will tour with Sidewalk Prophets.