Brooke Barrettsmith was a contestant on American Idol in 2006 who reached the top 40. She went on to tour with the likes of Pillar, Wavorly, and Building 429. On her self-titled debut album (2008, Essential Records) she co-writes all ten songs. Her co-writers are: Aaron Sprinkle, Jason Ingram, Doug McKelvey, Matt Bronleewe, Adam Smith, Rob Hawkins, and Justin York. In the album’s credits she thanks “Jesus Christ-my Savior, my life. May I always serve You with passion and devotion, on and off the stage. I dedicate this album to you. I love You, Father.
First up is ‘Right Now’, an all out rock song about being given a clean slate in life: “New day/Moving beyond what broke me down/Letting go/I’m giving it all up to be found/I never thought a second chance would ever let this day begin/I never thought I’d be the one to show the world You’ve overcome/I can start again.../I wanna stand my ground in every circumstance/I won’t let ‘em keep me down/You’ve given me a second chance/Given me a second chance”. ‘More Real’ speaks of the Lord’s goodness to us: “I’m about to break/In this lonely place/I cry Your name/You are more real/Than the tears that are filling my eyes/Than the heartache I’m holding inside/You’re my hope in the darkest of times/Like the moon that illuminates the night/In light of all I feel/Jesus, You’re more real”.
‘Farewell’ urges us not to be caught up in our regrets: “Say farewell to all, all of your mistakes/Forgive yourself/It’s a brand new day.../The future is redemption/Your story of escape.../Salvation is waiting for you/Your heavy heart can be carried for you”. ‘Quiet my Heart’ is appropriately a piano-based ballad. It reminds us that we ought to spend quality time with the Lord on a regular basis: “I get stuck in between/Yesterday and all that tomorrow brings/When all that You want from me/Is that I come and sit at Your feet/And know that You are God.../Open my eyes to take in Your beauty/Keep me here in this place/Take me in Your embrace/There’s no place I’d rather be than right now”.
The next song is called ‘Breakthrough’. Anyone who has ever experienced a spiritual valley will be able to relate to these pleading words: “Breaks the heart inside of me/Stuck in the dark and I can’t see Your light/Like it used to shine on me/Miss the way it used to be/Running free and feeling so alive/Take me there again/I know You hear me/I know You’ll help me”. ‘Father’ is a mid-tempo, worshipful song of gratitude and commitment: “Thank You for saving my soul/Oh Father/I thank You for giving me hope/Oh Father/I promise my love to you/And I will follow You always/My Father”.
‘Anymore’ is a heavy rocker that includes these emotionally charged lyrics: “Your words can cut so deep/I can’t stop the bleeding/Do you find pleasure in/In watching me scream?/I feel the sting/(Are you happy now?)/Nothing is sacred/You’re not yourself.../Look at me when I am talking to you/You never listen, never follow through/Look at me, I’m talking to you/You never listen”. ‘OK’ is a catchy electric guitar and drum driven song of encouragement: “It’s ok to be afraid/Just fix your eyes above/And it will be O, be O, be OK/It’s OK, cuz you are safe/Don’t lose your faith/And it will be O, be O, be OK.../You’ve got to trust, God hears your cries/Don’t, don’t, don’t you worry”.
‘Quiet Streets’ is all about sharing the good news of the Gospel with others: “When did we dress up in secrets?/Why are we ashamed to shout His name?/If you’re waiting for the perfect moment/If there ever was a time, it’s now/Go on now, take it to the quiet streets/The truth is screaming to be free/Go on now, take it to the quiet streets/The truth is screaming”. ‘Paper Tigers’ finds Frederick Williams on piano and Chris Carmichael responsible for strings. This closing song assures us all is not lost when we are afraid: “Oh, surrounding you a storm is raging/So look around, don’t you fear/Paper tigers are your enemy/I know they seem real/Stretch out your hands and feel/The wind against your fingertips/And know that help is here/Right here”.
It is pleasant to be reminded that there are female Christian artists who enjoy playing rock music. The Christian market is flooded with female pop and adult contemporary artists. Brooke’s voice is well suited to her chosen genre of rock on this album. Her vocals are not drowned out by the instruments. The photos of Brooke included with this project are stunning. I’m recommending this self-titled debut to fans of Krystal Meyers, Kutless, and Flyleaf, and rating it 85%. For more info look up Brooke Barrettsmith on Facebook.erHerH