Sommer Floyd’s bio begins: “If you look up ‘All American Girl’ in the dictionary, chances are the definition will be accompanied by a picture of Sommer Floyd. Growing up in Texas Hill Country, Sommer was an honor roll student, gifted athlete, beauty queen, and a genuinely nice person”. Becoming a young single mother to daughter Heidi led her to draw nearer to God and her family. She began to write songs. She says: “Putting my brokenness on paper helped to get me through the hard times and the lyrics started to turn into worship”. Her debut album RAY OF LIGHT (2016) was produced by Steven V. Taylor, who has worked with the likes of Michael W. Smith, Matt Redman, and Veggie Tales. Sommer’s co-writers are: Chris Lockwood, Ira Shane Floyd, Phil Holt, Shyler Floyd, David Floyd, Terri Floyd, and Heidi Floyd.
The title track, ‘Ray of Light’, is up first. This country/pop song inspired by a lazy summer afternoon with her young daughter Heidi, was a #1 Christian radio hit for Sommer. It expresses her desire to make a positive difference in the world in which she lives: “I wanna be a ray of light/I wanna show the way You shine/I want the world to fall for You on their knees/For all You’ve done in my life/Lord You made the sacrifice/I wanna touch the world like a ray of light/Redeemed by the cross/I will share of how You touched my heart”. ‘Stronger’ is a beautiful country ballad written for one of Sommer’s friends battling leukemia. The chorus is a heartfelt prayer: “Meet me in this place/Down here on the floor/Shower me with grace/Cause I need You more/Lift me up so high/Help me overcome/With Your healing hands/Only You can make me/Stronger (3X)/You make me/Stronger (3X)”. ‘How You Love Me’ is a fantastic worship song: “What a sacrifice, what a perfect Savior/You died upon the cross to save a wretch like me/You are worthy, worthy/I fall down at Your feet/Crying holy, holy/Your love is all I need/And Your beauty takes my breath away from me/And how You love me”.
‘Drop and Run’ is a melodic song of spiritual invitation: “Drop and run/To the Keeper of the stars/Drop and run/He’s there with open arms/He loves you more than you’ll ever know, more than you’ll ever know/So, lay down your burdens/There’s no need to fear/Whatever you’re holding/Give it all to Him”.’Children of God’ is an adult contemporary worship song: “In Your presence we belong/Hear our voices sing this song/’We are the children of God/Hallelujah/We are the children of God/Sing His praises/Almighty is the King/He is our Victory/And we are the children of God/Hallelujah!’ (2X)”
‘I Need You’ is a pretty country ballad that acknowledges a need for God: “Even in the night, You will be my light/Faithful, You are faithful evermore/So down this path I pray/You bring me back to truth/So, I’m calling out, I’m calling out to You, oh.../To cast my fears away/Renew my hope and strength/And lift me up to heights I’ve never been/Every moment of this day/I’m holding on by faith/So lift me up to heights I’ve never been/I need You”. ‘Working on Me’ includes the following bridge more of us need to grasp fully: “The past is in the past/And there’s no more looking back/There are greater things in store/Because of You”.
The next song, ‘Let it Rain’, has Christian Adult Contemporary Radio hit written all over it style-wise! The lyrics are poetic: “Pour Your mercy down upon me/Wash me in Your grace/When I call out Your Name/It’s more than I can take/Who am I that You would hear my cry/There’s joy and there is pain/But there’s power in Your praise/Cause You open up the flood gates in my life/Lord let it rain”. ‘Little Boy’ is a marvelous inspirational story song: “Little boy all alone/Always wondered who God was/He begged ‘Mom, Dad, please can I go?’/Never heard between the yelling and slamming doors, the little boy was gone.../Little boy met a girl/So lost in this big world/She said ‘I don’t know what you see in me’/Little boy took her hand and told her God has the perfect plan.../Little boy leads a church, little girl amazed how God works/Bringing people to the Word of God...”
‘Lighthouse’ delves into the rock music category, but I would have made it an even heavier, grittier track! On it, Sommer praises God: “Every fear has been washed away/I`d be lost if it weren`t for grace/With my eyes on You/My faith is strong/In the darkest nights I will carry on/You will be my Lighthouse whoa/Lighthouse whoa/Whoa, oh, oh”. A very slow, traditional version the classic hymn ‘Great is Thy Faithfulness’ follows. The original writers are Thomas Chisholm and William M. Runyan. It fits well on this album.
‘He is Good’ reminds me of the light pop/worship stylings of Twila Paris. It declares: “He is good, He’s so good/He’s the Master of creation/He carries you and me/He is good, He’s so good/The fulfiller of the empty/The sound of joyful praise/He is good/Oh salvation/Living Water/The Lover of my soul”. On the final song, an easy listening one, ‘Live Like Jesus’, Sommer shares her deepest desires: “Live like Jesus lived/Love like Jesus loved/Help just like the healer of the universe/Pray like Jesus prayed/Give like Jesus gave/Shine for Jesus rose on that third day”.
Sommer Floyd is a beautiful Christian lady and this, her debut album, RAY OF LIGHT, is also simply beautiful. What a tender, moving, passionate voice God has given this lady! It is great to see that she is using it for His glory. These are songs that document the intimate relationship we can have with our faithful, loving Father God. The use of The Nashville String Machine is a big bonus on this peaceful, soothing album. What sets Sommer apart from so many female CCM artists is first, her country music vibes sprinkled throughout RAY OF LIGHT, and second, her refusal to be flashy and to conform to a set musical formula. Sommer sings from the heart and we all benefit from it! This record is a breath of fresh air. I’m rating it 88%. For more info visit: www.sommerfloyd.com or connect with her on Facebook.