In today's music business, you'd be hard-pressed to find an artist with a stronger work ethic than Jadon Lavik. Less than a year after his most recent album, Lavik has mixed up another batch of his unique worship style, but this time, sans record label and outside producer. Art and Soul was produced entirely by Lavik himself, and his intent was clear: to provide a balance between the well-traveled road of acoustic worship and the open door of pop. "I have a heart for both, appreciate both, and recognize that I value and enjoy both," he says. Art and Soul is, without a doubt, a new step in Jadon Lavik's musical journey.
Art and Soul begins with the lighthearted single, "Shine," and it's here you realize something's a little different. There's a hint of growing maturity as Lavik sings "Teach me to speak the same words my life does..." and the minimalist piano notes ring throughout the melody. "Mighty God" is up next, and it takes on a decidedly more electric tone. As if responding to the laid-back pop of the first two tracks, the arguably best and most original song on the album, "Praise You," throws a Jack Johnson-esque, blues-infused curveball at the listener. "Done Great Things" puts a little synthesizer into the mix, and "Surrender" quickly (and perhaps, unfortunately) slows things down. Always on the positive side, Art and Soul contains a trilogy of songs straight out of 1 Corinthians 13, aptly entitled "Faith," "Hope," and "Love." To wrap it all up, Lavik's included the poppy-but-somber "Someday" (featuring a talented gospel choir) and an acoustic version of the earlier "Love."
A major goal of Art and Soul was to combine Jadon Lavik's flair for a worshipful tune and his penchant for spiritual acoustic pop. Lavik began this transformation with his last album, The Road, and to be honest, it really worked. Unfortunately, there's not much progress made with Art and Soul -- just when it starts getting good, it comes to a halt. The aforementioned "Praise You" was, in this reviewer's opinion, a stunning composition. If the album had continued on that path, it surely could've been a hit. This is not to say that the other selections are terrible, it's just that they aren't anything we haven't heard from Lavik before.
If nothing else, Jadon Lavik is remarkably hard-working. Many artists never reach the five album mark, let alone an independent fifth release in addition to a family and a ministry. For that, Lavik deserves the utmost respect. However, with the exceptions of "Praise You" and the 1 Corinthians 13 trifecta, Art and Soul falls relatively flat. If you're a fan of Jadon Lavik's previous work, this one's for you. If not, then purchase those four terrific tracks and call it a day.- Review date: 5/31/10, written by Garrett DeRossett of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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