JJ Heller is no newcomer to music. She has released plenty of independent albums and even gave us a full-length just last year. However, this latest release is a prequel of sorts. In the middle of recording Deeper, her song "Hands" took off. So JJ and her husband Dave began recording a different, more polished project that became When I'm With You. Thankfully, she has decided to not just let Deeper fall to the wayside but has released it for listeners to enjoy.
Opening the album is the thoughtful "I Get To Be The One." Easy listening music floods the track with soft acoustic tones and a smooth electric lead. New parents will love the gracefulness as JJ and Dave sing about how they get to be the ones to watch their children grow up. Sweet and sentimental are the words that come to mind as they sing together. That same feeling continues on the jazz infused "The Very Thought of You." Heller's vocals are reminiscent of the classic Disney song "So This Is Love" as she hums along at parts in the song. It's a simple and pure love song with no makeup or over-dressed music.
"In the End" features a melancholy folk melody as Heller sings of the dangers of materialism and how it will all fade away. Lyrically, it poses the same questions that can be found in Ecclesiastes in a very creative way. Continuing in the folksy feel is "Someday." Instead of just singing of life beyond the grave, Heller focuses on living in peace while still here on Earth. Heller also introduces some colorful imagery to her sound in "Red Against Your Black" and "Sunshine." While the former sings of love covering our transgressions and forgiveness, the latter sings of the finding the beauty of God in everything.
To make the album something special, there are the original acoustic recordings of some of the better songs on last year's release. "When I'm With You," "Control," and "Boat Song" stand out as being better than their polished versions. The raw sound of Heller's voice and the excellent guitar work of Dave truly shine. "No Fight Left" and "Kingdom Come" receive an excellent acoustic treatment and give the fan a great alternate version to listen to.
If When I'm With You was a good introduction for new listeners, Deeper is a more raw and real expression of who JJ Heller is. The music isn't cleaned and polished like many of today's artists; it's modest and untainted. Deeper is an incredible album for new and old fans alike and is perfect for the fall season. Do yourself a favor and get it now.- PReview date: 8/16/11, Review date: 10/7/11, written by Ryan Barbee of Jesusfreakhideout.com
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