Sunday, February 12, 2012

If It Leads Me Back - Lindsay McCaul




Come rest applies to Christians

If It Leads Me Back
Artist: Lindsay McCaul (www.lindsaymccaul.com)
Label: Provident Label Group
Length: 11 tracks/41:33 minutes

How is it that what I hear resonates so deeply? More than a common humanity, it is a living God who communicates timeless truths through broken lives. It underscores our ongoing need for grace. We never outgrow it.

This is why Lindsay McCaul is continually addressing God in If It Leads Me Back. It is a form of worship. These are like Psalms: honest, vulnerable and earnest. These poetic expressions combine depth with a sophisticated sound. I rather like this hybrid of modern worship and the singer/songwriter muse.

McCaul has written or co-written every song. Her co-writers include seasoned pros: Jason Ingram, Mia Fieldes and Cindy Morgan.

It starts with “Say My Name,” which is indicative of our twisted nature: “I cradle the pain, regret that remains / I play it over and over differently.” We know how to meditate; the problem is that we tend to focus on the wrong things. The chorus offers a way of escape, “You say my name / And tell me I can walk away / From all my fears and yesterday.”

“Come Rest” is a favorite for lyrics rooted in one of the most sublime passages in Scripture, Matthew 11:28-30. McCaul applies it to the Christian life, “When you say come, rest / Should I be working so hard / When you say love, rest / Did you want hands or my heart.” She reckons that all our labor “is but a candle to the sun.” Ultimately, she chooses to trust in God’s promises and realizes “that all you ever wanted was me here.”  

Initially, “You Never Change” was my least favorite song, but its bouncy rhythm and whimsical voice are just playful packaging for something foundational. McCaul sings of expecting mercies to fade and grace to go away, but instead finds God smiling, waiting to see her look of amazement when she realizes that He is still there. The thought of never being separated and loved unconditionally is like a pillow for weary heads. The track extols God’s unchangeable nature.

It’s followed by “Speak,” a determination to lean into God, highlighted by sweeping guitar and ethereal programming, reminiscent of Rebecca St. James.

One of the more acoustic tracks, “Hold On to Me,” is another favorite. A quiet desperation in McCaul’s singing and delicate acoustic guitar evoke an appealing sense of fragility. What a comfort to know that “When I am barely holding on / You hold on to me.”

McCaul saves the best for last on the title track, written with Cindy Morgan. This would be at home on any of the latter’s recordings. McCaul plumbs the depths of Christian experience to the accompaniment of piano. The second half of the chorus states, “I would walk a thousand miles / And crawl if I have to / If that’s what I have to do / If it leads me back to you.”

It reminds me that no experience in this life is wasted if it leads us back to Christ. God can redeem any situation. The tension expressed here and throughout the recording is beautifully resolved in returning to God. Come rest!
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