All Creatures is the fourth and latest album from Rain for Roots. Rain for Roots is a collective of talented musicians and songwriters who, in 2012, began creating music that takes the heart of the Gospel and makes it accessible for children and adults alike.
This album is 11 beautiful songs that come from the poetry of the Psalms. Every song, from reimagined hymns to the newly crafted, are strung like stars. Each one sparkling with truth and light. The music itself is a rich tapestry of sounds and a frankly astounding array of instruments and talent where you will hear, among others, mandolin, fiddle, piano, pedal steel guitar, organ, and even a Barred Owl call.
The album opens with an adaptation of Cecil Frances Alexander’s hymn All Things Bright and Beautiful with Sandra McCracken in her full Americana glory and goes straight into Hallelujah featuring the clear, pure vocals of Flo Oaks. One of my favorites is the twang, jangle, and thump of Listen, Listen that harkens to old-time spirituals, made all the better with the twisting and jazz-tinged vocals of Katy Hutson. When the rich gospel harmonies swell up behind Flo’s melody in Tell Me, it was pure delight to hear.
The best part, for me, is hearing the voices of the children on this album. Songwriter Alice Smith’s oldest son Evan reads the scripture on The Heavens Are Telling and Carter Webb twines her sweet soprano with Seth Talley and her mama Sandra on All Creatures of Our God and King. We hear Skye Peterson singing with Flo on Christ is the Life of the World and we are gifted the soaring harmony of Flo’s oldest daughter, Sara Sage Oaks, on the closing song Wisdom and Grace. That the children of the musicians who began this project years ago now grace these songs is a testimony of faith and beauty being passed on.
I purposefully encountered this album as most of you who are parents might. In the still of the dawn before the rabble that consists of my three children disturbed the quiet. In the chaos and movement of the day when I finally insisted that I get to use the Alexa speaker to play this album. Voices and conversations, laughter and sibling spats, dancing and instruction made up the backdrop to this music. And finally in the tired quiet of the evening when the little ones are (or should be) tucked up in bed and I am cleaning up the remains of the day, ignoring that suspicious whump that is surely one of my boys launching himself from the top bunk into a pile of blankets and stuffed animals. The goodness of this album resonates through and in all of the chaos that is parenting and family life, just like the Scriptures do.
We live in an ever-shifting world often colored by fear and doubt. What is true seems to change with the nightly news. In the Word we find a deeper truth. An unchanging truth. A faithful truth. The Psalms were written in hard times and in glorious times. They speak about the nature of God and our relationship with Him in a way that continues to resonate over the millennia. For myself in years past when a tangible faith and an understanding of truth was lost in the mess of parenting young children, the songs of these albums brought it simply and faithfully back to me, in words plain enough for a child to understand. This album is one more offering of the poetry, beauty, and truth found in the Word, full of music for those who are children and those who have (or would like to have again) faith like a child. All Creatures is available for pre-order until the official release date of May 8th.