Tony Cummings reports on DAVID LEONARD, whose first solo album has clocked up four Cross Rhythms radio hits
Arkansas-born, Franklin, Tennessee-based singer, songwriter, keyboard player, producer and studio owner David Leonard is a musician who has clocked up a vast amount of music experience. His first solo album, 'The Wait', released in March this year, demonstrated that his work with the Grammy-nominated duo All Sons & Daughters was by no means the never-to-be-repeated highlight of an extraordinary career. In fact, four tracks from 'The Wait' - "Wanderer", "Share The Burden", "You Know Me" and "The Little That I Know" - chosen for the Cross Rhythms playlist, are among the best recordings of the year and show David is determined to pull modern worship music away from the formulaic predictability of the album-saturated marketplace.
Clearly not everyone of the myriad of All Sons & Daughters supporters appreciated 'The Wait'. He said recently, "There have been so many times in the past couple of months where I've done interviews and people have asked me why I have stepped away from the corporate worship thing. To me, 'The Wait' is corporate worship. We're just creating a new sound for it."
Rather than become frustrated with the creative incomprehension of many church-goers, David has now gone back into the studio and come up with a stripped-down live new album, 'The Wait: Silence The Noise'. He said on the album's release through Integrity Music, "When I set out to make 'The Wait', I didn't want to have any rules. I wanted to be able to make a record that I felt was creative and push the boundaries. The tough part about that is songs sometimes get lost in production. . . So the hope with ['The Wait: Silence The Noise'] is that we allow people to see the songs for what they are; which are worship songs."
'The Wait: Silence The Noise' was produced by Leonard, Seth Talley and Brad King, who make up The Creak Music, a production team based in Franklin, Tennessee, who earlier this year released an ambient instrumental album, 'Still Vol 3', and an EP by Oklahoma-based husband and wife worship leaders Ben and Noelle Kilgore.
David Alan Leonard cut his musical teeth with the Arkansas-based Jackson Waters, a six-piece band who after an independent album were signed to Word Records in 2006 and were described as having "a Maroon 5/Keane/Wallflowers sound." Jackson Waters' Word album 'Come Undone' was released in February 2007, and an independent album, 'Supply', in October 2009. In March 2009, David Leonard was announced as a touring member of mainstream big hitters Needtobreathe, playing keys and singing BVs. A year later, David had teamed up with Leslie Anne Jordan, both worship leaders at Journey Church in Franklin, and All Sons & Daughters were formed.
Three independent EPs led to the duo being signed to Integrity Music, and the albums 'Season One', 'Live', 'All Sons & Daughters' and 'Poets & Saints' all reached the US Christian album charts. In February 2018, after taking a year off, the duo announced that their "season as a band had come to an end."
Around the time of the release of 'The Wait', David gave an interview to thepreludepress website. He spoke about the rewards of getting to communicate his deepest thoughts and feelings. "I think the most rewarding thing was getting to tell the story of my family and getting to share this with them. I remember the first couple of times that I played the songs for them and got to see my wife's face and see my daughter's face and the way they lit up when they heard these things. To know that I'm telling our story was important and pretty amazing."
Two of the outstanding songs on the album are "Wanderer" and "Share Your Burden". He spoke about them to Rockyourlyrics website, "'Wanderer' came from a place of wanting to give an introduction to where I felt like I was. So for me, it was who I constantly think I am on a daily basis. I feel like I'm a hypocrite, like I'm a criminal. I feel like I'm somebody that would rather run away than stay where they are, but in spite of all that, God is still a believer that I am a child of God. And he still loves me and cares for me and walks me through all of these things and I'm thankful for it.
"'Share The Burden' came from just being at the point of breaking, of going 'man, we need people'. Me and my wife, my family, we needed people to surround us, to walk with us, through some of the tough stuff that we were walking through. We tried to have kids for years and it just got to a point where we needed community more and more. 'Share The Burden' is really that call out of going 'God will you please surround us with people who can help to carry this? And how can we continue to encourage people to share the load for each other?' It's one of those things where we continued to isolate and continued to tell ourselves that nobody else goes through what we go through. It's not true, it's a lie."
David continued, "I think the common thread [to the whole album] is that God is still faithful and that he's still present in the good times and the bad times. We tend to believe that we're by ourselves. But he has not left us, and he sees us and we are known and seen and loved by him."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.