Published on Sunday, 23 October 2011 Written by Scott Mertens
Deeper is a great gift from JJ and David Heller
Artist: JJ Heller
Label: Stone Table Records
Release Date: October 11, 2011
Duration: 11 tracks, 32:57
By poor luck or bad timing, I had heard a great deal of JJ Heller’s music without actually hearing her music. Then, one hot July afternoon, I not only heard her music but watched both her and her husband David in concert at a local festival. Her appearance, like her music, struck me as natural and full of life. When she turned toward her husband showing her profile she was indeed full of life, full of love, and carrying her second child. Yes, this too is inherent to her music.
With songs presenting a heartfelt reality similar to Sara Groves and a light, airy and innocent voice similar to Sarah Masen, Heller’s vocals carry each of her songs to a higher level of personal interaction with the listener. In Deeper, the couples emotionally laced songs shine featuring five acoustic versions of songs from When I'm With You and seven new tracks. In October 2009, they made the difficult decision to delay the release of Deeper, choosing 5 songs and moving from their original acoustic format. This mainly acoustic, folk-style offering includes the five previously released songs in their original form.
Readily apparent in each song are lyrics representing small pieces of the couples faith, family, and life:
“I Get To Be The One” is a light, airy song dedicated to their newest child with lyrics, ‘I get to be the one to hold your hand, Through birthdays and broken bones I get to be the one…I don’t’ even know you, I love you completely.’
“In The End” states, ‘Build your kingdom in the sky and say goodbye, In the end’, with simplistic guitar highlighting a complex vocal arrangement.
“Control” has both piano and guitar providing foundation for lyrics, “Letting go of the confusion, Oh control, It’s time to let you go...”
“Red Against Your Black” is a song of Christ’s salvation whose terrific lyrics stay with the listener long after the song has ended. “When you run away, I will bring you back, Oh, my red, Against your black.” The play between organ, guitar, and clarinet is outstanding.
“Someday” states, “You will live in peace, May you see redemption on this side of heaven” with piano and acoustic guitar.
“Sunshine” has electric piano and acoustic guitar with strings underlining lyrics, “You are the sunshine on a rainy day, And if I have sunshine, A rainbow is coming my way.”
“Boat Song”, a romping, relationship tune tells the story of caring in a relationship with “If you were a boat my darlin’, I’d be the wind at your back…”
“Kingdom Come”, with acoustic guitar and accordion is a reaffirming song with lyrics, “Ashes, ashes we fall down, It always feels too soon, But when we walk on golden ground, All will be made new, Halleluiah, all will be made new.”
Additional cuts include:
“The Very Thought Of You”, a relationship song like a big band ballad of the ‘40s with piano and guitar.
“When I'm With You” was written for their first child. Here, it is presented in its original, acoustic form with slight reverb on vocals.
“No Fight Left” has a harsh beat of acoustic guitar underlining the message of letting go to God.
“In The End (Reprise)” is a short funeral-like organ reprise to the previous song of the same title.
Beyond the tight, simplistic guitar and occasional piano, strings, and various instruments, Deeper is a well-produced showcase for JJ Heller’s voice. Deeper is a great gift from JJ and David Heller, sharing a bit of their lives reflecting so well on our own.
JJ Heller will be appearing at the Cup ‘O Joy in Green Bay, Wisconsin on Saturday, November 5, 2011, 2 Shows, 6:30 & 8:45pm.