Draw Me Away
“Draw Me Away”, the debut album from Anastasya Laverdiere, is an arresting and starkly beautiful collection of praise songs devoted to helping her, and her listeners, draw closer to God. Expertly produced yet emotionally raw, “Draw Me Away” is a remarkably mature composition of piano-led ballads, guitar-driven pop, and subtle electronics. It’s wholly modern, but at times gives off a 90s singer-songwriter vibe, and would fare equally well in elegant symphony halls as it would in hipster coffeehouses. There is a timeless quality to these songs, a sense of soul searching and yearning. It is a stunning record from beginning to end.
“Draw Me Away” began as just a single. It’s easy to see how it quickly blossomed into something more. It’s a gorgeous song, a heavenly combination of sparkling keys, shimmering guitars, and angelic praise. An impassioned plea for Jesus to rescue her from daily trials, “Draw Me Away” begs for solace and recompense in deceptively simple prose: “Jesus, I need You all the time / Draw me away / Nothing to hide, here’s all of my life / Draw me away.”
Lyrically, Anastasya balances her own faith experiences with a steadfast worship of Jesus. “Only Believe” recalls Mark 5:36, when Jesus tells Jarius not to listen to the ‘bad report’, but rather to ‘only believe’. In Anastasya’s case, this song was written during her father’s battle with cancer. Her words call for strength in weak times:
Only believe, only believe,
I’ll take your hand, turn water into dry land
right there in front of you.
Only believe Me,
Don’t let the circumstance change what you see.
Keep Your eyes on Me and Only believe.
A bold proclamation of faith in trying times. Much of “Draw Me Away” has a similar sentiment. Even “He’s Alive” and “You Are Life”, which are upbeat, faith-affirming songs with danceable rhythms and pop choruses, carry a weight of vulnerability and sensitivity. Perhaps it’s Anastasya’s voice, strong yet soft, that prevents these from becoming Gospel fare, favoring instead an intimately joyous celebration over arm-waving and foot-stomping. It’s a leveling proclamation, and makes for a cohesive sound from beginning to end.
As brightly as Anastasya shines on this record, from the lip quivering “Nothing Better” to the beautifully declarative “King”, her brightest moment is with the earnest “God The Same”. “God The Same” almost ventures into alt/rock territory, with crunchy electric guitars and amped drums, and it is here that Anastasya takes on a different light. Here, Anastasya breaks chains, cuts loose, and shows her chops as a songstress. “God The Same” is expertly crafted, raw, emotional, and cements her status as someone who’s in it for the long haul. The chorus soars:
God the Same, yesterday, today, forever
And Your name is still great in all the earth.
You lead Your people through the wilderness parted the sea
And I believe You can do the same for me.
God the same, forever I believe.
Anastaysa’s vocal styling is honest and heartfelt. There is a rare depth to her songwriting: it’s melodious without being forced; it’s finely crafted and refined; and it’s immersive and captivating. Melodies lilt and sway. Choruses stick. But, most of all, it resonates. It lingers. It’s like an outstretched hand, an intimate guide to praising Jesus with unwavering faith through the mire of life.
Anastasya will be my faith companion for some time to come. Give her a chance — she just might become yours as well.
Review by Jason Ramsey
- Draw Me Away Anastasya Laverdiere 4:08
- God The Same Anastasya Laverdiere 4:40
- Only Believe Anastasya Laverdiere 4:49