13 Songs, 51 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Typically, Christian praise bands strive for grandeur — and often achieve overkill. Tenth Avenue North takes a refreshingly intimate approach in their expressions of reverence on their 2008 debut Over and Underneath. There’s a rainy-day mood of contemplation running through most of the songs here, reinforced by Mike Doheney’s plaintive, slightly choked vocals. True, the acoustic-centered, string-accented sound of the album is reminiscent of early Jars of Clay and numerous other groups, but what personalizes Tenth Avenue North’s music is its hint of fragility. Behind the tightly-crafted veneers of tunes like “Lift Us Up to Fall,” “Let it Go,” and “Love is Here” lies a sense of human weakness which is most evident in “Hold My Heart” and “Times,” both poignant confessions of spiritual need. When they choose to, the band can paint majestic pictures of God’s creation (“Satisfy,” “You Are”) or capture the sheer delight of accepting Jesus (“Break Me Down”). Jason Ingram’s austere production — emphasizing cleanly-wrought guitar and piano lines — adds polish without obscuring the band’s essential simplicity. Over and Underneath is a work of sonic modesty and well-tempered fervor.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Typically, Christian praise bands strive for grandeur — and often achieve overkill. Tenth Avenue North takes a refreshingly intimate approach in their expressions of reverence on their 2008 debut Over and Underneath. There’s a rainy-day mood of contemplation running through most of the songs here, reinforced by Mike Doheney’s plaintive, slightly choked vocals. True, the acoustic-centered, string-accented sound of the album is reminiscent of early Jars of Clay and numerous other groups, but what personalizes Tenth Avenue North’s music is its hint of fragility. Behind the tightly-crafted veneers of tunes like “Lift Us Up to Fall,” “Let it Go,” and “Love is Here” lies a sense of human weakness which is most evident in “Hold My Heart” and “Times,” both poignant confessions of spiritual need. When they choose to, the band can paint majestic pictures of God’s creation (“Satisfy,” “You Are”) or capture the sheer delight of accepting Jesus (“Break Me Down”). Jason Ingram’s austere production — emphasizing cleanly-wrought guitar and piano lines — adds polish without obscuring the band’s essential simplicity. Over and Underneath is a work of sonic modesty and well-tempered fervor.

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3:38
3:59
3:16
3:21
3:56
4:14
4:28
3:49
3:47
5:17
3:38
13

About Tenth Avenue North

With a bright and sunny modern pop sound, Tenth Avenue North (the group took its name from a major road in the West Palm Beach, Florida area, where the band was originally formed) have become one of the brightest lights on the contemporary Christian music scene. Led by Mike Donehey's vocals and songwriting, the group released three independent albums, 2002's Broken Down, 2003's Don't Look Back, and 2005's Speaking of Silence, and an EP, 2006's God with Us, before signing with Reunion Records and releasing Over and Underneath in 2008 and The Light Meets the Dark in 2010. A concert set, Live: Inside and In Between, appeared in 2011, with another studio effort, The Struggle, following in 2012.

Cathedrals arrived in 2014 and became Tenth Avenue North's third chart-topper on the Billboard Christian chart. The effort featured appearances by Audrey Assad, Derek Minor, and KB. Two years later, the band once again topped the Christian chart with the release of their fifth LP, Followers. ~ Steve Leggett

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