One of my greatest passions in life is discovering artists, specifically musicians, who do not get the recognition they deserve. For this hidden gem within the music world, we are diving back a couple years to talk about The Ember Days. I should not before we get too far that The Ember Days are no longer together as a band, but there music is still as beautiful as it was 3 years ago.
The Ember Days is an indie rock band originally from New Zealand, but eventually were based out of Nashville, Tennessee. They have released four studio albums; Your Eyes Light Up (2007), Emergency (2011), More Than You Think (2013), and Valitus (2015). The band was formed in 2006 with the mission to “play epic and accessible worship music“. I’m not sure that mission statement fully paints the picture of what the band ended at with its final studio album Valitus, but it seems like a beautiful mixture of artistic musical production that is centered on seeking beauty in the world through the lens of a Christian. It isnt worshipful, its the process of wrestling and questioning, but that is where we see the most growth in our lives. Lets take a few minutes to breakdown one or two of my favorite songs on that specific album.
One of my favorite tracks on the record is Without Love, and definitely one of The Ember Days more popular songs for obvious reasons. The songs lyrics are a smattering of questioning and wrestling with love.
“Love, when did I lose you?
Love, how can I find you now?
And will it ever be the same?
How does this close feel so far away?”
Janell Belcher’s voice is the key when considering the weight of what this song questions. It is powerful yet gentle, and her inflections provide a sort of dissonance that signifies the unease of the feelings being question within the song. Its really quite mesmerizing with the synth and electronic drum beats in the background, but the way the syncopation of the drums gives us that feeling of being in a whirlwind, bouncing back and forth waiting for it all to return to normal. Definitely a masterpiece in the production of music.
Immediately after Without Love is a song titled Come What May. The two songs kind of form a call and response. The first song posing the questions of where love has gone, and will it come back, and is it even worth waiting for, while the latter song gives a quick and resounding response.
“Cause I believe in love
Come what may, what will
I’ll never leave
Your heart is worth the wait
And this is no mistake
Come what may, what will
I’ll never leave “
The song has a similar tone to the previous track, and I think that is because even though the circumstances around us do not seem to change, we are able to see beauty within it. The guitar lines seem to creep into it and it slowly builds to the proclamation of the chorus saying, “Come what may, what will, I’ll never leave“.
The love has not gone anywhere and it is worth waiting for.
This album is beautiful in the raw wrestling and questioning and I would encourage everyone to go check it out, it certainly tells a beautiful story of what it means to be alive and fighting for purpose in our fallen world.