Skip to content

Almost, Not Yet, Already: Rain for Roots’s New Advent Album (and a Chance to Get the CD Free)

October 22, 2015

 

Cover Art by A. Micah Smith

Cover Art by A. Micah Smith

 

There are notoriously few tools for parents to use in engaging Advent with their kids. Rain for Roots this year offers a new and creative resource, Waiting Songs. The album is a joy to listen to, even as it draws out the difficulty of waiting, and helps the listeners to enter into the sometimes awkward liminal space of Advent.

The band explains the genesis of the album:

 

 

Here’s a brief, track-by-track overview.

1. O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

The album begins with a beautiful, stripped down version of my favorite Advent hymn. I’ve always taken this song to be the quintessential articulation of both Advents (so far!) of Christ. What better place to begin a season of waiting (“until the Son of God appear”) than with this classic prayer-hymn?

 

2. Come Light Our Hearts

The full band is in on track 2: guitars, piano, lots of great harmonies, bass, banjo, drums…. Sandra McCracken affirms,

For you, O Lord, our souls in stillness wait

Truly our hope is in you

It’s a compelling and reassuring waltz, giving language to those who wait.

 

RainForRoots94

 

3. Isaiah 11

Next is a twangy, string-bending, rollicking country-ish number. “A little child will lead them,” sing some wonderful mothers! Partway through there is a child reading from Isaiah 11:10, using Eugene Peterson’s Message. The song goes from, “A good, good king will lead them” to, “A good, good king will lead us.”

 

4. Every Valley (It’s Hard to Wait)

Have you ever wondered how to explain Advent to a child? This gentle bluesy, soulful song does a great job:

When you write a letter to a friend

And you don’t know when

You’ll hear back again

It’s hard to wait

It’s hard to wait

So hard to wait

When the one you love leaves on a plane

And you’ll know that she’ll

Come back some day

It’s hard to wait

It’s hard to wait

So hard to wait

BUT!

There is gonna to be a day

Every low valley he will raise

There is gonna to be a day

Hills and mountains gonna be made plain

There is gonna be a day

Winding roads gonna be made straight

Comfort, comfort, comfort, comfort!

I noticed it was getting awfully dusty in my room as that song played.

 

5. The Weight of the World

I’m not a lover of the kind of the stylized vocals that carry this track, but the song itself is—like all the others—a good one: memorable, meaningful, and singable.

 

6. Mary Consoles Eve

First of all, I just saw this “Mary Consoles Eve” image last Advent for the first time ever.

 

“Virgin Mary Consoles Eve,” Sister Grace Remington, http://www.mississippiabbey.org

 

And now there’s a song that accompanies it perfectly:

Almost, not yet, already

Almost, not yet, already

And

Eve, it’s Mary

Now I’m a mother, too

The child I carry

A promise coming true

This baby comes to save us from our sin

A servant King, his kingdom without end

This whole album is so catchy and well-written–even more so than their previous album on the Kingdom of God, if that were possible!–and this is perhaps the song that will stick with listeners the most.

 

7. Zechariah

“Zechariah” is pretty funny, because not only is the story of Zechariah’s speechlessness kind of funny (in retrospect! probably wasn’t for him), but this song gives kids and parents a chance to talk and sing in a babbling, tongue-tied manner.

 

8. Magnificat

“Magnificat” is another catchy—if somewhat somber—tune. This track stands out less to me than some of the others, but that doesn’t mean I’ll be hitting fast-forward when it comes to track 8 on the album. Flo Paris Oakes’s vocals and Kenny Hutson’s guitar and mandolin work call to mind Lead Me On-era Amy Grant… which is, now that I think about it, the album I am going to listen to while I work on my sermon this morning.

 

9. Great Rejoicing

Yet more beautiful lyrics:

The troubles of this world

Will wither up and die

That river of tears made by the lonely

Someday will be dry

There’s gonna be a great rejoicing

Also, while playing this song with my wife and three-year-old in the room, I asked my wife, “Do you like this music?” To which my three-year-old replied, “I DO like this music!” The pedal steel and Skye Peterson’s lead vocals partway through the song are icing on the cake.

 

Don't you want to hang out with these awesome people? Next best thing: put this album on repeat

Don’t you want to hang out with these awesome people? Next best thing: put this album on repeat

 

10. Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus

Waiting Songs ends much as it began: with a beautiful, stripped down version of a classic Advent hymn. (Side note to worship leaders: yes, there are Advent hymns in the hymnal! And you should sing the few of them that exist as many times as you can in the four Sundays leading up to Christmas.)

Rain for Roots’s addition to the hymn will stay with you for days, even after your first time hearing it:

We are waiting

We are waiting

We are waiting for You.

McCracken’s “Hallelujah, what a Savior!” background vocals float above the “We are waiting,” bringing the album to a satisfying close. Advent purists ought to be able to overlook the use of “the H-word” during Advent here. Or does “Hallelujah” sung on top of “We are waiting for you” deliberately point to Christ’s third Advent, when he comes again in glory?

 

Final Thoughts and Where to Get It (or Win It)

 

I really love this record, not just for myself, but for my kids, and for any other kids and families that have the privilege of hearing it! Also, I’m totally going to teach some of these songs to our congregation during our intergenerational Sunday school hour this Advent. They’re excellent.

I was a big fan of Rain for Roots’s previous album, too–it is still on regular rotation in our house, especially on road trips. But Waiting Songs even tops The Kingdom of Heaven is Like This. It’s a remarkable record.

The album releases November 10. You can (and should) pre-order it here. AND… three more cool things for you before you go:

  1. Rain for Roots is performing an online/streaming concert to celebrate the album’s release. Find out more here.
  2. If you use the discount code WotW you can get 20% off the album when you pre-order (in various formats) here. That code is good through November 9, the day before the album releases. (EDIT: Should have clarified–the code is applicable just to the digital download option.)
  3. Want to have a chance to win a physical copy of the CD, courtesy of Rain for Roots? I’ll randomly select two winners from the comments below. For one entry, simply answer the question, “What is Advent to you?” Or, you know, just say, “Yo.” For a second entry, share a link to this post on Facebook or Twitter, and come back here to the comments to tell me you did. I’ll announce the two winners in a week.

 


 

Thanks so much for the good folks at Rain for Roots for the pre-release stream of the album so I could review it.

67 Comments leave one →
  1. October 22, 2015 9:10 am

    Reblogged this on Talmidimblogging.

  2. October 22, 2015 9:20 am

    Advent is my favorite season of the year. I’ve never seen that image “Mary consoles Eve.” I’ll be pondering that, for sure! Thanks for posting this. If I don’t win a free copy of the CD, I’ll definitely order one.

  3. Arugula permalink
    October 22, 2015 1:37 pm

    This is my least favorite time of the year. It tends to evoke so many things which take me far away from what I know it should be and mean. I long to see it become meaningful and a time that I can once again anticipate and savor.

  4. October 22, 2015 2:33 pm

    Just shared it. Love y’all and can’t wait for this album.

  5. katie permalink
    October 22, 2015 4:34 pm

    i have also never seen “Mary Consoles Eve”. What a lovely piece. Can’t wait to hear the song (well, ALL of the songs!)

  6. October 22, 2015 6:31 pm

    I think Advent is one of the richest seasons in the church’s liturgical year. It looks forward, in my book, to three comings of the Christ. First, we prepare for our celebration of the first and past coming of the Christ at Christmas in the manager of Bethlehem. Second, we look forward to the future coming of Christ at the parousia. And three, we anticipate the present coming of Christ each time we celebrate the Eucharist. So we have a rich understanding of the coming of Christ in the past, in the future, and in the present.
    I see these three comings celebrated in three different hymns that have been included in the old Presbyterian hymnal in the Advent section:
    • The coming in the past: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”

  7. October 22, 2015 6:35 pm

    I did not get to finish my entry.
    • The coming in the future: “Sleepers, Wake! A Voice Astounds Us” (Wachet Auf)
    • The coming in the Eucharist: “Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence”
    These three hymns also give an ecumenical cast to Advent. The first hymn come to us from medieval Roman Catholicism. The second comes to us from the Protestant Reformation. And the third comes from the patristic Eastern Orthodox Church.
    So I cherish Advent as a very rich season indeed.

  8. October 22, 2015 8:27 pm

    Yo…just tweeted this post. Looking forward to the album!

  9. Jina permalink
    October 22, 2015 9:54 pm

    Thanks for your review! Have been looking forward to this album, and reading more about it from you makes the waiting period for the album an even richer time. Like advent.

  10. Jina permalink
    October 22, 2015 10:00 pm

    Shared on Facebook!

  11. October 22, 2015 10:18 pm

    I love exploring the idea of waiting. I feel like Advent is a time to reflect on the difficulty of waiting, in the context of the first promise being answered

  12. October 22, 2015 10:19 pm

    Tweeted the post!

  13. pilgrimheartset permalink
    October 23, 2015 3:09 am

    Every night during Advent we would light candles and listen to Dad read a devotional. We would always end by praying and singing “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” It was my favorite Chrismas tradition growing up. The year my younger brother was 2 or 3 he saw my December 9 birthday cake all lit up and immediately launched into the hymn.🙂

  14. October 23, 2015 7:24 am

    Agreed that this album is something special. If you’re looking for more ways to engage in Advent as a family, Crossroads Kids’ Club puts out a daily experience during Advent for families to do together with discussion prompts, activities, scripture, videos, etc.

  15. October 23, 2015 6:15 pm

    Hey Abram! Just shared this on Facebook.

  16. October 23, 2015 6:38 pm

    We’ve had a challenge finding ways to really slow down during Advent, and I hope that this album will help us engage as a family with this season of waiting.

  17. October 23, 2015 10:58 pm

    Oh, this sounds lovely. Advent is a tricky season for me as a pastor & parent – pulled in so many directions. But the ritual of lighting the advent candle, and anchoring our lives in Hope, Peace, Love, Joy, and ultimately the light of Christ – it means everything to me.

  18. weagreatparade permalink
    October 24, 2015 1:57 pm

    Advent is such a beautiful time of anticipation. I have found in the past few years that prayerfully observing Advent is like a miracle cure against the consumer driven holiday spirit that we all so want to avoid.

    So happy to hear about this album!

  19. October 26, 2015 1:00 pm

    Can’t wait to use this in our home.

  20. Brandi permalink
    October 26, 2015 3:09 pm

    Hello Abram from Romania! I’ve been researching and building our family’s Advent playlist for 10 years (it’s pretty long…I could share it if you like, just let me know), and finding those songs that fit just right is a workout. (I look for songs that are a bit haunting in terms of stirring up longing, yearning and even discomfort, a bit provocative in the sense that they are a little challenging and cause self-reflection and questioning, and of course songs with under-girding hope and joy.) I’m pretty thrilled to hear about this album and can’t wait to check it out. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m sharing this post on a Face Book page I manage called “To Everything There is a Song” (sharing Family music…mainly Kindie music…Indie music for kids and their grown ups). Also, your image above somehow reminds me of a beautiful icon of Mary greeting Elizabeth, both babies seen in the womb, in utero Jesus blessing in utero John. Have you seen it? Lastly, what does Advent mean to me? Two books encompass the Advent season for me (personally and with young children): “Home for Christmas: Stories for Young and Old” (Plough Publishing, originally appeared in the Bruderhof’s Daily Dig), and “Advent Storybook” Antonie Schneider (Author), Maja Dusikova (Illustrator), translated from the German. Advent blessings to you, yours, and our Union family!

  21. October 26, 2015 3:12 pm

    Hello Abram from Romania! I’ve been researching and building our family’s Advent playlist for 10 years (it’s pretty long…I could share it if you like, just let me know), and finding those songs that fit just right is a workout. (I look for songs that are a bit haunting in terms of stirring up longing, yearning and even discomfort, a bit provocative in the sense that they are a little challenging and cause self-reflection and questioning, and of course songs with under-girding hope and joy.) I’m pretty thrilled to hear about this album and can’t wait to check it out. Thank you so much for sharing! I’m sharing this post on a Face Book page I manage called “To Everything There is a Song” (sharing Family music…mainly Kindie music…Indie music for kids and their grown ups). Also, your image above somehow reminds me of a beautiful icon of Mary greeting Elizabeth, both babies seen in the womb, in utero Jesus blessing in utero John. Have you seen it? Lastly, what does Advent mean to me? Two books encompass the Advent season for me (personally and with young children): “Home for Christmas: Stories for Young and Old” (Plough Publishing, originally appeared in the Bruderhof’s Daily Dig), and “Advent Storybook” Antonie Schneider (Author), Maja Dusikova (Illustrator), translated from the German. Advent blessings to you, yours, and our Union family!

  22. Steve permalink
    October 26, 2015 3:30 pm

    My culture promotes the immediate, the instant,. “Now” is the only day on the calendar. Indeed living “in the moment” is considered practical theology. Immediate action trumps reflective anticipation. “Christmas” isn’t a season anymore; rather, it’s a year-round philosophy of purchases on endless sales. “Black Friday” and her twin sister “Cyber Monday” are almost passé nowadays. The only thing left to look forward to is discovering who got the best deal–when and where, and to adopt that new strategy for next month’s shopping spree, not next year’s holiday seasonal sales.

    This mindset has trouble understanding, let alone appreciating, any type of waiting period. Is there any value in me waiting?

    1–Waiting is a reminder that my agenda is often less important than others’ agendas, including God’s. There are other more critical situations and activities that trump my desires and plans. The sooner I learn to defer, the greater my perception of the value of everything and everyone around me.

    2–Waiting allows virtues to develop and deepen. Patience, faithfulness, hope–these character traits never happen overnight. They are forged and honed in the extended Valley of Looking Forward before ever reaching the Hill of Arrival.

    3–Waiting purifies me. It eliminates what weighs me down and what stifles progress. I discover I no longer need what I once thought was necessary but which only tends to encumber and burden. It clarifies my desires and removes my excesses.

    4–Waiting’s hope is realized far beyond what was even expected. It’s a young man who kept his celibacy for a lifetime of pleasure; it’s the end of 9 months when finally a couple becomes a family; it’s hearing ‘well done, good and faithful servant’ and fully embracing what my eye, ear, or mind could not possibly see, hear, or conceive of before.

    Indeed, the wait of Advent is in its most meaningful expression the fulfillment of hundreds of heavenly promises that offered peace, hope, joy, and love when a Savior was to be born. Advent recalls the unfolding and timing of God’s plans; Advent reveals the emergence of mature faith over time; Advent offers the opportunity to receive when it is appropriate instead of to obtain when I want it.

    It is startling to realize that my God is actually waiting for me, that even He has an advent of sorts. I anticipate Him coming for me, and He anticipates me coming to Him, for eternity. If there ever was any question in my mind of the value of Advent, that should help!

    Maranatha!

  23. Catherine permalink
    October 26, 2015 6:43 pm

    We love advent and Rain for Roots! Excited about this album!

  24. David permalink
    October 27, 2015 4:54 am

    Um, the chance to win a free CD.

  25. October 27, 2015 8:46 pm

    Advent is a beautiful time to wait and contemplate.

  26. saramcallister permalink
    October 27, 2015 8:47 pm

    Advent is a beautiful season to practice the art of waiting and contemplating.

  27. Marci permalink
    October 27, 2015 8:49 pm

    Rain for Roots is awesome!

  28. October 27, 2015 8:59 pm

    Advent was never something I knew about growing up.
    I am learning and trying as the years go forward with my kids, and am thankful for the new resources that become available!

  29. October 27, 2015 9:04 pm

    I never knew or experienced anything about advent growing up in a Christian home.

    I love the time to focus our minds on Jesus and the Gospel in the middle of a season where everything is very worldly.

    I am so thankful to be able to *try* to use this time for good with my kids, and for the resources that continue to become available!

  30. Jared permalink
    October 27, 2015 9:08 pm

    Music/song is yet another way God has given us to share Him and His wonderful grace!

  31. October 27, 2015 9:12 pm

    This advent will mean a lot to me as I am feeling a bit low. Can’t wait to share this with my kids!

  32. Kristen permalink
    October 27, 2015 9:14 pm

    Advent is the only time we do “seasonal decorating” and I love that it transforms our whole living environment into a place with physical (visual, olfactory, tactile) reminders of the Story that we love. I can’t wait to hear this album in full!

  33. Jared permalink
    October 27, 2015 9:15 pm

    Oh this joyful waiting for His return!

  34. Kristen permalink
    October 27, 2015 9:17 pm

    oh and I’m sharing the link mostly because I’m eager to see more families listening to this! And also to win🙂

  35. Jared permalink
    October 27, 2015 9:18 pm

    I shared a link on Twitter. https://twitter.com/cotigchez/status/659191342770208768

  36. Amber permalink
    October 27, 2015 9:20 pm

    Advent is such a special time of expectant waiting for us. I created Jesse Tree ornaments a few years ago, and we use them as our advent calendar. My kids love it and have been asking for it recently. I can’t wait to add this album to our advent traditions. He is coming!

  37. Amber permalink
    October 27, 2015 9:21 pm

    Shared in Facebook. Thank you!

  38. October 27, 2015 10:40 pm

    Advent is definitely a time of anticipation for me. It really is a season of already-not yet. There’s the joyful anticipation of Christmas day and the celebration of Christ’s birth and what He has already done for us, but also the longing to be with Him in glory.
    I’ve already pre-ordered the album, but would love to win a copy to give to a friend!

  39. Katie permalink
    October 27, 2015 11:16 pm

    Advent is waiting in anticipation on the Lord, in all the ways we wait upon Him…for help, for refuge, for His second coming, for His answer to prayer, etc. etc. Also shared on Facebook.

  40. Elena permalink
    October 27, 2015 11:58 pm

    Advent is a time of anticipation

  41. Elena permalink
    October 28, 2015 12:03 am

    Just shared to Facebook🙂

  42. Ginger Taylor permalink
    October 28, 2015 4:36 am

    I’m eager for this album. We have both of the previous records and several songs have found their way into the kids’ music at church. The sneak preview track from Waiting Songs I heard last week is wonderful, and I can’t wait to hear the rest, and learn them to teach our kids too. I’m excited for a new record echoing the longing in our hearts for the coming of the King. Thanks for your thoughtful and excellent music, Rain for Roots.

  43. Ruth Ohlman permalink
    October 28, 2015 7:34 am

    Yo! Please enter me for the contest! I already shared on Facebook and I love so many things about Advent! Watching and waiting, preparing and praying… countdowns! So much I can’t go into but I’m so happy to find this Advent Music!

  44. Benjamin Shurance permalink
    October 28, 2015 8:09 am

    Waiting for the album is like an Advent in and of itself. I also tweeted a link to this post (@shuranceb).

  45. October 28, 2015 9:20 am

    Advent is a time to remember, reflect, and react, with the coming of our Lord as the focus. And, yo!

  46. October 28, 2015 9:23 am

    I’m excited to hear this album!

  47. BekahTF permalink
    October 28, 2015 10:08 am

    Advent is my favorite time of year – I love stripping down the seasonal busyness (I am a church music director, so Advent and Christmas prep starts earlier and hits hard) to quiet my heart and do some focused waiting.

  48. October 28, 2015 10:36 am

    I just love advent. The expectation of the coming Messiah and how in His arrival salvation is created!

    I love rain for roots and my mind is a little bit blown right now that there will be an advent album!

  49. October 28, 2015 10:40 am

    I shared this post to Facebook!

  50. Jessica Rodenbaugh permalink
    October 28, 2015 10:57 am

    i love the advent period of turning our hearts and minds toward the expectation of Christ’s birth and ahead to when he will return. As a mom I especially enjoy walking with my youngins through this season. Can’t wait to add this album to our Advent celebrations.

  51. Jessica Rodenbaugh permalink
    October 28, 2015 11:02 am

    Just shared via Twitter! Thanks for the preview and chance to win!

  52. October 28, 2015 12:20 pm

    Advent. I think we live in advent. I love the season for its intentionality. No matter what, this cd will be in my home soon.

  53. KB Ribelin permalink
    October 28, 2015 12:50 pm

    Advent is longing and waiting for the fulfillment of Christ.

  54. Rachel permalink
    October 28, 2015 3:11 pm

    WE love Rain for Roots over here. And Advent is a beautiful and dangerous season to reflect on the fullness of waiting. Last, my son’s name is Abram… Thanks for a chance to win!

  55. Lisa C permalink
    October 28, 2015 3:46 pm

    Helping my heart to focus on Christ in his advent through music will also be an encouragement to wait and watch expectedly for his return.

  56. Lisa C permalink
    October 28, 2015 3:50 pm

    Shared on fb also!

  57. Amy toman permalink
    October 28, 2015 5:05 pm

    I love the anticipation that comes with waiting to celebrate Jesus birth and then the countdown to easter

  58. Tori L permalink
    October 29, 2015 9:06 pm

    I love Rain for Roots and was excited to hear about the new Advent album. We are slowly building our advent traditions and am glad to have this to include.

    I was going to preorder the physical CD but it says that the discount code isn’t correct or is expired. Should the discount code work on the physical CD or just the digital download?

    • October 30, 2015 8:09 am

      Hi, Tori–thanks for letting me know. I’ll check with the folks at Rain for Roots. I think the code is just for the digital download–was it not working for that, either?

      • October 30, 2015 8:10 am

        Ah, I just checked again–yes, digital only. Sorry if I didn’t make that clear in the post!

      • Tori L permalink
        October 30, 2015 11:52 am

        Thanks for clearing that up!

  59. lollylaplue permalink
    October 29, 2015 9:20 pm

    Should the discount code work on the physical album + ornament, because it says it is invalid or expired…😦

  60. October 30, 2015 6:48 pm

    Hi, everyone! I’ve announced the winners here: https://abramkj.com/2015/10/30/the-rain-for-roots-cd-winners-are/

  61. Heather Overby permalink
    November 3, 2015 3:40 pm

    Advent is where our family will focus our hearts on Jesus.

Trackbacks

  1. Rain for Roots’s Waiting Songs for Advent (and CD Giveaway) | Words on the Word
  2. The Rain for Roots CD Winners Are… | Words on the Word

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: