"Lord, I Turn To You" - Album Review by Andrew Greenhalgh

One of the unspoken wonders of music is that it tends to transcend many bounds.  Whether they are boundaries of race, sex, religion, nationality, or more, they can find themselves shattered with a simple melody, a well-turned lyric, or a simple cacophony of sound.  Many would argue that the same is true for elements of faith.  They would argue that the love of God transcends any walls, appealing to the biggest of the big on Wall Street as well as to the humble panhandler on the corner.  And this connection of music and faith, and its transcendence, is what indie singer-songwriter couple, Lee & Sig, are counting on with their latest, Lord, I Turn To You.

It’s a diverse background that the husband and wife duo come from themselves.  Lee hails from the Philippines originally as the eldest of four children.  The family then migrated to Australia where his love of music grew, eventually landing him some high profile gigs as a member of the “covers band 4Sight and toured with Headspin who was a support band for one of the Divinyls tours in the mid-90's.”

Sig’s journey, interestingly enough, found her moving from the Philippines to Australia as well where she would excel, being “active in school musicals, choirs and bands,” as well as beginning to write her own music.  The couple would meet in April of 1997 “through music when mutual friends formed a covers band called Groove Odyssey.  Not soon after, love flourished and they tied the knot.”  Since then, they’ve worked tirelessly at their music, as members of a covers band as well as independently.

That independent strain is what is found on Lord, I Turn to You and, despite the duo’s multicultural heritage and history, is surprising devoid of that typical “world music” sound.  Instead, Lee & Sig set out to treat listeners to an intimate, jazz-flavored acoustic experience, with vertical, praise-focused lyrics and solid playing and singing.

And for the most part, it works.  Sig’s vocals encompass a high alto with some R&B flourishes that flow forth effortlessly across the title track and others.  She brings some Lena Horne-esque vibes to a masterfully rearranged version of “The Lord’s Prayer” and warms the heart throughout tracks like “You Answered Me, O Lord” and “Rejoice With Me.”

Certainly not to be forgotten is the very capable acoustic guitar work of Lee as well.  Throughout the whole album, the artist coaxes mature jazz licks and toasty ambience out of such a humble instrument.  Listening, one can just imagine watching his fingers working up and down the fret board, bringing some compelling coffeehouse jams to bear.  He even provides elements of percussion, using his guitar as his sounding board and providing some welcome texture to the tracks.

And that, unfortunately, is what is lacking on Lord, I Turn To You. While these are sound songs, played and sung well throughout, one can’t help but feel that something is missing.  It’s somewhat akin to having a great meal filled with tender and inviting morsels that smell and taste delectable throughout.  It’s a great meal but somewhere within you’re left longing for that bit of crunch, that bit of texture to provide contrast.  And that’s just what this record needs, a little bit of texture to set the songs apart.  Because the unfortunate effect is that, about three songs in, each track is fairly difficult to distinguish from one another. Whether it be some simple brushed drums, a brief fluttering of keys here and there, or even some plucky upright bass, Lee & Sig could improve their already solid product with some very simple additional embellishments.

That said, however, there is still much to be appreciated here.  Lee & Sig are masterful musicians and communicate their faith through their art in a way that is both talented and inviting.  Listeners in pursuit of quiet, jazz-fueled praise and worship will find much to enjoy here.

Rating: 3 Stars (out of 5)

Andrew Greenhalgh is a music writer, content editor, and lifestyle commentator based in sunny southwest Florida.  His writings have appeared in places as diverse as Relevant Magazine, Stereo Subversion, CCM, and Soul-Audio.com, where he serves as a co-editor.  When not playing with his two rambunctious children or whipping up something tasty for his wife in the kitchen ala Julie and Julia, Andrew can be found surfing the net for the latest and greatest music, a passion he just can’t lay down.

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