Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Aftermath: A Review

I have been given the great privilege of reviewing the debut album of Aftermath, entitled the Aftertaste of Abandonment. I'll do this in two parts: the Music and the Man.

1) The Music- The quality is above outstanding...and that does not come with the "for a debut album" caveat. The recording quality, lyrical content, and vocal/instrumental execution would rival the likes of the Goo Goo Dolls, Lifehouse, or Switchfoot. This is top notch stuff. My kids are already singing it, and my wife is quoting the lyrics to me. The music is both addicting and deep and speaks of the deep hurt that comes from sin and the brokenness of a fallen world.

This is NOT a contemporary Christian or "worship" CD in the traditional sense. Nor was it intended to be. However, the lyrics drip with Truth and will identify with anyone who has suffered rejection, loss, or death. I can certainly speak to this due to the death of Chai this summer. Even yesterday, as we sat at my son's grave, Keva told me that the lyrics to "Darkness Calls" (the opening track) kept ringing in her head.

Darkness is calling, it’s calling both of our names
But I just want to hold you close ’til daylight
Stay with you one last time tonight
If only time’s hands were broken then maybe hearts could heal

These lyrics are indicative of the album. The raw exposure of the human emotion that comes from loss, rejection, or abandonment are on full display. As a person who has experienced great loss, I appreciate the way Aftermath taps into that emotion.

But whether you have been through those experiences or not, you will find yourself singing the lyrics long after you have turned your iPod off. The voice of Aftermath is one that is both pleasant to listen to and addictive. You will find yourself constantly going back to replay tracks to just to hear the way they are sung. There is no doubt something unique about the vocals on this record.

2) The Man- I have had the great pleasure of knowing Jonathan Edwards (aka. Aftermath) for 2.5 years. He has served under me in college ministry at the Summit Church. I have never met a more multi-talented person in my life.

One of the things I have loved most about watching Jonathan make this album is seeing the way God has formed his heart for the purpose of the CD. Jonathan has experienced a great deal of abandonment in his life. However, he has also experienced the unchanging love of God in Christ...and that has made all the difference.

While this CD primarily addresses the emotion that comes from that abandonment, he did not want to leave his listeners without hope. In his liner notes, Jonathan points to Christ as the solution for the brokenness he has experienced in a honest way. I believe that this CD could be the beginning of pointing many people to the healing that they will find in Christ. As Jonathan has trusted Christ in the midst of his difficulty, he also has pointed others to the God of infinite love.

For that reason, I am very proud of him.

Here's what you need to know about getting this music:

1. The release of the CD: November 9th, 2010 on iTunes & Amazon.com

2. The Official CD release Show: November 19th, 2010 at 7PM taking place at 2335 Presidential Drive, Durham, NC 27703 featuring Jess Ray & The Rag Tag Army, Jordan Sasser, and Daniel Renstrom

3. Visit the website for the NEW music video available today, 10/12, at Noon http://www.WeAreTheAftermath.com/

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Remembering Chai

Monday, October 11th, will most likely be unremarkable. I will be in class. Micah will be at school. Keva will be at the grocery store with Isaac. You will be starting a new week of work, drinking copious amounts of coffee, and hoping for Friday.

October 11th was not supposed to be this way. Not for the Atwoods or you, our family and friends. It was supposed to be a celebration of life. It was the day that Chai Samuel was supposed to be born. So much of me wishes I was in charge. I want to change things. I want my son to live. I want to bring him home and experience the sleepless nights with a newborn. I want to rock him to sleep in sleep in my easy chair. I want to see Keva gently sing him to sleep. I want Micah and Isaac to take turns holding him in their laps. I'll never forget the day Chai died, Micah looked at me with tears welled up in his eyes, trying to hold it together and said, "But Dad, I won't ever get to feed him."

For each of our family, we have a long list of reasons we miss Chai and still deeply mourn his death. However, I am resolved on October 11th to remember not what could have been, but what is...and there is some glorious truth to be celebrated (though not without a deep sense of loss). As my family is together on Monday evening, our dinner conversation will be filled with our thoughts of Chai, his short life, and his deep impact on our family and many others around the world. As we look back through the pictures of his birth and funeral, we will surely miss him. We will cry, and that is a good thing. Because beneath the tears resides a very lasting sure hope that God desires Chai's life even more than I do. Chai is safe with God in Christ. And we will be with him again.

Here is how we would like you to join us in remembering Chai on his originally given due date:
1) Comment on this post (or send an email to trevkeva@gmail.com for more privacy) and let us know how Chai Samuel's short life has made a permanent impression on yours.

2) Spend the evening with your family, if you can, and let them know specifically how you understand God has blessed you with their lives. Hug your children and thank God for blessing of raising them.

3) Read and meditate on Romans 8:14-25 and 2 Cor 4:16-18. Ask God to show you if you are living in the reality of this hope and to prepare you for the suffering that is to come. Ask him to make you an instrument to display the reality of hope in Christ.

I hope that you will remember with us as we wait for the coming of Christ, the renewal of creation, and the day our future hope fades into ever-present glory. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.

Chai's Proud and hopeful Daddy,