Review: “And the Light Shines On” by soulbreather

Reverential. Meditative. Restorative. Those three words best capture the beating heart of And the Light Shines On, the new album by soulbreather.

The group, comprised of husband and wife, Mark and Brynn Gersmehl, has been making music for a number of years. Mark, better known as “Gersh” was a founding member of Whiteheart – my favorite band of all time. Brynn was a member of the all ladies rock and roll band, Rachel Rachel. The music of soulbreather has faint traces of their previous work, yet for the most part, winds its way down gentler and quieter paths.

This is not the type of music I usually listen to. It’s not rock and roll and it’s not singer/songwriter. It’s worship-centric, though it sounds like nothing played on the radio these days. And the Light Shines On is something altogether different. Something more delicate, more intimate. That is not to say the album is without passion or intensity – it has plenty of both.

The music is structured around Gersh’s and Brynn’s vocals and harmonies, beautiful piano-led arrangements, and a sense of space and mystery. Their voices fit together perfectly; Brynn’s whispery tenderness blending effortlessly with Gersh’s lower register with all its texture and edge.

The music works as well. It’s solid, well-constructed, and deeply heartfelt. It’s a perfect conduit for what I believe is the strength of the album, the soul of the thing. Every song, every theme is in every way about Jesus. His love, mercy, and grace. Our reliance, hope, and rest in Him. There is a naked openness that saturates every song and it is refreshing to hear something so unashamedly Christ-focused.

And the Light Shines On by soulbreather (cover art)

And the Light Shines On is not the kind of album you listen to in the car with your windows down. And it’s not something you play when you need a boost of energy or a mindless distraction. In your quiet times, your moments of solitude and reflection, those moments when you let your guard down and truly seek the face of God, And the Light Shines On would be a wonderful accompaniment. The tranquil and understated approach is restorative and transporting.

Mark and Brynn Gersmehl have carefully and meticulously crafted something singularly fixed on Jesus and Jesus alone. And while the results are much more worship-oriented than I normally listen to, there is an earnest beauty to the music that I can’t deny.

And the Light Shines On is worth your time. I hope its particular charms work on you the way they have on me. And, even more so, I hope the truth behind each song ministers to your soul, here at the end of another difficult year. May it be a soothing balm to comfort you. May it focus your attention on the Prince of Peace in this time when peace is so hard to find.

Stand-out songs from And the Light Shines On

Isaiah’s Song

Only You (Oh My Jesus)

Think On These Things

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Phill Lytle

I love: Jesus, my wife, my kids, my family, my friends, my church, J.R.R. Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, 80s rock, the Tennessee Titans, Brandon Sanderson books, Band of Brothers, Thai food, music, books, movies, TV, writing, pizza, vacation, etc...

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