The first thing that comes across at the start of Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for our Tumultuous Times‘ “Deliverance” is you are listening to an oration. St. Lenox‘s song composition sits in a strange collaboration and opposition area where instrumentals provide a path to follow. Then the vocals break that mold and St. Lenox’s mix of spoken word and melodies also grab your attention. It’s these two parallel paths that create the sum of the album.
I cheated and read other reviews of the album before writing this and many writers presented the nuance between religion, identity, and the current times. When I listen to St. Lenox, I hear a mixture of alternative and folk with vocals that tell a personal story, a journey to capture, and a question of the times he lives in. At the core of every song, I come away with a story that St. Lenox felt important to tell.
It’s easy to agree that Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for our Tumultuous Times has a religious perspective and that might speak even deeper to people with more knowledge. For my own listening, St. Lenox is master at composition. His songs are layered and the vocals play the guide, but the instrumentals are complex and have conversations with each other. “The Great Blue Heron (Song of Solomon)” uses both an organ and harpsichord that are speaking two different melodies, yet the track is able to combine both of these together without muting them.
“Kroger Twilight” is my favorite song. It describes people watching in the middle of the night. St. Lenox creates an imaginable setting as he moves through the aisles and sees who is also inside at the same time. The descriptors are precise with a level of ambiguity that I enjoy a lot.
Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for our Tumultuous Times is a personal album in the best form possible. St. Lenox is presenting personal themes with deep integration and they are still able to connect with listeners. Rather than wide spectrum songs talking about emotions in generalities, St. Lenox is pulling poetry from his mind, applying a musical foundation, and presenting it to the world. It’s almost like you’re hearing secrets and understanding the point of view without needing to replace his perspective with your own.
St. Lenox’s Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for our Tumultuous Times is a layered album. On the surface, it’s alternative folk mixed with gospel composition. One layer down, St. Lenox is telling you a story. As you move down, it’s a looking glass into this existence we are all a part of and questioning everything that is around you. Ten Songs of Worship and Praise for our Tumultuous Times will live with you. St. Lenox makes me feel dumb about music. It’s not a jab at him, but my own appreciation for the music he’s creating.