JJ Heller Strikes a Chord with New Album, 'Sound of a Living Heart' [MUSIC REVIEW]

Kathryn WatsonJul 29, 2015 01:14 PM EDT
JJ Heller/Courtesy Biscuit Media Group

JJ Heller's signature dreamy, poetically suggestive style investigates the stuff of life with a bouncy optimism and inviting melodies on her latest offering, 'Sound of a Living Heart.' Gentle vibes, simple truths, and a hint of bluegrass on these songs make for easy listening that's ideal for a summer day's drive.

Album highlights of 'Sound of a Living Heart' include the inspirational and worship-filled song, "Fully Known"; the understated song, "Silence"; the story-driven narrative, "Father-Daughter Dance" (featuring Sanctus Real's Matt Hammitt) and the title track. 'This Year' and 'Meant to Be', performances of which are already featured on JJ Heller's website, are also stand outs. A departure from the soothing lullabies and love songs of Heller's 2014 release, 'I Dream of You', 'Sound of a Living Heart' is pop-sensible and radio friendly.

The new songs are a reflection of Heller's personal journey over the last few years. According to Heller, "Rather than living trying to shield myself from pain, I want to choose to be adventurous, take risks, and tell a better story with my life." She goes on to say of the song-writing process, "I went through a season a few years ago where I experienced a lot of suffering. Not only did that time inform the songs on this record, but I think it also helped me discover more about being whole than if those painful experiences has never happened."

The quiet introspection of the song 'Daylight' is reminiscent of early Coldplay (think: 'Parachutes' piano melodies), and the rousing anthem, 'Sound of a Living Heart' brings to mind a Nichole Nordeman comparison with its powerful lyrics and a musical arrangement that builds with emotional intensity. Heller herself summed up the lyrics on the album by remarking, "I'm learning  that  joy  is  not  dependent  on  my present  circumstances, and hope is always available  if we have eyes to see it."  

'Sound of a Living Heart' hits store shelves on August 21. 

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