In the Morning: An Album Review

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Have you ever come across a musician that makes you think differently, feel deeply, and want more of both? For me, Sherdonna Denholm is one of those.

Her bio is impressive: Originally a classically trained clarinetist, Sherdonna has a wide variety of musical influences. As a self produced Singer Songwriter she creates a soulful and honest sound by integrating thought provoking lyrics with beautiful melodies and textures. Her music has been featured on the #1 Women of Substance Podcast and Women of Conscience Radio program. 

However, Sherdonna’s work reveals a soul that isn’t trying to impress anyone.

Her music is all about vulnerability, honesty, and authentic living. And her folksy, haunting voice makes me feel I’m walking down a country road with my best friend and my very own soul.

Sherdonna’s latest album, In the Morning, reveals her gift as a powerful psalmist. I go to these songs when I want affirmation of my emotions and some powerful truth to elevate my perspective.

The cover art says it all. See the sunrise, the two birds, and the open cage? In this collection of songs, Sherdonna moves us toward freedom, fellowship, and faith without denying the presence of life’s cages.

The whole album is truly inspired, but I’d like to share three of my favorites.

I first heard “Stronghold” live. Sitting in my concert seat, I had to choke back sobs as Sherdonna sang about a pattern of thinking that kept her soul in prison for years. It’s a compelling song that starts with quiet piano and strings that rock a sadness over years lost to this “stronghold”. As the song progresses, the music builds and lifts when the lyrics reach for freedom, power, and truth. Sherdonna addresses her stronghold directly in these lyrics, “I don’t wanna be held by you anymore.” As she repeats them, I can almost see the prison bars disappearing and hear the celebration in her voice. Through this acknowledgment of her own weakness and need for renewal, “Stronghold” leaves me encouraged and seeking new freedoms of my own. Feeling stuck or disconnected from God’s grace? Just grab your journal and tissues and set this one on repeat. It’s that powerful.

Another favorite from this album is “When I Am Old“. Maybe it’s because I’m pushing a really big birthday number, but this one definitely strikes a sensitive chord in me. In these lyrics, Sherdonna is so honest about her insecurities about the future. She asks the questions we all have, the ones that shake us to the core and keep us wringing our hands about love and life: “Will you still see my face in your mind? Will you still choose me? …” In typical Sherdonna style, the music is open and pursuing without being demanding or whiney. It responds to every lover’s fear with a beautiful assurance of grace. As the years march on, I’ll be listening to this one often.

Sherdonna outdid herself with this album’s title song, “In the Morning“. It just might be my favorite of all her work, but that’s just too difficult to decide. From the very first notes, “In the Morning” invites us to stand and face the horizons of our lives – whatever shape they take – and see the light of a new day. Truth after truth marches us toward a glorious Hallelujah at the end. When I need to remember “Every evil way will fail” and “Loving kindness will prevail”, I turn this one way up.

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Sherdonna writes music just the way she lives: pressing in on hard truths, pursuing authenticity with courageous vulnerability, and consistently seeking faith over fear. Yet, her music is gentle and gracious. It beckons without shouting, and invites rather than invades. It’s the kind of music I put on when I need a good friend and a good, honest reminder of who I’m called to be.

Check out this album and her other albums here. You won’t be sorry you did.

See you in the morning, friend.





2 thoughts on “In the Morning: An Album Review

  1. Kristin Hill Taylor September 11, 2016 / 8:00 pm

    I love music that does that for me. I’ll have to check her out. Thanks for linking up this review at #ThreeWordWednesday.


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