This month Christ and Pop Culture is offering members the EP, Where Eyes Don’t Go by the Gray Havens as a CAPC Member Offering.
The Gray Havens are a musical duo from Chicagoland, made up of husband/wife team David and Licia Radford. David Radford might sound familiar for people who watch American Idol because, well, he killed it on American Idol back in 2012––making it all the way to the top 24. Radford’s smooth, jazzy voice compliments smooth instrumentation and songwriting could be best described as “theologically allegorical”. In an interview with Tim Challies, David Radford commented,
“We are seeking to illustrate gospel truths vividly through lyric and song, “firing up the imaginations” of both the believing and secular listener… We desire our music to be edifying to believers and evangelistic at some level to the hearts and imaginations of non-believers.”
The ideological vibe that the Gray Havens give off isn’t pushy or sappy-CCM-ish. Their tone is winsome, reminiscent of the fiction of a C.S. Lewis or a J.R.R. Tolkien (from whom they get their namesake).
Musically, The Gray Havens have roots in the traditional piano pop of the twentieth century and are comparable to other Christian folk/pop such as Jenny & Tyler, Drew Holcomb, and Dave Barnes. If you’re looking for edgy or boundary-pushing rock ‘n roll, the Gray Havens probably aren’t going to scratch that itch. But if you’re looking for some theologically sound, imaginative, talented, thoughtful, easy listening (everything you’ve always wanted Michael Bublé to be) The Gray Havens are for you.
Their storytelling and the clear allegories come off not as preachy but as imaginative and devotional. The Gray Havens’ EP Where Eyes Don’t Go is creative, somewhat safe, and really pretty. The second track, ‘Silver, is probably their best––or at least it’s my favorite––complete with a catchy piano riff, David showing off his vocal range, and some lovely lyrical storytelling.
Fans of bands like Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors and those quaint indie groups that show up at coffee shops will be mighty pleased with The Gray Havens. Likewise, anyone who appreciates good storytelling and explicitly Christian art that isn’t beat-you-over-the-head-with-sappy-christianense-and-vomitous-optimism will welcome The Gray Havens as a breath of fresh air.
Even if you’re not big on the smooth pop vibe, Where Eyes Don’t Go is good enough to merit a download and a listen.
And if you like what you hear, keep your eyes out for The Gray Havens’ first full length album “Fire & Stone”, releasing January 6th.