By Amy Sondova Addison Road was the result of a happy accident—Jenny and Ryan Simmons (yes, they’re married) were offered a $500 singing gig for their band. The only problem was they didn’t have a band. Hurriedly assembling Ryan Gregg, bassist Travis Lawrence, and drummer Jeff Sutton—Addison Road was born. Six years later, after trials and testing, the band is releasing their self-titled debut album on INO Records.
Passionate about reaching out to teens and college students, it’s no surprise their first single, “All That Matters”, was inspired by the conversations band members have with teenage fans. Confronting the insecurities girls carry about themselves as a result of cultural and media images of beauty, the song reminds girls to find identity in God alone saying, “I know Your love has set me free/ And that’s all that matters to me.”
Keeping its roots solid in pop rock, the band explores other territory on various songs. While keeping the tempo upbeat in tunes like “This Could Be Our Day”, “Casualties”, and “It Just Takes One”, lyrical quality is not lost. For example, “Sticking with You” maintains a quick beat while proclaiming, “I might let you down/But I won’t let you go.” Then there are songs like “Run” introduced with a soft guitar/piano intro giving way to Jenny’s stunning vocals and “What Do I Know of Holy”, which both offer a transparent look at the holy, intricate longings of the human heart.
Lead singer Jenny Simmons’ vocal clarity allows listeners to mentally capture and contemplate the lyrics, but also soothes wearied souls into heavenly worship. Expertly playing their instruments, Addison Road presents an impressive debut, allowing for the natural pull of melodies to create a widely emotional listening experience. From the first song to the last, bold proclamations of faith, vulnerability, and introspection run through the album while the music is as unpredictable as the ocean—sometimes calm, sometimes stormy, sometimes playful, but always beautiful.
On a personal note–Addison Road’s information was just like any other band’s—a nicely written bio, lyrics, and—what’s this?—a mission statement. I can count on one finger the number of bands that have sent a mission statement in their press materials. Strangely impressed, I popped their debut album into my CD player and gave it a first listen, suddenly the last song on the album, “What Do I Know of Holy”, forcefully hit me in the heart, propelling tears down the contours of my cheeks. That’s the power of Addison Road’s music.
This is Addison Road’s unabridged mission as a band, which I believe is so wonderful that it should be shared:
“With all the voices that we hear speaking and screaming into our lives in a single day, we want to be a pure sound that reminds students to listen for God’s voice. The voice that tells us that we are loved, we are created in God’s image with a purpose and plan for our lives; with gifts, talents, and passions given to us by God. The voice that says we are never beyond forgiveness, grace, and second chances, we have all messed up, and we are all given the chance by a gracious savior to start over again. We want to remind students and adults through worship and our own music that we are always close to a very real God, a very present God, a very powerful and Holy God, who knows us by name. We want students to encounter Him in a REAL way because we believe when this happens our entire lives are changed. And finally we want to be a voice that champions the needs of the world around us; God calls us to follow the example of Jesus, to feed the hungry, take care of the orphaned, the widowed, the poor, and the sick.”