Artist: Jenny Simmons
Title: The Becoming
Label: Fair Trade Services

After her band Addison Road amicably called it quits last year, it’s not surprising that the group’s lead singer Jenny Simmons opted for a solo trek. And with her debut The Becoming, Simmons proves she’s more than up to the task of steering the ship all by herself and has plenty to say while doing so.

Truth be told, Addison Road was always a pretty non-threatening presence on the Christian music scene because there wasn’t much that separated them for the pack, but Simmons seems intent on correcting that by showcasing another side of herself.

In fact, on the album’s confessional opening cut, “Where I Belong,” Simmons sings about finding her place in the world. “I, I am right where I belong/don’t have a place to call my own/’cause with you I’m right where I belong.”

Most of the time, the decidedly ambiguous nature of lyrics like the aforementioned can be left to the individual interpretation of the listener. Is it romantic? Is it about God? What is she saying? But the impassioned way that Simmons sings these words helps make things abundantly clear—she’s been on a journey, and she’s willing to share a little about it with you.

Like her singer/songwriter contemporaries (think: somewhere between Norah Jones and Taylor Swift), it’s clear that art imitates like for Simmons. Whether it’s a shamelessly happy ditty like “This I Know” or the plaintive worship of “Broken Hallelujah,” her songs have a diary-like quality without being cloyingly juvenile.

Embracing a positive outlook on life that’s anchored by a strong faith, Simmons offers plenty from a musical perspective as well. Sure, it all falls under the category of “pop” that’s unapologetically radio-friendly in nature, but thankfully, not every song sounds the same.

If anything, it’s The Becoming’s most stripped down moments that shine the brightest—proof positive that you don’t always need all the bells and whistles to make a big impact.

*This Review First Published 1/24/2013