Music Review | “Wearing A Blindfold and Running” By Elyssa Smith

UPPERROOM writer, worship leader and artist Elyssa Smith is stepping out with her debut solo project, Wearing a Blindfold and Running. After the massive success of worship anthem “Surrounded (Fight My Battles),” Elyssa’s first solo album keeps the worshipful attitude we’ve seen in previous work while also seeing her embrace her own stylistic artistry. 

“Catch Me” opens the album with a wrestling of faith: “I’m learning that risk feels like mistakes / but isn’t that called faith? If I fall will You catch me?” before following up with the assurance of “You will catch me.” 

Tender “Hey Jesus” finds Smith’s vocal especially delicate above a simple piano instrumental, much like “Fight or Flight,” a song that feels particularly autobiographical and personal. 

The most raw cut on the album, “Daily Bread” is a special track that feels beautifully organic in its nature. In the first seconds, listeners hear Elyssa tell the group she’s gathered with how the song came out of a personal time of prayer, as she then begins to sing it over them. As the powerful moment builds, the others in the room join their voices in harmony to lift the simple chorus: “You are my daily bread / I never have to beg / You keep me hungry / You keep me fed.

“I Won’t Break” follows, giving listeners more context around the album’s title within a song that speaks to the struggle to trust what we cannot see and to keep our faith in the times God feels silent: “To live by faith and not by sight is like wearing a blindfold and running / I won’t break if I bend / just let go and give in to how You lead.

“Lovesick,” which is among several tracks on this album to feature Steffany Gretzinger, and “Jealous” round out the album, contrasting each other perfectly as the former comes from a place of personal longing and the latter is delivered from the perspective of Christ.

In a brilliant display of a true worshipper’s heart meeting creative production, Wearing a Blindfold and Running is honest, authentic and beautiful at every turn. Every song reads like an intimate conversation between Elyssa and God, with the beauty being that she has opened up these prayers for the rest of us to sing along with her. From the opening moments through the close of the record, listeners are swept into a passionate and intentional time of worship, every lyric pairing with the creative expressions to create a record that is truly stunning.

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An Excerpt from Glenn Packiam’s New Book “Worship and the World To Come”

Glenn Packiam (Doctor of Theology and Ministry, Durham) is the associate senior pastor of New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He is the songwriter of more than fifty worship songs, including “Your Name” and “Mystery of Faith,” and the author of several books, including Blessed Broken Given: How Your Story Becomes Sacred in the Hands of Jesus and Discover the Mystery of Faith: How Worship Shapes Believing. He is also a visiting fellow at St. John’s College at Durham University and an adjunct professor at Denver Seminary.
Packiam preaches at conferences for pastors and worship leaders and has spoken at Wycliffe Hall at Oxford University, Biola University, Asbury Seminary, Calvin College, and Trinity School for Ministry. He lives in Colorado Springs, Colorado, with his wife, Holly, and their four children.

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