self-released / 2016
Two years ago, Indianapolis musician Nathan Partain gave us one of recent memory's best worship records with Jaywalker, an LP that mixed rollicking Creedence Clearwater Revival-style roots rock with the wide-eyed urgency of a revival tent preacher. Now Partain is back with another set of songs, though with a decidedly different tack. While Jaywalker channeled CCR and Sweetheart of the Rodeo-era Byrds, A Lovely Wait is a more modest, acoustic affair that fits snugly with folk-worship contemporaries like Sandra McCracken and Cardiphonia/The Liturgy Fellowship, of which Partain is a co-founder. His version of Psalm 136, "The Lord Is All That Is Good" was one of the standouts on Cardiphonia's Psalms release a few years back, and these eleven devotional songs have roots sunk similarly deep into Scripture.
Case in point: opener "You Were Not My People" traces the Biblical metanarrative of a God in relentless pursuit of a people who spurn him again and again. The verses initially echo the Law and Prophets, but culminate in the Incarnation and Crucifixion: "You spit on me, even as I kissed you... You crucified, and I let you".
Two other songs highlight different aspects of the anticipation implicit in the name of the album. One is the title track, where an the beat of an anxious snare throughout mirrors the longing of the chorus, "So I eat the dust, I wear the ash/I bear the hunger, I keep the fast". Album closer "We Shall Sing", on the other hand, practically shivers with joyful expectation - the celebratory guitar riff swings through the song like a wedding bell, and Partain echoes the Apostle Paul in Romans, singing, "The whole world of despair is not worth being compared/To what we shall see". A lovely wait indeed!