Standing Firm: The Debut Album of Jared Vardaman/by Ethan Coats

 It is no secret that MC is full of many, many amazing and talented people from the fields of Hederman Science, to the studies of Jennings, to the disciplines of Aven, and everywhere in between! Our campus seems to be bursting with individuals of different talents and abilities.

     Among them is Jared Vardaman, a junior communications major, who has been blessed with an amazing singing gift. Jared has been in numerous school productions; he sang at Dr. Thompson’s inauguration; and most famously, Jared went viral with a video of him singing of the arrival of Chick-fil-A on his campus in a rendition of “God Bless You, Chick-fil-A.” Most recently, Jared has released his debut album, but anyone who knows him knows that this was a long time coming!

     Through the years, Jared has always been involved in music, specifically the Southern Gospel realm of Christian music. Jared comes from a family of talent, his family having released an album in 2015. The album featured both his father and mother, along with himself, and features such songs as “If You Love Jesus (Raise Your Hand),” “I Just Stopped By,” and my personal favorite, “It Should Have Been Me.” Since then, Jared has released two singles, “Close to You” in 2018 and “Anyway” in 2019. For the past year, Jared has been working on his debut album Standing Firm, which he released earlier this year. 

     Before spring break, I had the privilege to listen to some demo versions of the songs with Jared. He leans deeply into his roots in Southern Gospel while also giving it his own familial touch. Songs such as “Standing Firm” and “Unashamed” speak to his devout obedience to the teachings of the Bible and also how that affects his worldview.

     In “Nevertheless,” Jared speaks of the willingness of Christ to die on the cross and what that act means for you and me. A heavy theme of the album as a whole is the reliance on the person of Jesus not only as a teacher but also as a Savior and a foundation. The album sounds like something you might have heard for years growing up in the Gospel south, however one does not need to have been in that atmosphere to glean the truth within the work.

     Jared and all those who helped him produce this album have a message for us found right in the name: stand firm. It is interesting how comforting it is to listen and remember how true the promises of God are in these trying times. The final work of the album is definitely my favorite. “Forevermore” features a duet between Jared and his father, Tal Vardaman. The song speaks of the omniscient power of God and the finiteness of our present being, echoing the opening theme of standing firm in the present time, yet pressing on to what is to come. 

    

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