by Matt Conner
David Leonard didn’t necessarily mean to take these next musical steps.
In the immediate wake of All Sons & Daughters final album, Poets & Saints, Leonard dove into his creative collective The Creak Music, a new production team and indie label with friends Seth Talley and Brad King. He was writing songs for others and wrestling circumstances for himself.
Behind the scenes, Leonard and his wife were grieving the pains of infertility. They’d been blessed with one child, but their longing to grow their family was met with years of disappointment including a tragic miscarriage that dashed what little hope had appeared on the horizon. As a songwriter, Leonard turned to music to process his feelings.
“I think music has always been my retreat. It’s been my place where I can respond 100 percent authentically and I don’t feel judged,” he says. “I can simply respond to something and whether or not somebody likes it, it doesn’t change what it is or how I feel.
“A lot of the songs that were coming out were tied to disappointment and the weight of acknowledging this was not an easy thing to walk through,” he continues. “We were saying, ‘God, I still know that you’re faithful in this, yet please show me that you’re faithful in this.’ When we started piecing them together, we realized we had a record.”
The new record, The Wait, lives in this very real tension felt not only by the Leonard family but anyone who has asked sincere questions filled with doubt and confusion, pain and longing. The beauty of The Wait, according to Leonard, is that it’s clear to see God’s hand bringing forth new song without an attempt to force it on his end.
“It was so interesting because we never felt this grand pressure to create something,” he says. “Just all of a sudden, it was there. It wasn’t a struggle because I had to create new songs or that I tried to forge some new musical identity. The songs were just there and that felt like such a gift.”
Just as these new songs surprised the songwriter, Leonard also says newer fans might be taken back if they’re expected All Sons & Daughters 2.0. Leonard’s background as the lead vocalist of rock band Jackson Waters and as a touring member of NEEDTOBREATHE plays heavily into this new set. “If you made a melting pot of everything I’ve been a part of, this is what it is. For people who’ve been a part of the last 20 years of my life, this makes sense.”
Musically, Leonard admits he wasn’t exactly sure which way to lean, whether to simply extend the sonic path he’s been walking for the last few years or allow his interests to roam where they may.
“It was a blast to make this record, but at the same time, All Sons and Daughters has been one of the biggest things I’ve been a part of,” says Leonard. “So it struck me whether or not I should make another record like that. The struggle to make this record was real, wondering if it should sound more like that.
“The more I dove into it, it didn’t feel that way,” he continues. “That was a beautiful season and time in my life. I would never want to try to replicate what we did. I want to carry the same heart of what we had, because that, to me, is the thing to carry forward—to allow people to have experiences with God that are brand new. I think we nailed it, but it was definitely a struggle to figure out whether I should or not.”
In the end, The Wait has given birth to new life both figuratively and literally. Not only is Leonard now ready for this next personal chapter of being a solo artist, but the home front is a bit busier with a baby daughter.
“It’s crazy how it’s all unfolded,” says Leonard. “We’re just really proud of it. It tells a beautiful story and strongly conveys the struggle between disappointment and then joy at the same time. We ended up getting pregnant again in 2017, so now we have an eight-month-old little girl, which has been awesome.”