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Tenth Avenue North disbanded earlier this year after two decades of making music. But the band’s frontman, Mike Donehey, decided he wasn’t done just yet. In August, Donehey released his first full-length solo album, Flourish—and for Tenth Ave fans, it’s a happily familiar sound.

With the pandemic bringing the band’s hopes for a farewell tour to a sudden end, Donehey has been vocal about feeling lost and uncertain during the transition to life post-Tenth Avenue North. Like many music artists, he started translating his feelings into songs during quarantine. Flourish became an ode to the newfound healing and joy that he found in that writing process.

Compared to the sound of his former band, Donehey’s first solo venture isn’t much different. Both musical styles lean toward pop/rock themes, and the lyrics are consistently earnest, inspiring, and thought-provoking. But there are moments in his solo album when Donehey pushes the envelope just a little, like sound sampling and other thematic additions. He’s playing it safe but still taking those first steps of forging his own path. 

With Flourish, some distinct themes also come into play. In the midst of quarantine and stay-at-home orders, Donehey found himself writing more about the simple joys of home and family life with his wife and daughters. This is evident in “Glory I Couldn’t See” as well as “Something That I Can’t Explain.” He also explores Christian unity in songs such as “All Together” and “Unity Hymn,” emphasizing that togetherness is the only way for the body of Christ to flourish.

In each of its songs and in the midst of its familiarity, Flourish serves as an inspiration—especially with its titular track. Beauty and growth can come from even the most difficult of circumstances. Despite the fact that Tenth Avenue North is no longer a band, it seems as though Mike Donehey is only getting started. (Fair Trade)

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