Four new songs and several previously unreleased tracks feature on the new album by singing star AMY GRANT
News of a new release by the biggest selling artist in the history of Christian retail, Amy Grant, will make any fan of Nashville CCM sit up and take notice even if the 12-track album 'Somewhere Down The Road' features only four new songs and "several previously unreleased tracks from her musical vault." The album, set for April release, features Amy at a time of renewed creativity and also echoes the life of a woman who is not afraid to write and sing about life's most heart-wrenching moments as well as the sublime joys. "There have been times in my life that I was sitting in the cat bird seat and everything was going my way, but currently, this is a time [with] a lot of uncertainty within my extended family as we've experienced pain, loss, and joy," admitted Grant who has dealt with aging parents and the loss of longtime friend musician Ruth McGinnis this past year. "This is the kind of record where it takes maturity to put out, so we went back and looked at old songs, unreleased songs, and new songs that fit together in a way that I think will make a really amazing and intriguing journey."
Said six-time Grammy Award winner and 30 million plus selling artist Amy, "From a work stand point, I've had the amazing opportunity that anything I've ever wanted to try, for some reason, the door has opened. I love music as much as I always have, but I feel very contented when it comes to work. What brings the sizzle back to me is a great idea and it can be somebody saying, 'hey, I have this idea for a song!' As soon as they speak the words I go, 'Ahhh, that's great. We've got to sit down and do it right now.' That's how I felt about this project."
Amy's first radio single since "Simple Things" in 2003 is "Better Than A Hallelujah." Amy admitted that the song resonated strongly with her as she dealt with the death of Ruth McGinnis. "The honesty of it, the vulnerability of the lyrics, the beautiful melody and that the song found me right where I was in my own journey was incredibly powerful. The song is just so poignant and redemptive. In the lyric there is no religious code or lingo going on and the message is true, it's good news. I love every scenario it's painting."
Though Grant is an industry veteran, and one of a short list of artists to have scored number one hits in each of the last three decades, 'Somewhere Down The Road' finds her enjoying several first time experiences - among them recording in the new studio she and husband Vince Gill built in their Nashville home, contributing one of her own paintings as part of the cover art, and for the first time recording a duet on the song "Overnight" with one of her children, 17-year-old-daughter Sarah. The song says if things happened overnight, you wouldn't appreciate the process, as Grant explains, "If it all just happened overnight, you would never know what it means, and you would never learn to believe in what you can't see. I've wanted to sing with Sarah for a long time and when this song showed up I thought it would be perfect for us to record."
Among the other new tracks, "Unafraid" is a poignant ballad that has become a favourite at Grant's live shows and will be available in physical form for the first time. In addition, "Hard Times" is another new tune on the album, which Grant co-wrote with Ian Fitchuk and Justin Loucks. "Mindy Smith asked me to sing a background part on her latest record and they were producing it," Grant said of her introduction to her collaborators. "They already had the idea for the verses and I wrote the chorus and we wrote the last verse together. It's been hard times on a lot of levels for a lot of people. I don't know anybody that is saying this is the easiest and best time in life."
In selecting previously unreleased recordings that fit with the theme of the new album, two songs stood out as perfect for this collection, "Come Into My World" and "What Is The Chance Of That". "'Come Into My World' is the rawest, more vulnerable of the two and it just required a lot of distance from that time in my life. I wrote that in the years prior to going through a divorce, and so the song is really a downer," admitted Amy. "I don't feel that same way now and I hadn't actually heard it in over a decade but was moved by it and thought, 'Wow, I remember how that felt. Thank goodness I don't feel that way now, but that is a very real feeling for a lot of people at different times in life.'"
While Grant could easily feel she has nothing left to achieve in the music industry, the dawning of a new decade finds her as passionate as ever. "It's all about the idea," she said. "I love the song 'Better Than A Hallelujah'. I love the opportunity to get to do a song with my daughter. I love the concept of 'Somewhere Down The Road'. I am personally moved by the concept of our journey through life and because of all the years that have come before, I find myself in a unique and somewhat rare position to be able to sing about that journey, and that's an opportunity I don't want to miss."The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.