Reviewed by Trevor Kirk
I first heard this lady's music in the autumn of 1996, round about the time of the Cross Rhythms Roots & Branches Festival at Dudley Castle. I was part of the Radio Christian Voice station that was broadcasting from a caravan in the castle grounds, and Jaci's first album 'Heavenly Place' was on the playlist. The success of that first release was helped by a set of strong songs from some very accomplished songsmiths, including Michelle Tumes, David and Nicole C Mullen, and Chris Eaton, and the deft hand of Mark Heimermann on production, and since that debut as a 16 year old, Jaci has added four more to her repertoire, as well as being involved in several various artists' projects, and also releasing albums of material in Spanish. She has been under a personal cloud lately, following the breakdown of her marriage, and her last release in 2005, 'Beauty Has Grace' was much praised by Cross Rhythms but was, to my ears, a little way short of the quality of 'Heavenly Place'. This compilation however really does feature the best of JV: "On My Knees", "Un Lugar Celestial", "God So Loved" (one of Chris Eaton's finest songs), "God Loves You", "Show You Love", "Colours Of The Heart" (her duet with Oleta Adams on the various artists' 'Bridges' album), and many more. If Jaci Velasquez is a new name to you, buy this and find out what you've missed for the last 10 years.
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