Posted 25 August 2005 - 09:55 AM
My wife and I saw Sara Groves in concert on Saturday. She was truly marvelous - alternating between hilarious, touching, prophetic anectodes and lovely, humourous, and ultimately worshipful songs. She was accompanied by her husband on percussion and their bass player for most of the show, but also played a short set of songs by herself, just voice and piano.
I've really enjoyed her records - they're a great blend of deep, well-written songs that are personal and quirky, along with a couple radio-friendly songs each that are still well-written and engaging. Iím excited to hear her new record, coming out in October.
So, are there other fans here?
Posted 25 August 2005 - 11:32 AM
The reason that I'm really looking forward to her new album "Add to the Beauty" is because of the producer. Charlie Peacock produced most of the songs on her last album, and while I have great respect for him as a songwriter and producer, I don't think his style fits well with Sara's lyrics, or what I've come to expect from her musically. Her new album was produced by Brown Bannister. I was doing some work on a project for Brown a couple weeks ago, and noticed a rough mix CD sitting in the control room for Sara's project. The song that I'm looking forward to hearing is "Rewrite This Tragedy". Brown said they tried to go for more of the feel from "Conversations". He also told me which musicians they used on it. He said Sara wanted most of the same people that played on "All Right Here", which is my favorite project of hers.
Here is a comment Sara made about this project in an interview with Grassroots music:
"Candidly truthful and compassionately hopeful, Add to the Beauty echoes Sara’s first release in its’ intimate and honest lyrical journey. “When we started Add to the Beauty, we set out to take beautiful pictures of the songs, to recapture the straight forward feel of Conversations, and couldn’t have found a better song photographer than Brown Bannister,” recalls Sara. “It has been a surreal and wonderful experience to work with the man who helped bring Age to Age to my living room over 20 years ago.”
I'm sure it will be good! Now I just hope that it does well commercially. Sara has said that if this doesn't sell enough to support them, it will probably be her last label album. I hope not!
Posted 25 August 2005 - 12:32 PM
Having said that, I'm a huge fan of Groves' All Right Here, and CT ranked her last album, which I've not heard, as the best of 2004.
I did get to see Groves on tour recently, in support of that album, and although I couldn't have asked for a better lineup of CCM artists -- Groves, Bebo Norman, and Fernando Ortega, who represent the cream of the crop in the CCM world -- I found the concert a little underwhelming. None of them sings the kind of songs that get a crowd on its feet, but I've been to several shows by like-minded artists, most of which were more engaging than the Groves-Norman-Ortega show.
I guess Groves, who opened the show, was the main disappointment. Her performance was impeccable, and I thought the newer songs were lovely, but there wasn't much energy to the performance. Her anecdotes between songs went on a little too long, with repeated references to her kids. I don't mind such ramblings when I know the artist has an entire evening to perform, but when you're relegated to a 45-minute set, a little more music and a little less talk are appreciated.
I'd seen Bebo before, and he was pretty good, but Ortega stole the show. That guy is very witty, and his new songs are downright daring in their seemingly total lack of "JPM"s: "Jesus Per Minute" references. He sang a song about a dragonfly (backed by a slithering, infectious bass line) and another about a coyote, or maybe it was a dog. That the guy grasps the wonders of God's creation without overtly pointing to the Creator seems positively countercultural, when the culture of which we're speaking is the CCM culture. 'Course, I don't think his latest album is selling all that well. Shame.
Posted 25 August 2005 - 12:55 PM
About producers, while those three do produce a lot, I think they shine on certain albums. The only thing I like that Charlie has produced recently is his best of album, "Full Circle". But I think that Brown is one of the better producers out there. While he does do a lot of things that sound the same, I like quite a few of his projects. He produced the new MercyMe Christmas project that’s coming out, and is getting ready to produce a regular album with them. They have just worked with Pete Kipley so far, and I've never really liked his work. Brown is also producing Third Day's new album, so I'm curious to see how it turns out. I did some work on the new Point of Grace Christmas CD that Brown co-produced with Carl Marsh (the main arranger/orchestrater) and there are quite a few songs on it that are not 'same-old'.
About Monroe Jones, while it's easy for him to produce things that sound the same as everybody else, he also has his stand out albums. The first one I can think of is Chris Rice's "Smell the Color Nine". More recently, he produced Holly Williams' "The Ones We Never Knew", which I think is a masterpiece. And just this week the new Chris Rice CD, "Amusing", hit the streets. It is Chris' first CD with Eb+Flo, that he co-founded with Monroe and Ken Lewis (a drummer). It has some great moments on it. It shows what Monroe can do without having to give a label something that sounds like everything else.
Posted 25 August 2005 - 03:05 PM
I'm glad you brought that up. My favorite record is also "All Right Here", which was the first I was introduced to. One of the reasons I like it so well is the production sensibilities, which was due to Nate Sabin acting as her producer. I agree, I like the Charlie Peacock stuff on her last album ("The Other Side of Something") a bit less.
I really do like Sabin's touches as her producer; his blend of roots rock, well-thought-out pop and subtle electronics really suit my tastes.
Wow, I really do hope that the record does sell well, then. I would hate to think that it might be her last record.
Posted 01 September 2005 - 05:45 PM
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