Few contemporary Christian artists have impacted the world quite like Amy Grant has.
And as this incredible artist approaches her thirtieth anniversary of making music for the masses, she has returned to
the city where she had performed her first show ever to record her first live album in twenty five years.
Recorded live at Bass Performance Hall in Fort Worth, TX, Grant creates an intimate presence on stage,
presenting classics old and new spanning her impressive career.
Live projects are tricky because they tend to possess a short lifespan. There is a wide range to the
kinds of quality they can display -- from the in-the-audience feel to the so-polished-you-forget-it's-live.
Grant's is perfectly the latter, and to her benefit. The in-concert chatter between songs is preserved
as well as the hints of imperfections in her voice due to age and experience, but it all works together
wonderfully for this project. The sound for each song is unbelievably crisp, creating new versions of
old favorites without having that studio polish. It's intimate without forfeiting quality. This may
be one of the most replayable live albums to date.
The song selection is a pleasant surprise as well. While I admit I have never followed Amy Grant's
career too closely, I've grown up hearing her songs around everywhere. The selection is a nice mix of
old and new, spiritual and romantic, representing all sides of her career. Time Again... Amy Grant Live
opens with the anthemic and unforgettable "Lead Me On," before Grant invites everyone to dance to her
irresistibly catchy "Good For Me." Grant's voice fluctuates at times between spot-on and a little raspy,
but still sounds good from song to song.
Between selections, Grant offers little insights on some of her songs. Probably the one I found the most
interesting is her revelation that her hit love song "Baby Baby" was in fact originally written for her daughter. And while
the acoustic-driven performances and comments from Amy add personal touches, something is slightly lost
without visual accompaniment to the audio portion of the live performance. As a bonus treat, a DVD sampler
of the full-length DVD that is being released alongside this CD has been included, offering live video
of "Stay For Awhile," "Take A Little Time," "Thy Word," and "Lucky One," which unfortunately was not
chosen for the audio portion of the project. The video, which is shot in a very modern style (if not
too ambitiously), allows the listener to see the audience, the stage setup (which features Grant's actual
living room couch and painting that is hung above it), and performers. This little extra completes the package.
The only drawback to the packaging is the exclusion of six songs that can only be acquired in video
form on the full-length DVD (sold separately). "Lucky One," "Carry You," "My Father's Eyes," "El Shaddai,"
"If These Walls Could Speak," and "Big Yellow Taxi" are all absent from the audio portion of the album.
On the other hand, the CD offers only one song the DVD does not, and that's "Believe," which was the
theme from Grant's reality show Three Wishes. However, those missing tracks are my only real
minor squawk about this record.
Time Again... Amy Grant Live is a long overdue return for the singer to the live recording
format. Amy Grant fans and music enthusiasts alike will likely take interest in this release. Quite honestly,
I can say with confidence that Time Again... Amy Grant Live has the best sound for a live album
I've heard yet.
- Review date: 9/24/06, written by John DiBiase