Top Ten Albums of 2011

Soon, we will get to the albums.  But first, the rules:

1.  The albums had to be released during the calendar year of 2011.

2.  The albums had to be full-length albums of new material.

3.  The albums couldn’t be live albums that consisted primarily of live versions of previously released material from the artist. Continue reading

Advertisements

Music Review: Sara Groves’ Fireflies and Songs

Personal.  Honest.  Original.  These are all words that describe great artistry.  These are also words that describe Sara Groves’ newest cd, Fireflies and Songs

Lyrically, Fireflies and Songs explores personal relationships–relationships between husband and wife, one’s personal relationship with God and understanding oneself.  “Different Kinds of Happy” celebrates the power of confession and honesty in marriage (and in any relationship): “It’s a sweet, sweet thing/Standing here with you and nothing to hide/Light shining down to our very inside/Sharing our secrets/Bearing our souls/Helping each other come clean”.  “Twice As Good” tells of the joy of having a person or group of people with whom we can share our deepest thoughts and feelings: “With every burden I have carried/With every joy it’s understood/Life with you is half as hard and twice as good”.  “It’s Me” speaks to some of the harder aspects of marriage.  “Setting Up The Pins” is a fun, modern-day work song.  Groves’ personal honesty shines throughout the record, perhaps shining brightest in “Eyes Wide Open”, where Groves is not afraid to address weaknesses in her own life: “I’ve got layers of lies I don’t even know about yet”.  Fireflies and Songs ends with “Joy Is In Our Hearts”–a sort of benediction that challenges us to remember that as we weather good times and bad in our personal relationships, through it all, Christ is our joy and strength.

Musically, this album has a sort of piano, folk, acoustic sound.  It’s a very original mix that one has to think was influenced by the Producer of the album–Charlie Peacock.  The instrumentalists Groves surrounds herself with are top-notch.  Of course she and Charlie Peacock play piano throughout the album.  Matt Slocum (Sixpence None The Richer) helps with the strings.  Jerry McPherson (Amy Grant, Rich Mullins, Trace Adkins, Dusty Springfield, Out of the Grey) plays guitar.  Scott Dente (Out of the Grey) plays guitar.  Buddy Green plays harmonica.  And to top it all off, Bruce Bouton (Garth Brooks, Reba McEntire, Faith Hill, Lonestar) plays Steel Guitar.

It is clear that even though Fireflies and Songs is a very personal album, Groves has made it a community effort.  And the effect is to multiply the album’s appeal with each new member of the community.  Fireflies and Songs is simply a must-have.