Contemporary Christian musicin the late 80s-early 90’s, for the most part, was a basic copycat of its non-Christian counterparts.

Susan Ashton is one of the most underappreciated voices in Contemporary Christian Music.

Susan Ashton, like Amy Grant, is not one of those copycats. She is an original that has yet to be copied to this day! However, she has been covered by many country artists such as Kathy Mattea (who covered her song Grand Canyon on her 1994 album Walking Away A Winner), Martina McBride, and Garth Brooks – whom she used to sing backup for and even opened for him.

Her debut album, Wakened By the Wind is almost country-lite but with less twang and more lush vocals hinted with a guitar. On the albums opening track, Down On My Knees, Ashton confesses “You bear the weight of condemnation/ cleansing with the blood of truth/ so with my humble acclamation I wanna give myself to you.”  She is clearly referring to sin that leads to ultimate death but also the redemption and forgiveness that comes with being a follower of Jesus Christ. Essentially she is telling the listener that she is not perfect, but rather dirty and is made clean by the Lord.

One of the best tracks is Benediction,  which is a semi-uptempo song about searching for what God wants her to do. Ashton follows up in this vein with Land of Nod – a Bonnie Raitt-inspired song about how Christians should not be complacent in their faith, but instead be challenged in their faith.

Many of the songs on this album such as No One Knows My Heart and I Hear You are also basically prayers. Others, such as In Amazing Grace Land, are praises to Jesus for the price that he paid on the cross for the sins of the world.

This is one of the most underrated Christian albums and artists of all time. It rarely gets any current airplay on CCM radio, even in her hometown of Houston, TX – where I, the Wild Heart, grew up and currently reside. Hopefully one day she will be rediscovered.

“Ball and Chain” by Susan Ashton

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