Posts Tagged ‘Amy Grant’


If you know me well, you know that I love Amy Grant. Through the years, I have taken some flack about this, but as I always say “screw you” if you insult my tastes in music and film. To me, she is what every christian artist should aspire to: gaining mainstream attention without compromising yourself. Among some conservative christian circles, she’s also rather controversial because she not only went mainstream but also got a divorce from fellow christian artist, Gary Chapman, and married country artist Vince Gill.

 

Well, I am here to say that it has happened once again: Amy Grant came to town, this time as a surprise guest at the KSBJ 30th anniversary concert, and I missed it. The last time I saw her was n 2008 when she came on her Lead Me On 20th Anniversary tour. Since then, she seems to skip Houston unless its some fancy gala with tickets at $300 a head.

 

This is the 2nd time I have given up meeting her. The first time has a good story behind it: I was slated to cover her show for UH newspaper, The Daily Cougar and I had balcony seats for me and 2 friends – one of which was going to her first show ever in the US. (she is from Hong Kong) Anyways, so I had to give up my tickets because they [her management] gave us approval with only a weeks notice and I had already gotten tickets. So I gave my floor seats to my dad and we enjoy the show tremendously.

 

It wasn’t until 3 days after that we discovered a slip of paper inside the ticket envelope saying “come meet the band after the show.” In essence, I gave up my dream of meeting one of the greatest christian artists of all time. In the words of Absolutely Fabulous‘s Patsy Stone I thought “I’m not happy!”

 

Then there was this time. They had tickets available where you could meet the artists, but did I buy them? No. Did I even go to said concert? No. Did she any of my record copies of her self-titled debut album (recorded at the mere age of 17), Father’s Eyes, Age to Age or Unguarded? No.

Lead Me On (Amy Grant album)

Lead Me On (Amy Grant album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Oh well.

 


This is the one that started it all……….kinda like my own version of “Video Killed the Radio Star” by the Buggles

the wildheart

Up until 1985, nobody ever would have thought that the words “Amy Grant” and the word “rock star” would have ever been uttered in the same sentence. That is, until 1985 when she released Unguarded.

This was definitely an album that broke many barriers within Contemporary Christian music back in the 1980’s. For starters, not every song was about Christ – some, such as I Love You, were love songs written for her then-husband, Gary Chapman.

For a Christian album, it has very few musical weak spots and one thing is clear: Grant knows how to rock. She proves it on the opening track, Love Of Another Kind, a track that seems reminiscent of  Jump by Van Halen. However, Grant truly shines on Find A Wayand Wise Up. However, they sound better when performed in a live setting.

Unguarded shows its weakness…

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Ahhhhh LeAnn Rimes before she was, well, not tabloid fodder. The 90’s version of Taylor Swift. Either way, she was very big in the world of the Wild Heart when she was only 11-13.

Her debut album, Blue, was one of the first nonChristian cds (next to Read My Mind by Reba McEntire) I got. However, I was a bit of a late-bloomer: it seemed like everyone else in Texas had discovered her including my aunt, who’s an avid country radio person. (Trust me she listened to FM 100.3 KILT, 93Q Country, etc. all the time back then)

This was my favorite song off her debut album from 1996. Now I look back at it and, even though it is a fun song, consider this: she was only 13 when she made the video. Sorry LeAnn but you were waaaay too young to be “drinkin’ champaign” at that age. Texas and pretty much every other law back then in the US in regards to drinking require you to be 21. You are also too young to be going around San Francisco like that. My mom would have NEVER stood for that – she freaked when I was left alone at a NEWSBOYS (note Newsboys are a Christian band!) concert at the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion when I was 12! I can see her side of that because I have since seen 2 friends endure drugs and alcohol issues: one survived but went through rehab and a shotgun marriage. The other one, well, she crashed her car into a tree and died.

Sadly my parents never shared my enthusiasm for country music back then. Therefore going to the rodeo every year in Houston was completely out of the question. I won’t lie – that hurt because everyone else in my class, church, or Girl Scout troop went. I wanted to go. Maybe my dad was mad because they stopped having KSBJ day at the rodeo – the local Christian station. Either way he would always tell me because he thought everyone there was a “fake cowboy.” (And he isn’t when he wears boots everywhere?)

But that all changed in 04 when Amy Grant came with her husband, Vince Gill. I wanted that as my birthday present when I turned 18 and my parents and I, along with my school friend Dorianne went. We had a ball. I’ve since gone sans my parents to see Gretchen Wilson (Twice! One time being at a bar too!) and last year I saw Janet Jackson.


Michael W. Smith is the most talented keyboard player in Christian music. Back in the 80’s and 90’s he and his former employer, CCM legend Amy Grant (whom he played keyboards for in the early 80’s). were the genre’s answer to Bernie Taupin and Elton John.

In 1984, Smith released the followup to his Michael W. Smith Project album; the aptly titled Michael W. Smith 2. The album’s opener is the impressively synth-friendly classic A Way. The song is great lyrically and stylistically – a somewhat rare ordeal in contemporary christian music.

The lyrics talk about God meeting us where we are at, rather than us trying to reach him:

Caught in a dream of where I want to be

Wrapped in a web of where I am

I feel a wall between what is and what should be

You find me waiting for an miracle
You hear me praying for a plan

You are the only one prepared to rescue me

Then you take away the distance

Found between the truth and me

& you give a simple reason to my restless rhyme

Woa, hide me in the Heavens

You have held within your hand

And make a way to find a way to soothe my mind

There is a way that might seem right to me

a dim reflection of what’s good

Just an illusion of the best that I can be

But there’s another path you offer me

I wish I always understood

Some way you see right through my thoughts

And all my needs

 This is a must-have for your download collection!


Football, though I have no problem whatsoever watching the Superbowl (I like the funny and breathtaking commercials along with the halftime show – usually), football is something that I don’t always get even though I’m from Texas – home of the laughable Dallas Cowboys and the Texans (yes that’s the name of Houston’s team and yes it is lame, I know!). However, sometimes when you combine music and football………..things get interesting!

Take for example when Amy Grant did the opening for Monday Night Football on ABC: EPIC FAIL! Therefore she must be lampooned! So I present you with this……

Top 5 things going through my head as I watch the video below

  1. Amy, are you related to that family on 19 Kids And Counting?
  2. That kid holding the football 18 seconds into the video, that’s none other than little Tim Tebow.
  3. 38 seconds – baby praises Jesus for a touchdown.
  4. As if people didn’t hear Baby, Baby enough in 1992.
  5. What happened to All My Rowdy Friends by Hank Williams Jr.?
  6. 8-9 seconds: production budget cutbacks
  7. If they “Stayed good friends until Monday night” did the eventually become perpetual enemies?
  8. RIP Amy Grant’s musical career 1975-1993
  9. I wonder how the audience reacted
  10. “Baby I realize that there’s just no getting over you” – Amy if you have a football obsession come on down to Houston, we will feed you well with a dose of the Texans and our amazing barbecue and tailgaters!

Oh well, it could be worse – like Glee’s Jane Lynch singing during the football game!


If you know the Wild Heartwell, it’s a widely-known thing that I LOVE Seinfeld. However, there is one particular episode

Happy Festivus from the Wild Heart

that strikes my fancy: The Strike. This one is perhaps best-known as The Festivus.

With that said, I present to you the Wild Heart’s celebration of Festivus. HAPPY FESTIVUS! LET’S RUMBLE!

Airing of Grievances:

The airing of grievances gathers everyone you know and you tell them how they have wronged you in the past year.

  • Heart – you come to Houston AGAIN and every time you do, you jack up your ticket prices. As a fan, I find this completely appalling. I haven’t seen your act since 2008’s Human Tour when I was in college. Between then and now, the economy went to hell and now this jobless college grad cannot afford to go to your concerts. Please lower your ticket prices!!
  • Amy Grant – Your “2 Friends Tour” COMPLETELY avoided coming to Houston. I really wanted to see you live again and performing all your old hits, as well as Michael W. Smith. So I suggest that you stop snubbing Houston, and come to some place like the Berry Center, Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion, or even the House of Blues. Otherwise I am done listening to your music!
  • KTRU – I go in for an interview twice with you dumbass hipsters and you refuse to hire me twice! You act all anti-record industry yet what do I see when I walk into your studios but a big white banner that says “TOM WAITS FOR NO ONE!” Guess what? He was signed to Asylum and Island Records – both are major labels. He’s currently signed to Anti records, the US distributor to Kate Bush. Hate to break it to you but that’s a major label too. Yet somehow you don’t like me because I tell you the artists I am currently loving are Fleetwood Mac, Stevie Nicks and Kate Bush. You are nothing but hypocrites. Thanks for crushing my on-air dreams.Oh and one more thing, since you are based at Rice University: GO COOGS!
  • Stevie Nicks – Why did you have to snub Houston for the “Heart and Soul” tour? I wanted to see you perform that duet of Young Turks with Rod Stewart Not cool! But thanks for coming for the “In Your Dreams” tour. That was amazing!
  • White Stripes, Rilo Kiley, & R.E.M – Why did you all break up? We need you to save us from the clutches of the evils of bad music such as Lady GaGa & Katy Perry!
  • Ke$ha – I couldn’t help but notice that your song “C U Next Tuesday” is an acronym for “cunt.” As a college educated woman who took at least 9 hours of womens studies classes, I find this VERY offensive. Just because a guy calls you that doesn’t mean that it is okay. It’s degrading a female to a mere body part and nothing more. Take a freaking lesson from the women’s lib movement from the 70’s Ke$sha!
  • The Ton Tons – How come you never got back to me about covering you guys?
  • Nameless haters of that know who they are – What the hell gives you the right to take shots at the Wild Heart? BTW keep up the hatin’ because people like you only make people like me stronger! To quote Pat Benatar: “Knock me down it’s all in vain. I get right back up on my feet again! Hit me with your best shot!” It’s never cool to make fun of someone’s album collection. Vinyl is cooler, better sounding as far as decibels go, but you are a clueless jerk who only cares about making other peoples lives miserable.

And now for the toasts of 2011

  • All of the local bands that I have covered this year – Nightbird – Stevie Nicks Tribute, Spare Parts, Spare Heart – Heart Tribute, August 83, Kozmic Pearl – Janis Joplin Tribute, Love It To Death – Alice Cooper Tribute, and BlackRozeHouston. I have loved every minute of covering you guys. Houston’s music scene is like a hidden gem of musical talent. All of y’all keep up the good work and I think you will go far! Special thanks to John Hill and Jennifer Nguyen for giving me this idea.
  • Glee – One of the best things that you do, aside from the funny storylines with Jane Lynch and Matthew Morrison, is that you introduce classic rock numbers to a new generation. You did this well with last season’s salute to Rumours by Fleetwood Mac. No thanks to the show, a new generation got to hear snippets about the emotional drama that went on behind the scenes but also hear the songs themselves as performed by the cast. I want an encore! However can that encore be with something by Yes or Styx?
  • Stevie Nicks – Your new album, In Your Dreams, is AMAZING! It reminds me of your old 80’s albums like The Wild Heart, Bella Donna, and The Other Side of the Mirror. Also, your In Your Dreams tour was pretty magical – least your concert in Houston was. (Never have I been to the Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavillion where a concert was done in 103+ degree heat under a big full moon. Even better, your merchandise wasn’t too expensive and my mom liked the keychain I got her.
  • Lindsey Buckingham – I won tickets to your concert at Cactus Records. Though I am unfamiliar with your solo work, I must say you were pretty amazing at the Verizon Wireless Theater. Also, I must give you mad props for performing my favorite Fleetwood Mac song, Tusk.
  • Cactus and Black Records – Without you lovely people, I would not have been able to cover 2 major shows (Lindsey Buckingham and Lost 80’s Night at StereoLive with Animotion, When In Rome, and A Flock of Seagulls), survived a bad day at work, and helping me to climb the ladder of success with blogging.

One of the best things about Contemporary Christian Music singer Amy Grant is that she isn’t afraid to tell the truth. Though the truth can hurt, she does it in a very loving way. This is what makes her rather popular even to this day in Contemporary Christian Music.

On 1982’s Age To Age, Grant shows that she is now a beautiful, young, Christian woman. Grant, whose previous albums included her self titled debut album (recorded when she was only a teenager), My Father’s Eyes, 2 live albums, and 1980’s

Cover of "Age to Age"

forgettable Never Alone.

Grant takes a new musical direction with Age to Age. She and then-piano player Michael W. Smith experiment with some of the musical stylings that made the music of Fame popular at the time on Don’t Run Away.  Grant also grows up lyrically on Got to Let It Go where she exclaims “Lord, here’s my heart/ I’ve been keepin’ it from you/ And I’ve got to let it go/ Holdin’ on just brings me worry.

Other songs, she takes a more classically-inclined approach. Songs such as Sing Your Praise to the Lord, and El Shaddai, which is sung partially in Hebrew. The latter talks about the death of Christ.

Age to Age  was the first Christian music album to gain gold certification status in 1983. It became the first of its genre to be certified platinum in 1985. Upon its release, it became the fastest-selling CCM album during that time – unheard of in that genre back then!

Overall this is a good album, but if you are not familiar with Grant’s earlier work – only her later work, you will be dissappointed.  However this is still a classic.