Anne Murray “Amazing Grace: Inspirational Favorites & Classic Hymns” Album Review

Anne Murray

Prime Cuts: It's No Secret, What a Wonderful World, How Great Thou Art

Anne Murray has joined the queue of country music artists (such as Jimmy Fortune, Marty Stuart, Loretta Lynn, Ray Stevens & Joey + Rory) in serving us with great Christian music via Gaither Music.  "Amazing Grace: Inspirational Favorites & Classic Hymns," as the titular indicates, finds this Canadian songbird offering her definitive takes on songs garnered from both the American standards songbook as well as the church's hymnal. 

But, before one gets far too excited about this project, this collection isn't exactly a brand new offering.  11 out of the 12 songs are actually lifted from Murray's 1999 #1 platinum selling "What a Wonderful World."  While the last song "You Needed Me" is the original version of Murray's signature #1 hit from 1978.  So, if you have already own Murray's 1999 release (which is by far a more superior effort as it contains 26 songs), there's not much point in investing in this disc.

But, if you didn't own "What a Wonderful World" (which incidentally is also Murray's sole #1 Billboard Christian album), then "Amazing Grace" is worth pursuing. What makes this album worthwhile is Murray's voice.  Though Murray has been singing over 4 decades, her soothing alto shows no signs of wear and tear.  She can effortlessly glide through her notes, yet in her nuances she can resonant with depth, meaning and thought.  Take a listen to her rendition of "How Great Thou Art."  Though she doesn't do any vocal acrobats with this hymn, yet you can feel a stately assurance that she really means every word she sings.  After she sings a hymn like "It's No Secret," you can't help but feel secured in the fact that our God is truly sovereign and mighty. 

For this record, Murray eschews the loud and the bombastic.  Rather, often understatedly accompanied by some light percussion and keyboards, Murray really lets her gorgeous voice shines.  She even does some bluesy growl with Bill Withers' "Lean on Me."  And she gets a tad jazzy with "What a Wonderful World" and then gets into old school Southern Gospel with "Whispering Hope."  Though the phoney sounding saxophone can be a little gruelling, but she still passes muster in "The Old Rugged Cross."

"You Needed Me" has the word timeless written all over it.  Written by Randy Goodrum, "You Needed Me" is one of the best songs out there that speaks of unconditional acceptance of another human being.  An act so reminiscent of the Gospel of Jesus.  And its melody is so intricately constructed that it's one of the few songs that can get away without a chorus. 

This disc would have gain so many more points if all the songs were recently recorded.  And one would certainly wish Murray would grace us with another Gospel record again.  However, if you have never own any of Murray's works, this is a good start in discovering her iconic voice.



Tags : anne murray anne murray new album anne murray gospel album Gaither Music anne murray news anne murray album review Anne Murray “Amazing Grace: Inspirational Favorites & Classic Hymns” Album Review

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