Ginny Owens Get In I'm Driving as reviewed in Phantom TollboothOnce again, what makes each of Owens' offerings special is the continued display of her true self in her art.

Get In, I'm Driving
Artist: Ginny Owens
Label: SoulStride Records
Release Date: September 13, 2011
Duration: 11 tracks, 42:09

With every Ginny Owens release, I hear a slight progression in style. Here, slightly more personal, slightly more aggressive, and slightly more crossover. Ginny is an extremely gifted talent with a soft, personal voice coupled with a vibrant personality full of love and strength. All of these traits are well exhibited in Get In, I’m Driving. After a long hiatus, Owens creates her first studio LP in five years filled with reflections of personal experiences. Her music is soulful, her voice sometimes innocent, sometimes sultry, always smooth and engaging.

The lead song, “Get In, I’m Driving,” sets the stage with R&B destined for airplay. But, it’s the message that’s outstanding here. Like all of Owens’ gems, the lyrics are portrayed with a wonderful vocal style destined to stay with the listener:

"So now I march to the beat of my own drum
Sing out the words to my own song,
Give thanks to the One who gives me life;
Every day is like a new adventure,
I can almost hear Him whisper,
'If you wanna take the ride of your life then
C’mon, get in, I’m drivin.'"

The first of a few bluesy, jazz-oriented songs gives a light, buoyant feel in “Mystery of Grace”. The first radio release of the album is “Before You Fly,” a poppy offering intended for a broader audience, tells the story of resilience in the face of adversity with a great refrain and layered chorus. “Rain” is a piano led, blues number showing the sensitivity offered in many of Owens’ offerings, here a story of her loss in a past relationship:

"Looks like rain again,
And I’m afraid
The rain will never end,
So I pray
To call the rain my friend,
Until the day,
The sun comes out again,
It looks like rain."

A deeper, richer sound is present in “Lay It Down” with great percussion and chorus. A brilliant and outstanding cover of Steve Wonder’s “Higher Ground” shows Owen’s range with a slower tempo, darker-sounding version with piano and strings.

“Better that Way” shows the brilliance of Owen’s artistry. For the Christian / jazz enthusiast (yes, there are a few of us), this song is a solid jazz ballad in the vein of Billy Holiday and shows good Christian crossover. In the CCM genre, this is sorely missed. Finally, “The Song” leaves us with another great ballad with only Ginny’s voice and an acoustic guitar giving us more of life’s truths to observe:

"I’m off to chase the rainbows,
and dance beneath the stars,
I’ll learn to fight courageously
for the things that move my heart,
‘Cause no matter where it leads me,
oh, it never leads me wrong.
How empty would my soul be?
if I’d never heard the song.
And in those moments
oh, when the darkness closes in
I will be still and wait
‘till the music comes again."

Many an artist has put heart and soul on the table in a display of their art. After all, this is truly the birth place of art. If an artist isn’t giving all, they are merely playing for fame and fortune – this cannot be categorized as art. Once again, what makes each of Owens’ offerings special is the continued display of her true self in her art. So, Get in…