Amy Grant 90 If we could only see, how it might change our perspective.

How Mercy Looks from Here
Artist: Amy Grant
Label: Capitol Christian Music Group
Length: 11 tracks/42 minutes

Scottish minister Robert Murray McCheyne said, “If I could hear Christ praying for me in the next room, I would not fear a million enemies. Yet distance makes no difference. He is praying for me: ‘He ever liveth to make intercession.’” On How Mercy Looks from Here, Amy Grant applies a similar thought on “If I Could See (What the Angels See)”: “If I could see what the angels see/behind the walls to you and me/and let the truth set me free/I’d live this life differently.” This is the first of several songs that provoke listeners to look behind what is seen to the unseen. The eyes of faith see their inheritance in Christ, and it’s not just future. Time and distance make no difference. If we can only see, how it might change our perspective. How we might live differently.

The bruised reed and the smoldering wick will find compassion and solace. This is especially the case on “Don’t Try So Hard,” which includes harmony vocals from James Taylor. The song exudes the rest that Jesus promised the weary. If I could only have one song, this is it!

Guest appearances also include Carole King supplying harmony vocals on the snappy, whimsical “Our Time is Now.” Time rushes on; “let us sing before our time runs out.”

Sheryl Crow and Eric Paslay trade lines with Grant on the gospel-tinged “Deep as it is Wide.” This takes a stirring look at what awaits the faithful.

I was eager to hear Grant collaborate with some of the artists that she has admired. A slight disappointment is having Taylor and King only harmonizing. I would have enjoyed hearing them sing a few words on their own, but I am glad for their contribution. I would like to see more Christian artists collaborating with mainstream artists. It can be beneficial to everyone, and surely God’s heart is to draw people together.

The music leans toward acoustic pop with a hint of country. Whether acoustic or electric, the guitar work is excellent. At least in part, credit goes to husband Vince Gill, whose presence is felt here in a way similar to previous releases.

Grant’s songwriting is always a strength, and it’s lovely on this CD. The somewhat rustic, laid-back music fits well with the homespun sentiments. The honesty, affirmation and love mirror the kind of support often found in recovery groups. At the same time, it is also sobering and wistful. This does not have the fanfare of earlier work, but I find it more rewarding. If the former had flashes of excitement, this is more like settled peace. This could easily become my favorite of all Grant’s recordings.

Michael Dalton


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