Of all the new music I got this Christmas (which seems to be when I get partially caught up), I was most excited about Sara Groves' new album, Tell Me What You Know. Her voice is captivating and her lyrics poetic, insightful, and inspiring. This latest album sounds very similar to Add to the Beauty, which is not a bad thing and is not to say that the song sound the same. After taking a few chances on The Other Side of Something (which I still loved), she stays in the vein of beautiful, classy music with interest and variety.
The inspiration for most of the songs on this album come from stories and travelling she has experienced through the International Justice Mission. She has tried to capture the dignity of people victimized by human trafficking and genocide and hope in the face of defeat. "It's too heavy to carry and impossible to leave. I can't just fight when I think I'll win. That's the end of all belief. And nothing has provoked it more than a possible defeat." (The Long Defeat) The song "Abstraction" wrestles with our American Christian security and the abstract idea of the numbers lost in war, disease, famine, and other unpleasantness that we don't think through to reality.
I do think my two favorite songs (at least at this point in listening) come in the middle--"Love is Still a Worthy Cause" and "When the Saints." Granted, they are both upbeat, belt-it-out tunes to sing to but both also touch on the central theme of our hope in Christ, because of His love for us and the rescue mission that He accomplished. And that we have been given examples of real people that through His strength have cried out for freedom for God's people. That enables us to press on.
On a personal note, I'm just amazed at her accomplishments and creativity, all while being a mom (to three now) and wife. It actually sorta shames me. I keep whining that maybe if I just had time to think I would come up with something. Here she has traveled to Rwanda and New Orleans right after Katrina, read all the materials that she quotes as her inspiration, and writes/sings/records fabulous music.
Oh, and this came with a DVD of a concert and some footage of their travels. There's a full length video of her trip to Rwanda and this gives a few clips from that. But in the concert she sang a few songs from her kids' album, Station Wagon Songs for Parents. I may have to get that one too. One was about her son looking like an angel when he sleeps--and like Charles Bronson when he cries. The other was about wanting her kids to be independent, to grow up, and to leave--but don't forget to write, call, visit all in her most manipulative guilty mom way. And she says she's discovered that you can put hand sanitizer gel in a water gun and just squirt it at kids who come near yours. Ahh, a mom after my own heart.