Review: Grant returns gracefully with new album

Associated Press
This CD cover image released by Amy Grant Productions/Sparrow Records shows "How Mercy Looks From Here," the latest release by Amy Grant. (AP Photo/Amy Grant Productions/Sparrow Records)
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This CD cover image released by Amy Grant Productions/Sparrow Records shows "How Mercy Looks From Here," …

Amy Grant, "How Mercy Looks From Here" (Capitol Christian)

Few singers probe issues of the spirit and of the heart with the warmth and intimacy of Amy Grant. On "How Mercy Looks From Here," her first album of all-original material in a decade, the 52-year-old doesn't try to sound anything other than her age, and the result poignantly examines life's twists and turns with depth and grace.

Ignoring pop culture's reliance on outrageousness and shock value, Grant focuses her songs inward, reflecting on the joyous ("Here"), the tragic ("Shovel In Hand") and the spiritual ("Deep As It Is Wide"). With a voice as organic and comforting as a wool sweater, Grant also shows maturity by relying on her voice's amber tones and subtle phrasing without showing off or pushing any edges.

Her duet guests include husband Vince Gill, veterans Sheryl Crow, Carole King and James Taylor and Nashville roots rocker Will Hoge, who all sound like they're sitting with her on the couch as they harmonize. "Time is an illusion, time is a curse," Grant sings with King on "Our Time Is Now." The point is that however we look at time, we should make the best of this moment — which is what Grant does on "How Mercy Looks From Here."

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