Amy Grant: Oh How the Years Go By
- Tuesday, December 12, 2006
On a warm evening in early summer, not unlike that September night in 1978 when she played her first paid performance, Amy Grant returned to Ft. Worth, Texas, to record her first live CD/DVD project in 25 years, "Time Again … Amy Grant Live" (Word/Curb/WB). Little did she know 28 years prior, as a green 17-year-old singer/songwriter, just what an impact her music would have on the world. …
Amy Grant’s got that certain something. You know – that rare, seemingly magical ability to make you feel like you’re the only one in the room when she’s singing or speaking. Sure, there are thousands of other people around … but she’s talking to you!
While this gift of hers does translate to audio recordings, it really works live – and that’s no secret. Longtime friend and fan Steven Curtis Chapman recollects, “From the first time I saw Amy perform, I was struck with how a ‘superstar’ could be so incredibly inviting and disarming. I was inspired by her ‘heart’ as much as her art. She has the amazing gift of somehow making everyone in the audience feel like she’s a lifelong friend.”
And it’s this singular ability to appeal to the masses on a personal level that’s driven Amy Grant’s career to groundbreaking heights through the years. Now, 25 million albums, numerous GRAMMY Awards and countless more accolades later, she’s released "Time Again … Amy Grant Live." This CD/DVD collection highlights some of Grant’s most treasured songs from her 30-year career, including perennial favorites “Baby Baby,” “Every Heartbeat,” “Lead Me On” and, on the slower side, “El Shaddai.”
How were the songs chosen? “I’ve been touring with this particular band for a year and a half, and we just did the songs that we have been doing,” Grant confesses. “And I took two different set lists from the songs we had been doing the past year. That’s it. I didn’t try to over think anything. I just thought, ‘I don’t want this to be anything other than what a [typical] night feels like.’”
To add to the comfortable feel of the recording, Grant decked out the stage of Ft. Worth’s exquisite Bass Hall with items from home, including her couch and artwork. “I love the outdoors, rustic, but, really, just nature is beautiful to me,” she shares. “Ed James, who was the set designer, came to my house and said, ‘What do you want to do?’ I said that I wanted it to feel like a living room, but I also wanted it to feel like the outdoors. Vince [Gill, Amy’s husband] and I had bought a painting in Colorado years ago. So we were standing in the living room, and I said, ‘For instance, if we could make the whole stage this painting, that would be fine with me.’ And Ed said, ‘Why don’t we call the artist and see if we can blow it up?’ And so it was kind of fun.”
And the fun continued when Grant revisited an old classic for the CD – a song she admittedly “hadn’t even thought about in a decade.” According to Grant, she and her band had quickly formulated a “kind of scrappy, thrown together version” of “In a Little While” for the live show that several Word Records staffers attended. “I don’t know how young [the Word guys] were when that song came out 20 years ago,” she muses, but, after hearing the rough live version, “they came back and said, ‘Would you consider doing a studio version of this – a new kind of updated version?’ That’s how that came about.”
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