- reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2001 1 Jan
Though Kelly Minter cites Susan Ashton and Ashley Cleveland as her two strongest influences, she's clearly influenced by two other well-known Christian artists: Margaret Becker and Jennifer Knapp. In fact, the cynics might suggest that her record label was attempting to copycat Jennifer Knapp … right down to the ugly, dated wallpaper gracing both artists' album covers. Perhaps they are, but you can't deny the artistry behind the music. Hopefully many of you tuned in to Mark Schultz's debut last year. Despite how much he sounds like Michael W. Smith, it was a well-performed album of strong songwriting. Likewise, you won't want to rule out Kelly Minter either, despite how similar she sounds like the aforementioned artists.
The similarities are due in part to the work of producer Kenny Greenberg (who also produces and plays guitar for his wife, Ashley Cleveland). Kelly's Good Day offers more evidence of that solid guitar work. For example, "Any More Sure" is one of the more rocking tracks on the disc, with a sliding dobro that recalls Ashley Cleveland's brand of roots rock. The song asks whether or not we'd be any more sure of our faith if we experienced some of Christ's more famous miracles—when, after all, we experience his goodness every day. "Good Day," a song about enjoying the beauty of God's creation, sounds like something Out of the Grey would do, or perhaps Margaret Becker on one of her more recent acoustic rock albums. Another great rock song is "On My Way Back Home," which also rocks in a Margaret Becker kind of way, with a little bit of a Beatles sound thrown in (and it has a great organ solo at the end). "Speak To Me" and "Return To Me" could easily be Jennifer Knapp tunes, the latter sounding so much like the Knappster's "In the Name" it's eerie. And "Whatever I Do" has that country/pop feel that Susan Ashton is well known for.
If it seems as though Kelly's music is a bit derivative sounding, it most certainly is. Of course, it's hardly a bad thing to sound like Jennifer Knapp and Margaret Becker. These days I think it's quite enough of an achievement for an artist to sing well, write her own music, pen inspiring lyrics without resorting to cliched Christianese, and perform well with a musically talented band. The audience Kelly's built over the last few years as an independent artist would seem to agree. Don't expect anything particularly groundbreaking with Good Day, but for fans of Jennifer Knapp, Margaret Becker, and Ashley Cleveland, this album's a no-brainer of a recommendation—go check out Kelly Minter!