Artist:  Amy Grant
Title:  Lead Me On: The 20th Anniversary Edition
Label:  Sparrow Records

In the same way Simon & Garfunkel’s Bridge Over Troubled Water diagnosed an entire era of civil strife and Carole King’s Tapestry prescribed an age of peace, love and repair, Amy Grant’s paramount 1988 release of Lead Me On defined a new generation of truth seekers, thoughtfully and unashamedly maturing through life within the framework of greater spiritual meaning.

(What’s even more amazing than it’s sustained popularity and continued relevance is the inability of any other Christian music release, as of yet, to come even close to its stature as one of the best Christian music albums of all time.)

Now, 20 years after its initial distribution, Grant combs the vault to release Lead Me On:  The 20th Anniversary Edition, archiving some of ‘ccm’s most revered and honest recordings on her first project for EMI (excluding last year’s Greatest Hits compilation).

If you listened to Christian music at any point in the late ’80s, you probably remember the first time you heard the magnificent electric guitar delay over the title track’s epic intro or related to Laura’s “little family” in the true story “Saved by Love.” Remember rewinding that cassette tape to listen to the hallowed lyrics of “1974” and the haunting melody of “If These Walls Could Speak” for the umpteenth time?

Lead Me On certainly sounds and looks even fresher than the day it came out over two decades ago. The original disc has been specially remastered and repackaged with a second “previously unreleased” disc that includes an interview with Amy and brand-new acoustic versions of “Lead Me On” (with Vince Gill), “Faithless Heart” (with Michael W. Smith) and “Say Once More.” But the real gems on the new volume are the four never-before-heard live tracks from1989’s 150-city "Lead Me On" concert tour, serving up a fresh reminder of the energy-packed impact Christian music made as it stepped outside the Church and forayed into the arenas of the world.

Though fans are certainly ready for all-new material from Grant, there’s no gamble here. Buy, listen and remember one of the finest records, by one of the greatest artists in Contemporary Christian music history.


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**This review first published on August 13, 2008.