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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Leaving the Yard

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2003 1 Nov
  • COMMENTS
Leaving the Yard
Sounds like … a blend of the contemporary pop from Ginny Owens, Erin O'Donnell, and Plumb with the organic Americana pop of Amy Grant, Faith Hill, and Emmylou HarrisAt a glance … it's not a flashy album that will grab your attention with a unique sound, but this is a pretty good debut from the introspective songwriter

This California native was only toying with the idea of becoming a professional artist when producer Frank Lenz (Starflyer 59, Crystal Lewis) asked her to try recording some demos of her songs. Since then, Holly Nelson has gained considerable local recognition, even before the release of her debut, Leaving the Yard.

Influenced most by the great melodic rock and folk artists from the '60s and '70s, Nelson combines evocative lyrics with her organic modern pop/rock sound, creating songs that are open for interpretation, yet clearly Christian from the right perspective. The mid-tempo rock ballad "Seatbelt" is a strong metaphor for the peace and security found in God: "I am blind enough to see the secret of discovery/Wrap your seatbelt around me, it's a long ride/Tight enough to hold me in, loose enough to shed my skin/I am born and born again on this long ride." She offers a more moody alternative pop groove in "Spring Cleaning," while offering an illustration of spiritual change that is very similar to the that made famous by Shaun Groves in "Welcome Home." The slow and dreamy "Hey Ranger" presents a variation on the image of the Good Shepherd: "We may get wet, but I know that we won't drown."

While this is not a flashy album that will grab you with a unique sound, it is pretty good for a small debut. The weakest moment is a near carbon copy remake of Tom Petty's "I Won't Back Down" that lacks imagination or artistic imprint. Nevertheless, there's enough here to recommend Holly Nelson to fans of introspective pop from the likes of Ginny Owens, Kendall Payne, Erin O'Donnell, Plumb, and early Amy Grant.


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