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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews

Gentle Grace

  • reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2004 1 May
Gentle Grace
Sounds like … inspirational and worship songs collide with large-scale pop production for fans of Bette Midler, Kathy Troccoli and Celine DionAt a glance … Regis' former TV partner returns to her spiritual roots with music meant especially to empower womenTrack ListingWe Can Depend on His WordI Believe in YouI Come to the CrossPeaceTo Please YouHe Giveth More GraceThe Measure of My LifeGentle GraceI Love You, LordOur Loving EyesGlorify Thy NameFinallyWe Can Depend on His Word (reprise)

Talking with movie stars, musicians and world leaders became second nature for Kathie Lee Gifford as co-host of "Live with Regis and Kathie Lee." But at the peak of the show's popularity, this dedicated wife and mom left the limelight in favor of family time. Such a switch has allowed Gifford to explore other entertainment areas, including script writing for two upcoming Broadway plays and a return to her musical roots. Gentle Grace, her debut on modern praise label Maranatha!, aims to refresh Christian women and stir the hearts of longtime fans who might not yet know Christ.

Gifford made a good move in hiring producer Rob Mathes (Sting, Rod Stewart), who took her generalized reflections and mid-ranged voice to the next level. Cuts like "Finally" and "I Come to the Cross" explode with orchestral beauty, seasoned session players and an operatic tint. Unfortunately, Mathes didn't produce the whole album. Songs produced and co-written by Phil Sillas (Natalie Grant, Plus One) don't stand up as well. Tracks like "I Believe In You," "We Can Depend on His Word" and the Billy & Ruth Graham tribute "Our Loving Eyes" are especially saturated with schmaltz and songwriting simplicity—and I make that observation as a big fan of Bette Midler and Barbara Streisand! Such setbacks won't keep Gifford from reaching a wide audience, but it will probably come from her celebrity and not necessarily her artistic aptitude.