Amy Grant released her first album at the ripe old age of 17 and immediately took the contemporary Christian music world by storm. The rest, as they say, is history: Amy was eventually hailed as the queen of CCM. But despite her many accolades (she’s won 25 Dove awards and six Grammys) and massive album sales (30 million worldwide—the most of any contemporary Christian musician), the road to happily ever after has included some significant bumps.
Amy’s crossover success with 1991’s Heart in Motion (the album hit No. 10 on the pop chart and “Baby Baby” topped the singles chart) drew criticism from some who felt she’d watered down faith themes in exchange for mainstream approval. She faced more criticism in 1999 and 2000 in the wake of her divorce from Gary Chapman and remarriage to country singer Vince Gill less than a year later.
Since then, Amy has gradually moved back toward her Christian music roots. In 2002, she released the hymn compilation Legacy … Hymns and Faith. A sequel to that effort came in 2005, Rock of Ages … Hymns and Faith. Amy’s latest, Somewhere Down the Road, features six new songs, two previously unreleased vault numbers, a new version of the classic tune “Arms Of Love” and three previously released tracks.
Amy believes that the “honest cries of breaking hearts” can be “Better Than a Hallelujah” to God’s ears. She understands that personal growth and faith don’t happen “Overnight” and that “Every Road,” even those that are difficult, “teaches something new.” The love that God gives us through parents, spouses and children can make us “Unafraid.” And Amy tells her parents that their staunch perseverance in the inevitable “Hard Times” have given her an example to share with her children.
The title track promises that if we keep moving forward, God will eventually help us glimpse His perspective on life’s difficulties (“Somewhere down the road/There’ll be answers to the questions/ … Though we cannot see it now). “Third World Woman” encourages listeners to have mercy on unfortunates who are “praying for a miracle.” “Find What You’re Looking For” advocates exchanging criticism with kindness. “‘Cause there’s so much good in the worst of us/So much bad in the best of us,” Amy sings. “It never makes sense for any of us/To criticize the rest of us.”
“Come Into My World” remembers calling out to God at a low point in life. One song later, however, Amy rediscovers solace and safety in God’s “Arms of Love.” The album closes with a two-song medley that envisions walking by the Lord’s side (“Imagine”) and reflects on God’s grace and mercy (“Sing the Wondrous Love of Jesus”).
In the late 1970s, I briefly exchanged hellos with Amy Grant at the Estes Park Christian music festival. A winsome young teen, she would shortly make a nervous-but-well-received debut in front of Christian music bigwigs and the rest of us cheering, um, little-wigs. Sweet-voiced Amy and her guitar were an approachable, joyful pair.
Now, some three decades later, Somewhere Down the Road offers a peek at the footpaths Amy has trod since then, revealing both the pinnacles and the pain. The result is a compilation of new and old songs that weave together like a storyteller’s fireside tale. Some songs are quiet. Some passionate. Some preach patience. Some speak of life’s trials. Some of its joy and hope. But they all display the heartfelt wisdom and humility that only come with time … and faith.
After spending more than two decades touring, directing, writing and producing for Christian theater and radio (most recently for Adventures in Odyssey, which he still contributes to), Bob joined the Plugged In staff to help us focus more heavily on video games. He is also one of our primary movie reviewers.