Lead Me On...Down Memory Lane
Amy Grant performs at Mansion Theaterin Branson, MO. Photo by Andy Argyrakis
By Andy Argyrakis, senior music editor, GospelMusicChannel.com
History in the remaking
Though Grant's knocking at the door of 48, she sounds just as strong if not even more rock solid on the Lead Me On 20th Anniversary Edition (EMI), featuring the original album remastered, plus a bonus disc of new acoustic renditions, interview clips and even a few concert cuts from the original tour. And speaking of road trips, the troubadour is currently on a 20-city trek that doesn't just recall this seminal CD and all her career chestnuts prior to 1988, but also reunites many of the original band members from the initial incarnation.
The band sounds better than ever
Infatuated with the old school
Amongst those treasured deep cuts were Lead Me On alums like the punchy "1974," the mandolin-infused "Saved By Love" and the oh so gloriously '80s "All Right." Despite dating back even earlier in that decade, a timeless flavor permeated a worship segment that included heartfelt renditions of "El Shaddai," "Sing Your Praise to the Lord" and "All I Ever Have to Be." Even so, there was plenty of electricity to come thanks to a blistering recollections of "Lead Me On," "Find a Way" and "Alright" (complete with some extend jamming from the aforementioned all-stars).~
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Two yet-to-be titled semi-acoustic tunes were flanked firmly in the present, suggesting God's continued faithfulness as one faces the growing pains of going from youth to adulthood, but were also lighthearted pleas for ongoing innocence and enthusiasm during the aging process. Those tracks were juxtaposed with her album standard "Say Once More," which was hands down the most poignant flashback of the trip down memory lane. Outside of that anthem being one of the most beautiful love ballads in the entertainer's varied history, it struck a particularly passionate nerve with the thousands gathered, especially this writer and someone extremely special he can now call a fiancé. (The full scoop on the latter moment is coming soon via the road blog featured at www.amygrant.com).
Though the night ended with an organic cover of the Pete Seeger-penned Byrds' classic "Turn! Turn! Turn!," the lyrics of "a time to be born/ a time to die/ a time to plant/ a time to reap/ a time to kill/ a time to heal" (straight out of Ecclesiastes) brought this tour's dual themes of reflection and moving forward full circle. As for the immediate future, Grant's HD television special "Holiday Celebration on Ice" debuts on NBC Sunday, November 30 (featuring Olympic skaters Nancy Kerrigan and Viktor Petrenko) followed by a December Christmas tour with husband and country A-lister Vince Gill. But before leaving the stage at the Branson show, she promised new material in 2009, which if these previews were any indication, will springboard yet another expressive and ingenious chapter in an extraordinary career.
About the Writer
Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois Entertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, MTV.com and Vibe.com. He's also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park's Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel's very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).
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