|Ginny Owens [Get In, I'm Driving] | Posted August 30, 2011
Ginny Owens is a Contemporary Christian music singer/songwriter. She was born in Jackson, Mississippi, and has been blind since the age of two. When she graduated from Belmont University with a degree in Music Education, she found that most people were skeptical about hiring a blind music teacher. Instead she concentrated on singing and songwriting and began making albums, and has been producing them since 1999. Owens has also received three Dove awards, including New Artist of the Year (2000). In January 2005, Ginny Owens started a non-profit organization called the Fingerprint Initiative. The organization has worked in conjunction with other groups, such as Compassion International, The International Justice Mission, and Habitat for Humanity. Ginny Owens has been featured on CNN to talk about the organization and their efforts to help rebuild New Orleans, following Hurricane Katrina.
Get In, I’m Driving kicks off with the upbeat and clever title track, with a great play on words considering Ginny’s blindness. The fact is that we’re all spiritually blind without the guidance of The Holy Spirit and the song talks about our need to rely on God. Ginny has consistently been one of my all-time favorite female singer-songwriters, back to her debut album Without Condition with stand-out songs, “If You Want Me To,” “Free,” and “I Wanna Be Moved.” This album really reminds me of that album in that these songs all feature relatable themes, hooky melodies and Ginny’s gorgeous and penetrating vocals. “Mystery of Grace” has Ginny declaring her appreciation for God’s mercy in her life, and first single “Before You Fly” comes from Ginny’s experience in helping her home town recover from the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina. “Before You Fly” is vintage Ginny Owens, as she is one of my favorite lyricists and she challenges listeners in the great bridge, “the world is wide, the water’s deep, it’s up to you, ‘cause talk is cheap.” “Rain” is based on a personal relationship break-up experience and was inspired during her mother’s battle with cancer with the imploring bridge, “so let the clouds pour down their offering, driving out the dark that’s drowning me.”
There are two songs that literally stop me in my tracks, and they are both captivating ballads, one of Ginny’s strengths. The first is “Joined At The Heart.” Ginny sings about her friends Blake and Michelle’s experience of adopting a baby girl, and it is one of the most touching songs I’ve ever heard. I get goose bumps as Ginny passionately sings the chorus, “we are humbled to be part of a greater story, written by the Author of miracles and stars, and as this journey unfolds, there is one thing that we know—God has made it so we are forever joined at the heart.” The song is a wonderful tribute to family and our Creator, and I could imagine playing it at weddings and baby dedications. “Higher Ground” was originally written and recorded by Stevie Wonder and covered over a decade ago by Red Hot Chili Peppers, and both of those versions are up-tempo R&B/Rock songs. Ginny spent time listening to the song while spending time with her mother during her cancer treatments and studied the lyrics to the song. It became one of Ginny’s favorite songs, as she realized that the song paints a picture of a broken world where each of us has a chance to be redeemed again and again—if only we ask. Give it a listen and I guarantee you’ll love it. I hang on every single word and the dark piano and string arrangement are breath-taking. Well done Ginny.
Get In, I’m Driving is Ginny’s first new studio project in five years, and ranks as my favorite female Christian artist “comeback” album of the year. 2011 has also featured new projects by Rebecca St. James and Rachael Lampa after similar lengthy timeframes between new albums. The songs I can’t stop playing are “Before You Fly,” “Rain,” “Joined At The Heart” and Ginny’s hauntingly beautiful cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Higher Ground.” Welcome back Ginny, I’ve been yearning for more “gourmet” songs like these since 2005’s Live From New Orleans. If you like that album and Without Condition, then don’t hesitate to pick up this great return from one of CCM’s top female artists. In my opinion, Get In, I’m Driving is the best album of Ginny’s incredible career.
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