Much has been made of classical composers, including Tchaikovsky and Beethoven, getting their best ideas on long walks. But you don’t hear jogging referenced all that much—though in the case of Sara Groves, an indelible, incredible image that inspired her new album Floodplain came during a brisk run along the Mississippi River in Twin Cities area she calls home.
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Faith, Love and Vulnerability| Posted November 02, 2015
I was a new believer and I became completely hooked when I first heard Sara Groves sing "The Word." Sara's albums have received well-deserved acclaim for her premier songwriting ability. Fourteen years ago, Sara's major label debut album Conversations led to her nomination for Best New Artist. She has followed up each album with her next "best" album with All Right Here and The Other Side of Something.
With Add to the Beauty, Tell Me What You Know and Fireflies & Songs, Groves focused on a theme and wrote poetic commentary with songs about social justice and the impoverished. Her last album Invisible Empires was my top album of 2011. Floodplain, the newest album from thought-provoking singer/songwriter Sara Groves, is available everywhere on November 6 from Fair Trade Services.
Opening track "This Cup" showcases not only Sara's gifts as a songwriter, but her shimmering, emotion-laden voice. The song opens with the compelling lyrics "How many hours have I spent watching the shining TV? Living adventure and proxy in another person's dream?" The album is loaded with that type of profound lyrical truth as Sara tenderly sings about her source of hope. Throughout the song she achingly sings the refrain "this cup, this cup I want to drink it up, to be right here in the middle of it / right here, right here, this challenging reality is better than fear or fantasy," which reflects the blessed hope of someone who understands how we are bound together as believers in "faith and vulnerability."
Sara begins the song "Expedition" with these hopeful words: "Did you see the invitation to have nothing to prove? There at the end of striving, at the end of something good." Right from the opening notes you'll be captivated by the melody and message of this amazing song. Get swept up in the journey of life expressed in the refrain: "Meet me at the river... we're going on an expedition... looking for lost time."
"Second Guess Girl" is another standout song reflecting on life and faith. Sara's response throughout the song is "It's a hard world for a second guess girl... trying to love my sister and brother." "Floodplain" features Sara singing this vulnerable expression: "Closer to the life in the ebb and flow, closer to edge of I don't know, closer to Lord, please send a boat, some hearts are built on the floodplain." God promises that His mercies are new every morning. Whatever struggle or depression you are facing, you can know that God is with you.
"Enough" is another instant classic, featuring Sara's breathtaking lyrics: "really we don't need much, just strength to believe it / there's honey in the rock, there's more than we see / these patches of joy, these stretches of sorrow / there's enough for today, there will be enough tomorrow." If you are looking for words to express the prayerful yearnings of your heart, these songs are excellent companions.
"I've Been Here Before" is a reflection on God's hand of grace, and the voice inside that says "I'll be free" celebrates the victory she has felt over a period of intense anxiety that has plagued her. "I've been here before, quiet in a pasture, honey on my tongue, resting by still waters... saying I'll never doubt, never doubt again." The song is such a vulnerable and sincere prayer. You can't help but pray and sing along with Sara.
"I Feel the Love Between" is a beautiful song about love, like "Roll to the Middle" and "Miracle." The song crescendos to Sara celebrating with the words "Love is a diamond, hidden in mountains... I've seen and I know what it's worth." It is a beautiful expression of faith in love.
"Signal" expresses the parallel of Sara's love for her children to God's love for us as His children, similar to her great song "You Cannot Lose My Love," with the vulnerable expression "All the clichés about how much I love you are true, as big as the sky, up to the moon, a million zillion, infinity plus one." The refrain celebrates God's love for us: "There's no cliché when I hear Your song, Your signal is getting stronger, Your signal is getting strong."
I have the opportunity to listen to literally everything released in Christian music, and Floodplain is a standout, profound listening experience. This album dramatically affects me personally and spiritually, and is my top "gourmet" album of the year. Sara Groves is an incredibly anointed singer-songwriter in the style of Ellie Holcomb, Christa Wells and JJ Heller. It is the ultimate privilege for me to experience her gift of music making with all of my senses "in Spirit and in Truth." The songs are all captivating, and if you like Sara's emotional songs "Miracle," "Obsolete" and "It's Me," then you absolutely must have this album.
Sara has always had a knack for hitting me where I am spiritually and expressing the prayerful yearnings of my heart. This album is no exception as I get welled up praying along with several of the songs, especially "This Cup," "Expedition," "Floodplain," "Enough," "I've Been Here Before," "I Feel the Love Between" and "Signal." They are all stand-out tracks filled with overwhelming biblical truth and are companions in my personal prayer and worship time. Sara has captivating and catchy songs filled with inspirational lyrics. Sara brings sincerity and relatable themes that get deeper with each listen. Floodplain is one of the top albums of the year. This is truly a great album and a moving and prayerful listening experience which reflects how we are bound together as believers in faith, love and vulnerability.
Song to Download Now:
"I've Been Here Before" (Get it on iTunes here.)