Sara Groves, a Christian music folk-pop pioneer, singer, and songwriter, announces the release of her new Christmas project, Joy Of Every Longing Heart (Fair Trade Services). As the follow-up to 2008's O Holy Night, Joy Of Every Longing Heart is available now.
"I think this story bears an infinite number of retellings, and I find myself revisiting it each year at Advent," she shares. "It's comparable to turning a gem and seeing new facets. It is shrouded in tradition and years of baggage in some cases, but at the root, it is God with us. That's pretty compelling." One example is the track "Just Like They Said," one of Groves' favorites from the album, which focuses on one of the shepherds who witnessed the angel's pronouncement and how it changed him forever.
"I know I have had experiences and moments of belief that were transcendent, but now I carry that witness, and I'm not always sure what to make of it," she elaborates. "I picture this very human person in this moment witnessing something incredible, and then going on to tell his family, friends, and live the rest of his life. Like him, each of us has our own way of engaging with this story; we have our own testimony to how it changed us."
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Sara Groves Second Christmas Album| Posted November 17, 2019
Sara Groves follows up her 2008 Christmas album O Holy Night with Joy of Every Longing Heart, which she calls the bookend to the earlier album. While O Holy Night featured songs about Jesus’ birth, Joy of Every Longing Heart - which is a mix of new songs, Groves’ interpretation of 5 traditional Christmas songs, and one instrumental - focuses on those who were directly part of the Nativity story, the angels, wise men and shepherds. The album’s title comes from the last line of the song “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus”. The album cover art is a rendition of the city of Bethlehem, purposefully showcasing the color tones of oranges and purples to represent the dawn and awaiting the birth of Jesus. The album was produced by John Mark Nelson and recorded at Art House North, a one hundred-year-old house in St. Paul, Minnesota. A minor complaint is that the nine songs clock in at just 32 minutes.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs: O Come O Come Emmanuel – This Christmas standard was written by John Mason Neale. The joyful song features light drums, bass, a guitar solo, backing vocals, and some excellent piano. A highlight. Angels From The Realms of Glory – This song was written by James Montgomery. The song features guitar, piano, backing vocals and light drums. The song starts slowly and then gently builds. God Rest Ye Merry Gentleman – This is a traditional English Christmas carol. The song features piano, strings, drums, guitar and backing vocals. Come Thou Long Expected Jesus – This song was written by John Stainer, and features acoustic guitar, piano, some nice drum work, backing vocals and a new chorus. We Wait – This new song features guitar, piano, bass, drums, backing vocals. The song is about the people of Bethlehem waiting. They wait for a number of things – a sign, peace and goodwill to all men, a break in the weather, the light of the morning, and most of all they wait for Jesus. Winter Wonderland – This song was written by Richard B. Smith and Felix Bernard. The song features a slower pace than usual and acoustic guitar, piano, bells, and backing vocals. It also includes a reference to St. Paul, Minnesota, where the album was recorded. Just Like They Said – This new song is seen through the eyes of a shepherd as he first heard about the birth of Jesus. The sky was on fire. It was just like they said it would be. He was wrapped in a cloak and laid in a manger. But no one believed the shepherd, instead shaking their heads and saying nothing good comes from Bethlehem. But he knows what he saw. The song features piano, bass, backing vocals, and strings. Tidings – This short instrumental was written by John Mark Nelson and John Arndt. The song features cello and strings. Let Our Gladness Have No End – This song was written by G. Kucharik. It features piano, backing vocals and strings.
Key lyric: Let our gladness have no end, alleluia! For to earth did Christ descend, alleluia! Best songs:
O Come O Come Emmanuel
Just Like They Said