on September 29, 2011
Spend any time at all with Jamie Grace, and it's obvious that she's special. Her infectious smile, bright eyes and her expressive way with words are all tell-tale signs: this is one unique girl. But the effervescent spirit in this young woman is even more powerful and compelling than what can be seen. Her contagious joy and message of hope can only be understood in the context of her story. And her struggle. Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Jamie Grace learned two powerful lessons: one, that ministry is a way of life; two, that life is good, even when it's hard. Diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome at age 11, her young life became a series of heartbreak and challenge, a long season of physical exhaustion, emotional stress and spiritual doubt. Then one day, inspired by the powerful testimony of Tammy Trent on the Revolve Tour, Jamie Grace came to a life-changing conclusion. "I heard Tammy speak and I thought, `I've cried enough. It's time to accept my joy.' It was just the long process of finally realizing that, even with Tourette's, I still have something to do with my life. I love to sing. I have a story, and I've got to share it."
One Song At A Time is one of my most anticipated full length albums of the year. On the heels of Jamie's massive number one hit song "Hold Me" featuring TobyMac from Jamie's Hold Me EP, I didn't know how she could possibly follow-up on that type of introduction as an artist. It was well worth the wait, and this is not only one of the best debut albums I've heard, it's also one of the top albums of the year. To call Jamie the next big thing in Christian music may be an understatement. Just like her mentor TobyMac, her album is accessible well beyond just the Christian music market. This year has seen a remarkable amount of female artists dominate in all music markets. From Colbie Caillat, Adele, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga to Laura Story, Francesca Battistelli, Mandisa and Natalie Grant, you can add Jamie Grace to that impressive list. I love the joyfulness of "Hold Me." My youngest daughter Bethany just turned 5 years old and she sings "I love, I love, I love, I love the way You hold me" when she's walking around in the grocery store. I'm really moved by the lyrics, "Just when I feel this crazy world is gonna bring me down, That's when Your smile comes around." As God's children, it brings me such comfort to think of Him smiling down on us. "With You" and "1945" are great examples of the many autobiographical, comforting and catchy songs on the album which is chock-full of hits, including the follow-up single "You Lead."
One of Jamie's strengths in addition to her soothing and strong vocals are her infectious and engaging lyrics. "You Lead" is a great follow-up to "Hold Me" with the electronic pop arrangement by producer Chris Stevens, and the prayerful and sincere chorus "You lead, I'll follow, Your hands hold my tomorrow, Your grip, Your grace, You know the way, You guide me tenderly, When You lead, I'll follow, Just light the way and I'll go, `cause I know what You got for me is more than I can see, so lead me on." She further demonstrates her commitment in the lyrics: "And I...know my God is still God and You got my back." Jamie is truly a "God Girl" and is a wonderful role model for any age girl. Being a father of three young daughters, I heartily recommend Jamie's songs and her ministry GraceTalk where she conducts Bible studies and talks about her unashamed commitment to Jesus. She wrote my favorite lyrics on the album in "God Girl,"--"And when my ears start hearin' what people say, Hurry up find love `cause times tickin' away, well I'm not bein' lazy, I just waiting for, still waiting for the right boy, `cause I only want to listen to Your voice, so I'll be listenin', always listenin' to You everyday." Amen to that! With our societal pressures to date and lose our innocence, it's so refreshing to hear a godly girl proclaim that she's in love with our Savior. The song connects to the biblical Truth found in Song of Solomon 2:7 (MSG): "Oh, let me warn you, sisters in Jerusalem, by the gazelles, yes, by all the wild deer: Don't excite love, don't stir it up, until the time is ripe--and you're ready." That's what Jamie's all about, loving God with all of her heart, expressed in one catchy song after another. "Show Jesus" and "Come To Me" are also upbeat, catchy and filled with biblical Truth. I am a ballad guy, and I am excited that Jamie delivers two of her strongest songs as prayerful ballads, "Holding On" and the gorgeous closer, "Not Alone." These are both piano based songs with Jamie revealing her heart. I can't help but get emotional listening to Jamie yearning, "His arms are holding you, His love will see you through, When you try not to cry but to take it, All the stress, and the hurt and heartache, You may feel pain, But not as great as His name, You're not alone, No you're not alone." God loves you so much. Lean on Him and He'll give you strength. These songs are all for God's glory. To You be all the glory. "Lord, I love the way You hold me." Amen!
CLOSING THOUGHTS (Staff Review, NewReleaseTuesday)
Lord thank You for amazing Christian music artists like Jamie Grace who love You and want to glorify Your Name through their songs. Thank You for giving Jamie the gift of song-writing and singing so that she can give her offerings of praise and worship back to You, One Song At A Time. This great debut album not only assures Jamie Grace of a Best New Artist nomination, it could even win her the award.
When I play this CD, it's difficult to stop it. I set the stereo on repeat and listen to every song over and over again; sometimes hours go by. Truth be told, I listen to this CD so much that I'm hearing the songs in my head when the CD isn't playing, and I'm just fine with that.
Most of Jamie's songs are upbeat and uplifting - Hold Me (featuring tobyMac), With You, Come to Me, God Girl, You Lead, One Song at a Time - and I'd even call Show Jesus (gimme that, gimme that, and show me that, show me that) and 1945 fun songs. And every song is inspirational; especially Holding On (peaceful, soothing) and Not Alone.
My favorites: COME TO ME- Come to me when you're weary and I'll give you hope when you're hurting, I'll give you rest from your burden - and NOT ALONE- His arms are holding you, His love will see you through. When you smile and you laugh, but you're fakin', `cause you don't know how you're gonna make it. These songs help me to keep in mind that God has not left me. Even though there are times when I feel like He isn't there, like He isn't listening... HE IS.
The first time I listened to Jamie's One Song at a Time CD, I thought of pop singer -song writer, Angel Taylor. So I'd say Jamie's sound is Christian pop. This young lady is gifted; truly anointed!! Her debut album will bless people of all ages.