Amy Grant is not dead. You might have forgotten about her though. After all, it has been ten years since she released a full-length studio album. On May 14, Grant will release How Mercy Looks From Here.
“I feel the most settled in life and creatively, I feel like a kid again,” Grant says. “A lot of major life changes happened during these past few years.” Grant says. “So on this record, there’s zero filler. Every song has a real story behind it.”
“Don’t Try So Hard” is the first single on the project, a tender ballad about resting in God’s grace, making it a song that opened its arms wide to the warm vocals of James Taylor.
“I’ve loved his voice forever,” Grant says with a smile. “I said, ‘I hear James Taylor on these lines and I’d love to ask him if he’d sing on this.’ He worked from home and he really spent some time stylizing it. He sent me a really sweet email afterwards saying that he’d “spent the last several days with my voice in his head and hoped I was pleased.”
Delivering a vibrant collection of songs that are both entertaining and substantive wasn’t by spontaneous generation. Inspired by a conversation with her ailing mother, Grant approached this album as a woman with only one mission—making each song matter.
“A conversation I had with my mother a couple of months before she died helped set the direction for this record,” says Grant, whose mother died in April 2011. “Mom had a lifelong curiosity that kept her young at heart even when her mind was failing. One night, when I stopped by to visit her on my way to my bus to drive to a concert, she was surprised to discover that I was a singer ‘Oh you sing?’ she asked. I said, ‘Yes ma’am. I sing,’ She asked, ‘What kind of songs do you sing?’ I was explaining what I sang to her and she asked if she could get on the bus and go with me. She was frail and clearly wearing out and I said, ‘Not this time.’ She said, ‘Well if I can’t go, do me a favor. When you get on stage, sing something that matters.’”
The songs on How Mercy Looks From Here represent a season of growth, yet as personal as they are, they find meaning universally.
“At some point in life you realize that some things really matter and some things don’t,” Grant says. “Living matters. Celebrating life matters. Seeing the value in hard times matters. Relationships and people matter. Faith matters. I feel like that’s where my head has been while writing and recording this project. I feel this is a very positive record. I hope it is life affirming. Life prepares us for the journey. You don’t know what’s ahead and that is one of the great things about getting older in a framework of faith. Faith is the one thing that stands the test of time.”
How Mercy Looks From Here
1. IF I COULD SEE
2. BETTER NOT TO KNOW
3. DON’T TRY SO HARD (WITH JAMES TAYLOR)
4. DEEP AS IT IS WIDE (FEATURING SHERYL CROW & ERIC PASLAY)
6. SHOVEL IN HAND (WITH WILL HOGE)
8. OUR TIME IS NOW (WITH CAROLE KING)
9. NOT GIVING UP
10. HOW MERCY LOOKS FROM HERE
11. GREET THE DAY