Floodplain, the newest album from thought-provoking singer/songwriter Sara Groves, will release on November 6 with FairTrade Services. Groves produced the anticipated new effort in collaboration with Steve Brewster, Matt Pierson, Scott Dente, Daniel Phelps and Brown Bannister. This new album finds Groves leaning in as a songwriter, contemplating want and provision, personal struggles and empathy.
For Groves, this is a different chapter, a seasoned songwriter finding herself at a new place in her 18 year career – with a growing family, an ever growing role with International Justice Mission, a cause closest to her heart, and the community life of Art House North, a 100 year old church owned by the Groves in their neighborhood, life is full.
“One main idea that appears a few times on the record is reality and escape. Joy and sorrow, are both mixed in our cup, ” shares Groves. “We can see our reality as a burden and try to escape it, or we can drink our cup. Whether it is depression or poverty or caring for an aging parent, these challenges are realities of life. If I avoid the cup, I also miss joy and provision. If I drink it down, I will ‘taste and see that the Lord is good.'”
The title track “Floodplain” points to Groves’ self-discovery that her heart was built upon a floodplain. “The floodplain is a gift of an image,” explains Groves. “I was running down along the Mississippi and I saw this homeless man camped on the shore of the river, and then I looked up at the top of the bluff and there was the James J. Hill House, a historic mansion, and a symbol of security. I had been struggling with depression, and was wondering about bootstraps theology, and how much I was the cause of my own troubles. This simple idea came to me, some hearts are built on a floodplain… I knew from a history tour I had taken of St Paul, that the immigrant communities have built their homes on the floodplain, and would lose everything they had to yearly floods. But the floodplain is also beautiful! It is my favorite place to go in the city. So this image, it has helped me name something about empathy and judgment for myself, and for others.
The creation of Floodplain was born out of the generosity of friends – “It is impossible to describe the number of boats in the form of friends that have come to get me during this season on the floodplain.” Floodplain was largely made possible by a gift of studio time in the surroundings of the Redwood Forest at Sonic Temple Studios in Ferndale, California. “I think you hear the generosity and friendship in the music.”