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Melanie Penn wasn’t entirely sure what she believed when she moved from Virginia to New York City in late 2000. She had been raised in a Christian home, but was “a bit of a lost soul” when she arrived in the Big Apple.

“I was very melancholy and victim to the ebbs and flows of my social life, circumstances, and my inner state,” she said. “I thought the remedy for my sad state of mind and heart would be hidden in the city, and somehow I would find it. I did not.”

At least not right away. A year later, she watched from the roof of her East Village apartment as the World Trade Center towers came crashing down. She thought, I have to get my life together. Things could end at any moment.

She ramped up her quest for answers by turning to the only church she knew of: Redeemer Presbyterian. After hearing several of Tim Keller’s sermons, something clicked. “I had a powerful experience with Jesus one Sunday. I rode the 2nd Avenue bus home and knew my life would never be the same. Remedy found.”

These days, Penn spreads word of the Remedy through her work at Redeemer, where she serves as creative and events director for City to City, Redeemer’s church-planting ministry, and through her art, as an independent singer-songwriter who recently released her second album, Hope Tonight, last spring.

Like her stellar 2010 debut, Wake Up Love, Penn’s new record is produced by Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson, Bebo Norman, JJ Heller). It’s light and airy, much like Penn’s pleasant soprano, and, as the title implies, relentlessly hopeful. The Phantom Tollbooth says it’s “simply enchanting,” naming it one of the best albums of the first ...

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August 2014

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