Sounds like … contemplative pop with a slight country feel, in the vein of Sara Groves, Nichole Nordeman, Amy Grant and Ginny Owens.
At a glance … Jennifer Austin's songs of redemption and grace communicate relatable truths through personal experiences, excellent songwriting, and her standout voice.
Like many Christian artists before her, singer/songwriter Jennifer Austin has wrestled with how to best use the musical gifts given to her. Though it's always been her dream to be an artist, Austin feels like her past intentions weren't always the best: "My dream was to make this album. My desire is now to take this album and its message and turn it into a ministry … I know there are many people exactly like the old me—faux Christians, if you will, that are living a life devoid of an authentic relationship with their Savior."
Austin's desire for authenticity, along with her distinct vocal style, is what ultimately makes Where You Found Me: Songs of Redemption and Grace such a gem. She evokes the warm, breathy quality of Amy Grant on the attention-grabbing opening track "All She Wants," while a revamp of The Beatles classic "Blackbird" on "End to the Night" shows off her pop sensibilities. But the wow factor really kicks in with a medley of "O Sacred Head Now Wounded" and "My Jesus I Love Thee." These hymns have been recorded countless times, yet Austin's rendition really stick—she makes them her own without straying too far from what's familiar, a tricky balance for such revered material.
Yet it's always most interesting to hear an artist's unique songwriting contributions, and Austin excels at putting pen to paper. As with Nichole Nordeman's use of "seasons of life" imagery to express God's timing, Austin's "Seasons" feels deeply personal as she sings, "My heart is dying as all my hope just fades away/I can't hold on any longer as temptation covers me." The song is also impressive in that it doesn't try to tie everything together with a bow at the end. Austin accepts that life can remain frustrating, a truth that makes songs like "Seasons" that much more relatable in message.
A couple of tracks toward the end lag a little, such as the overly dramatic, synth-heavy "Waterfall." But overall, this a deeply personal collection of songs which don't provide all the answers, but still ultimately point to the One who does—a fitting use of the talents that Jennifer Austin is blessed with.
For more information on Jennifer Austin, check out www.jenniferaustin.com.
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