Style: Soulful folk-rock; compare to Natalie Merchant, Tracy Chapman, Patty Griffin
Top tracks: "Want for Nothing," "Inside," "Letting Go"
Grammy-nominated, Dove Award-winning Jennifer Knapp disappeared from the music scene in 2003, leaving behind three hit records (Kansas, Lay It Down and The Way I Am), critical acclaim, and plenty of bewildered fans. But in late 2009, the earthy folk-rock songwriter returned from a long journey of soul-searching with a renewed desire to make music. Some tour dates with Derek Webb, a studio project and a spot on this summer's Lilith Fair tour confirmed that indeed, Knapp was back.
Where exactly had she been? If her new batch of gorgeous, self-revelatory songwriting holds the answer, she's been reconciling disparate parts of herself, battling overwhelming pressures, mourning and rejoicing, falling in love, clinging to faith, and ultimately figuring out who she really is. Part of that self-discovery, as Knapp recently revealed to CT, is that she has been in a same-sex relationship for a number of years—confirming a rumor that had been swirling around for some time.
On Letting Go, the Kansas native's lyrics are grittier and more passionate than ever. On album opener "Dive In," she sings, "I'm like a convict with my hands locked over my head/I'm a dead man walking/I'm so tired of standing on the edge of myself."
Minus the overt worship songs of her past, faith is still entwined in Knapp's fibers. Standout "Want for Nothing" could be an intimate conversation between her and God, and "Letting Go" seems to describe a battle to hold onto God while letting go of pretenses. She also delves into relational territory: "Mr. Gray" is a song about her grandfather, and the piano-tinged "If It Made a Difference" ...1
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