Hymns & Sacred Songs(Kingsway)
Leigh Nash is best known as the darling vocalist for Sixpence None the Richer, but she's done some fine solo work too. For her first solo project since 2006, Nash selected works based on their poignant lyrics, and she creatively reworks melodies, arrangements, and sounds that deliver these powerful words in fresh ways. Covers of traditional favorites are sprinkled among new compositions, and old hymns are given new sounds and framework. A simple, subtle folk bent that will please Sixpence fans colors most of the arrangements. What truly fleshes out this collection, though, is Nash's ethereal voice: the re-orchestration adds depth, but her vocal sweetness and charm flavor it beautifully.—Kristin GarrettThe Isaacs
Why Can't We(Gaither Music Group)
Highly regarded for their individual achievements as session players (Dolly Parton, Dierks Bentley), songwriters (Martina McBride, Vince Gill), and Grammy-nominated producers (Cherryholmes), Becky, Ben, and Sonya, along with matriarchal member Lily, are best known for their harmonious collaborations as gospel music's first family of bluegrass. From fast-paced finger picking to sweeping balladry, the talented multi-instrumentalists cover a wide musical gamut here while tackling tough topics with vulnerable expressions of doubt and faith. They have an uncanny ability to turn Scripture stories into relevant life applications via songs.—Andrew GreerJill Phillips
In This Hour(St. Jerome)
Much like that of her contemporary Sara Groves, Jill Phillips's folk-rock is laid-back and gently paced, with elaborate string, guitar, and piano arrangements that serve as an excellent base for the lyrics. The album's individuality exists in the specificity of its themes; Phillips, a songwriter for two decades, addresses everyday graces through second-person telling. As she fights restlessness, strives to find contentment, empathizes with a lost and hurting friend, and expresses romantic and familial love, she creates a conversational tone that lifts up, reassures, comforts, and reminds.—Kristin Garrett
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