Live From New Orleans
It’s fair to call Ginny Owens the Norah Jones of Christian pop. Her smoky vocals and languid phrasing might be called “sultry” if she weren't singing about God’s love. Spiritual content aside, her music deservedly ranks with that of Ms. Jones and similar secular divas. Live From New Orleans brings out the jazzy undercurrents and bluesy accents rippling through Owens’ work. Backed by a quartet, she luxuriates in long, warm grooves and settles into piano-centered contemplations. The set draws upon songs from Owens’ early albums, stripping away their studio embellishments in favor of an earthier approach. Backbeat-driven numbers like “I Wanna Be Moved” and “New Song” pulse with life; fragile tunes like “If You Want Me To” and “True Story” are beautifully unadorned. If there’s a standout here it’s “Call Me Beautiful” — Owens introduces the song with a brief story, then offers it up like a nightclub prayer. The album closes with a worthy studio track, the gospel-rooted “Live Once.” Owens' heartfelt, rhythmically compelling take on faith-centered music is showcased to full advantage in this fine live release.