Rock of Ages...Hymns & Faith
Rock of Ages...Hymns & Faith is the rare sequel that rivals the original. 2002's Legacy, Amy Grant's first collection of old-time hymns and religious material, both familiar and obscure, was a full-fledged return to inspirational material after many years of secular material, and it was an understated delight, thanks to the smart song selection and classy, subtly shaded production from her husband Vince Gill and Brown Bannister. Rock of Ages doesn't change their approach at all, primarily because if it worked so well the first time, why change? Some of the songs here aren't as well-known as the tunes on the first record, but when Grant sings a song that is universally known, such as the title track or "Jesus Loves Me," it becomes easier to appreciate what she, Gill, and Bannister have achieved here. They have updated these old hymns — most are from the 1800s, some date to the 1600s and 1700s — so thoroughly that when they slip in a couple of new songs in among them, the fit is comfortable, not awkward. It works because the music is never flashy; it is relaxed and assured, giving Grant plenty of breathing room and giving Gill plenty of place to play some wonderful guitar. It's the rare contemporary Christian album that functions as terrific religious material and transcends its genre based on the richness of its music. It's truly a quiet, modest little gem.