Amy Grant was born on November 25, 1960 in Augusta, Georgia. In 1977 she released her self-titled debut album. It included songs such as ‘Mountain Top’ and ‘Old Man’s Rubble’. She put out her second album MY FATHER’S EYES in 1979. NEVER ALONE (1980, Myrrh) was her third record. It was produced by Brown Bannister for Chris Christian Productions. Amy was in her sophomore year at Furman University in Greenville, South Carolina at the time. NEVER ALONE hit #1 on Billboard’s Top Inspirational Albums chart.
Gary Chapman and Brown Bannister co-wrote ‘Look What Has Happened to Me’. It was a Top Ten Christian hit and is a light pop song on which Dennis Solee plays flute and sax and Shane Keister is responsible for string arrangement. It offers up a testimony: “I was more than just alone, I was dying on my own/Thinking that nothing was ever gonna save my life/Look what has happened to me/I find it hard to believe/His love has taken my life this far so far/Look what has happened to me/My mind can hardly conceive/What I’m beginning to be/Look what!/Look what!” ‘So Glad’ is a ballad that reflects on God’s purposes for our lives: “Long before my plans were made/I know a master plan was laid/With a power that superceded my control/And if that truth could pierce my heart/I wouldn’t wander from the start/Trying desperately to make it on my own”.
Gary Chapman, Amy Grant, and Chris Christian wrote the light Christian rock song ‘Walking Away With You’, about how Amy finds all she needs in God: “When I’m needing someone to console me/Nearly dying for someone to hold me/I’m walking away with You/I go walking away with You/And when I’m faced with a tricky temptation/I abandon the whole situation/Walking away with You/I go walking away with You/Oh, what a fail safe plan/Just staying hand in hand/I’ll keep walking away with You”. ‘Family’ is one of two songs written by Amy alone, and is one of five songs under the three minute mark. This one anticipates heaven: “Where have you come from and where are you going?/Tell me what’s brought you here now/And is your heart singing?/Then share what you’re bringing/We all are a part of the show/’Cause we are all going home/Cause we are a family and we are all going home/Are you listening?/We are all going home so come join the family/Cause we are all going home”.
‘Don’t Give Up on Me’ is a playful, upbeat pop/jazz number with horns arranged by Don Hart and Clayton Ivey on the Fender Rhodes. On this cut, Amy admits she’s far from perfect: “Don’t give up on me even when I fail so miserably/Time and again I know I stumble, it makes me humble.../I know much more than you/How very weak I am/But He believes in me/And so I know you can.../God is working constantly to shape me, He’ll remake me”. Bruce Hibbard, Kelly Willard, and Hadley Hockensmith wrote ‘That’s the Day’. It is an easy listening ballad on which Jerry Roberts plays the accordion. It, again, anticipates heaven: “In the middle of the darkness in my life/I find a strength to carry on/I am holding to a promise Jesus made/And I know it won’t be long ‘til we’ll be gone/In a while we’ll be gone/And we won’t have to cry anymore/All our sorrows left behind/And that’s the day that I am waiting for/And that’s the day that I am longing for”.
The next song, ‘If I Have to Die’, is an interesting one musically. Cindy Reynolds plays the harp, and Pete Bordinali, electric guitar. The words deal with surrendering our lives to the Lord: “Yes, we have to die for Him/That’s the struggle that you see/Cause it’s the hardest thing we’ll ever have to do/But no, it’s not impossible/He’s been waiting so long for you/But don’t be afraid/Cause He knows the pain/Because He had to do it for you”. ‘All I Ever Have to Be’ is a quiet number that converses with God: “And all I ever have to be is what You’ve made me/Any more or less would be a step out of Your plan/As You daily recreate me, help me always keep in mind/That I only have to do what I can find/And all I ever have to be/All I have to be/All I ever have to be is what You’ve made me”.
‘It’s A Miracle’ is a bouncy pop song suitable for Easter Sunday: “It must have happened sometime in the night/No one saw the stone he rolled away/When the grave saw morning light/The skeptics and friends all had to say/’It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle/It’s a miracle happened today/It’s a miracle, it’s a miracle/He took the stone and He rolled it away’”. ‘Too Late’ is an awesome Christian rock song on which Tim May, Billy Walker, and Dave Hungate handle guitar duties wonderfully. This one reminds us we can’t serve two masters and shouldn’t be lukewarm: “Well, it’s too late for walking in the middle, too late to try/Yes, it’s too late for sitting in the balance, no more middle line/Oh, it’s too late for walking on fences/Time to choose your side/Yes, it’s too late for flirting with the darkness/Make up your mind”.
Dawn Rodgers wrote the tender ‘First Love’, on which Dennis Solee plays the flute. It is a song of intimacy: “You are my first love, sweet and gentle as the night/Just being near You now is like a lullaby/All that I have I’d give away to follow You/I can’t imagine having life without You”. The album closes with the Caribbean flavoured ‘Say Once More’, with Gary Pigg and Diana DeWitt on backing vocals. The chorus goes: “Won’t you say once more ‘I love you’/In the bread and in the wine/Till the whole world knows our love song/’I am yours and you are Mine’”. This is a totally different song from the one with the same name on Amy’s 1988 classic record LEAD ME ON.
NEVER ALONE speaks of how Christ transforms our lives when we let Him in. We are works in progress at that point. If we let Him, Jesus will be our sure Source of strength. This record also looks towards eternity with God in heaven and how wonderful that will be for those of us who are Christians. Fans of Evie, Twila Paris, and Sandi Patty will enjoy this early CCM inspirational pop music album. Amy is beautiful on the front cover. I’m rating NEVER ALONE 85%. For more info visit: www.amygrant.com.