Amy Lee Grant was born on November 25, 1960 in Augusta, Georgia. She’s the youngest of four sisters. She put out her self-titled debut album on Myrrh Records in 1977. It included ‘Beautiful Music’ and ‘Mountain Top’. In 1982 she released the monumental album AGE TO AGE, which included ‘Sing Your Praise to the Lord’ and ‘El Shaddai’. Fast forward to 1984 and Amy released her fifth studio album, STRAIGHT AHEAD (Myrrh/A&M). It topped the Billboard Christian Album Chart for 61 weeks! It was also the first Christian album to make it on to the Billboard Pop Album Chart. Brown Bannister produced the album which also won a Dove for ‘Pop/Contemporary Album of the Year’.
‘Where Do You Hide Your Heart’ starts things off and is one of two songs written by Amy and Michael W. Smith. This pop song includes a guitar solo by Dann Huff and points people to Christ: “Leave the hurt behind you/Love has found you now/And He’ll never let you go/Oh, you’ve got to know/That Jesus will not leave us now/So leave your cares behind.../When you’re feeling low/Let me let you know/That we’re all sad sometimes/Jesus carries you/He’s gonna see you through”. ‘Jehovah’ is a reciprocal love song: “And Jehovah, I love You so/And Jesus, I want You to know/All You’ve done for me to set me free/I’ll never let You go.../Consider the creatures of the air/He takes after each and every need/If we ask Him for bread/Will He give us a stone?/Jehovah loves His own”.
Amy, Michael, Gary Chapman, and Brown Bannister wrote ‘Angels’. It was a #1 Christian radio hit for thirteen weeks and won a Grammy for ‘Best Gospel Performance, Female’. It’s a Contemporary Christian Music classic that testifies: “I know they’re all around me/All day and through the night/When the enemy is closing in/I know sometimes they fight/To keep my feet from falling/I’ll never turn away/If you’re asking what’s protecting me/Then you’re gonna hear me say/’Angels watching over me every move I make/Angels watching over me (2X)/Every step I take/Angels watching over me’”. The title track, ‘Straight Ahead’, is an adult contemporary ballad of hope: “Straight ahead I can see Your light/Straight ahead through the dark/Straight ahead there’s no left or right/Straight ahead to Your heart.../Lying thoughts tell me I’m lost not found/But clearly I can see You’re waiting there for me”.
‘Thy Word’ is an inspirational classic about the importance of God’s Word and presence: “Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (2X).../Nothing will I fear as long as You are near/Please be near me to the end”. Two of the background vocalists are Donna McElroy and Kim Fleming. ‘It’s Not a Song’ speaks of the impact music can have on us: “It’s not a song ‘til it touches your heart/It’s not a song ‘til it tears you apart/After what’s left of what’s right and what’s wrong/’Til it gets through to you, it’s not a song”.
‘Open Arms’ is a light pop song about a divine romance: “I’ve had a taste of tenderness, simple and true/Drives away the doubting and draws me into/Your open arms/Your love has taken hold and I can’t fight it/I’m giving in to Your open arms/They pull me to You/They wrap Your love around me/I’ll rest in Your open arms”. Rich Mullins wrote ‘Doubly Good to You’, a pretty song of gratitude: “You can thank the Father for the things that He has done/And thank Him for the things He’s yet to do/And if you find a love that’s tender/If you find someone who’s true/Thank the Lord/He’s been doubly good to you”.
‘Tomorrow’ is a pop song that offers advice: ``Open your eyes to tomorrow/Open your life to His care/Open your past to His mercy/Open your heart/He’ll be there/We got tomorrow/There’ll be changes made inside.../If this day went wrong/You gotta pick up/You gotta move on to tomorrow”. Mike Brignardello plays bass. Pam Mark Hall wrote ‘The Now and The Not Yet’, the album’s closing ballad. It anticipates our final spiritual transformation: “When He appears, He’ll draw us near/And we’ll be changed by His glory/Wrapped up in His glory/We will be like Him/For we shall see Him as He is”. Jon Goin plays guitars.
STRAIGHT AHEAD is comprised of a nice mix of adult contemporary and pop songs from the first part of the 1980’s. Amy’s vocals are delivered with extra passion on this record. The lyrics speak of God’s love for and protection of us. He is a caring Refuge for us. The songs also speak of Amy’s love for God and her gratitude for what He has done, and has yet to do in her life. Even though life brings trials, Amy is optimistic about her earthly future and her home to be, in heaven. I’m rating this record 87% and recommending it to fans of the early material of Sandi Patty and Evie. The following year Amy would release one of my favorite albums of hers, UNGUARDED. For more info visit: www.amygrant.com.