Conversations CDConversations CD
Sara Groves
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Newcomer Sara Groves has always wrestled with words. The former high school English teacher began singing as a side job, but found she had too much to say. So she left the academic world behind. Now she delivers Conversations, a collection of heartfelt songs that bring to mind Shawn Colvin and Sarah McLachlan, but with deeply spiritual lyrics that convey complex truths in an amazingly simple way. Whether she's searching for God's voice in the midst of a big decision on "Hello, Lord" or offering comfort to a friend facing death on "What Do I Know," the heart of this Minneapolis-based singer/songwriter shines through. Despite the varied subject matter of Conversations, Sara's main message seems to be that we need to keep talking---about our faith, our fears, our foibles---so we can continue to grow.

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GENRE: Folk/Pop
SPECIAL EFFECT(S): Conversations was recorded in John and Dino Elefante's famed Sound Kitchen studios. Session players include individuals who have worked with Shawn Colvin, Ginny Owens, Amy Grant, Bonnie Raitt, and Chris Rice.
PRODUCER(S): Nate Sabin

This former high school English and history teacher credits the English department at her college alma mater--Evangel University--with providing the fertile ground from which her songs have sprung. Judging by the quality of her songwriting, it must have been one rich experience.

Conversations is a re-release of her second independent project, which followed her indie debut, Past The Wishing. There are two additional songs on the re-release, both of which confirm that this Missouri native is all about taking her music and her musings to the next level. "The Word" is an upbeat reminder to anchor ourselves to the truth, while "Painting Pictures of Egypt" offers a snapshot of longing for the past that hits all to close to home.

Vocally, Groves often sounds like a hybrid of Sarah McLachlan and Twila Paris, alternating between raw transparency and reflective poignancy. In short, her voice is mesmerizing. As a lyricist she succeeds in avoiding the cliché-driven, shallow-thinking verses that Christian music is often accused of. Still, at times she is stark in her declaration of Christ as Lord.

This is not your warm/fuzzy, "let's-talk-about-how-perfect-our-Christian-lives-are" kind of music. It is real, encouraging, and excellently crafted. Consequently, Conversations is possibly one of the best national debuts of the year.

--Laura Harris