In This Life
Thoughtful, Often Spiritual Contemporary Folk What is the genre of a collection that contains both exalted themes like faith and justice, alongside songs about arguing with your girlfriend, missing home, and the angst of a new crush? What do you say about a CD that puts tracks that are clearly religious (in a progressive sort of way) next to tracks that use language like "What the hell am I supposed to do with my heart?" or rhyme schemes like "There we sit / thinking we're in deep. . . trouble."? Christopher's answer? 'From my perspective, that pretty much fits with life.' Christopher Grundy has been writing and performing at churches, camps, colleges, and larger church gatherings around the country for about 20 years. In This Life is one of his earlier collections - recorded in 1995 - but it contains some of the songs that have been favorites along the way. The recording has that stripped-down, uncluttered feeling that you get when folk musicians are early in their careers and can't afford producers or lots of studio musicians. The lyrics are out in front, and you can hear more of the room in which the recording was done. Those lyrics, supported by easygoing, straightforward tunes, are the real gold of the CD. The title track, "In This Life," is a positive, folk-pop tune about getting back on your feet after a breakup. "What Am I Supposed to Do With My Heart?" is the kind of mellow, dry-humored love song that you might expect to hear from James Taylor. "Visitation" is a shadowy ballad about repentance - and the Holy Spirit visiting like a lover (Wait, like a what?). "From my Hands" is a spiritual, sometimes heavy meditation on our hands and how we use them. "If I Ever Get Home" is a celtic-ish a cappella solo piece. "Watching This Town Freeze" is a humorous look at life in a small town - and a lover's quarrel. "The Most Romantic Thing That I Can Think of" tries to imagine a process of getting engaged that is more mutual and less sexist. "Here I Stand" is a goofy song about friends becoming lovers. "Empty Bottles" is about the legacy of alcoholism and abuse. "Church of the Shelved" describes the habit churches have of excluding those who don't or can't fit in. "Lullaby" is a gentle, celtic song that was originally about lovers separated by distance, but has been used increasingly in end-of-life situations such as hospice care. Especially for those who already know and love Christopher's music, this collection makes a great addition. In This Life is for anyone, though, who is searching for contemporary folk music that can sing about life and faith without getting all preachy and self-righteous - or all sappy. Listen to the sample tracks. You'll see what we mean.