Monday, April 05, 2010

Off the wagon

My Dad called me one morning last week and asked, “Guess who I’m listening to?” I could tell he was holding his phone up to the car stereo speakers. Even though the music was slightly garbled I knew exactly who he was listening to: Amy Grant. Dad told me she was in the studio of the local Christian radio station and was singing live. “Is she promoting a new album?” he asked. “I have no idea, Dad,” I replied.

And honestly, I didn’t. I haven’t listened to her music since the brouhaha erupted between me and her manager last summer. I spent a good portion of the 80’s and 90’s wishing I could meet not only AG but her manager, too. I thought she was so cool; that thinking changed after the way she responded to my blog and my faithful commenters.  Even now I want to think it was just a huge misunderstanding...

Anyway, Dad’s call prompted me to check out AG’s website. She usually doesn’t do interviews unless there’s a new release or something to plug. And there is: she just released her first new music in seven years. There are eight new songs and four songs previously released but re-recorded ones. And two of those are my all-time favorites, Every Road (from Behind the Eyes) and Arms of Love (from Age to Age).

The fact that I had no clue that she had new music out will shock no one more than it did me. Used to be a week wouldn’t go by without me checking her website, just in case some new music was coming out or by some crazy chance, she’d be playing nearby. A day wouldn’t go by without me listening to something she’d recorded. But since August when the fracas occurred I haven’t checked out the page or listened to her music.  (Full disclosure: I did break out AG’s Christmas music over the holidays because it’s just not Christmas morning without EmmanuelLove Has Come and O Little Town.)

I used to know the date her albums were released. I’d beg my mom to drive me to the Christian Armory on Lawrenceville Highway the day of the release, and I’d see if the staff had any promotional pictures or brochures of hers that they didn’t want. I’d buy the album, then devour the liner notes all the way home. When I got home I’d race to my room where I’d put the record on the record player and listen over and over and over. The same thing happened even when cassette tapes came out because we didn’t have a cassette player in our station wagon.

In 1997 her album Behind the Eyes came out and I finally had a CD player in my car! My Amy was a baby and she cried all the way home from the record store so I couldn’t listen to it, anyway.

The Amy Grant website had a “click here” button to buy the album. I didn’t click, though. In a bout of restraint not generally shown when it comes to anything AG, I went to Amazon, where it was $3 cheaper. I downloaded it, listened to it, and felt that “new music” feeling all over again. (Mark - if you’re reading - you know what I’m talking about.)  I stayed up way too late listening and pouring over the liner notes - not quite the same in digital form, but at least I could boost the view up to 125% for easier reading.

Seven months is a long time to not listen to your favorite artist. This new album is a good reason to break my boycott.

Oh, and by the way, AG’s new website's colors are shades of green and grey.