They say the best songs come out of real life experiences. And for Sara Groves, it's all about being real. Past the Wishing was originally released as a gift for her family and friends in 1998. Through word of mouth, the popularity of the album grew, finally coming to rest as a very solid beginning for an emerging artist.
"Past the Wishing," a highlight on this album, starts things out upbeat and thought-provoking. "Everyday Miracles" continues the lyrical superiority of the record, but starts to slow down the tone of the album. The piano-driven "Stir My Heart" comes next, asking God to reveal Himself during tough times and periods of doubt.
The traditional acoustic folk/pop sound of Groves continues in "Rain." She tackles a tough subject in a tactful way in "Song of Solomon," speaking truthfully about today's immoral condition concerning marriage and what God has designed marriage to be. "Help Me Be New" is a soft-spoken track, led by piano and backed up by a little electric guitar and gentle percussion.
"Awakening" starts to drag the album down a bit. There isn't a solid chorus we return to, and the lyrics come across as not much more than rambling. The song rescues itself with these lyrics being simple, but at the same time very deep, accompanying a piano-led tune. "Testimony" brings back the folk/pop feel, and gives the story of a person coming to Jesus Christ. The record closes out with "Glory Come Down," a plea for God to make each one of us holy as He is holy. The song shifts gears in the end to become simple expressions of praise and thanks to Jesus, bringing the album to a fitting close.
Throughout, Sara Groves maintains a reality in her music unlike that of many other Christian artists. Her songs are about things people go through every day in their lives, making her music meaningful and relevant. On the whole, Past the Wishing is a worthy debut album. It brings comfort and challenge to the place they are needed most: the heart.- Review date: 2/8/03, written by Shaun Stevenson
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