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JFH Music Review


Susan Ashton, Wakened By The Wind
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Susan Ashton
Wakened By The Wind



Artist Info: Discography
Genre(s): Folk / Acoustic / Country
Album length: 10 tracks: 44 minutes, 41 seconds
Street Date: February 14, 1991


READER RATING:   


Susan Ashton has one of those voices that stops you in your tracks. Not in a demanding way, but in an arresting and welcoming one. It's the kind you hear and immediately want to hear more of. These tunes are an auditory invitation to pull up a chair and stay for a while. If you so choose to, you'll be greeted by world-class instrumentation provided by a "who's-who" of players in the CCM industry in the early 90s. Names and talents like Wayne Kirkpatrick, Gordon Kennedy, Jimmie Sloas, Tommy Sims, Phil Madeira, and even an appearance from the guitar master Phil Keaggy himself on closer "Beyond Justice to Mercy." It's a song tailor-made for Amy Grant -- if she hadn't been off making the highest-selling CCM album of all time in Heart in Motion.

With this potent crew backing her, and Susan's alluring voice, listeners are treated to the rare fully fleshed-out debut of acoustic country-leaning songs. The man who gathered all that talent, and helped harness it for this cohesive first album on Sparrow Records was legend Wayne Kirkpatrick. His fingerprints are all over this one. He wrote or co-wrote seven of the ten tracks, played guitar on most of them, and produced the entire album, not to mention tossed in some backing vocals for good measure.

Straight out of that gate, the first four songs set the table nicely, with the gentle percussive and acoustic strums of "Down on My Knees," and the gorgeous "No One Knows My Heart," being my overall favorites. Ashton's voice shines brightly throughout, but especially here. Other standouts are the closing trio run of "In Amazing Grace Land," "Suffer in Silence" and the aforementioned "Beyond Justice to Mercy."

Truly, if there is any weakness in the tracklist, it lies in the middle section with the outlier uptempo song, "Land of Nod," or the slightly musically dull "In My Father's Hands." That said, it's a minor issue, as the former serves as a funky pick-me-up pace-wise, while the latter has a terrific chorus. For instance, see these reassuring lines, "It's in my Father's hands/And I have no fear/There's no point making plans/When His hands can steer/Why should I so small and frail/Carry life's demands/When He can see where I might fail/And where I might stand/It's in my Father's hands."

Ultimately, Susan is well supported and given an exceptional introduction, with Wakened by the Wind catapulting her forward into a solid career of hit songs and awards spanning more than a decade. If you somehow missed this one, or perhaps never knew it existed, I strongly encourage you to give it a shot -- especially for stylistic fans of mainstream contemporary Shawn Colvin, her CCM counterpart Kim Hill, or excellent acoustic country-leaning music.

- Review date: 1/24/24, written by Josh Balogh of Jesusfreakhideout.com



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. Record Label: Word Records
. Album length: 10 tracks: 44 minutes, 41 seconds
. Street Date: February 14, 1991
. Buy It: iTunes
. Buy It: Amazon Music (MP3)
. Buy It: Amazon.com

  1. Down On My Knees (4:15)
  2. No One Knows My Heart (3:05)
  3. Benediction (Simon) (5:29)
  4. Ball And Chain (4:30)
  5. I Hear You (6:12)
  6. Land Of Nod (4:09)
  7. In My Father's Hands (4:08)
  8. In Amazing Grace Land (4:31)
  9. Suffer In Silence (4:00)
  10. Beyond Justice To Mercy (4:22)

 

 



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