Graham Reid | | 1 min read
One problem with being identified as a "Christian artist" -- as so many have discovered -- is that there is a resistance to them outside that market, and because of that many simply give up and stay with the audience which has and will support them.
The other problem is that it means many outside of Christian circles are denied hearing some exceptional singers and songwriters -- most of whom who have no overt Christian agenda in their lyrics.
One such is the captivating Juliagrace who has a clear and confident voice, a sense of humour (see the clip below) and writes songs which have neatly ambiguous meanings: they may be songs of faith -- as in the chorus of Thanks to You here -- but equally they can be read as secular.
Certainly she delivers one of the finest songs about the joy of family life away from the social parade of weekends (Perfect Reason), and with discreet orchestration here to give further emotional uplift to songs like Open Window she proves that she can not only write but deliver with warmth and conviction.
Shifting easily between alt.folk (the reflective Stitched Up, the interesting Sweet Emily with a hint of early Joni Mitchell) and open-hearted pop balladry, Juliagrace -- a mother of two I believe -- brings a maturity of lyric and thought to these songs which is uncommonly observant and sympathetic.
The sorrow-filled yet optimistic Diamond here is . . . well, a gem actually.
And I'd bet you could slip this in front of a couple of dozen people and not one would know she was a regular the Parachute festival . . . or that her debut album won the New Zealand music award in 2006 for best Christian/gospel album.
They would just hear a terrific singer-songwriter with a mainline to classic pop ballads and thoughtful lyrics.
A note to about the packaging: as much care and attention to detail has been applied to that as the songs and production. Which enhances the sense that this as fine an album from a local singer-songwriter as you are likely to hear.