ASCAP Celebrates Amy Grant’s ‘How Mercy Looks From Here’

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• May 1, 2013
Pictured (L to R): Vince Gill, Jeremy Bose, Ben Glover, Amy Grant, Luke Laird, Molly Reed, Marshall Altman, Eric Paslay and Keb Mo (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Amy Grant)

Pictured (L to R): Vince Gill, Jeremy Bose, Ben Glover, Amy Grant, Luke Laird, Molly Reed, Marshall Altman, Eric Paslay and Keb Mo (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Amy Grant).

Yesterday (April 30), ASCAP and Capitol Christian Music Group celebrated the upcoming May 14 release of Amy Grant‘s first album in 10 years, How Mercy Looks From Here. Many of the songs on the project are harvested from a challenging decade for the singer. In late April 2011, Grant’s mother, Gloria Dean Napier Grant, died at age 80. Grant has spent much time caring for her father, Dr. Burton Grant, who has suffered from dementia for the past four years. An appropriate essence of living in the moment, and appreciating life’s joys as well as its heartaches, permeates tracks including “Greet The Day,” “Our Time Is Now” (featuring Carole King), and “Golden.”

The album was produced by Marshall Altman (Natasha Bedingfield, Matt Nathanson, Kate Voegele, Matt Duke, Audrey Assad and Marc Broussard), and Grant says the experience was one that stretched her creatively. “We took the songs that I had written, that we thought were the best ones and Marshall put them through this grueling process of tearing them apart, making me fight for every chorus, every line, which was the best creative experience I could have had. It was a great lesson in just pushing against another creative mind.”

The project features plenty of high-profile collaborations, including Will Hoge (“Shovel In Hand”), Vince Gill (who lent his vocals and guitar work to “Better Not To Know,” “How Mercy Looks From Here,” “Deep As It Is Wide” and “Shovel In Hand”) and James Taylor. Taylor is featured on the album’s first single, “Don’t Try So Hard.”

“I’m a big James Taylor fan,” says Grant. “I’ve stood in many meet and greet lines backstage to say hello to him.” They first collaborated professionally in 1987. “I showed up with a 9-week-old fussy baby boy and I was exhausted,” Grant recalls. “[Taylor] looked at me and said, ‘Hand me that child.’ So really, when somebody helps you with your children…” she says with a laugh, “…and then he came to Nashville when Minnie Pearl and I did a benefit for the American Cancer Society. He came and did that and we slowly forged that friendship.”

Sheryl Crow and Eric Paslay trade verses and harmonies with Grant on the Paslay-penned “Deep As It Is Wide.” “Eric and I passed in the studio many days because we were working with the same producer and I was nearing the end of the record and I kept thinking about the song,” says Grant. “We called Sheryl Crow and she happened to be home and said, ‘Send me the song.’ There was such an amazing spontaneity to it. It was one invitation at a time. Everything just fell in order; it was really beautiful.”

The group met at Crow’s home outside of Nashville to sort out verses and harmony lines. “Marshall, Sheryl, Eric and I sat in her living room with a guitar and divided the song up and just sang it. Rather than try to get a road map in the studio, we just thought, ‘How would we sing it if we were just having a conversation?’ I love how it turned out. It feels like three people having this conversation about something that is bigger than they can comprehend.”

It is not certain if the Grant-Paslay-Crow collaboration is a possible radio single, but Grant knows she will be touring and bringing the new material to her audience. “I don’t know what plans are for radio,” says Grant. “It makes sense because of some of the people singing that it might open up a different market besides just the faith-based radio stations, but I’ve never stopped touring. I don’t tour like I did decades ago, so I’m just slowly adding the new songs in.”

Pictured (L to R): LeAnn Phelan (ASCAP), Amy Grant, Michael Martin (ASCAP) and Peter York (President, Capitol Christian Music Group Label Group). (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Amy Grant)

Pictured (L to R): LeAnn Phelan (ASCAP), Amy Grant, Michael Martin (ASCAP) and Peter York (President, Capitol Christian Music Group Label Group). (Photo by Rick Diamond/Getty Images for Amy Grant)

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson is a staff writer with MusicRow Enterprises. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine, TasteofCountry.com and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at jnicholson@musicrow.com.

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