Saturday, March 13, 2010

Jennifer Knapp is back!

Last Tuesday evening, J and I had the opportunity to hear Jennifer Knapp at an intimate venue in Annapolis (Ram's Head On Stage).  She apparently picked up her guitar again in 2008 (after a nearly 7-year hiatus from the CCM scene, and probably Evangelical Christianity itself).  She's been writing songs for the past year, and is set to release her new album, Letting Go, on May 11, 2010.

This album is a marked departure from her previous ones, with cuss words and provocative lyrics.  Perhaps that's why she's paired well on this tour with Derek Webb, who's also been a controversial figure in the Christian music scene, with songs like "Freddie, Please" - a direct challenge to Fred Phelps and his ilk - on his new Stockholm Syndrome album, as well as the bonus track "What Matters More" (vid here) - a compelling expos√© of Christian hypocrisy, which was apparently too edgy for Derek's record label (you can download it for free on his site).

Knapp has managed to retain the sonorous strum of her guitar, that unmistakable sultry voice, and those signature deep, bare-bones-honest lyrics which make you ponder the ethereal world of the soul.  For pre-ordering Letting Go, she gave away a free album (Evolving), with simple, acoustic versions of some of the songs on the new album.  Tracks like "Inside" give us a glimpse of some of the pain that she's faced while finding herself, and anticipating some opposition for coming back differently.  She admitted during the concert that she's had to deal with a bit of a guilt complex about not writing "Christian songs" anymore - for fear that it somehow made her less "Christian". 

Our favorite song was "Fallen", with the hook:

Even though they say we have fallen,
Doesn't mean that I won't do it twice.
Given every second chance,
I choose again to be with you tonight.

You can imagine how my partner and I must have felt hearing such words that night.  It captures our experience, and our love, so well.  I can't stop listening to it :)  It's clear to me from her songs that this is a woman who is well-acquainted with the grief, sorrow, and redemption that I have found in Jesus.  I can't wait to get the new album, and I look forward to hearing more from J-Knapp in years to come!


Bryan said...

I've wondered for years where she was, even doing the occassional google search to see if there was any update on why she disappeared and how she was doing. Glad she's back, and i hope she'll be a voice for a less hypocritical, less obnoxious, and dare I say, more Christ like, version of Christianity.

L. Kuah said...

Ahhhh, you beat me to it! I've been busy non-stop since the Knapp concert, yet have been listening to "Evolving" every chance I get. I love "Fallen", but I am totally diggin* "Stone to the River" and "On Love". Makes me think that I should have sucked it up on Tues. after my root canal and drove down to Annapolis to see her with you guys. :o) Anyway, I shall post my review today. Take care!

yvonne said...

L. Kuah,
Where did you listen to the new music????

L. Kuah said...

@ Darren: here is my review, it's kinda long but hopefully worth the read. ENJOY!!!

@ Yvonne: at the concert, you can pre-order Jen Knapp's new CD and get a homemade CD of acoustic demos for free - which have full-length songs on there. you can also listen to tracks on the music section of her website. enjoy!

D.J. Free! said...

bryan, it's not quite clear yet where she was (though there are plenty of rumors, and i have my own theory), but it's damn good to have her back! :)

laura, read your article last night. glad you finally got some time to post it! :)

Carrie said...

I saw your facebook status about going to see Jennifer Knapp and Derek Webb in concert and I was confused as to how they were performing together. I adore Derek Webb and his apparent middle finger up to mainstream evangelical christianity. Good to know Knapp is sticking it to the man as well :-)

I might have to start listening to her again. She was a favorite of mine in my evangelical days. I have changed, and if she has too, I could love her again, because I always did adore her voice.