Ginny Owens, If You Want Me To: The Best Of Ginny Owens

Mike McGonigal

By Mike McGonigal

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

This collection of the sight-impaired singer-songwriter's greatest hits is a delightful introduction to her varied charms. I only hope that fans of CCM realize how lucky they are that she is singing songs of praise. One of the most clichéd things you can say about a Christian performer is that they'd be a huge star if only they "sold out" and made secular music. With an artist like Ginny Owens, however — an incredibly talented musician who works within the genre conventions of mainstream pop — it's hard to avoid such thoughts. On "Open Arms," for instance, imagine if she were singing "he waits for me with open arms" rather than "He waits for me with open arms." But she isn't, and the difference is, of course, huge.

The best of this soulful CCM singer’s oeuvre. So far.

Owens writes decent songs, but her voice is the natural focal point of her music. Full-bodied and rich — like a more soulful version of Sheryl Crow or a less breathy Sarah McLachlan — her phrasing and delivery veers towards gospel even when her music approaches pop, folk-rock and contemporary R&B. A few of the songs take a less-than-subtle approach to pop, but much of it is surprisingly nuanced. The way the pedal steel and piano buoy her magnificent vocals on "Live Once," for instance, never loses its power, no matter how many times you listen.