The only thing that gets me as excited as finding a new favorite author is finding a new favorite artist. And I scored big with this find. Sandra McCracken recently did a concert not far from where I live and a good friend invited me to go with him. I had never heard of her but I am so glad I went. She is absolutely amazing. I could listen to her voice forever and her songs are achingly beautiful. Even had me in tears at one point, partly because the music touched my soul so deeply and partly because I knew that my Mama would’ve loved Sandra. From the moment she stepped on stage, she held me captive, mesmerized by both her voice and her passion.
The Welcome Wagon opened the show. The husband and wife team of Monique and Thomas Aiuto Vito, they were pretty awesome too. Their sound is unique, like nothing I’ve ever heard. And I loved it. Simple yet beautiful melodies with a folksy flair – at times toe-tappin’ fun, at other points quiet and thoughtful. I found their music to be refreshing and sweet.
One thing that I absolutely loved about this concert was the venue – a small Presbyterian church that held maybe 300-400 people. More intimate than an arena or even a bigger church, it was like she had come to sing with old friends. Sandra McCracken obviously loves music, but I got the feeling that she loves her fans just as much. She talked some in between songs and it was so natural and free, like having a conversation with a friend. I didn’t want the concert to end.
She sang a good mix of songs – some from her newest album Psalms, some older ones, and a couple kids’ songs from her Rain for Roots project. Although they all were first-rate, I think the song I loved best was “Thy Mercy, My God.” With words written by John Stocker in 1776 and music supplied by Sandra McCracken herself, “Thy Mercy, My God” is the first track from her 2005 album The Builder and the Architect. Of course “God Makes Everything” (a Rain for Roots tune) was lots of fun; everyone sang along during the chorus. And all the songs from Psalms were home runs: “We Will Feast in the House of Zion,” “My Help, My God,” “Send Out Your Light,” “Have Mercy,” “Flourishing” was particularly good. In short, the entire concert was fabulous and I am so happy to add Sandra McCracken to my list of favorite singers.