A terrific blend of accessibility and depth that uses dance as a primary style.

Love be the Loudest
Artist: Ginny Owens (www.ginnyowens.com)
Label: ChickPower Music, LLC
Length: 13 songs/46 minutes

Love be the Loudest by Ginny Owens is such a pleasant surprise. When she gained notoriety through “If You Want Me To” off her debut Without Condition (1999), I never imagined that her ninth studio release would take this turn.

What makes this so delightful is her foray into electronic dance music. I never would have guessed that this format would work for someone that I associated with deeply reflective songwriting. Then again, Owens has experimented with a variety of sounds in her career. Yet, I find this remarkable for its blend of accessibility and thoughtfulness.

I like the sentiments, many of which are about relationship, love and God’s perspective (“The Way God Sees”).

Even though the style is different it is among Owens’ best work. The songwriting, arrangements and production are excellent. The guest appearances, which consists of Ellie Holcomb, Mike Weaver, Andrew Bergthold, Meredith Andrews, Andrew Greer and All Sons & Daughters, make it a collaborative effort. It even includes subtle updates of two of her best songs: “If You Want Me To,” and “Wonderful Wonder.” The latter, with its references to sight, are somewhat poignant given that Owens is blind. Regardless, these along with her other songs show just how much she can see.

I agree with Owens that “The Fire” is the most significant song. It carries the most weight. The inspiration came in the aftermath of a recent struggle involving a benign tumor and vocal challenges. The attitude conveyed is broadly applicable: “Thank you for the fire/thank you for the night/thank you for the trial that I don’t know how to fight.” I appreciate the vulnerability. It’s encouraging to know that we are not alone when we face the seemingly insurmountable.

“Made for Loving You” is a departure. The only instrumentation is an electric guitar played sparingly with winsome R&B. Andrew Bergthold adds to the soulfulness.

“God is Love” with All Sons & Daughters, heard as a brief intro at the beginning of this release and then completely as the closing song, is a beautiful hymn. The unison vocals are in the forefront, the music minimal, which rightly emphasizes the words.

Owens should be satisfied. Experimenting doesn’t always produce such terrific results. It should win her new fans and yet be appreciated by those who have followed her over the years.

This renews my interest in Owens’ work and will have me watching for what comes next.

Michael Dalton