soul (saving) diva

Grace (Sparrow)
Margaret Becker

By Robert Gruber

Margaret Becker is at the top of her class. A singer gifted with a rich, soul-stirring voice, Becker expresses her own vision of God's love, grace and mercy through her touching, personal lyricism. Debuting in the late '80s, her honest, edgy music helped bring new life to an industry that was in a rut, churning out greeting-card sentiment and bumper-sticker slogans set to music.

Her new album, Grace, completes a change over several albums from Margaret Becker, guitar-slinging folk-rocker (a la Melissa Etheridge) to Margaret Becker, soul diva. Lyrically, she has moved away from the diary-like story-songs of records like Immigrants Daughter to more straightforward Scriptural messages. Helmed by longtime producer and collaborator Charlie Peacock, the overall feel of Grace is bright, warm and groove-oriented, as in the reggae-inflected "Noonday Sun" and opening cut "Deep Calling Deep." "Moment of Choice" is outstanding, a powerful song of encouragement:. sometimes a trembling heart!

Is the strongest heart of all/It's all right to feel tonight/Let the Light wash your soul/ Face the fears one by one/Touch them and let them go." In a 'slightly different vein, "We May Never" flows by on a White Album cloud of ambient synth-strings.

At times suggesting the sensual depths of Anita Baker or Annie Lennox, Margaret Becker gives her love for God a very real, somewhat romantic voice, revealing a side of God few seem to think about. God created all good things and certainly romantic love ranks up there amongst his best. Likewise, Grace ranks among Margaret Becker's best, consistently and contagiously moving.