Reviewed by Jennifer Bogart
Fireflies and Songs by Sara Groves
"...a compilation of songs reflecting upon the small joys of life, the challenges of relationships, of working through troubling emotional states."
I have an abiding love for contemporary praise and worship music; simply written yet infective songs that transport listeners to the throne of grace in supplication, worship, and adoration. Sara Groves does not write that kind of music. The musical well that springs forth from her life in Christ is transparent, reflective, and often subdued while proving endlessly intriguing. Groves writes songs that you can come back to time and again to mine previously hidden nuances and experiences from as one's familiarity with them increases.
Already well established as a premier Christian singer-songwriter, Groves’ latest release – Fireflies and Songs - is a compilation of songs reflecting upon the small joys of life, the challenges of relationships, of working through troubling emotional states. Straightforward references to God and Jesus are rare, but the body of the work is still distinctly Christian. Where else can you find songs celebrating the joy of mutual spousal confession, as found in “Different Kinds of Happy”?
With much of her material drawn from her marriage, the disc is particularly resonant for me as a wife. “Twice as Good” reflects upon the joys of female camaraderie where we can find “sweet commiseration” and share burdens with each other.
Fireflies and Songs is mainly acoustic with an emphasis upon unadorned piano and less frequently guitar melodies. Groves is by no means a purist and isn’t beyond including electrical accompaniment where appropriate - it is admittedly rare however. The music’s subdued tonalities bend towards the melancholic and bittersweet on most of the tracks, but bursts into joy on “Setting Up the Pins”, an incredibly fun jam-like song – impossible not to dance along with. Particularly poignant is “Like a Lake” where Groves’ voice takes on a floating, ethereal quality as she shares her struggles to remain open and avoiding shutting down. “Eyes Wide Open” is a aching search for truth beyond man-made idolatry
It’s difficult to listen to Sara Groves without giving her your undivided attention. A lot of times I listen to music while doing chores, but Groves' laid back and thoughtful approach encourages contemplation; settling in with a cup of tea and an afghan and just absorbing the heartfelt stories and messages she’s sharing with us. When I listen to “Love” it’s enough to stop me in my tracks where I stand, not just the understated string accompaniment, but simply to hear her thoughts on true love, not the kind you find in movie endings, but the kind that sets us free.
Jennifer Bogart is a child of God, wife and homeschooling mother of three young children (so far). She writes homeschooling resources with her husband at Bogart Family Resources, and reviews as a creative outlet. Passionately dedicated to promoting the work of Christian authors and artists, her blog Quiverfull Family features reviews, contests, family updates, homeschooling tidbits and well - a bit of everything.