Kansas (Gold Edition)
Jennifer Knapp emerged as a major Christian music talent with the 1997 release of Kansas, an album’s worth of uncommonly forceful and self-revelatory folk-rock tunes. After several independent releases, the guitar-wielding singer/songwriter was taken under the wing of Mark Stuart (lead singer with Audio Adrenaline) and given the wider exposure she deserved. Knapp used this opportunity to declare her faith in earthy, heartfelt terms, glancing back at her troubled teenaged years as she sings hosannas to her Savior. The music here is insistent and arresting, carried by Knapp’s driving guitar and aggressive yet nuanced vocals. The passionate reverence found in “Undo Me” typifies the spiritual fire underlying this album. The reggae-inflected “Romans,” the crisply rocking “Whole Again,” and the gently contemplative “Faithful to Me” are sonically diverse, yet drawn from the same well of devotion. Stuart’s production keeps the sound direct and clean, with strings and woodwinds added for a Celtic flavor. Overall, the album invites comparisons with Tracy Chapman and the Indigo Girls’ best work. As an expression of a young believer’s commitment to Christ, Kansas is tough to beat.