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Kelly Minter Bibliography: (click on each album cover to view tracks and Kelly Minter lyrics)
Kelly Minter Biography
When we first heard from Kelly Minter, she was a ringleader in the late 90s "gal with a guitar" movement, known for introspective songwriting, inviting vocals, organic acoustics, and an endearing personality. And now, nearly three years after the release of her Good Day debut, the charming single of the same name, and tours with the likes of Bebo Norman, SONICFLOOd, and Watermark, we find the gifted troubadour rising to new crests in both her deft artistic creativity and relevant analysis of spirituality.
"Since my last project, I've been engulfed in a lot of songwriting and journaling, and with no record deal on the table or business expectations to match, I was really able to write from the heart." recalls the kind hearted Minter in a peaceful tone. "After parting ways with my last record label, I went through a season of dismantling, all the while attempting to submit myself to the process that the Lord was leading me through. My rather thin patience was stretched as I waited for Him to lead me through to whatever was next."
That subsequent stage for Minter turned out to be interest by the Here to Him label imprint Cross Driven Records, who after eyeing the multi-talented artist's debut disc and charting her progress during various showcases and songwriting circles inked this ever developing artist to a brand new deal. Following the signing, Minter returned to those journals and notes, revisiting her thoughts from the past few years and pulling them all under the appropriately titled umbrella of Wrestling the Angels, which throughout the course of eleven songs chronicles that period of deeply personal grappling with her Maker.
"I pulled the title for the record, and for the song itself, from Genesis where it talks about Jacob wrestling the angel of God all night to the point of exhaustion," reveals Minter. "Even in his weary state, Jacob said 'I will not let You go until you bless me.' He refused to excuse himself from the trial until He received what the Lord desired to give Him. I have endured my own periods of struggle, but feel like I have walked out so much richer because God cut away the branches that were not bearing fruit and bolstered the ones that were."
Not only did Minter find confirmation in her quest through just the initial partnership with Cross Driven, but she became especially certain after the label connected her with contemporary Christian legend Margaret Becker, who along with Paul Buono, partnered as the project's production team. Minter had always been a fan of Becker's work and looked to her as an example of quintessential songwriting, so meeting face to face and fleshing out the project's details was indeed a dream come true. "It was very surreal working with her on this project and I can't say enough about her skills as a producer and artist." Minter reflects. "Once I was able to settle into actually working with someone I always held in such high esteem, I became very comfortable and encouraged by how much she stretched and pushed me."
From the lyrical composition to the varied sonic explorations, Wrestling the Angels shows Minter at her progressive best with each cut expanding upon her already established stylistic pedigree and taking her narrative ruminations to the next level. Besides the title cut's living room warmth and its corresponding message of perseverance, benchmark tracks include the tenderized "Offering," which meshes the necessity to take up our crosses on a daily basis over an acoustic backdrop and the Prague Symphony Orchestra's jaw dropping beauty. Such reliance on the Lord continues throughout the orchestral swelling of "Say the Word," the lushly arranged "Yet Will I Praise," and the assertive delicacy on "Love Has Come," further enhancing the record's stylistic hybrid that also boasts the bubbly pop nugget "Open Up the Sky," the stripped down, heart baring ballad "You're Listening," and the aggressively approached "Walk Me Through."
There's even a pair of tunes Minter co-wrote with the esteemed Mary Danna (known for her work with Trisha Yearwood and Carolyn Dawn Johnson) that deal with longing for intimacy with Christ ("Say the Word") and worship derived refuge ("Shade"). Like the remainder of the disc's choice cuts, such selections are essential additions to the collections of any Margaret Becker, Shawn Colvin, or early Susan Ashton fan looking for a torch carrying figurehead of this generation's female singer/songwriter movement. "It seems I gravitate towards an honest and ponderous approach. The sounds on this record are ever evolving, but still carry a cohesive thread, thanks to Margaret and Paul," explains Minter of the quality filled project. "You'll get a sense of all that is wrapped up in what it means to have faith, to doubt, to persevere and, ultimately, to come out with God's blessing. One of my greatest hopes is that the listener will feel understood."
Aside from just impacting fans within musical contexts, Minter has another creative venture up her sleeve (the soon to be released book Between Water and Wine) that simultaneously confirms her anointing for ministry while enhancing the well-seasoned traveler's songwriting credibility. Beyond just a way to drive CD sales and enhance the new record's visibility, Minter's committed to shed light on what she calls "the hopeful struggle" we all face in our Christian walks with that uplifting project. "When Christ called his servants to fill up jars with water, He did so at a wedding that was out of wine. This must have seemed strange or confusing to them, but they were obedient nonetheless," she relates. "In the end, He turned that water to wine, which is one of the many encouragements and spiritual truths that confirm God's faithfulness to us."
Minter relates this prolific season of her life that spawned both Wrestling the Angels and Water into Wine back to her deeply rooted spiritual heritage while growing up just outside of Washington D.C. to which she credits her family-especially Dad and Pastor Mike Minter, the prominently revered host of Salem XM Radio's broadcast "Compelling Truth." "When I put pen to paper for either a song or a book, I can't help but retrace my steps to my spiritual roots and my relationship with Christ," concludes Minter of her families' tight knit, Christ-centered upbringing. "Having that Christian foundation and being encouraged to make my faith my own, rather than just adhering to an already established template, has really been a blessing that's built my foundation. I look forward to passing along anything that I have plundered from my own struggles, and hope to be a vessel that helps strengthen others."