The artistry in Tanya Godsey’s Telling Time sets it apart. It is a thoughtful engagement with life befitting a Christian artist. Truth and grace, struggle and hope are expressed in subtle but rewarding ways. Some of these treasures were gained in the darkness, which gives them more luster. The excellence found throughout adds to the beauty and makes this a pleasure to hear.
Godsey deserves credit for great writing, which includes a few co-writes. She also gets the best possible support with musicians like Jerry McPherson, Blair Masters and Chris Donohue, studio players with long resumes. It helps too when you have Scott and Christine Dente of Out of the Grey and Chris Rodriquez singing background vocals. Scott Dente also plays acoustic guitar and shares the producer credit with Ken Lewis. Together they are known as Global Genius Productions.
The concept of story played a part in this release. In the fall of 2009, Godsey and her husband Jake read Donald Miller’s A Thousand Miles in a Million Years, which suggests that the elements in a great story also make for a well-lived life. Overcoming adversity to attain something is a familiar theme in the best dramas. Thankful for their comfortable life, but challenged by Miller’s thoughts, Godsey and her husband began praying for opportunities to live a better story not knowing what would come. A series of circumstances reinforced her calling to music but it also included a time of sickness, suffering and loss. It’s where lines like the following in “How to Be Thankful” come from: “Before I go to face my father's graves oh I pray ... Your storms would stay ... till they take what they came for ... take what You came for ... is this what you came for ... well take what you came for.” That maturity, which wants God to accomplish His purpose in the storm, informs the lyrics on this release.
The same confidence is found in the music. The opening “White Page” with its warm piano notes and snappy production sounds like a Top 40 song. It was the fourth track, “Daylight,” that took me by surprise. The tension in the stanzas is beautifully resolved on the chorus. Here and on the title track she sounds a little country, reminding me of Susan Ashton.
This release brings a new sound to the Christian market. The style and production is on par with the best mainstream recordings. You could hear these songs on the radio and not know they were by a Christian artist unless you were paying close attention to the lyrics. Ironically, there is more depth here than releases that have more explicit spiritual references.
There is not a bad song in the bunch. Hopefully, this will get the attention that it deserves even though Godsey is not well known and her last release, Nothing Less Than Everything (2005), was six years ago. If she qualifies, she deserves consideration for best new artist.
Godsey’s life experiences have given her plenty to share. No blank white page here. God has written some precious things that she shares in way that will appeal to a broad spectrum of people.