SINGING WITH THE ANCESTORS
I remember the first time I heard Grace sing. It was just grainy video from a smartphone of her doing a rendition of “Amazing Grace”. It might as well have been a dusty old 78. Right away, you can hear it. Grace has that thing. It's what Van Morrison calls the "Hurrrrah". It's what makes a singer and their voice truly matter. In an era of obsessive, overused autotune and the sterility we now mistake for perfection, Grace's voice hits you over the head and directly in the chest because it is real. One understands right away that Grace ain't faking it. She sings her whole heart out and breaks it until she can’t go on any longer. That's how she exhales every single note. She has inherited her gift and curse like many soul singers before her from Bessie Smith to Etta James. It is to carry the burden of being black in America and to sing so directly from that experience. The rest of us get to sit back and enjoy it. As Taj Mahal would say, she is “singing with the ancestors.” Grace Love is singing a thousand songs that she could never have heard before because these tunes were never recorded. There isn't a million dollars or an apology that can fix that high lonesome feeling. That wailing that is so powerful if you cut it with just enough flour you get country music. Many great soul records exist because of the racial injustice that pervades this country. A deep chasm that may never be fixed. The songs are the saving grace of a broken and unjust culture.