- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 7, 2002

Singer Amy Grant may not have a current hit blazing up the pop charts, but she is hoping the songs she has recorded over the years continue to resonate with listeners.

“It's not about what's a hit right now,” she says. “It's about saying, This makes me remember my college years, or fifth grade, or that beach trip, or that Christmas.'”

Miss Grant, who began singing Christian music at age 17, performs at 7:30 p.m. tomorrow at the Hylton Memorial Chapel in Woodbridge, Va., as part of her Legacy: Hymns and Faith Tour. Special guest Fernando Ortega, a Word Records artist, will appear with her, promoting his 10th album, “Storm.”

Although Miss Grant has recorded enough material to release a new mainstream album, she decided to celebrate her 25th anniversary of music-making by recording “Legacy: Hymns and Faith.” The album, released in May, contains three original songs and many new arrangements of standards, including “This Is My Father's World,” “My Jesus I Love Thee” and “Fairest Lord Jesus.”

“Legacy” isn't the first time Miss Grant has recorded hymns. In 1986, she made a Christmas present for her parents by recording a dozen a cappella selections, including “Marching to Zion.” Her children's nanny found the tape this past Christmas and copied it to give as presents to friends. Miss Grant is hoping fans will pass out “Legacy” with the same fervor.

“It's kind of hard for people to discover a record like this because it doesn't really lend itself to radio play,” she says. “This has not come flying out of the box, saleswise. It is consistently selling, but I think the people who have gotten a copy got another four for friends.”

At the New York State Fair in Syracuse, N.Y., on Aug. 24 (the first date of the Legacy Tour), Miss Grant was excited to see fans who knew all the words to her songs. For now, however, her audiences won't be hearing as many of her older numbers as Miss Grant might like because her band is brand-new and knows only about 30 of her songs. She intends to have the five-piece group learn at least one new song during every stop of their tour.

She hopes to vary her repertoire each evening and also the stories she tells onstage. She used to tell the same tales before every song but decided she doesn't want fans to feel as if they are hearing a rehearsed script.

“Simple Things,” the tentative title for Miss Grant's new secular album, is scheduled to be released in 2003. She hopes it will spawn more chart toppers like “Baby, Baby” and “Every Heartbeat,” and she probably will include some of the songs from the upcoming release in her set list.

“Don't come to the concert to be wowed by dance moves,” Miss Grant says, “because I have none.”

WHAT: Amy Grant with special guest Fernando Ortega

WHEN: Tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

WHERE: Hylton Memorial Chapel, Woodbridge, Va.

TICKETS: $30, $40; groups of 10 $23 per person

PHONE: 800/861-0850

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