Better than a Hallelujah: Grant returns to Chautauqua to perform songs new and old, with family



In 2004, the last time Amy Grant performed at Chautauqua, she brought her bike. She may be a six-time Grammy Award-winning singer, but, when it comes to biking, she considers herself more of a Katherine Hepburn than a Lance Armstrong.

“I certainly don’t have the kind of expendable income that would allow me to travel on a whim,” Grant said, “but because I travel with work … I’ve been to maybe a hundred different cities in a year. And sometimes some pretty remote and amazing parts of the country, and that’s why I take my bike; that’s why we try to hike or look around.”

Grant’s next stop is Chautauqua — she’ll be performing at 8:15 p.m. Saturday in the Amphitheater. She will perform some of her hits, along with music from her latest album, How Mercy Looks From Here. The album, her first to have all new songs in a decade, features musical collaborations with various members of her family.

Jenny, Grant’s stepdaughter with husband Vince Gill, will be joining her on the stage. Other family members contributed to the album, such as her husband and her father, Burton Paine Grant, but Jenny will be the only one performing with her Saturday.

One of Grant’s earliest musical influences was her grandmother. When Grant visited, her grandmother would always be singing an old hymn. After that, she fell in love with The Beatles, Elvis Presley, The Jackson 5 and others, but she believes those pop influences all build from a foundation in Christian music.

“The way that I nourish my soul every day — I sing a hymn,” she said. “I don’t even know I’m doing it.”

While not every one of her songs may bear an obvious message, she said that her faith gives an order and a purpose to her music and her life.

“Even if we’re surrounded by tragedy, there’s a much larger, epic story that we are all a part of,” Grant said. “There’s not a dividing line — believers, not believers; if you’re alive, you’re in the story.”