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When Sandra McCracken went through a challenging time in her personal life, she created an album, Psalms, which eloquently spoke of God’s presence. She followed that up with a second, similar album, God’s Highway, with more reflections on the Psalms. In addition to turning to the Psalms, McCracken has also processed her hurt through her own words. Now, nearly three years after her Psalms album, she shares those words with us in Songs from the Valley.

Writing about this album, McCracken notes, “These songs are from the valley, but they’re pierced through with light. Such is the way of God. He walks with us in the dark . . .” The recordings themselves sound a bit different from her other recent recordings. While her gentle guitar or piano are still present, producer Cason Cooley has added ambient sounds to the mix that make for an interesting and haunting effect. Above it all, McCracken’s voice allows us to feel both the darkness and the light as McCracken deals with pain while keeping her eyes fixed on God.

She notes, “It’s my hope that these recordings will make space for meaningful questions.” This is an album that gets richer with repeated listening. I’m grateful that she lets us experience a bit of what her valley was like in such a beautiful way. (Towhee Records)

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