State of Grace
Compass Records 4315 CD, 2001
Dan Macintosh, 29 September 2001
Grace is an endangered species in this, many times, heartless day and age, but Pierce Pettis is wise to recognize its presence in his own life, and it is this higher state of being that steadies the singer/songwriter in these troubled times.
But grace is more of a spiritual address, a place where the artist lives or desires to live, and so Pettis also spends a lot of time here describing his geographical circumstances as well. Pettis is from Alabama, which, from the Civil War on up to the Civil Rights Movement, has an oft troubled history. But even this scarred landscape is touched by God's blessing.
From the rolling hills / Clear to Mobile Bay / Where I come from / Is a state of grace
The song "Little River Canyon" presumably speaks of the place Pettis grew up. It's a place of natural beauty, highlighted by swimming holes and scenic trees. It's also the scene of his adolescence; a place that has left an indelible mark on his psyche.
More than just a list of memories from the past, though, State of Grace is also a testament to hope. Songs like "We Will Meet Again," "All in Good Time" and, especially, "I've Got a Hope" are driven by an undeniable spirit of optimism.
Everything is steered by Pettis' folksy and conversational singing, backed by some equally folksy acoustic music. It's topped off - appropriately - by Howard Finster's folk art cover, featuring a colorful and peaceful village.
Pierce Pettis's music always appears as a comforting and welcoming village on the horizon, and State of Grace acts as the perfect visitor's bureau for such a destination.
songs Rise From The Ruins · State Of Grace · Long Way Back Home · Georgia Moon · A Mountaineer Is Always Free · Moontown · We Will Meet Again · Nothing But The Truth · Crying Ground · All In Good Time · Little River Canyon · Down In The Flood · I've Got A Hope