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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Heartache and repair

Kim Hill's voice takes listeners on a journey

Kim Hill’s “Broken Things” (33rd Street Records) is a contemporary Christian album that delves deeply into the mystery of grace, providing prayers and testimonies to the God who cures the incurable and accepts the unacceptable. The musical style could be compared to performers like Melissa Etheridge or Sheryl Crow, but Hill’s rich alto voice sets her apart.

Hill sings in awe of how “the maker of the universe can make His home inside of me” and marvels at the wide mercy of a God who makes shattered lives whole. Her songs introduce us to a woman who “lived in shame for 40 years more than she should have” and to a divorcee who sits alone in a church where she has begun to think she no longer belongs.

A country and rock star of the ’80s and ’90s, Hill recently gained fame as a popular speaker and worship leader at women’s conferences. For “Broken Things,” she wrote and selected songs that reflect the struggles of people she has met on the road—and songs that express her life experiences with a personal vulnerability that her albums of worship music couldn’t capture. Somewhat ironically, “Broken Things” comes off as worshipful in a different sense, imbued with a mixture of lament, wonder and healing.

Always a critic’s favorite, Hill has drawn special accolades for her low-register voice, a hauntingly beautiful instrument that seems to instill gravity in everything she sings. Her subject matter may be spiritual, but the voice is earthy, full of humanity and in touch with this world.

On “Broken Things” she has found material worthy of that voice—songs about broken promises, hungry hearts and abandoned dreams that remain songs of hope nonetheless. Rather than trying to rise above the trials, Hill takes her famous low voice down into the thick of things, cutting a path right through the disappointments and heartaches of life to emerge a bit damaged, but repaired—and totally amazed at the wonder of it all. It’s a journey worth taking.


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