Jennifer Knapp: Kansas 25

I was an instant supporter of this album on Kickstarter and now I’m finally getting a chance to listen to it: Jennifer Knapp’s Kansas 25. Back when Kansas came out in 1998, college me was totally drawn in. Smart lyrics, catchy tunes, and a raw honesty that I didn’t hear in a lot of the other Christian music that was on the radio and for sale in the bookstore. I memorized the songs, sang them on my guitar, sang one of them in church, and spun that CD all the time in the car. I have often mentioned it as one of the three “perfect” Christian music albums ever. It’s that good.

Knapp, now 50, has been on a long road since releasing the original Kansas in her early twenties. She moved to Australia in 2002, publicly came out as a lesbian in 2010, recorded some other albums, and became an outspoken advocate for LGBT causes. There’s something incredibly meaningful about hearing her revisit these faith-filled songs in middle age. The miles have taken their toll - the voice is a little more raspy, the tempos a little slower - but the youthful expressions of faith still ring true all these years later.

If you supported the Kickstarter, you probably already have the download. (If not, find it in your inbox!) If you didn’t get in early, head over to Bandcamp where you can preorder it and listen as soon as it officially releases on May 17.