KAREN HORNSBY : Karen Hornsby. (www.karenhornsby.com)
When Karen Hornsby took the microphone on ABC’s innovative reality show, Rising Star, she did more than wow the judges with her remarkable voice. She touched the hearts of viewers around the country with her poignant story. Not only had this young mother survived a horrific collision with a semi tractor-trailer that left her vehicle engulfed in flames, but she later endured her husband’s cancer diagnosis and treatment, and perhaps most devastating, her 2-year-old daughter Gabi was diagnosed with brain cancer. From places of such deep suffering, Karen writes songs of encouragement for the brokenhearted. There are some really touching songs on this album, including the tear jerking “It’s Me.”. This is a song written after doctors revealed the news of her daughter’s condition. “The Time” is a song about loss, and how God can give you the strength to get through it. It’s piano led, as is the ballad “I Surrender.” Karen, then, moves into a bluesy gospel style for “Celebrate” and “Victory.” Full brass backing and guitars add to the overall sound. Pop songs “Use Me” and “I Will Not Be Moved” are both commendable, but I really liked the Dixie Chicks sounding “Let Go & Let God.” It’s a really good song, and the polished production is enhanced by a great fiddle break. Karen’s vocal prowess is put to the test on “I Need You Lord.” This is a classy ballad, and she storms through the song with finesse. I urge you to read Karen’s story at her website. Maybe, then, you’ll realise just what a personal and powerful set of songs these are. 8/10.