by Carla Archuletta
With her most personal album to date, Kathy
Troccoli reflects on glimpses of Gods grace and mercy we can find if we know where
In just over 10
years, Kathy Troccoli has garnered more than two dozen solid hits on Christian and general
market radio combined. Shes received two Grammy nominations, several Billboard
Awards and 19 career Dove Award nominations (including taking home the "Inspirational
Recorded Song of the Year" Dove this year for "A Babys Prayer").
But the artist/songwriter put all those accomplishments aside to make a
more personal statement with her ninth album, Corner of Eden. Musically, the album takes
on a new dimension for this multi-faceted artist. "This record is different from the
others in the sense that the musicianship is different," she says.
"Everything on this project is completely live, so the
musicianship is a caliber I havent experienced before.
"Dont get me wrong, I love my last several records. This is
just more of an extension of who I am and what I want to say at this time in my life.
Ive co-written on all of the records since 91, but on this record I wrote all
the lyrics and co-wrote all the music. Thats what makes it more representative of me
in that it comes from my own soul."
Producer Nathan DiGesare pulled out all the stops, calling in such
high-stakes collaborators as Steve Winwood, Michael Omartian, Steve Cropper, Chester
Thompson and Jackie Street. Despite all the fussgreat sounding records, great
producers, great songs, great musiciansTroccoli says what sets Corner of Eden apart
from her previous album is one simple principle: "A great song is a great song."
"If I can own it or have lived it or want to say it, I can sing it
from my heart and Im happy to do that," she says. "But when you sing a
song lyric or melody that is written from your own life experience, thats
As a teenager, Troccoli lost her father to cancer. In 1991, she lost
her mother to breast cancer. One song on Corner of Eden, "Psalm 23," was penned
from those intimate moments Troccoli spent with her family as life passed from mortality
to immortality. "When my mother was dying, it took her about six to eight hours to
finally have all of the life drain from her body. She talked to my sister and I for a
while and then kind of was out of it for the last two or three hours," Troccoli
reminisces, her voice trailing off.
"Scripture is filled with words of life," she affirms,
"so Id always try to speak those over my mother. I used to read her Scripture
all the time in the hospital. During those last hours when my mother was breathing,
gasping for air, I turned to Psalm 23 and started reading.
"I dont know if youve ever experienced being with
someone in the dying process, but they are literally gasping for air. I started reading,
The Lord is my Shepherd and my mother, in between gasps, responded as she exhaled, I shall
not want. In between her gasping for air, and as she exhaled, she recited with me the
"My mother wasnt a memorizer of Scripture, so this was
incrediblea miracle," Troccoli beams. "She led some family and friends
that had gathered in the room in the Lords prayer, and then that was it. I felt like
angels were there; the Lord was there. That experience gave me even more of an absolute
knowing that we go from life to life and not life to death. Psalm 23 will always be so
very special to me."
Lifes experiences and their lessons are abundantly evident
throughout the 10 songs in Corner of Eden, from songs of encouragement to prayers set to
music to songs written from life as it happens.
By way of example, Troccoli elaborates on the song "When I Look At
You." She laughs, "How I got that title is kind of interesting. I was going for
my annual mammogram check-up, because of the cancer that runs in my family. I was waiting
for my test results. A few moments go by, I got this incredible fear. I thought, Wow, what
if they tell me I have cancer today?"
"I was sitting there amid several women. One woman said they had
just discovered a tumor and they were in the process of checking it out. The physician
from another hospital across the street had sent her here, and she was a little afraid. I
was just sitting there and I saw myself get this overwhelming fear. All I did was start
saying the name of Jesus. I kept whispering the name of Jesus and putting my focus on what
I know Him to be and all the things He has told me. This unbelievable peace came over me.
At that moment, I felt I had the grace to hear anything. The lyrics and title When I
Look At You came out from that experience."
Grace and peace are woven throughout Corner of Eden like tiny threads
in a tapestry. "We glimpse pieces of Eden through life, through people or
experiences," Troccoli says. "If we look at our lives we can see those pieces,
those corners of Eden, of what God originally intended for uspeace, love, joy,
etc.yet through the fall we cant have them in total until we see Him face to
face. I get glimpses of Eden when I visit my friend Allison and the thrill it gives my
heart as her little boys run up to squeeze me so tight, calling me Coli.
"Another glimpse of Eden is when Ive spent time with
friends. The incredible honesty, the grace and just the ability to forgive thats
exchanged in an intimate moment. To me those are glimpses of Eden. To sing a song and have
someone come up to me and say, Youve absolutely turned my life around, thats
another piece of Eden.
"I just think if we examine our days when we hit the pillow at
night, we would see that God has actually been in the moment of the day. I want to be in
the Garden, dont you?"
Shes thankful some of the things that have happened throughout
her life have caused her to trust God more. "Ive honestly challenged myself
through the last several years about how real is Jesus to me? I met the Lord at 20, and
since then Ive prayed I would remain desperate for Him, that I wouldnt lose
sight of Him."
Communicating with such honest abandon is refreshing as Troccoli
elaborates on the harder questions of life and faith as a true believer. She finds her
deepest longings and hopes fulfilled in the hands of her Lord and Savior. "I think I
live soberly between wretched woman that I am and beautiful Bride of Christ," she
says. "I think that is what Paul spoke about: I do the things I dont want to do
and the things I want to do, I dont do.
"Our souls are trapped in these flesh bodies. Until we meet Him
face to face, we are going to struggle. I think that is why you could come to a place
where even Paulthis is a man who served God vehementlysays of himself,
Im the chief of sinners. He knew who he was with Christ, but he also knew who he was
Honesty and vulnerability are evident throughout Troccolis
lyrical outpourings, as well as her life. "I strive to remain honest with the few
people in my life that do not allow me to go through seasons where Im just kind of
out there and Im on the road doing my own thing. I use this phrase a lot, We are as
sick as our secrets. I think that the more secrets you have, it can tend to make you sick.
Therefore, you will deliver a message thats not coming from places that are good.
That phrase has helped me through the years to remain on this journey with Jesus."
Reprinted by permission, Profile Magazine.