Out of the Grey’s ‘The Shape of Grace’ Turns 30

Out of the Grey was one of the mainstays of Contemporary Christian Music in the 1990s. The husband-wife duo Scott and Christine Dente performed under the stage name “Out of the Grey”. Known for their soft pop sound, the duo released several albums throughout the decade that gained regular airplay on Christian radio stations. While their music hasn’t influenced the industry much in recent years, their sophomore release, The Shape of Grace, is turning 30. We look back at the album and the Dentes’ musical legacy to celebrate.

Steady Beats

I grew up listening to Out of the Grey. My dad was a big fan, and many of their biggest hits have a nostalgic childhood connection with me. And while I only remember a little of the show, Out of the Grey was among the earliest concerts I know I attended. This sophomore album was built on the initial success of their self-titled debut.

Songs like the peppy opener “Steady Me” showed the band’s unique stylings. Scott Dente contributed intricate guitar work, adding some grit to Christine Dente’s angelic pop vocals. While the 1990s unmistakably influence the band’s sound, there’s an accessible and likable hook to their songs that shines through in many of the cuts.

“Nothing’s Gonna Keep Me From You” is among the band’s better-known cuts from the album. And it will have you singing along to its chorus within a few plays. Songs like “The Door of Heaven” and “Feels Like Real Life” received significant airplay on the radio and continued to attract more fans for the band. The danceable “Bigger Than Life” carries the fingerprints of album producer Charlie Peacock and is another earworm of a track that’s quite distinct from the band’s usual sound. It’s also unique in that Scott Dente takes a more leading role in the vocals.

Lyrics Bigger Than Life

Out of the Grey has always struck me as honest and reflective in their lyrics, even by the standards of 1990s Christian music. While many of the album’s songs straddle the well-worn line of being about God or romantic relationships, many are frank meditations on faith issues. “The Door of Heaven” is about not cutting off others from Christ’s love with our actions. “Dear Marianne” muses whether a colleague previously introduced to Christ could maintain that relationship after the singer lost touch with her.

While the band’s most notable radio plays like “Steady Me” and “Nothing’s Gonna Keep Me From You” tread common themes, they do so in a delicate way that makes the music always accessible to listeners regardless of where they are in their walk with Christ.

Down the Line

Over the years, Out of the Grey became regular on Christian charts. While they never breached the A-list fortress of the industry, several songs connected with listeners, such as “All We Need” and “When Love Comes To Live.” Modern acts like Love & The Outcome carry the torch of bands like Out of the Grey in the contemporary era.

While the Dentes are mostly retired from making music, Scott and Christine occasionally drop reminders that music is still their passion. They’ve released solo projects over the years. Christine teaches music and writes, releasing a novel a few years ago. Although Out of the Grey hasn’t released any new music since 2015 (the couple’s first album in 14 years), we can only hope that there are still more musical offerings to come from them.

J.J. Francesco is a longtime contributor to the NRT Staff. He’s published the novel ‘Because of Austin’ and regularly seeks new ways to engage faith, life, and community. His new Christmas novel, ‘When Miracles Can Dream,’ is out NOW!