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Twila Paris - Perennial: Songs For The Seasons Of Life

Review by Paul M. Carhart
Originally published in The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine (TLeM)

Twila Paris is a Christian music mainstay. It doesn't matter how many new female artists arrive upon the Christian music scene, and there have been plenty, Twila Paris seems to have a staying power all her own. Nothing proves this better than her latest release, Perennial: Songs For The Seasons Of Life.

Fans of Paris' more pop-oriented projects such as Beyond A Dream and Where I Stand will probably be a little disappointed in Perennial. On the other hand, fans of Sanctuary will most likely rejoice, for Paris has chosen to craft her latest project as it's sequel. More accurately, the second in the Sanctuary Series. Presumably, there are more to come.

Designed by Paris and producer, Brown Bannister more for personal worship than for corporate worship, Perennial shines on every track, each song different in texture from the next and organic in nature. Paris chose carefully for her material on this project, mixing new songs with new renditions of some of her previous work and throwing in a few hymns in for good measure.

The album begins with a throbbing yet peaceful new Paris tune, "We Seek His Face" and leads into a gentle rendition of Paris' classic, "Father We Are Here." Newly recorded hymns on the project include an orchestral rendition of "Come, Thou Fount Of Every Blessing", a simple acoustic-styled "Be Thou My Vision", the Celtic-themed "Amazing Grace" and a flawlessly smooth "When The Roll Is Called Up Yonder." The entire project winds up with the new Paris instrumental composition, "Perennial," which seems to somehow summarize the entire project without resorting to using a single word. Classical in nature, "Perennial" begins with soft and simple strains and somehow finds itself building into an anthem, coming back down to a soft theme just before it ends.

Paris' crystal clear voice is in fine form for this project and she puts it to good use, singing many of her own background vocals with seamless perfection in addition to her usual pristine lead vocal performance.

The entire project is laced with both full orchestra and string quartet arrangements as well as a full choir and a boys choir. Instrumentally, acoustic guitar and piano are the most prevalent. Despite the different origins of the songs on the album (new Paris songs, new versions of older Paris songs, and old hymns recorded in a new way) the execution of Paris' vision for an album that can be used for personal worship pulls it all together into one unified package, each song peacefully transcending into the next.

If you're zooming down the freeway on an evening road trip, you might want to put in some Eric Champion to stay awake. But if you're gathering yourself together for some personal worship early in the morning before you go to work or right at sunset while unwinding with the Lord after a long day at work, you can't go wrong with Perennial.

Long live the Sanctuary Series.


Related Information

For a year or so I was a CD reviewer for The Lighthouse Electronic Magazine (TLeM) where this review was originally published.

- Paul M. Carhart


  © 1998 Paul M. Carhart, all rights reserved, all media.