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Small Sacrifice by Twila Small Sacrifice by Twila
This little CD has been on quite a journey. It was first released under a different cover during her 2007 concert tour and was then released exclusively via Lifeway Christian Stores in December 2007....
Black And White In A Grey World by Sam (Leslie) Black And White In A Grey World by Sam (Leslie)
For those who love the synthesized sounds of the 1980s, complete with gated drums and reverby vocals, you might really enjoy a blast from the past with Leslie Phillips' 1985 release "Black and White in...
Very Best of 2nd Chapter of Acts by 2nd Chapter Of Acts Very Best of 2nd Chapter of Acts by 2nd Chapter Of Acts
Although this particular release may not be the best introduction to the 1999 inducteee to the Second Chapter of Acts, the 1970s and 1980s group that was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in...

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A new and improved Twila Paris. | Posted January-13-2009
This little CD has been on quite a journey. It was first released under a different cover during her 2007 concert tour and was then released exclusively via Lifeway Christian Stores in December 2007. At long last, the project is being released for wider distribution via KOCH Records. This relationship certainly creates an unusual partnership for Twila.

The project, like the new partnership, is not what you might immediately expect from Twila, nor is it an absolute departure from where she has been in the past. Fans of piano-based pop rock will have much to appreciate in this release. The CD is a cross between Joy Williams (especially her Exodus CD) and Coldplay, with a little Nichole Nordeman thrown into the mix.

The rhythmic drive of "We Know Love" launches the CD and betrays a number of euro pop/rock influences. The lyric of the track relies heavily on 1 John 3:16.

"I Can Do All Things" is possibly the strongest track on the CD. Sung as a power ballad duet with Chris Rodriguez, the song boasts an impressive guitar solo and timely lyrics based on Phillipians 4:13. This song left me wishing that Christian radio might once again notice the work that Twila continues to do.

Another strong track is "There is a Plan." This brooding rocker starts slow and builds to a frenzy as Twila shares stories that reveal that God has always had a plan and still has one today (a very timely message). This track recalls rockers from Casting Crowns ("Set Me Free"), Kim Hill ("Mysterious Ways"), Daughtry ("Leave the Light On") and Twila herself ("Rescue the Prisoner" and "Cry For the Desert").

The song "You Are a Great God" was a big surprise. The song starts off simply, almost like a lullaby and finds Twila singing a straightforward worship chorus. However, the track builds with conviction and assurance as Twila sings with passion about her great God. This song would be an excellent addition to the worship services of churches nationwide.

Other album highlights include "Live to Praise" (a worship anthem in the vein of Twila's more recent work), "Small Sacrifice" (a mid-tempo rocker that compares that which we have to give versus that which God gives us) and "Alleluia" (another praise chorus that recalls some of Twila's work in the 1980s, such as "For the Glory of the Lord" and "The Battle is the Lord's").

Overall this is a very strong recording from an important mainstay in Christian music. There is a reason that Twila has amassed 33 number one hits and 10 Dove Awards. That reason can be found in "Small Sacrifice."

If you don't own a Twila Paris CD, you should own this one.

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One of their best | Posted August-20-2008
Like other groups, Newsong has struggled with an ever changing cast of musicians. Eddie Middleton, Russ Lee, Charles Billingsly, Michael O'Brien and Drew Cline have each held the mic fronting the group. My impression of the group changed as the cast of characters changed. In my opinion, the best chapter was the one during which Michael O'Brien fronted the group. This CD was the last that included Michael and is an impressive set of worship music that went largely unnoticed by many. I was particularly impressed by the band's take on traditional worship standards such as "Blessed Be Your Name," "Rescue" and "Wonderful Maker." The CD also includes a couple of really good original worship songs worth noting, including "Psalm 40" and "Every Day's Another Day."

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This group was pivotal to the history of Christian music | Posted August-20-2008
Although this particular release may not be the best introduction to the 1999 inducteee to the Second Chapter of Acts, the 1970s and 1980s group that was inducted into the Gospel Music Hall of Fame in 1999. However, this CD does include the incredible "Easter Song," "Humble Yourself" and "Mansion Builder." Missing from this CD is the perennial classics "Sing Over Me," "Heaven Came to Earth," "Take It To All the World" and "Purify Me."


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A blast from the past. | Posted August-20-2008
For those who love the synthesized sounds of the 1980s, complete with gated drums and reverby vocals, you might really enjoy a blast from the past with Leslie Phillips' 1985 release "Black and White in a Grey World." Highlights from this release include the radio singles "When the World is New," "Your Kindness," "Psalm 33," and "You're My Lord." Yes, I know. Phillips was groomed to be the Cyndi Lauper of Christian music, and she never really appreciated that role. However, she created some great music nonetheless. If you're fan of 80s music, check this one out.

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Solid, but not his best. | Posted July-14-2008
Yup. That seems to be the consensus. A solid effort, but not his best. Still, I really did enjoy the single, "All Things New." Other memorable tracks on this project include "Coming Attractions" (which builds into a rocker that you really don't expect), "Believe Me Now" (excellent duet with Mac Powell), "Angels Wish" (one of the most poignant songs recorded in 2004) and "I Believe in You" (a touching song dedicated to Steven's graduating son). No, this may not have been one of Steven's watershed CDs (like "Great Adventure" and "Speechless"), but it's a solid effort nonetheless.

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A memorable CD | Posted July-14-2008
One might wonder whether Ayleah has ever even heard this CD?!? :-)

Although I agree that Sandy Patti is not my favorite Christian artist, this CD does have some merit and is probably one of Patti's most likable projects. Of course, compared with today's music, the instrumentation sounds dated and Patti's voice is the operatic soprano we all remember from yesteryear. However, there are some standouts here. "Let There Be Praise" got stuck in my head and it has never left. I still find myself singing it from time to time. "Hosanna" is one of those guilty pleasures from the 1980s that I still enjoy from time to time. "Love in Any Language" brings back memories of every wedding I attended in the 1980s. And, to be honest, "Was It a Morning Like This" is my all-time favorite Sandy Patti song. All in all, this is a pretty solid effort for an oversynthesized, oversung, overly 1980s project! :-)

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Near perfection! | Posted July-14-2008
I have to agree with Kevin. If you're going to buy a Caedmon's Call CD, this is the place to start. "There You Go" is a great CD opener with a great message about the things that God does in our life. "Thankful" has to be one of the catchiest songs I've ever heard and has an important message of grace that all of us should never tire of hearing. I love the contrast between Cliff Young and Derek Webb. The former writes songs that are really accessible to radio, and the latter has some of the deepest lyrics out there. Although Danielle Young may not have one of the best voices in Christian music, she seems to shine on this CD, especially in "Shifting Sand." This is one of my favorite Christian music CDs of all time!

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Fantastic Career! | Posted June-30-2008
I was so happy that--this year--Cindy Morgan won the Dove Award for songwriter of the year. Her talent as a songwriten has been discussed by many over the years, and yet she hasn't received the same level of solo success that her songs would suggest. In fact, I wonder how many Christian music fans know little or nothing about her. If you're one of them, this CD is a great place to start.

The two new songs are good. Morgan's remake of "Love is the Answer" is enjoyable.

"Best So Far" really demonstrates the growth that Morgan went through in her career. Like several other Christian artists, Cindy was tapped to fill a niche. Early on, she was labeled as the Christian Mariah Carey or Celine Dion. She never really fit that label and the results were mixed. However, some of the best hits from her early career are here, including "Picture Me in Paradise" and "Real Life."

Thankfully, in the mid-1990s, Morgan was able to exert more creative influence and the music greatly improved. She took the healm of the writing credits and proved that she was a phenominal songwriter. Hits from this period include "Listen," "Let it Be Love" and "I Will Be Free." All are represented in this CD.

If you've never heard of Cindy Morgan, and if you enjoy thoughtful retro pop from the 1990s, this CD may be a pleasant surprise.



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This artist is underappreciated! | Posted June-16-2008
Jill Phillips is one of those artists that you scratch your head about. Her music is fantastic, relatable, appealing and infectuous. And yet she seems so unappreciated by the CCM industry.

If you've never heard of Jill Phillips, and if you are a fan of the likes of Nichole Nordeman, Christy Nochels, Bethany Dillon or Jaci Velasquez, I would encourage you to give her debut CD a spin. It presents Jill Phillips at hear finest.

"Only One," "Buried Alive" and "Steel Bars" are finely crafted songs that really should have found their way onto the airwaves. "I Am" and "Everything" are gentle songs of worship that belong in the rotation of church worship songs. This isn't just ear candy; the lyrics are introspective and sophistocated.

If you've never heard of Jill Phillips, it's time that you become introduced!

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I really miss this duo! | Posted June-05-2008
Over the past 5-10 years, the rosters of major Christian record lables have lost some of the best Christian artists (either to independent labels or to seeming retirement). The list is long and includes the likes of Joy Williams, Susan Ashton, Margaret Becker, Out of the Grey and Twila Paris.

Sadly, we have to add to that list Christy and Nathan Nochels, who made up the group "Watermark." The Nochels offered us some of the best production and vocals Christian music has ever seen.

If you've never heard Watermark, "A Grateful People" offers a great retrospective of their career. It includes the hits "Light of the World," "Take Me There" and "The Glory of Your Name." It also includes Watermark's stellar worship songs such as "Knees to the Earth" and "Grace Flows Down."

If you are a fan of Chris Tomlin, David Crowder Band or Charlie Hall, give this CD a listen. You'll be glad you did!

BFA

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