CD Review: Sounds Like Sunday (Janet Paschal)

Rating: **** (of 5)

Producer: Wayne Haun

Song List: O Worship the King; Mysterious Ways; Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus; I See a Crimson Stream; Near the Cross; Surely God is Able; What a Friend We Have in Jesus; Be Still My Soul; Let the Lower Lights Be Burning; When God Dips His Love in MY Heart; The Savior is Waiting; When I Survey the Wondrous Cross.


In 2005, Janet Paschal walked through the valley of the shadow of death, fighting cancer. During that time, the hymns she memorized as a child came back to her and took on new meaning. She had never recorded a hymns project before, and decided to do one that was both “authentic and really different.”

The album’s twelve tracks are diverse and innovatively arranged. The first four songs serve as a preview for the styles on the rest of the album; a majestic, classical arrangement of “O Worship the King” (accompanied by the Prague Philharmonic) is followed by the black Gospel song “Mysterious Ways,” a simple piano-based arrangement of “Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus,” and the Appalachian-flavored “I See a Crimson Stream.” The latter song is one of the project’s highlights; the backing vocals were originally performed by Paschal herself. A new vocal arrangement of the song replacing these vocals with a trio consisting of Paschal, Charlotte Ritchie, and Sheri Easter is the project’s current single.

These four styles are interwoven throughout the rest of the project. The fully orchestrated classical feel is most evident on a majestic rendition of “Be Still, My Soul.” Black Gospel influences are evident on “Surely God is Able,” “When God Dips His Love in My Heart,” and “Let the Lower Lights Be Burning.” “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” is arranged in an Appalachian style.

The project’s closing song, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross,” was recorded live with an organ and choir at Belle Mead United Methodist Church in Nashville, Tennessee.

This project’s selections range from the familiar to the forgotten, from the fast to the slow. But it manages to do this in a way that doesn’t seem forced; the diversity becomes a sweeping and inclusive celebration of faith.

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A little while back, I came across an interesting website called How it works is pretty simple: You create a free account, upload your automatically generated iTunes XML file, and the website provides all kinds of statistical analyses on your data. It generates a profile which you can share publicly if you so choose; here is mine. [EDIT, 11/6/10: Regrettably, iTunesRegistry appears to have ceased to exist.]

It’s not perfect; occasionally it mistakes a song for one of similar length. For example, despite what this says [link also down], I don’t have any Hank Williams songs in my collection and couldn’t pick his voice out of a lineup.

But the analyses it does provide are fascinating. For example, while iTunes can tell you your most played 25 tracks, it can combine playcounts from tracks on a project to tell you your most played project. My top 10 most played albums (over the last 2 or 3 years):

  • Look No Further – Perrys (I already knew this was my most played project, but didn’t know the rest)
  • Once Upon a Cross – Mark Trammell Trio
  • Timeless Treasured Hymns 2 – Liberty
  • Sings Albert E. Brumley Classics – Cathedral Quartet
  • God is Faithful  – Collingsworth Family
  • Sounds of Sunday – Dixie Echoes
  • Snow  – Von Trapp Children (I like Christmas music!)
  • Old Time Gospel Songs Vol. 1 – Liberty Quartet
  • Going On with the Song – Kingdom Heirs
  • (tie) Hymns of the Ages – Greater Vision
  • (tie) Light from Heaven – Lacey Family

It doesn’t just tell you the top 10–it lists all of your albums in order. Here’s my complete list.

It also goes beyond albums to tell you which artists are the most played. My top 10 over the last 2-3 years:

  • Cathedral Quartet (2984 total song plays)
  • Florida Boys (1487)
  • Kingsmen (1307)
  • Liberty Quartet (1124)
  • Perrys (999)
  • Greater Vision (992)
  • Blue Ridge Quartet (986)
  • Blackwood Brothers (966)
  • Kingdom Heirs (875)
  • Various Artists (808)

My complete list is here. This sort of thing provides all kinds of surprises; for example, I would have never guessed that I had played Liberty Quartet more than the Perrys, Legacy Five, Signature Sound, and several other groups I’ve been listening to as long as I’ve been listening to Southern Gospel. I’ve only been listening to Liberty for about 6-9 months now. I would also have never guessed that the Blue Ridge Quartet would rank higher on my list than the Mark Trammell Trio, Legacy Five, and the Happy Goodmans.

For those of you who play your music (or a good portion of it) via iTunes, I’d be fascinated to see your statistics. Perhaps you can post links to your profiles in the comments. The link to your publicly viewable profile looks like this:, except you would insert your username.

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Coomer Cove notes an interesting discovery occuring during his search for LordSong concert dates. He came across a website for a group called Sisters, which appears to be LordSong without Michael Lord. They currently have more concert dates listed than LordSong. (LordSong only has two multi-day private events listed currently.)

They have released an album, and the sound clips seem to indicate that it’s a mixture of progressive tracks and more traditional Ruppes numbers. [EDIT, 2/22/13: Broken link removed.]

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Up to this point, if you wanted to send written correspondence or mail review copies of a CD to, you had to email for a street address. This is about to change, however; I set up a P.O. Box to cover blog correspondence: P.O. Box 5271, Mansfield, OH 44901.

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