CD Review: Sounds Like Sunday (Janet Paschal)
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.