The Innocence Mission

Christ Is My Hope

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One of the qualities that has long set the Innocence Mission apart from other folk-pop artists -- for example, the oft-compared Sundays -- is their ability to find the eternal in the ephemeral. The childlike humility and translucence of Karen Peris' voice (both as a singer and as a songwriter), as well as the textured simplicity of Don Peris' arrangements, contribute to a kind of wide-eyed wisdom that seems to gaze into the everyday and illuminate its elusive spiritual core. With Christ Is My Hope, the band applies the same musical aesthetic to an assortment of Christian hymns and traditional spiritual songs, but in a way the result is the opposite: Here the band is finding the everyday in the eternal. The effect of these gentle and pure folk arrangements is to humanize the material, to take lofty classical hymns ("It Is Well With My Soul," "O Sacred Head Surrounded") customarily sung by robe-clad organ-accompanied choral belters and ground the music in earthly reality with light acoustic guitar and piano backing. This is life-affirming liturgy, aimed at the soul but mindful of the body. There are also three Peris originals: Karen's "Christ Is My Hope," perhaps her most overtly Christian song since her days writing for CCM artists like Amy Grant and Kim Hill; Don's "Morning Star," a beautifully stark song in the vein of "Green Grass, Red Tree"; and "No Storms Come," which Karen adapted from a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem. Throughout, the tone is unpretentiously worshipful, gently grateful for simple gifts. In keeping with that spirit, the proceeds for the limited-edition project were donated to charity.

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