Selah

Timeless: The Selah Collection

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Timeless: The Selah Collection is a rarity by Christian music standards. For one, the genre isn't too polite to veterans or legacies of any kind, so you'd be hard-pressed to find comprehensive, handsomely packaged retrospectives celebrating an artist's musical heritage, however big or small that heritage might be. The thing is, Selah have only been around for a decade or so, so they're not quite due for a box set of this caliber. Even more peculiar is the fact that Selah sing inspirational music -- a niche of gospel music whose profile has decreased significantly since praise & worship took over airwaves and sales charts at the close of the 1990s. This downturn didn't deter Selah from pressing on and safeguarding their place as the most popular inspirational group in all of CCM, accruing more than a million discs in lifetime sales and earning Dove Award honors for each of their non-holiday, non-special event albums -- three albums in all. Timeless collects all three projects and adds a fourth disc of unreleased material, demos, and semi-exclusives -- nothing eye-opening, but a thoughtful inclusion nonetheless. Through the duration, Selah remain consistently inspirational, performing reverent, heartfelt classic hymns, church standards, and spirituals like only members Todd Smith, Nicol Sponberg, and Allan Hall can. (Sponberg has since left the group; short-lived replacement Melodie Crittenden shows up in a couple of songs on the bonus disc, while new member Amy Perry shines in a few others.) Their harmonies and methodology are never groundbreaking -- just dependable, earnest, and worshipful, just like inspirational music ought to be. The bonus disc and extensive liner notes are the only reasons for Selah diehards to get the whole set -- a few selections from the group's likable Christmas album would have certainly added some value to it. Overall, Timeless is not by any means essential, but it's still a nice little homage to Selah, as well as a nice gesture for those who are yet to catch up with the trio's church-friendly repertoire.

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