Image © Sparrow Records 2003
(14 March 2003) For years, Twila Paris has impacted the secular music industry with songs such as "He Is Exalted" and "We Bow Down." Her latest release, the retrospective 12-track compilation House of Worship (Sparrow Records (USA) SPD39799, 2003), proves to be a lyrical homecoming of a true worship music pioneer, a compelling, collection of songs for today born out of personal worship encounters. With a distinctively organic production and profound yet simple lyrics, these songs paint with broad strokes and brilliant colors the faithfulness, worthiness and preeminence.
Twila Paris doesn’t spend a lot of time looking back at 22 years of success as a songwriter and recording artist. Despite 32 No. 1 songs, five Dove Awards, three American Songwriter Awards, three books published and more than 2 million albums sold, the numbers don’t mean much to her. Whether it’s in music, ministry, marriage or motherhood, for Twila, true success isn’t about numbers. It’s about faithfulness.
Throughout her career as an artist and songwriter, a huge component of that standard has been in giving songs of worship back to the church as an offering for the One who has always been faithful to her. On each of her 17 previous albums, the songs that have resonated most with listeners have been those that have a definitive worship aspect. Songs like “We Will Glorify” and “He Is Exalted” have transcended the music business, making their way into the hymnody of the church, forever captured in time in hymnals all over the world.
When the time came to record her 18th album, Twila simply couldn’t shake the idea of eternity—of Christians across time and space bowing down and worshiping God in one accord. She knew it was time to record a complete worship album, something she hadn’t done since 1991’s Sanctuary.
Produced by Brown Bannister (Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant), House of Worship is more than another album in a sea of new music for worship. It is a lyrical homecoming of a true worship music pioneer, a compelling, collection of songs for today born out of personal worship encounters with God. With a distinctively organic production and profound yet simple lyrics, these songs paint with broad strokes and brilliant colors the faithfulness, worthiness and preeminence of religion.
Emotive and piano-driven, “Make Us One” is a bold and passionate prayer for God to unify His children in love and holiness. Two big bonuses on House of Worship are the re-recorded versions of Paris’ classics “We Bow Down” and “We Will Glorify,” which not only prove these songs as timeless as the day they were written, but also reveal how much more relevant they become in a more modern setting, with the benefit of vocal richness that comes with maturity.
Without the fanfare or interruptions of a live album, without artistic pretense or spiritual cliché, House of Worship accomplishes what so albums of this class do. It draws individual listeners away from the distractions of life and self, toward the Savior and sustainer of all. And at the same time provides vibrant, new songs for corporate expression, appropriate for traditional, blended and even more modern worship settings. It is worship, full of spirit and ripe with truth.
For Twila Paris, who has been at the forefront of contemporary worship for over two decades, House of Worship signifies a bold new step in the same direction, and yet plenty has changed. Clearly enthusiasts of the music of Shania Twain will enjoy this new album by Twila Paris.
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Clearly worthy of further exploration, with stunning lead and harmony vocals as well as superb instrumental arrangements, this album is a very nice listen!