Monday, February 27, 2012


     Twila Paris has now released 23 albums, had 33 No. 1 hits, and won numerous Dove Awards including three for 'Female Vocalist of the Year'.  Her latest release is GOD SHED HIS GRACE-SONGS OF TRUTH AND FREEDOM (2012, eOne Christian Music).  It is a collection of eleven previously recorded tracks that have been re-mastered, and two new patriotic recordings, they being 'God of our Fathers' and 'America the Beautiful'.  Of this project Paris says: "I'm getting more and more concerned about the direction of the nation and more and more passionate about the things I believe...We've gotten to a place where we think every generation is smarter than the last, and none of us need to hear anything from God.  Our founders got it right.  They really did.  We need to get back to what they intended and not be reinterpreting and superimposing agendas.  We have been moving away from what makes us great as a nation; and this isn't about politics.  Politics is simply a reflection of who we are." 
     The album begins with the inspirational 'God of Our Fathers (National Hymn)' written by Daniel C. Roberts and George W. Warren.  It is a song Paris' 77 year old Dad learned in school, not in church.  She shares: "In recent years, singing our National Hymn in church has caused my heart to ache with grief rather than swell with pride, because the conflict between the words I'm singing and the world I live in is undeniable.  But I believe these words can be true again.  It's clear that God's people are praying.  And as we pray, He is showing us how to think, speak and act in ways that can truly be salt and light in a darkened culture."  Some of the lyrics are: "Our grateful songs before Thy throne arise/Thy love divine hath led us in the past/In this free land by Thee our lot is cast/Be Thou our Ruler, Guardian, Guide and Stay/Thy Word our law, Thy paths our chosen way."  'True North' is the soft pop title track from her 1999 album.  It is about coming to the realization that we need divine guidance: "How did we ever wander so far?/And where do we go from here?/How will we find it again?/True North/There's a strong, steady light that is guiding us home/True North/In the lingering night we were never alone/We need an absolute compass now more than ever before/True North, True North."  'Wisdom' makes the bold claim that there is only one true God: "Wisdom is granted in the name of Jesus Christ/In the name of Jesus Christ/You are the only way/You are the only voice/You are the only hope/You are the only choice/You are the one true God/No matter what we say/You are the breath of life/We need you here today." 
     You can hear the passion in Twila's voice as she sings 'I See You Standing' from 1990's CRY FOR THE DESERT.  It was inspired by the courageous young man who stood in front of the tank in Tiananmen Square: "I see you standing in the fire/Standing on the Word/Remembering the call/I see you standing, standing/I see you standing tall/In the dire struggle you have held your ground."  'The Warrior is a Child' was Twila's first No. 1 back in 1984 and is one of my all time Twila faves.  It is a ballad that shows a vulnerable side of Twila: "People say that I'm amazing/Never face retreat/But they don't see the enemies/That lay me at His feet/And they don't know that I go running home when I fall down/They don't know who picks me up when no one is around/I drop my sword and look up for a smile/'Cause deep inside this armor (3X)/The warrior is a child."  'There is a Plan' from 2007's SMALL SACRIFICE has a more contemporary feel to it and puts total confidence in God: "He is working through the night/Behind the scenes, behind the eyes/Though we would never realize it at a glance/When He comes to work in me/The building of eternity/I pray I do not miss the moment/Do not miss the chance (2X)/I still believe/There is a plan/Moving just beneath the surface of the world we understand."
     'God is in Control' was a hugely popular, upbeat song on 1993's BEYOND A DREAM.  It was "written in response to her own anxieties about the direction of our nation", according to a press release.  Some of the lyrics are: "There is only one thing that has always been true/It holds the world together/God is in control/We believe that His children will not be forsaken/God is in control/We will choose to remember and never be shaken/There is no power above or beside Him, we know/Oh God is in control (2X)."  'How Beautiful' is a worshipful wedding favorite that opens with these words of praise to Jesus: "How beautiful the hands that served/The wine and the bread and the sons of the earth/How beautiful the feet that walked/The long dusty roads and the hill to the cross/How beautiful (2X)/How beautiful is the body of Christ."  'I Can Do All Things' contains a nice electric guitar solo and draws from Philippians 4:13.  It reminds us of the life-giving power of Christ: "You are my solid rock/You are my victory.../Through Christ who strengthens me/I can do all things/Through Christ who strengthens me/I can do all things."  A  nice surprise is the inclusion of 'Runner' from 1985's KINGDOM SEEKERS.  It was written by Twila and Starla Orene Paris.  It sees life as a race and is a song of encouragement: "Faster and harder, run through the night/Desperate relay, carry the light/Carry the light/Runner when the road is long/Feel like giving in but you're hanging on/Oh runner, when the race is won/You will run into His arms." 
     'What Did He Die For' from 1996's WHERE I STAND "was inspired by the 50th Anniversary of D-Day, after Paris watched World War II footage on TV, tears filling her eyes."  The song includes these words: "Just a young American who chose to rise above his fears/And as I watch him struggle up that hill/Without a thought of turning back/I cannot help but wonder/What did he die for, when he died for you and me?/Made the sacrifice so that we could all be free/I believe we will answer each to heaven/For the way we spend a priceless liberty/Look inside and ask the question/What did he die for when he died for me?"
     'America the Beautiful' was recorded in Twila's living room.  Scott and Christine Dente from Out of the Grey appear on it.  Twila says "I wanted it to feel more like a prayer than a performance, because it IS a prayer if you look at the lyric."  Witness these words: "America, America, God shed His grace on thee/And crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."  A song of gratitude towards God, 'What am I Without You' closes the album: "You are the day that rules the night/You are the hope in me/All that I have descends from You/All I could ever be/What am I without You? (2X)" 
     GOD SHED HIS GRACE runs over an hour long.  Not only is it a superb collection of patriotic songs, it also serves as a great career retrospective of Twila's work!  I'm rating it 87% and recommending it to fans of her contemporaries, Sandi Patty and Scott Wesley Brown.  For more info visit and