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Small Sacrifice

  • reviewed by Russ Breimeier Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2007 1 Dec
Small Sacrifice
Sounds like … the Irish-influenced AC of Michelle Tumes, Kathryn Scott, and Margaret Becker, with a worshipful Euro-pop style reminiscent of Phatfish, Vicky Beeching, and Christine DentéAt a glance … Twila Paris, for the most part, demonstrates enough nuance and insight on Small Sacrifice to prove that she's still a valuable contributor to inspirational pop and worship musicTrack Listing We Know Love I Can Do All Things You Lead Me Small Sacrifice Lord I Need You Live to Praise Not Forgotten There Is a Plan You Are a Great God Alleluia

CCM pop veterans from the '80s like Carman, Steve Green, Margaret Becker, and even Michael English are all still actively making music, even if many of them are doing so independently. The same is true of Twila Paris, who after a brief tenure with Integrity back in 2005 for He Is Exalted: Live Worship has just launched her own Mountain Spring Music imprint for album number 22. Besides her own web site, Small Sacrifice is also available in Lifeway Christian stores through an exclusive distribution deal.

The album deserves wider availability. British adult contemporary producer John Hartley (of classic duo Phil & John) infuses Small Sacrifices with Euro-pop savvy while preserving Paris's familiar AC-friendly approach to worship. It proves a natural fit, from the upbeat title track to the breathy surrender of "Lord I Need You," as well as the inspirational ballad "Not Forgotten," a poignantly written reminder of God's watchful care. Most likely to appear in your church worship folder is "Alleluia," a hybrid between Matt Redman's rhythmic "Better Is One Day" and Paris's own Celtic-styled "Lamb of God."

Paris' songwriting has long been varied, and the same is true here. She's always had a knack for adapting scripture to song—1 John 3:16 for "We Know Love," Philippians 4:13 for "I Can Do All Things," and some of Psalm 23 for "You Lead Me." And you're also not likely to find a more thoughtful song from Paris than "There Is a Plan," which ties together Christ's birth and the fall of the Berlin Wall (!) as examples of God using the small and insignificant—even us—to accomplish his will.

If only Paris didn't switch gears to the other extreme. "You Are a Great God" is worthwhile as an easy-though-repetitive song to teach in a congregational setting. "Live to Praise," on the other hand, is much too clichéd and simplistic for a songwriter of Twila's caliber: "You are my King, you are my Lord/I will praise You/You are my hope, you are my source/I will praise You/And I will lift Your name up high/You are my God, You are my life/I will praise You."

Though Twila may strike some as overly familiar after 25 years, she's also remained true to her artistry after all this time, bringing just enough insight and nuance to satisfy longtime admirers of her music—which is exactly what you'd hope for from a CCM veteran like Paris.

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