Janet Paschal sings hymns

Over at Janet Paschal’s blog, I see she’s working on a hymns project (be careful with this list, though, as there are some non-hymns here like “God Walks the Dark Hills” and “He Touched Me”). Where can I sign up for one? Seriously, if the album is anything close to as good as the “Jesus, Savior, Pilot Me” cut on a project whose name escapes me at the moment, then it should quietly set the mark by which all hymns projects are to measured. Which is to say, I hope she stays away from the commonplace and oversung standards and/or the gimmicky arrangements that try to make something like, say, “When the Roll is Called up Yonder” a jazz/R&B number, and instead covers the more unexplored, contemplative, meditative hymns … “Let the Lower Lights” and “He Whispers Sweet Peace” and “Blest Be the Tie” and “Immortal Invisble.” Stuff like that. It’s not just that these songs cry out to be recovered. It’s that Paschal’s voice is so well suited for the recovery, for distilling the essential oils that these fine old hymns have stored up beneath their austere surfaces.

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Comments

  1. Wayne wrote:

    {It’s that Paschal’s voice is so well suited for the recovery, for distilling the essential oils that these fine old hymns have stored up beneath their austere surfaces. }

    You’re last sentence is a fragment. It is a dependent clause that should be attached to the sentence before it.

    Try to do better next time.

  2. CVH wrote:

    I agree with you. Janet’s voice has always possessed a unique character, well suited to the catalog of material she’s done, but particularly nice when she finds a tune that’s a bit more obscure; one that is best brought to life by her nuanced inflection, phrasing and the timbre of her voice.

    The two most critical factors on any project are selecting material and choosing the right producer. I don’t know if she’s on a label now or recording independently; that’s sometimes a factor in how much latitude an artist has with songs and production.

    If there’s not pressure from a marketing department to record familiar (read: overdone) hymns, this could be a perfect opportunity to explore the hidden gems of hymnody. How satisfying artistically would it be to explore fresh ground, not only the richness of the lyrics but the opportunity to place them in orchestral settings that would complement both the words and Janet’s voice?

    Of course, by that point most artists and label execs start to freak out about sales and what could be a good piece of art is reduced to another schlocky album.

    Having the right producer is critical. She has worked with several with, in my opinion, mixed results. Some producers have such a strong imprint that the artist becomes more a part of their ’sound’ than the other way around. Others work with near transparent results.

    Like a beautiful jewel in the perfect setting, Janet is best presented when the production is transparent and those tangible and intangible aspects of her voice and personality can shine through. That’s the ‘magic’ that happens when everything on a project comes together. I hope it does for her.

  3. Ron Histom wrote:

    I agree with Wayne.

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