Monday, July 07, 2008

Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part Two)...

I first heard The Innocence Mission back in the 80s when a friend passed me a cassette tape that had their debut CD coupled with the first Sundays album. It was actually a sweet pairing — The Sundays' Harriet Wheeler has a vocal delivery that's not a million miles away from that of Innocence Mission singer, Karen Peris, and both albums had an attractive shade of melancholy lingering beneath the pop sheen.

To be honest, the 80's production of The Innocence Mission's self-titled release hasn't aged anywhere near as well as the songs themselves. It often sounds a little too glossy, especially in light of the beautiful pure-of-heart songs being played and sung. It hardly matters though. For some reason, it's an album of songs that regularly call me back for another listen every couple of years. When I do, I always end up immersed in its beauty; totally captivated by Peris's pristine voice and the sentiments she effortlessly expresses, and I nearly always get choked up to the point of embarrassment.

These days, the albums crafted by this husband and wife team of Don and Karen Perris are more stripped-down affairs. The production and instrumentation is sparse, largely acoustic, and totally appropriate. Their little celebrations of life's beauty, sadness, faith and hope are all understatedly delivered with an easy style and grace that is so refreshing, especially amid much of the clatter that passes for entertainment these days.

When I first saw this clip, I watched transfixed for its duration. I'm not sure I even blinked. The simplicity of the visual; the starkness of the two-guitar accompaniment and the fragile beauty of the vocal just totally reaffirms the power of music to me. Exquisite.

Anyone have a hankie?

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