Wednesday, January 24, 2007

The Innocence Mission - We Walked In Song

I was reading through a teen fashion magazine when I was, you know, a teen, and there were some music reviews...and I saw something unexpected...the name of my hometown. That was the moment I discovered one of my now favorite bands. The Innocence Mission hails from my hometown of Lancaster, Pennsylvania and it was exciting for me to recognize where some of the pictures from album artwork were taken and to know locations they referred to. I fell for them fast.

The Innocence Mission is basically Don and Karen Peris, high school sweethearts, as well as a friend of theirs playing bass for them, and the occasional help of a drummer friend (turned chef, who opened a restaurant in a nearby town called Lily's On Main, which is quite nice). But regardless of my love for my hometown, this band is amazing. I was skeptical at first having heard they were a Christian band as I don't like preachy music, but soon got over those fears after purchasing their album "Glow". Any reference of religion in most of their music is minor. What is evident in their music from a religious standpoint is their passion for humanity and goodness. The warmth shown in their music (and on-stage chemistry, let me tell you...they are so in love, it's a beautiful sight) is really miraculous in its own right. The heartfelt-ness of their songs and the absolute fragility of Karen's voice leaves me close to tears many times. They've mastered the art of beauty and sadness going together. There can be a hopefulness in vulnerability, the trust of others not to hurt you when you show them your underbelly, this is the feeling I get from their music.

I'm not the only one who thinks they're amazing, as their last album "Befriended" was listed as one of the best albums of the year by NPR and their music is often hailed by such other musicians as Joni Mitchell and Sufjan Stevens, not to mention Denison Witmer who is also from my area and supposedly used to take guitar lessons from Don, pretty cool. And let me tell you, I will be willing to drive home for a chance to see them play my hometown again, those were some of the best concert experiences I've ever had.

Their record company, Badman Recording Co., has posted a song from their upcoming (released March 13th) album "We Walked In Song" and it is true to Innocence Mission style. It's sad, hopeful and lovely.

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