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Album Review: Primary Worship
Paul Cardall
Cover image of the album Primary Worship by Paul Cardall
Primary Worship
Paul Cardall
2005 / Stone Angel Music
Review by Michael Debbage
Paul Cardall has made no secret of the importance of his faith. He has previously released Hymns and Hymns 2, which focused on some of the church’s popular hymns, though the emphasis were those more popular in the Mormon faith. Primary Worship is an extension on that theme and the words elegant, expressive and emotive come to mind. As such these characteristics amalgamate in perfect union with the tasteful and conservative musical style of Paul Cardall making this musical exploration a restoring one whether your leanings are of the spiritual or secular.

Primary Worship focuses on the hymns of Paul’s childhood, which frankly was not always a pleasant one. Born with a heart defect, Cardall faced several surgeries that were required for his survival. In an interview, Paul has expressed that facing death several times has made him a more spiritual person. Certainly that expression has found itself here focusing on the hymns and melodies of his youth.

Fellow pianist David Lanz has always heavily influenced Paul’s music. And while this certainly remains true, in recent years Paul’s conservative piano technique has transformed his musical expression into his own unique subdued signature style. The permanence of Cardall’s backing band, previously featured on last years Christmas Hymns and Faithful only furthers this accomplishment. The most palpable inclusion is the cello work of Steven Sharp Nelson whose playing is placid yet powerful and is in complete accord with Cardall’s peaceful piano work. This is best found on “Book of Mormon Stories” or better yet on the gorgeous opener “Baptism”. But this is never at the expense of being overbearing or overstated.

There are many fine moments on this album. In fact, with the exception of the rather rigid “This is God’s House”, there is very little to complain about. Despite the many inspiring moments “I am A Child of God” best expresses the essence of this album that also includes the sounds of children at play. Mixed into the flawless piano work of Paul the music is sweet, innocent and forthright.

Primary Worship is an uplifting and moving musical experience. Whether faith is important to you or not this will not change the inspirational listening experience of this specialty project. From that aspect Paul Cardall once again succeeds in touching not only the heart but also the soul of his listeners.
January 1, 2005
This review has been tagged as:
Hymn ArrangementsMichael's Favorites: 2005
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