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Beth Nielsen Chapman

Prism

The Human Family Songbook

(BNC; US: 5 Feb 2008; UK: 17 Sep 2007)

Prism is a vast, sprawling collection of religious music, spirituals and folk numbers, all designed around the simple premise that God is Love. Beth Nielsen Chapman (famously the author of some huge hits for Faith Hill, Willie Nelson, Alabama, and Trisha Yearwood) returns with another record based on these, her favourite themes: in a time of darkness, when you are full of doubt, choose love. On this double record, Chapman has pulled inspiration from around the world, offering adoration and worship to a kind of global Lord, a many-faceted God in whom we all might share. As an experiment in non-denominational reverence, this record is an unadulterated success. However, as a coherent listening experience, it suffers a bit from the inherent disjointedness of the numerous styles evoked and aped. While Chapman is no doubt among the loveliest of folksingers, she fares less well on occasional forays into hip hop, choral, and gospel. Still, much to be admired here.

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Stuart Henderson is a culture critic and historian. He is the author of Making the Scene: Yorkville and Hip Toronto in the 1960s (University of Toronto Press, 2011). All of this is fun, but he'd rather be camping. Twitter: @henderstu


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