... RECOGNITION is a fresh collection of 12 rootsy and melodic originals from Carolyn Arends, the Canadian artist often called "a songwriter's songwriter." Sometimes witty, sometimes gut-wrenching - often both simultaneously - this is a record for both the head and the heart.
When I sing along, which I am doing, at the top of my lungs as I drive, I absorb more meaning each time through. Her layers of lyrical wisdom have accompanied me into the first weeks of 2021 and I am so grateful for this injection of reflection and hard-won wisdom.
It’s so good! The sonics. The arrangements. Everything just sounds so easy and natural. “Becoming human is hard.” Whoof! That floored me.
John G. Stackhouse, Jr.
Carolyn Arends didn’t become the next queen of perky pious pop, but something far better: a ministering minstrel, a singing sister, a poetic preacher, a tuneful teacher. Settle back in your chair, listen to her new work, and become more human.
***** Amazing! Two recordings have made me stop the car because I was too affected to drive... and now there’s a third - “To Cry for You." An amazing set of songs that keep speaking to me in new ways on every listen.
Remember when people made "albums" rather than "singles"? RECOGNITION, the first full-length release of new songs from Carolyn in six years, is a cohesive work, co-produced by Carolyn and Roy Salmond, and mixed by Richie Biggs (Joy Williams, Civil Wars, The Lone Bellow).
12 New Originals
The artist who brought you Seize the Day, and New Year's Day offers 12 new creations. Standouts include the rollicking Becoming Human, Without Music (feat. Amy Grant), Pool of Tears, and the soul-bearing To Cry for You. Early feedback indicates this may be the best work of Carolyn's 25-year career.
Very Special Guests
"My duet with Amy Grant is a personal highlight,” Arends explains. “Knowing that this melody is the first thing she sang after heart surgery makes me treasure her performance even more.” Other guests include the wonderful McCrary Sisters on Becoming Human and God's Speed.
Spencer Capier adds violins, a suite of mandolins, bouzouki, electric guitar, and backing vocals to Carolyn's acoustic guitars and piano. Anyone who has seen Arends and Capier perform together knows to expect the kind of musical interplay that can only come from a decades-long collaboration.
A Musical Dreamteam
Roy Salmond contributes accordion, pump organ, & guitars, while acoustic bassist Miles Hill (Van Morrison, Eric Clapton) & drummer Randall Stoll (k.d. Lang, Tom Cochrane)keep things grooving. Listen for the Love Sponge Strings, Steve Dawson's pedal steel, & members of Five Alarm Funk on horns.
For the Ears AND Eyes
The album's artwork includes a beautiful interpretation of the lyrics to Almost Didn't Recognize You, painted by Brian Buhler. "One of the themes of the album is that there's much to be seen if we'll only take a long, loving look," reveals Arends. And, evidently, much to be heard if we'll listen.
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(Pre-orders ship January 22nd)
Recognition (Physical CD)
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+ new worship EP for $10
BETTER YET, BUNDLE WITH COLLECTIBLES
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RECOGNITION deck of playing cards
Both CDS + Deck of Cards + Magnet
More Reviews ...
***** Beyond Amazing. Catchy melodies, fabulous lyrics, insightful perspectives, exceptional musicianship, glorious harmonies, and crystal clear engineering/production. Need I say more? Maybe Carolyn's best (so far).
***** Embodied lyrics of a life lived with God. Surely this must be her best. ... I believe this will win awards, for which I'm sure she'd be thankful for the recognition; however, I bet she would say that the recognition of God of which she sings throughout this album is even more magnificent.
***** Wonderful! As always, listening to Carolyn sing is a joy. Loved all the songs on this album, especially Without Music.
***** Awesome! After only one listen through I can tell this is one of the best from Carolyn! Smooth tunes and thoughtful lyrics, easy on the ears and uplifting!