Paradise Sky
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4 Stars - Excellent
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Release Date
December 30, 2008
Label
Red Road Records

Sounds like … Classic rock, rootsy CCM, and singer-songwriter ballads.

At a glance … Stripped-down modern re-takes on Stonehill's classic Christian Rock gems, originally recorded in collaboration with and produced by Larry Norman.

Randy Stonehill goes home again on his latest recording Paradise Sky. The house is there—he can see his old room, the back yard, and even the broken pavement in the driveway. But the wallpaper is gone, the furniture is set up differently, and there's a massive flat-panel television where his dad's grandfather clock used to be.

It's dangerous business traveling through time, and even riskier messing with people's memories. As one of the unwitting architects of what became known as "Jesus Music," then "Contemporary Christian Music" or "Christian Rock," Stonehill's songs were more than simple ditties from a new believer. Under the tutelage of the enigmatic Larry Norman, Stonehill brought forth some of the most important songs in the shaping of an era. Now, over three decades later, and as a result of some legal obstacles involving licensing the original masters of these songs for the soundtrack of a compelling new documentary film about Larry Norman called Fallen Angel, eleven of these gems are back—all dressed up like modern hipsters with digital recording and crystal clear sound. The acne of vinyl pops and tape hiss are gone. The songs have grown up. It's stunning how relevant some of them remain.

As an avowed fan of the original recordings of Stonehill's catalog, your reviewer must admit to a great deal of fear and trembling as he fumbled with the plastic wrap on this well-packaged CD, the official soundtrack to Fallen Angel. The back cover photo references not only Stonehill's ...

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