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Canadian singer Carolyn Arends’ place in Christian contemporary music has lasted since 1995, when she recorded her first album. “Recognition” reflects her maturity and evolution as an artist, and feels like sitting down with an old friend. Arends’ studio project, the first in six years, combines her beautiful storytelling with take notice melodies. The storytelling involves the struggles of everyday life and death, whereas the instrumentation includes an array of sounds from the acoustic and electric guitars to the piano, violin, mandolin and bouzouki. The music tends toward bluegrass with a little country and pop. Amy Grant joins Arends on the song, “Without Music,” an ode to music’s power in difficult times. “I kept imagining Amy singing on the song, maybe because her voice was so seminal for me growing up,” Arends said on her website. “Knowing that this melody is the first thing Amy sang after major heart surgery makes me treasure her performance even more.” Another touching song, “Let Love Lead You Home,” discusses preparing for death. This record deserves a close listen because it’s a treasure. One should really sit down with a favorite beverage and savor it or take it along on a lonely vehicle trip. (Available at

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