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Hiding Place

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Album Review

On its fourth recording, Selah don't step far from their unusual yet successful formula of marrying traditional hymns to contemporary pop and blue-eyed R&B arrangements, African folk songs, Irish melodies, and modern-day praise & worship songs. Siblings Todd Smith and Nicol Sponberg were born to missionaries and raised in central Africa, while Allan Hall was reared in Nashville. The trio met at Belmont College and recorded their first album, Be Still My Soul, for $2000. The rest is history: They've earned four Dove Awards and played Carnegie Hall, as well as holding the dubious distinction of playing on political evangelist Pat Robertson's 700 Club program. Hiding Place's best moments are in its traditional songs, such as "Essengo," a Congolese folk song sung in Kituba, while the old nugget "By and By" is arranged as a chanted African singalong, making it fresh and interesting. However, the trio's attempt at a funky rock arrangement — which may be edgy for conservative churchgoers — is almost laughably bad as pop music. The arrangement of "Through It All" is respectable, but largely because Sponberg finally cuts loose a little, thanks to being prodded by a host of real gospel singers in the background. Also, it is interesting to note that Selah's "Irish" tune, "You Raise Me Up," is actually about as new age a Celtic melody and arrangement as is possible to put on tape. As a marketing gimmick, each member gets a solo track tagged on as a bonus at the end of the set to promote upcoming solo projects (all to be released simultaneously). Ultimately, it comes down to whether you dig this group on a basic level or not. If you do, this will be another delight. If you find Selah's music rather bland, Hiding Place will do nothing to change your view.

Customer Reviews

Brilliant Hiding Place

This is a brilliant album. It plays in my car all the time, I just don't get tired of it. The few songs, that didn't grab me right from the start, just keep getting better. As good as, or even better than, 'Be Still My Soul'. EXCELLENT!!!


Formed: 1997 in Nashville, TN

Genre: Christian & Gospel

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Two-thirds of the CCM vocal trio Selah grew up in Africa, and that influence made itself felt immediately on the group's distinctive 1999 debut album, Be Still My Soul. Formed by siblings Todd and Nicol Smith plus Allan Hall, the group's musical style was specialized thanks to the Smiths' childhood as missionary children in Africa. Signed to Curb Records, Selah found success with their debut, Be Still My Soul, which earned critical praise as well as a Dove Award for Inspirational Album of the Year....
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Hiding Place, Selah
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