Beautiful El Malpais region
inspires songwriter's work
Perry releases original songs in ‘Canyon Rose’

Cibola County Beacon
Grants, New Mexico

When Arkansas songwriter Lisa Perry visited the nation's newest national monument in New
Mexico, a creative energy and inspiration engulfed her. She felt the wisdom and experience of
the ancient Indians and was touched by the extraordinary beauty of the mesas and canyons.
The result of this and other encounters with nature is a collection of songs she has written and
released entitled "Canyon Rose."

"The creative moment is really an experience of unity. The creative act is an attempt to
re-create that moment in order to re-experience it as well as to share it," Perry said.

The songs in Canyon Rose are a reflection of this idea of unity. She is a frequent visitor to the
Mount Taylor area near Grants, New Mexico. This area includes La Ventana, a huge natural
stone arch and the magnificent sandstone bluffs Southwest of Grants. The area has recently
been set aside as a national monument called El Malpais. El Malpais is sacred Indian land that
seems to possess a certain power and beauty all its own. She credits this area as the inspiration
for many of the songs on "Canyon Rose," her self-produced 60 minute CD of original songs.

"There is a special beauty about this part of the country, a kind of accumulation of all that has
passed through it. I feel a real sense of the presence of ancient ceremony and thought forms
as well as the power of the volcanic period. I always enjoy the scenic magnificence of the
mountain, the sandstone bluffs and the canyons," Perry said.

The "Canyon Sunset Song" and the "Sacred Mountain Song" are reflective of that beauty. "I
was so glad when the decision was made to preserve El Malpais as a national monument. It
should be protected and I'm glad it will be more accessible to the public," she said. "Old
Ways" is a song that pays respect to the ancients and their impact on the land and us.

Two of the songs on the album, "Fast Lane Blues" and "Voices" are about slowing down
and listening. "We have a tendency to think about the pauses in our lives as something
extra, when we have time. Yet they are essential to balance in our daily lives." She said.

"We have so much noise and action going on around us that we miss a great deal when
we're not taking the time to be still. Nature expresses that creative unity and it can be
experienced by anyone who pauses long enough to recognizes presence," Perry said.
She believes there is a growing awareness of the spiritual value of nature and its power
to help us focus on the more metaphysical aspects of life. There is urgency and a
responsibility to preserve and protect the beauty in all parts of this country.

In Arkansas, there is an abundance of natural beauty and many spectacular state parks. "Down by the Pond" is a happy song that was written about the joy of being in the Arkansas hills. However, there is also massive clear cutting of trees going on in the Ouachita Mountains. In some areas they are bulldozing whole sides of mountains in the name of forest management. Unfortunately, this short-sided approach is not all that uncommon. It appears that abundance has bred a tendency towards waste and insensitivity to the whole ecology of the area. There are people trying to fight it, but it is still going on, Perry said. "None of us can change the world alone, yet we can each have an effect on the part of it that is within our own scope of influence. How we personally recycle and deal with our own waste will have an effect. Each persons relationship to and awareness of nature and its subtle energy can make a difference."

"We can each contribute with action, art and music or through our thought forms. Thought is a powerful force and each of us has an effect. Whether aware or unaware, conscious or unconscious, the whole will be influenced by each individual," Perry said. "Through my music I try to portray the need and the responsibility of each individual to make that subtle shift, she said. The songs "Turn" and "Million Planets Lullaby" deal with man's responsibility to the earth and even the universe.

Perry has taken on serious topics in her music but she doesn't preach to you. The songs have hauntingly beautiful melodies and are filled with harmonies and strong instrumentation. All of the songs are original compositions. She enlisted the help of her husband, Jim Perry, in producing the project. He also played the drums and percussion. Part of the album was recorded in Tulsa, Oklahoma, so the Perrys could utilize the talents of two old friends and top Tulsa musicians. Mark Carpenter and Jim Strader are featured on nearly all of the cuts playing guitar and bass, respectively.

The remainder of the recording and mastering was done at the couples' home recording studio in Hope, Arkansas. They did import Lisa's brother, Randy Crouch, to lend his considerable music talents to the project. Crouch fronts an Oklahoma band called "Flying Horse". He plays fiddle, pedal steel, and adds to the country feel of many of the tunes. Arkansas musicians, Bruce Webb and Brian Jefferies also played on the album. Perry is very aware of how much science, religion, and philosophy are coming to a point of union. There is a lot of new scientific research being done on chaotic systems, turbulence and the exploration of fractals. This research is pointing to the unification concept and to the influence of the parts upon the whole.

Philosophy has always recognized the effects of thought forms and subtle energies on individuals and even entire civilizations. Einstein taught us that matter and energy are interchangeable. The word religion comes from a word that means "energy gathering". Theosophy points out that what religion, science and philosophy have in common (rather than their differences) is a key to understanding. "First we must become aware," Perry said. "Secondly, we must take personal responsibility for our own focus of energy. Finally, we must recognize how each part fits into the structure of the whole.

"Land of Dreams" is a song about that recognition. The songwriter sings, "don't be afraid" and reassures us about upcoming changes and our responsibility to deal with them.

In describing her music, Perry calls it a cross between jazz and new country. "We try to play music that feels good and is alive. A lot of emphasis is on the vocals and harmonies but the back up musicians really pulled it all together. "They did a fantastic job," she said.

Although it might be a little difficult to categorize, the music by Lisa Perry is captivating and different. The 60-minute album is being sold by mail and on the Internet.

La Ventana Arch at El Malpais National Monument near Grants, New Mexico.
Original Canyon embroidery picture by Lisa Perry was used for the cover of her “Canyon Rose” CD.