The Innocence Mission are a folk band featuring the beautiful, mesmerizing vocals of Karen Peris, and the guitar backing of her husband, Don Peris. Their signature style is dreamy slow songs, with beautiful melodies. The original band, including Mike Bitts (bass), and Steve Brown (drums), was formed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the early 80s when the members met during a Catholic school production of Godspell. Although all members of the band have contributed musically, Karen Peris does most of the group's writing.
Their signature style is dreamy slow songs, with beautiful melodies.
The original band, including Mike Bitts (bass), and Steve Brown (drums), was formed in Lancaster, Pennsylvania in the early 80s when the members met during a Catholic school production of Godspell. Although all members of the band have contributed musically, Karen Peris does most of the group's writing.
Their eponymous debut album, released in 1989 (A&M Records), was produced by Larry Klein, then-husband of Joni Mitchell, and recorded in the couple's basement recording studio. The album peaked on the Billboard charts at #167 in 1990, and the album's second track, "Black Sheep Wall", released as a single in 1989, peaked at #22 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks. The album's fifth track, "Clear to You", was used on the soundtrack of the pilot episode of Beverly Hills 90210. Klein also produced their 1991 follow up, Umbrella.
Their third and final A&M album, Glow, released in 1995 (A&M Records), Was produced by Dennis Herring, who had previously produced two records for Camper Van Beethoven. This album is a departure from Klein's heavier production style. Whereas the first two releases may have brought to mind The Sundays and The Cocteau Twins with their moody keyboards, Herring's lighter touch gave more emphasis to the group's guitar work and to Karen's vocals and lyrics.
Glow contains songs that appear on the soundtracks of the films Empire Records, and Dream for an Insomniac, as well as the television series Party of Five. The album's second track, Bright as Yellow, peaked on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks at #33.
In 1999 the band recorded for a new label, Badman. Additionally, drummer Steve Brown left the band to pursue a career as a chef. On the subsequent album, Birds of My Neighborhood, Brown played drums and brushes on "Snow," but otherwise the group became a trio. Now bereft of drums, their sound took an even more acoustic direction. Some songs featured just Don and Karen, and a few, such as "She May Turn Around," featured only Karen's voice and instrumentation.
The 2000 release of Christ is My Hope, featuring religious music that had inspired them over the years, was independently released on their own website. Small Planes, released in 2001, featured outtakes from Glow and Birds of My Neighborhood. 2003's Befriended was their next "regular" album.
In 2004, the Innocence Mission released Now the Day is Over, a collection of lullabies. Except for "My Love Goes With You," all songs are cover versions, such as a stripped-down vocal and piano rendition of Henry Mancini's Moon River,
The Innocence Mission's new album We Walked in Song was released March 13, 2007.