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Slow down as you approach the gate, and have your change ready....
Artist: Christine Dente
Label: Rocketown Records (2003)
Length: 10 Tracks (39:06 minutes)
Given the impressive level of artistic talent possessed by both Scott and Christine Dente, it's probably a safe bet that most fans of the couple's work as Christian pop duo Out of the Grey have pondered the idea of solo efforts for both members of the husband and wife team for some time. Christine Dente's work with Margaret Becker and Susan Ashton on the Along the Road project in 1994 and husband Scott's mostly instrumental collaboration with Phil Keaggy and Wes King on the 1997 Invention release aside, the Becoming project marks the first time since the release of the pair's watershed self-titled debut some twelve years ago that either Dente (in this case, Christine) has functioned as sole focus for an extracurricular outing.
A concept album of sorts, the release chronicles the journey from childhood to adult life as seen through the eyes of a believer. Following a rough chronological order, the title cut leads off with the account of a young girl's struggle to find peer acceptance and a positive self-image. The likewise engaging follow-on track, "Bigger Story," details the difficult years of testing following a young teen's profession of faith. "Summer" and "Echoes of Heaven" are celebratory odes to parenthood with exhortations to enjoy its fleeting moments of transcendence. And the somber, yet gripping, "Goodbye" closes the proceedings with a somber, yet stirring, meditation on the hope of life after death.
Of course, one could argue that, with Scott Dente manning the producer's chair, the Becoming effort constitutes an Out of the Grey album in all but name. And, to be fair, songs such as "Take It From Here" and "Echoes of Heaven" would probably have fit nicely on, say, the Diamond Days or 6.1 releases. By and large, though, Dente is able to lend a sympathetic touch to his wife's compositions without placing too much of himself on the finished product in the process. Indeed, by trading the peppy, acoustic guitar-driven pop of the OTG records for a softer, more piano-based approach, Christine Dente's magnificently ethereal singing voice is afforded a subtlety and clarity only previously hinted at. And it is ultimately her capacity for sublime and poignant vocal expression that transforms Becoming into the unique and absorbing piece of work that it is.
Bert Gangl 9/29/2003