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Christmas This Year
Artist: Callann Lane (formerly Cali)
Label: Levity Records
URL: http://www.musicbycali.com
Times: 6 tracks / 19:19 minutes

Originally released during the Christmas 2007 season in a very limited run, Christmas This Year by Callann Lane (formerly Cali) is available through general release and iTunes. In following up her debut Cali project, Lane's producers Darrell Vanzant and Chuck Butler kick down the heavy bass percussion of "Get Up" yet keep more of the electronica intact (think: remix of "Toodaloo Earth"). With such arrangements for songs like the gorgeous original, "Harmony," and a remake of Madonna's "Holiday" (okay--that makes sense for a Christmas album), the sound is dangerously close to "Mariah Carey Lite." Lane's voice deserves better, and there are these moments here.

While some listeners may not appreciate Lane's breathy, tapping voice on "Carol of the Bells," to any of us who have *ever* sung in a chorus, our directors asked us to treat the "ding! dong! ding! dong!" like bells. Lane takes this treatment to the entire song, and it works for me! The single, the title track, has an incredibly sweet piano arrangement for a song that, lyrically, morphs from a secular to a sacred Christmas song.

The best offering from Christmas this Year is the producer Vanzant-written praise and worship tune, "Glorious Things." This tune--in fact, this recording--would fit very well on any of the best Christmas praise recordings from Maranatha!, Vineyard, or Hillsong. It's an anthem for the Christmas season that I would love to hear played on the radio.

As a six-song EP, Christmas This Year is an overall satisfying project and, hopefully, a good sign of fine things to come from Callann Lane.

Olin Jenkins
November 30, 2008

 
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