(23 Nov 2015) The second solo studio album by Christina Booth is aptly entitled The Light (Tiger Moth Productions (UK), 2015). Christina is a Welsh progressive rock vocalist and singer-songwriter. The Light was recorded during times of significant personal challenges that Christina conquered through her strength, faith, tremendous support from her loved ones and incredible professionals. Lyrical themes within the new album reflect on this period of her life and will evoke significant hope in the album's listeners.
One of Musical Discoveries featured artists for over a decade and one of our most celebrated vocalists, Christina has collaborated with Rob Reed for much of her musical career. Since its inception in 2001, she has been the lead vocalist for the Welsh progressive rock band Magenta, covered extensively in these pages. Before that, she collaborated with Reed as part of Trippa, and also his project Cyan. She has previously been credited under her maiden name as Christina Murphy, and now often is credited simply as Christina.
As with her prior solo recording in 2010, Christina continues to collaborate with Magenta and other progressive artists on this new recording. Contributing artists include: Magenta band-mates: Rob Reed (keyboards / guitar / bass); Andy Edwards (Magenta, drums) and Chris Fry (guitar) . Further contributions are from: Fran Murphy (backing vocals); Dan Nelsen (fretless bass); John Mitchell (It Bites, guitar / vocals); and from The Tangent, Andy Tillison (Hammond organ) and Theo Travis (saxophone / flute).
Music from The Light includes accessible rock numbers, bluesy songs, ballads and progressive rock-styled tracks that are each matched to the lyrical content. Christina's powerful vocal drives the bluesy album opener "Full Stop" whose harmonies take on a gospel flavor. "Stay" is the first of the album's ballads sweetly sung atop a gentle piano-based arrangement. Keyboard washes add an outstanding texture to the backdrop as the song develops and further production textures are added. Lyrical content is emotionally delivered in both lead and lush harmony vocals. Listen for the Hammond and sax parts in the mix.
Christina's voice strengthens in "Legend In The Making," whose arrangement will harken listeners' to at least one of Magenta's singles. "Disappeared" is the album's second piano-based ballad, sung delicately entirely solo and and very delicately. Listen for the crystalline texture in the vocal delivery.
"When The Darkness Falls," which begins as a piano-based ballad, (eventually) develops into a richly-arranged progressive rock-oriented number. Listen for the Monty Normanesque James Bond-styled theme that develops within the arrangement. Christina's powerful lead soars atop the lush arrangements. This track and "The Light" are the album's two standouts.
The album continues to build strength in the progressive number "The Anger In Your Words." Tender verses build in tension that eventually gives way to the rocking conclusion and Christina's soaring lead vocals. Listen for the outstanding guitar solos before the song concludes.
Vocal production on The Light is outstanding throughout, and gentle ballad "The Same Old Road," which puts the listener right in the studio with Christina and Fran Murphy, is perhaps its clearest illustration. The album's bluesy penultimate track is "Last Breath." Guitar excursions, backing vocals and further instrumentals add great texture to the production.The album's awesome title track is nothing short of amazing in every respect. Listeners to this song will especially appreciate the crystalline clarity of Christina's lead vocal and be equally enthralled Rob Reed-influenced symphonic progressive styling that develops beneath it. The song is certain evoke hope and a positive outlook from listeners.
The Light is a fantastic solo album by Christina Booth and a stunning testament to her strength, faith and dedication to her craft. Our visitors should pursue the album with much velocity than ours in penning this review. Bravo Christina!--Audrey and Russ Elliot in St Thomas, USVI