Monday, July 12, 2010
Scott and Christine played at the Bluebird Cafe on July 10, with Joe Doyle and Suite Caroline. *Photos used with permission from Michael Ingram / Bellevue Photography - thank you!
Saturday, April 24, 2010
Out of the Grey’s Christine Dente releases a musical “prayer”
Just in case you missed it — because I know I did for a while — there’s a new project from a lady with a familiar singing voice.
And it’s a voice with Lancaster County origins.
It’s Christine Dente, of Conestoga Valley High School and Out of the Grey, which through the 1990s was a band at the very top of the Christian music world.
I say “the band,” but as anyone who knows Out of the Grey realizes, the band consisted of main vocalist Christine and her husband Scott, the guitar hero / player and backup singer.
They’ve been low-keying it for the last several years, but the memory is still clear of one of the best concerts I ever saw … of them at Lancaster Mennonite in fall 1995.
And I would include “Gravity” and maybe their first CD on any list of best Christian CDs of the last two decades.
Now, maybe a little below the radar screen, Christine Dente has released “Voyage: Journey of Prayer,” a 10-track package that sounds at first more like a Christian apologetics manual than a musical package from a chart-topping singer.
Dente explains she released “Voyage” last year so “I could meld the old with the new, and create songs around certain prayers that had become special to me.”
Her voice is always easy to spot, and in whatever format is likely to be of interest to Out of the Grey fans.
Or, for that matter, Ashton Becker Dente fans like me … ABD was a mid-90s collaboration with Susan Ashton and Margaret Becker that produced “Along The Road,” another one of the best CDs in the Christian music genre of tbe last 20 years.
For this new project, Christine wrote 10 songs based loosely on prayers from the book, “The Valley of Vision: A Collection of Puritan Prayers.”
According to one description, “she unites her love of jazzy pop to (the Dentes’) Puritan devotion to Christian piety. The result is an intimate and worshipful experience.”
The new “Voyage” package is available at ChristineDente.net.
Monday, January 18, 2010
The new CD, "Voyage: Journey of Prayer," can be purchased at www.christinedente.net, and watch for availability on itunes soon.
Christine has graciously answered some questions for the site. Thank you, Christine! Enjoy:
"A Fitting Part of the Journey"
Your new CD “Voyage: Journey of Prayer” just released in November. It is a beautiful collection of songs based on Puritan prayers from the book ,“The Valley of Vision." Can you tell us a little about the book , how the songs were formed and written, and how they came together as a project?
When I started reading The Valley of Vision book of Puritan prayers, the old-style usage of Thee, Thou and Thy was an obstacle to my worship. However, I gradually began to find the depths of Godly truth and human honesty that seemed hidden by the old-fashioned words. I decided to try to meld the old with the new and create songs around certain prayers that had become special to me. My challenge was to translate their concepts of piety into my ideas of pop songs. So I paraded out my favorite jazz/pop chords and wove melodies and lyrics as my voice and ears directed. I used some of the original poetry, added a lot of my own wording, and enlisted my husband Scott Dente's help in affirming the direction I was headed.
Your projects have a unique sound that is their own. Each, in their own right, have stood the test of time and still sound fresh today, all the way back to your debut album. What inspired the musical sounds of Voyage, and what instruments were used?
Scott Dente and Ken Lewis, my producers, wanted to mix organic with electronic sounds. I think they created a beautiful setting for an unusual worship record. We employed the talents of brilliant programmers like Matt Stanfield and Jeff Roach (not to mention their added talents on the keys). Paul Moak and Ben Shive helped us create live tracks that only their ideas could have delivered. We used everything from a music box, Wurlitzer and toy piano to loads of guitars, tricked-out percussion and heavy-duty programming.
In talking about her Hymn records, Amy Grant once mentioned she was happy to be singing hymns because someone might hear them who otherwise would miss out on them. The same thing could be said for “Voyage” and “Valley of Vision.” Many will hear about the book and let it become part of their lives, because of your music. What are your thoughts about this?
That is the beauty and power of music, and what a blessing to be able to share that with others. I hope many people pick up the book after hearing the prayers in this setting.
Many listeners have told me that it takes a while to get into this record...but that it really grows on you after several listens!
You have sung on countless other projects for many other top artists, including Jars of Clay, Amy Grant, Jill Phillips, Garry Kean, and Brian Doerkson, to name a few, as well as working with Michelle Tumes, Margaret Becker, and Susan Ashton on "Along the Road,” and ”Lost in Wonder.” Is there anyone you have not yet worked with that you would like to? How did those trio albums come about, and might there be a third one in the future?
The Ashton, Becker, Dente trio record was so much fun to make and to tour. We had great songs to work with and our voices really blended well! I miss Susan and Margaret. I also enjoyed working with Michelle Tumes and getting to know her. Maybe one day three of us will get together again and record another project. Looking back, I am amazed and very grateful for all the singing I get to do on my own and others’ projects. What a privilege!
(As for someone I’d like to work with, I’m still waiting for Sting to call!)
“Becoming,” your first album as a solo artist, was released in 2003 to critical acclaim. It was a deeply personal record with such a depth of emotion, honesty, and vulnerability to it. It remains one of my favorite albums of all time. How do you now look back at it nearly seven years later?
I have some disappointment because not many people actually heard the record. That’s the emotional risk we take as artists: we pour our hearts and souls into the music but have little control over who it reaches when we hand it off. I am so thankful Scott and I got to record all those songs. I hope to make another record soon in which I can explore some of the new ways the Lord has been changing me.
What is your take on all the available social media options, (Twitter, Facebook, Myspace, etc)?
It seems these all add to the effect and to the cause of our short attention spans and our need for more information at the expense of knowledge and wisdom. However, God seems to use many negatives for good, and I personally benefit from finding old friends, old fans and new ones through Facebook and Myspace!
I keep a watch on myself and check my motivation for using these tools. It’s not the thing itself, but how I use it that is so important.
After many years as a recording artist, now looking back over your work as a whole, is there a song/ album that stands out as a favorite and why?
The purity of the first record stands out in that we had no audience, nothing to prove or maintain. 6.1, Becoming, and Valley of Vision all represent increasing creativity and freedom of expression to me. I can’t really pick one; like my children, they are all precious to me.
Looking ahead to the future, what can we expect from Out of the Grey/Scott and Christine Dente? Will there be a full length Christmas project, a book, tours, live DVD, more music, etc?
Ahh, the future and all the "what if’s" it invokes. I will only say, Scott and I will keep being creative and doing the music we love…he did say he wants to do a simple acoustic guitar and vocal record with songs we’ve written together —which sounds like an Out of the Grey record to me!
Anything else you want to add?
I would add that this new recording, Voyage, is such a fitting part of the journey Scott and I are making as God’s beloved children. This is the kind of worship record we always wanted to make. Remember, give it some time to sink in!
We are amazed that we get to keep making music and that lots of people still have a place for us in their lives. Though we try to be faithful in all we do, most importantly, Jesus is faithful in all He does and has done and will do.
© 2010, Christine Dente, christinedente.blogspot.com