Hitman Records (release date: December 7, 2018)
By Bob Marovich
Philadelphia singer-songwriter Christa Deana (pron. Duh-nay) opens her self-titled CD with a forthright narrative about her calling, accepted at a very young age, to be a fisher of souls.
But, she recounts, upon encountering one painful challenge and disappointment after another in pursuit of her calling, she almost gave up and even contemplated suicide. Angry at God for putting her in such a precarious position, she said: “I threw my Christianity on the floor and built it back up from scratch.”
That made all the difference.
Christa defines the album as “running music for the Christian walk.” The journey imagery is appropriate, because the songs chronicle a walk through pain and an almost unendurable frustration to a solid relationship with God and the victory afterward. Musically, the album moves to a neo-soul groove, heavy on soft chords and new-age atmospheric arrangements, even on the more rhythmic songs.
Christa’s vocals sparkle on the buoyant and inspirational “Plenty of Confidence,” the whispery “Here,” and the lyrically-dense “If God Doesn’t Want It,” which features a rap interlude from an uncredited male artist. On the other hand, the high tessitura of “Never Stop Believing” pulls the vocalist out of her sweet spot. The song should have been keyed lower so she didn’t have to strain to hit the high notes.
The optimistic “Shine” is the album’s most radio-friendly track, its most distinctive selection, and the brightest spot on the CD.
In the end, the song lyrics, combined with interludes of inner conflict spoken as dramatic monologues, give Christa Deana the sensation of being the soundtrack to a one-woman play.
Three of Five Stars
Picks: “Shine,” Plenty of Confidence”