Lana Lane, Queen of Melodic Rock, returns with seven brand new songs and four covers in a new album that, like the previous ones, will cause a crossfire among prog fans, mainly for the most extremists. Lana´s music becomes even more mature in “Winter Sessions”. If you want to have caviar and champagne for your ears, “Winter Sessions” is probably one of the smartest albums I´ve ever listened to. But I must also admit that the word progressive only fits for the amazing production (Erik Norlander), the wonderful arrangements, and the high skilled musicians (Norlander (keyboards, bass and guitars), Mark McCrite (guitars), Neil Citron (guitars), Peer Verschuren (guitars), brothers Don (stick) and David (flute, oboe, saxo) Schiff, and Gregg Bissonette (drums).
I suppose fans of darkest and most experimental progressive will think that the music of artists like Lana Lane´s won´t discover them anything new. But the truth is that after listening to a song like “Spirit of the Gypsy” (8:21) the day seems brighter. Immortal melodies, marvelous Hammond's, well played saxos and guitars that could take our minds to the roots of english progressive rock or untemporal symphonic rock. Indeed the best track of the album.
The remaining tracks are not as the same level as the aforementioned, but have also lots of quality… “December Moon” (6:06) is an up-tempo track, perhaps too mainstream and too 80´s that has very good keyboards. “Carnivale (Let it Rain)” (6:20) is a pleasant mid-tempo with all those climax Norlander and Lane know how to create and with a wonderful guitar. “Carry Me Home” (5:33) is another highlight with West Coast and AOR aromas. The last two tracks are the beautiful ballad “Winter Song” (5:02), with great vintage keyboards, and “Terminus Pro Tempore” (5:13), the perfect instrumental excuse for Norlander and his keyboards of massive destruction. There is also room for Verschuren and his guitar. After having listened to this track, I think there´s no doubt Erik Norlander is, nowadays, the best keyboardist in the world.
But there are also some covers… for example the last (to date, I´ve just listened to a new one by Michael Schenker) cover of Procol Harum´s “A Whiter Shade of Pale” (4:48). I can assure this is the best one I´ve ever heard. Close to the original but with Lana´s voice at its best (the end is impressive) and Norlander playing Hammond as the master he is. “California Dreamin´” (4:02) is funny but it doesn´t fit with the spirit of Lana´s music. Indeed it´s a good excuse for you to play the album when your friends are at home. The rest of the covers are “I´ll Wind (You´re Blowin´ Me No Good)” (4:24) and “I´ll be seeing you” (4:04), two jazzy songs where Lana puts her red gloves on and sings as if she is in an old clun.
This is – I remark – a very nice album that is worth to be praised without prejudices. Anyway I think Lana doesn´t need so many ballads and/or covers. Anyway, and although the covers lights for themselves, Lana Lane and Erik Norlander have the creative level to give us ten original great songs.
If you love quality in music and you don´t know Lana´s career, you can start with this album and you won´t regret. Listening to her voice, one wonder how world is so unjust and why one of the best female voices in the world (singing any style) only is enjoyed by a few.