Lane, Lana - Winter Sessions

Year of Release: 2003
Label: Think Tank Media
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 59:30:00

Earlier this year, Lana Lane released her very good Covers Collection album, with great versions of several known and less known songs. Now she is back with a brand new studio album, her 11th studio album already. In 1995 she released her debut album, Love Is An Illusion, and in the years that followed, she did not only grow in her own style, but also guested on several other albums by Rocket Scientists, Erik Norlander, Ayreon and Gary Hughes. Many will claim Secrets Of Astrology as her best album, mainly as it stood out as a heavy album, featuring Arjen Lucassen (Ayreon, Star One) on guitar and Ed Warby (ex-Gorefest, Ayreon) on drums, and I was one of them. But with the release of Winter Sessions, my opinion has changed.

The first thing I noticed is Lana Lane wrote 3 songs all by herself, and co-wrote one other song and I find she has grown in her song writing. For instance, opening track "What A World" is a very warm, atmospheric ballad, with such outstanding vocals and an equally atmospheric guitar solo by Neil Citron, and I think there are not many who can write the same quality ballad! Also "The Spirit Of The Gypsy" breathes the same, almost romantic, atmosphere, here enhanced by the play of David Schiff (yes, the brother of stick player Don!) on saxophone. The talkbox guitar solos by Citron really give this song its vintage touch, love it! The overall play by Erik Norlander, of course on several old and analogue synths as well as Hammond organ, together with the warm voice of Lana Lane, is both characteristic for Lana's albums as well as what I love about them. Norlander is already for a long time my number one keyboard player and with this album he only strengthens that position.

Lana Lane is famous for her covers, and on Winter Sessions there are some fantastic covers. The first one is "Whiter Shade Of Pale," original by Procol Harum. Although I love the original, with Gary Brooker, Lana's version has rapidly become my favourite ballad. But Lana is not afraid to try out other styles, as "I'll Be Seeing You," originally sung by Bing Crosby, as a pure jazz song, with David Schiff on tenor sax and the smooth and soft drums by Gregg Bisonette and, of course, Norlander on Hammond (there is a lot of Hammond on this album!), make it a pearl on the album. And even more real jazz on "Ill Wind (You're Blowin' Me No Good)," this one originally sung by Billie Holiday, is in my humble opinion one of the best songs Lana has ever sung ? so beautiful.

Besides the laid back jazz and atmospheric ballads, there are also some up tempo song, like the last cover "California Dreamin" (by The Mamas and The Papas), with David Schiff on flute and sax solo. Or "December Moon," a heavy progressive rock song, with powerful drums by Bissonette and the heavy guitar by Peer Verschuren (ex-Vengeance, Erik Norlander). And the last song, "Terminus Pro Tempore," more analogue synths and heavy guitars by Verschuren, is perfect to close the album with. The distinct voice of Lana Lane, the familiar synth sounds of Norlander and the powerful guitars by Verschuren, leave you with only one thought ?"where is the repeat button of my CD player!?"

If you counted well, you'll find I did not mention all songs. Nor did I mention all musicians involved, as I left out Don Schiff (N/S stick) and Mark McCrite (guitars). Well, now you have something to discover for yourself! Because their contributions to this album are just as important as the rest of the musicians. But one person really surprised me by his play, and I hope his sound will be on more albums: David Schiff. His saxophone, flute and even oboe, really added something special to the sound. So, after having played this album more times than I can count, I have to say that this is now my absolute favourite album by Lana Lane!! Listen to it and I'm sure it will be yours, too.

[This review originally appeared January 2004 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]
What A World (5:03) / Spirit Of The Gypsy (8:21) / A Whiter Shade Of Pale (4:58) / December Moon (6:06) / I'll Be Seeing You (4:04) / Carnivale (Let It Rain) (6:20) / Carry Me Home (5:33) / Ill Wind (You're Blowin' Me No Good) (4:24) / California Dreamin' (4:02) / Winter Song (5:02) / Terminus Pro Tempore (5:15)

Lana Lane - lead and harmony vocals
Erik Norlander - keyboards, additional bass, guitar, backing vocals
Mark McCrite - acoustic and electric guitars, lap steel, harmony vocals
Neil Citron - lead guitars
Peer Verschuren - lead and rhythm guitars
David Schiff - flute, oboe, tenor and alto saxophones
Don Schiff - NS/Stick
Gregg Bissonette - drums and percussion

Love Is An Illusion (1995)
Curious Goods (1996/2002)
Garden Of The Moon (1998/2002)
Echoes From The Garden (1998)
Live In Japan (1998)
Love Is An Illusion 1998 Version (1998)
Ballad Collection (1998)
Acoustic Live in Tokyo (1999) (promotional release only)
Queen Of The Ocean (1999/2005)
Echoes From The Ocean (1999)
Secrets Of Astrology (2000/2005)
Ballad Collection (2000)
Project Shangra-La (2002)
Covers Collection (2002/2003)
Lana Lane and Erik Norlander - European Tour 2003 Souvenir CD (2003)
Winter Sessions (2003)
Return To Japan (2004)
Lady Macbeth (2005)
Gemini (2006)
Red Planet Boulevard (2007)
The Best Of Lana Lane 2000-2008 (2008)

Storybook - Tales From Europe And Japan (2004) (DVD)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin US

Added: November 28th 2004
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 1444
Language: english


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