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Nothing Short of Amazing
Artist: Staci Frenes  
Label: Longshot Records
Time: 10 Tracks / 41:42
People should be extremely excited about this record from Staci Frenes.  Nothing Short of Amazing is definitely the best title for her new album.  With a voice that resembles a mixture of Christine Denté (Out of the Grey), Shirley Manson (Garbage), and Cindy Morgan and lyrics like your favorite Sara Groves song, Staciís new CD is a great addition to the great new Christian CD list.  Definitely not the regular Contemporary that can bore you to tears, but great, upbeat, sometimes edgy, sounds, and the lyrics just sews everything into the perfect masterpiece.

Amanda Walker 8/26/05

You are nothing short of amazing," sings Staci Frenes. The words are lifted skyward in praise to her Lord.  The song inspired by a scene from F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby paints beautiful words of adoration across a landscape of God's creation. The opening track "Nothing Short of Amazing" provides elegant lyrics set to some excellent drumming by Joseph Zanzwinger and the acoustic guitar work of Staci's husband Abe Frenes.
This former high school English teacher turned singer / songwriter has an eloquent way with lyrics. Although the words, "Nothing Short of Amazing" are directed towards God, Frenes' fans long ago acknowledged her amazing abilities.  
The number two track on this her fifth CD, is "Safe Place to Land" an ethereal pop melody that highlight her resplendent vocals. The opening salvo from "Safe Place to Land" is an in your face lyric, "Well okay so this day hasn't gone quite like you planned." This is my personal favorite from the album and the missive is simple, with God we always get a chance to start over.
It is never fair to compare an artist's art sonically or lyrically to other singer/songwriters. Realizing however that some of you may not be familiar with Frenes you may want to think of her music as a stylistic blend representing the best elements of Shawn Colvin, Sarah McLachlan and Carolyn Arends. 
Frenes' music is just as fun and bubbly as the artist. These are the type of songs to which you want to roll down your car windows and sing to at the top of your voice. In fact that subliminal message is contained in songs such as "Surprise Me." 
 Driving down an open stretch of road /
 I take my time enjoy the view
 Every mile new miracles unfold
 And I am in wonder of you
 To think that you would gladly give me all this. 
Musically "Imagine That" begins with similarly lazy riffs and vocals as "Sunny Came Home" (Colvin) and transcends into blues notes that lazily float to the surface like bubbles in a glass of soda. It is a song one can envisage blues / rock legend Robbie Robertson (The Band) playing. Co-writer George Cochinni and bassist Paul Buono provide the guitar work on this track.
There is a line in "St Mary's" that says, "My life has taken different hues" and the songs on the album certainly provide us with great pictures taken from the life of Frenes. The photos on her album couldn't be more appropriate. The front of the liner notes show her dressed casually, the photo on the inside of the CD case has her dressed stylishly, while the back of the case gives you that folkie tye dye look. Staci Frenes is all of those things and more.
In addition to Frenes three other producers worked on this album, Nate Sabin, Kenon Chen and Paul Buono. All three also appear as instrumentalists, Sabin (piano), Chen (bass) and Buono on keys, guitar and bass. Combined with the numerous other talented musicians who appear on the CD you get a very eclectic selection of songs that are beautifully arranged. This is one pop album that doesn't slog through more of the same as you wind your way through the disc. Each new tune that spins is fresh and charming.

By Joe Montague, exclusive rights reserved

Joe Montague is an internationally published journalist / photographer. His ministry is dedicated to the memory of his late son Kent David Montague who went to heaven at the age of 18. All copyright and distribution rights remain the property of Joe Montague.


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