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Christian Music - Reviews, News, Interviews


  • reviewed by Christa Banister Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Sep
Sounds like … multi-faceted pop that's similar to KT Tunstall one moment and Susan Ashton or Ginny Owens the nextAt a glance … with well-crafted lyrics, an inviting sound, and a great backing band, Nikki Chapin Frizzell's debut shines with sincerity and encouragement. Track Listing I Believe Perfect Love Love Colored Glasses Holding to Hope Love Me Still Pretty So Much Good Made for a Mission Exponential Prothalamion Angel

While St. Paul, Minnesota native Nikki Chapin Frizzell declares on her opening track that "I'm not much of a poet, but I'm gonna say it/I'm not much of a harpist, but I'm gonna play it … I'm not much of a writer, but I'm gonna pen it," she doesn't seem to be going for the whole charming, self-deprecating demeanor just to endear herself to listeners. Instead, listeners can't help but get the sense that this wife and mother has something to say, and that she's willing to use any means to get the message across. And for Frizzell, that medium just happens to be her music.

But thankfully for those taking the time to listen, Frizzell has plenty of musical aptitude, particularly with her poetic songwriting style (most evident on the lovingly crafted "Pretty" and plaintive closer "Angel") and a pleasant, but not always perfect, voice that's almost childlike a la Ginny Owens and sometimes raspy like Susan Ashton.

Helping her make the most of what she's got on Shine is producer Nate Sabin (Sara Groves, Joe Rogness) and an all-star line-up of backing musicians including guitarist Dave Cleveland, bassist Matt Pierson, and drummer Steve Brewster. While many independent artists don't have this kind of talent at their disposal, the final result is definitely worth the investment as the production and sound is crisp and well executed without overpowering Frizzell in the process.

As for the songs themselves, sonic variety is the order of the day—whether it's the happy-go-lucky strumming and buoyant organ on "I Believe," the mellow piano-driven strains of "Perfect Love," or the more melancholy look at sin and temptation on "Love Me Still." It's this constant variation in mood and tempo that prevents the album from becoming just another subpar entry into the inspirational pop field. Instead, Frizzell is willing to embrace a more progressive, rootsy style as well that's similar to the much-buzzed-about new mainstream artist, KT Tunstall.

Inspired by reading Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life, Frizzell says she "came face to face with the beautiful reality that all of us are made for mission." And with Shine, Frizzell's seems to be clear—even if she's still not entirely sure about it.

For more information on Frizzell, check out www.cdbaby.com/cd/frizzell.

If you are an independent artist who would like to be considered for review on our site, please send your CD(s) and any related press materials to editor of independent artist coverage:

Christa Banister
Attn: Independent Christian Artists
300 E. 4th St. Suite 406
St. Paul, MN 55101

Due to the number of projects we receive, we are unable to cover or correspond with every artist that contributes. But we do give all submissions a fair listen for coverage consideration.

© Christa Banister, subject to licensing agreement with Christianity Today International. All rights reserved. Click for reprint information.