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Lane, Lana: Gemini

"The Queen of Symphonic Rock" Lana Lane follows up her 2003 album Covers Collection with Gemini, another full length CD stuffed with hard rockin' and progressive versions of some of her favorite songs of the past. However, on Covers Collection Lana chose to "cover" some not so obvious tracks by some "not so obvious" artists like Aviary, Rainbow, Kansas, Argent, and Uriah Heep. On Gemini, the singer chose songs that are more in the "classic rock" style as opposed to prog, metal, & hard rock. Cream, Heart (Ann Wilson is a huge influence on Lana), Jefferson Airplane, Foreigner, The Moody Blues, and Pink Floyd being the bands of choice this time around, with two songs covered for each group. This is also Lana's first CD being distributed by ProgRock Records here in the US.

A quick look at the song selection, and the first instinct is to say "not another cover of THAT song again", but actually, the formula really works here. Cream's "White Room" and "Sunshine of Your Love" have been done to death by a plethora of artists over the years, but in the hands of Lana Lane (who provides fiery vocals on both) and guitarist George Lynch (Dokken, Lynch Mob), the results are quite impressive. Lynch, an unlikely but very welcome performer on this album, rips into Clapton's licks with plenty of nasty intent and power, showing the world he's still a guitar force to be reckoned with. Superstar bassist Tony Franklin (The Firm, Blue Murder) and drummer Vinny Appice (Black Sabbath, Dio, Derringer) once again help out the cause here on the rhythms, and do a fine job. Other guests on the album include longtime Lana Lane & Erik Norlander guitarist/vocalist Mark McCrite, singer Kelly Keeling, and of course, hubby Norlander on a variety of keyboards.

Other standouts here include the fun Pink Floyd medley, helped along by Norlander's dreamy keyboards and Lana's passionate vocal delivery (, and rocking versions of two early Foreigner classics "Long Long Way From Home" and the stunning "Starrider", the latter a real surprise and given a very proggy rendition here. Lana's soaring vocals work wonders on the gorgeous take on Heart's folky "Dream of the Archer", supported nicely by Norlander's mandolin, harpsichord, and McCrite's acoustic guitar. This was also a great "non-obvious" choice as far as Heart goes.

Overall, Gemini is a fun listen, and it's nice to hear musicians recording a covers album simply for the love of the music, without the premise of big dollar signs attached to it. For the casual listener this might not be an essential purchase, but if you are at all a fan of Lana Lane, Erik Norlander, or any of the musicians present (George Lynch fanatics will certainly want to hear this), this will be a must have.


Track Listing
1. White Room (Cream) [4:58]
2. White Rabbit (Jefferson Airplane) [2:25]
3. Long Long Way From Home (Foreigner) [3:30]
4. You Can Never Go Home (The Moody Blues) [6:02]
"Pink Moon Suite" :
5. Breathe Introduction (Pink Floyd) [1:15]
6. Johnny Moon (Heart) [3:01]
7. Breathe in the Air [1:45]
8. On the Run [2:05]
9. Time [5:21]
10. Breathe Reprise [1:25]
(songs 7-10 Pink Floyd )
11. Dream of the Archer (Heart) [4:19]
12. Starrider (Foreigner) [5:27]
13. Sunshine Of Your Love (Cream) [4:55]
14. Wooden Ships (Jeffereson Airplane/Crosby, Still, Nash & Young) [4:31]
15. Nights in White Satin (The Moody Blues) [5:19]

Added: January 4th 2007
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Lana Lane Website
Hits: 9610
Language: english

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» SoT Staff Roundtable Reviews:

Lane, Lana: Gemini
Posted by Michael Popke, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-01-04 16:27:22
My Score:

When I spun Gemini for the first time, I wasn't quite prepared for the blast of heavy guitar that throttled me as lead-off track "White Room" pierced my speakers. Sure, symphonic rocker Lana Lane has sounded heavy before, but give her some vintage classic-rock material by the likes of Cream, Foreigner and The Moody Blues; a guitarist in the form of George Lynch; and a synth wiz like Lane's husband Erik Norlander, and she'll give you a credible and highly listenable tribute album. Particularly intriguing are Lane's versions of songs originally sung by females. On Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit," she sounds both creepier and tougher than Grace Slick (and that's a compliment). But surprisingly, she actually tones down the similarities between her voice and Ann Wilson's on Heart's "Johnny Moon" and "Dream of the Archer." Special mention also needs to be made regarding Lane's treatment of Pink Floyd's "Breathe," "On the Run" and "Time" in the "Pink Moon Suite," which also includes a melding of "Johnny Moon." Too bad Lane also didn't include "The Great Gig in the Sky;" her vocals on that would have been chilling. As it is, Lane's voice takes on dusty overtones during "Breathe," while journeyman vocalist Kelly Keeling shares singing duties on "Time." (Keeling also pops up elsewhere on Gemini.) The entire 15-minute piece flows effortlessly and ethereally - just like the whole album, really.

It's easy to dismiss tribute records, and I usually do. But Gemini is a classy CD that does nothing to sully Lane's mystical image.


Lane, Lana: Gemini
Posted by Ken Pierce, SoT Staff Writer on 2007-01-02 19:08:04
My Score:

Following in her tradition of every so often releasing a specialty album, the Symphonic siren Lana Lane delivers some of her favorite Classic Rock numbers on her latest album Gemini. This album takes the music from the 60's and 70's and combines her own style in a very respective fashion along with an All-Star cast of performers that includes Vinny Appice, Kelly Keeling, George Lynch, Tony Franklin, Mark McCrite and Eric Norlander (her Husband). Together the group allows Lana to breathe new life into music that is still relevant in today's world and rightfully so as these are more than mere tunes and instead legendary music of a generation passed. Lane has an incredible voice, and closely resembles Ann Wilson from Heart which makes her dead on for those particular numbers on the album. She called the record Gemini and it serves a twofold purpose as it's also her second album of cover material. To make it more interesting, there are also two songs from each of the included bands - Pink Floyd, Heart, Cream, Foreigner, Moody Blues and Jefferson Airplane each get the chance to have two of their numbers performed by the singer. Her take on these iconic staples like "White Room", "White Rabbit" and the excellent "Dark Side Of The Moon" segment makes this a great release for a wider audience to appreciate. It is my hope that Lane can inspire new generations of listeners with her own versions and have these listeners seeking out the originals as part of their own music education. What I liked most about the album is there was very little reworking done and instead the songs were pretty much done as they were originally performed. The band sounded fantastic on the release, and while you expect levels of quality from Norlander on any of his projects he and Lana are truly complimented by the skills of these players who have over the course of their careers been a part of Blue Murder, Dio and Dokken.

This CD is a recommendation for any fan of female fronted Metal and Hard Rock, as Lane does NOT sing in the growling style or super operatic fashion on this album. It allows her to stand apart from the bands that have that type of musician fronting their band. Lana's voice is pure, melodic and excellent. This is a fun recording to listen to and while I plan on digging into her back catalog some more, I cannot wait for the next round of covers she brings to the table.

Lane, Lana: Gemini
Posted by Duncan Glenday, SoT Staff Writer on 2006-12-31 19:01:15
My Score:

This review is going to sound almost identical to one we've just published - and there's a reason for that. You see - Lana Lane's husband and music collaborator Erik Norlander has also just released a CD containing well arranged, well played cover tunes. Much of what we said in the Norlander review applies here as well, so excuse our repeating these few points:

  • Some people consider covers to be a cop-out. Others might cite the fact that many of the most genuinely creative artists - including those in the progressive genre - have done covers many times, to great effect, actually showcasing their own skills in the process.
  • With covers you already know the music - so when you hear it covered by successful artists like Erik Norlander and Lana Lane it's far easier to pick up their flair, their creative embellishments, and their interesting interpretations. And that in turn may give you a better appreciation of their musicianship.

Having said that - let's see what makes Lana's record different from Erik's:

  • The music on Norlander's Hommage Symphonique is far more progressive - having been borrowed from the likes of Yes, Rick Wakeman and King Crimson. Lane's Gemini covers Pink Floyd, Foreigner, Heart (a natural, given the timbre of her voice), Jefferson Airplane, Cream and The Moody Blues. So it's more classic and hard rock oriented than it is prog - which is the style to which Lane has usually gravitated in the past.
  • Norlander used various male vocalists. Lane is - of course - the lead singer on her own record, with Mark McCrite and Kelly Keeling singing background or duet pieces respectively - and providing the textures needed to add variety and keep your interest.
  • Lane, Norlander and The Rocket Scientists are at the hub of a group of accomplished artists, who contribute to the various projects in varying degrees. That talent pool is deeply tapped on both CDs, ensuring consistency and strong musicianship, yet each project clearly maintains its own identity.

This is Lane's second album of cover songs, and the pieces selected for Gemini are well suited to her strong vocal style. You'll be surprised by her success with the suite of Pink Floyd songs - you wouldn't expect them to be suited to female vocals, yet with her rearrangements and her excellent delivery, Lana has done a remarkable job. Besides the Floyd pieces, Lane covers two songs by each original recording artist, and the standouts are probably Cream's "White Room" and "Sunshine Of Your Love". Both are absolute hard rock classics, and in both songs, listen for the lead guitar flourishes that are powerful, yet held well back in the mix. The Moody Blues's "Knights In White Satin" must be one of the most frequently covered songs in the past few decades, yet besides the original, this might be the best version of that song you'll ever hear.

As with Erik's record the packaging, cover art, production and musicianship are stellar, and the result is a very pleasing listening experience. So bottom line: If you're comfortable with cover tunes, you can't go wrong with either of these CDs. So do the wise thing and get both of them. You won't be disappointed.




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