Not so long ago my friend Karla Adolphe started dropping hints on her facebook page that she was headed into the studio to record a Christmas EP. The thought of Karla’s voice singing Christmas carols made me smile, and I couldn’t wait for the result. It didn’t disappoint. Lingering is an EP that I don’t hesitate to recommend. But more than that, I’m excited about the tone and the heart of the album and since I’m incapable of carrying a decent tune, and unqualified to comment on music, it’s the tone and heart that I want to talk about today.
I first met Karla probably ten years ago, when she played an evening of worship music at the church I was attending at the time. We connected slowly, chatting at concerts in town once or twice a year, and becoming friends. I was delighted when she and her husband Gary announced that after several years of living in Colorado, they were coming home to Canada, and making their home base in High River, Alberta, just 40 minutes south of my own home town. Our friendship has continued to grow, and over the last few years I’ve been blessed by Karla’s wisdom, support for my journey, and the friendship she’s offered to me.
A few years ago Karla put out an album titled “Honeycomb Tombs”, written to explore the process and journey of grieving. It quickly became one of my favorite albums for the hard days when it seemed that I was losing my ongoing battle with anxiety and depression, and one of the albums I turn to consistently for background music when I’m writing, cooking, or otherwise engaging in activities that are reflective and healing for me.
Watching as Karla and Gary and their family began to build a life in High River, and then faced devastation as their new home was severely damaged in the flood that struck Southern Alberta last year, and watching still as they fought through the process of rebuilding and setting down even deeper roots has challenged me, and taught me much about living with faith and hope in the hard and dark spaces of life.
About a week ago, Karla wrote the following on her blog about Lingering, her new Christmas EP:
Christmas is often the most wonderful time of the year, but as I learnt withHoneycomb Tombs, grief can cause even the treasury of Christmas to become challenging. I really wanted to create an album that would extend grace and warmth to those of you who may be grieving this season and honour your kindness to me as a listener.
I hope you enjoy the songs I selected, some of these are my absolute favourite! The songs express themes of pilgrimage, longing, hope, revelation, visitation and prophecy.
As someone who at times finds Christmas challenging, I so appreciated the grace that this album extends. It’s quiet, contemplative, and suited for those of us who need a moment of celebration that isn’t so “happy-clappy” as the Christmas tunes traditionally played at this time of year. As a Catholic, the mood of waiting, lingering and longing on this record fits perfectly with the mood of Advent.
As for favorites, my favorite song on this album is Karla’s rendition of “In The Bleak Midwinter”, a lovely old hymn based on a famous poem by Christina Rossetti. It’s a song perfect for the pondering of Advent, the looking forward to a savior, the recognition of that which Christ left in order to come, to truly be “God with us”.
I cannot urge you more to head over to Karla’s website and purchase Lingering. It’s available for only $6, and is well worth your money!