Lords a Leaping Volume III is a collection of original Christmas music written and performed by a group of songwriting friends in Central Pennsylvania. Songwriter John Cimino grew up listening to Christmas classics by Bing Crosby, Perry Como, and Mel Torme, and wanted to create 'new classics' for this generation to enjoy. In 2002, Cimino teamed with drummer Michael Hughes, Pianist Brett Albert, and vocalists Adam and Jennifer Bell to record Volume I. Volume II followed in 2004, with 12 more original tunes. Now they proudly release Volume III. Lords a Leaping combines Jazz, Pop, and Rock with well-crafted lyrics and memorable melodies. The result is a diverse and refreshing array of holiday music that the whole family can enjoy. REVIEW BY CAROL SWANSON AT CHRISTMASREVIEWS.COM Summary: A clever combo of holiday offerings executed by a talented group of singer-songwriters. Three years ago, I reviewed Lords a Leaping: Volume II, a clever combo of holiday offerings executed by a talented group of singer-songwriters hailing from central Pennsylvania. So when John Cimino, the moving force behind the 'leaping lords' projects, contacted me about Volume III, how could I possibly say no? Like it's predecessors, Lords a Leaping: Volume III presents a tasty melange of original seasonal offerings--with two well-known favorites tossed into the mix for extra flavor. The album opens with 'church bells' and horns on Forty Foot Santa, a humorous ditty about the town's holiday display. The players here are friendly and capable, and the musical variety (from goth rock to pop/folk and jazz) provides fine synergy. You get the impression that you honestly know these artists--that these friends are in fact your friends, too. The ambiance is totally intimate and familiar, and the mood is comfortable and fun. Volume III has much to offer. The easy simplicity and lovely vocals (Jennifer Bell) on Come, Christmas, Come are affecting; the dark mysteries of the goth-inspired Venie Exultemus Domino are even more so. My favorite numbers, though, must include the sweetly upbeat, lightly rockin' Silent Prayer with a resilient melody that replays the cheery affirmance that 'hope is alive' (the cut appears twice, with a 'Reprise' as the closing track). I also relished the minimalist, acoustic presentation of Is This Christmas?, the melancholy, universal tale of how the holiday's hustle-bustle undercuts the season's true meaning. I have considerable admiration for independent artists who rally together every year or two to craft and present freshly-minted Christmas pieces. The originals are thoughtful and memorable, and the musicianship is strong. The next time I am cruising on I-80 through Central Pennsylvania, I will undoubtedly be humming one of the Lords a Leaping holiday pieces with a broad smile on my face. Thanks a bunch, John Cimino, and Merry Christmas! --Carol Swanson (Reviewed in 2008) REVIEW BY JIM PRICE FOR 'PENNSYLVANIA MUSICIAN' MAGAZINE LORDS A LEAPING - LORDS A LEAPING VOLUME III (no label) Clearfield County Christmas music ensemble Lords A Leaping has issued their third CD, simply entitled Lords A Leaping Volume III. As they did on the first two volumes, Lords A Leaping composes some new original Christmas-themed music, and offers two interpretations of time-tested Christmas standards. The musical variety over the album's ten tracks spans rock, jazz, acoustic and classical styles. The album begins with a playful jazz/swing flavor and local reference, as John Cimino sings about the "Forty Foot Santa" that greets visitors to his hometown of Philipsburg. After Jennifer Bell's soaring vocals and harmonies adorn a rock-geared arrangement of "What Child Is This," husband Adam Bell sings the hopeful and uplifting "Silent Prayer." (This song's lyrics proved to be prophetic; Bell wrote the lines "For the soldier far away from home/Fighting battles that are not his own/Bring a harmony to find his solace there" shortly before he and his Pennsylvania National Guard unit were called to active duty to serve in Iraq.) "All I Want" displays a Brit-pop/rock flavor, followed by the gentle acoustic-geared ballad "Come, Christmas, Come" and the solemn, Latin chant-flavored "Venite Exultemus Domino." Guitarist Brandon Giuffre ponders the real meaning of the season on the acoustic "Is This Christmas?," followed by the playful and whimsical Beatles "Yellow Submarine" vibe of "Another Day Closer." Adam Bell closes the disc with his soulful piano jazz read of "The Christmas Song" and a stripped-down acoustic reprise edition of "Silent Prayer." The mood of Lords A Leaping Volume III is constantly uplifting and joyous; and the performances are inspired. The arrangements nicely bring out the magic of each song, and John Wagoner's mixing and mastering gives the album a smooth consistency. Lords A Leaping has again provided a catchy and vibrant variety of original holiday music on Volume III; a showcase of well-crafted songs that could someday become new Christmas standards.
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