Christine Collister has issued a handful of classic singer/songwriter albums since embarking on her solo career in 1992. While her smoky alto has always been her calling card, Collister also shows a knack for blending elements of jazz, pop, and folk into a rich musical landscape. An Equal Love is another fine entry in her canon, featuring self-penned and borrowed compositions with eclectic arrangements. The album begins on a somber note with "Waiting for My Prayer," a dark song tinged by a hopeful outcome, while "Can't Cry Hard Enough" utilizes keyboards and drums for a more contemporary sound. Collister really digs deep to offer an affecting vocal on Sarah McLachlan's "Full of Grace." The piano and tasteful string arrangements provide an austere backdrop, giving the song a quiet, "unplugged" feel that works well with her voice. Collister has penned several memorable songs with poetic lyrics, including "Venus Proud" and "An Equal Love." What makes her writing so fascinating is its dreamy quality. She sings, "Then the moon licked my brow/Kissed the frown from my head/And slipped out of my fists/All the love that lay dead," in "Venus Proud." Her lyrics never give the impression that she's trying to work out personal issues, even though that's what artists do when they write. Instead, she writes about universal concerns in a universal language. Collister is also a fine interpreter of more familiar fare, offering an a cappella version of "Motherless Child" and ending the album with a subdued rendition of "Moon River." An Equal Love will sit comfortably beside Collister's earlier work and will be warmly greeted by music lovers with discerning taste.
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AllMusic Review by Ronnie D. Lankford, Jr.