Holly Starr - Tapestry
At 19, Christian singer/songwriter Holly Starr is able to reflect upon serious issues of faith while retaining the wide-eyed perspective of a teenaged believer. On her sophomore album Tapestry, she occupies a niche somewhere between the buoyant pop of Britt Nicole and the more expansive, crossover-friendly sound of Francesca Battistelli and Charmaine. Starr’s emotive alto vocals work best in a piano-centered ballad setting, especially on “I Love You Anyway” (a heartfelt tune about forgiveness) and “My Cry” (a prayer for strength and knowledge with a slightly spacey edge). Her lyrics show maturity — “I’ll Watch You Dance,” for instance, acknowledges that God’s plans unfold on their own schedule. Among the upbeat tracks, the Europop-accented “Undertow” and the urgent, anthemic “Holding On to You” are most effective. Starr is capable of romantic songs with a spiritual dimension, as the bubbly “Come Close” shows. As producer, Rusty Varenkamp keeps the sound bright and au courant, adding hints of shimmering electronica and slipping in some Auto-Tune here and there.