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Watching For Rain CD CoverAnne Trenning - Watching for Rain

Listening to Anne Trenning’s newest cd, Watching for Rain, which begins with the traditional Welsh folk song, The Ash Grove, one feels transported to an earlier time and place. Her performance is with such ease, it just suddenly becomes noticeable that you are no longer where you were when you turned the cd on.

Ten originals also line this piece of work which are composed and performed by Trenning. Eden Hall is wonderfully Celtic with the feel of a true jig on its heels. There is a welcoming peace to her music, wonderfully uplifting, especially noted on The Welcome Song.

A Prayer for the World may sum up Trenning’s inspiration and take on Watching for Rain, says the artist, "There is a change in the air for the whole world, and I wanted this collection of songs to communicate the hope for constructive transformation. Water is one of life’s essentials, and I feel the same way about music, " and you’ll feel the same way about Trenning; Watching for Rain is one of life’s listening essentials.

www.annetrenning.com

 

Colleen O'Grady - Hidden Treasures

Houston-based Colleen O’Grady brings the spiritual blessings of everyday life into the light on her new cd, Hidden Treasures. Guitar, Irish flute, violin and harmonica all come together on this cd for a rich and variable sound.

This is a cd with a message. Playfully alternative on some songs, with a mix of country and Celtic on others, O’Grady’s musical poetry leads the listener to a world of beauty on tracks like You are More. How Many Stars encourages us to look deeper at our feelings and life. Hear You, is a contemporary cry for our souls to listen for more . . Get back on the Horse and Dance with Me bring in a slight country sound while the title cut, Hidden Treasures, glimmers with the sounds of the Irish. Is it Love, Your Hands; stories of love and children, add an earthy touch to an overall inspirational collection. A ministry for the soul, O’Grady has listened well.

Find Colleen O'Grady at www.cdbaby.com

 

Tamara Lewis - Living Down River

Tamara Lewis brings an uncanny old time sound and feel into her songwriting and recordings on her second CD release, Living Down River. The title cut is dreamy and one can almost feel a southern breeze. It’s an easy ride and reminds that life should be so yet isn’t always on tracks like Love Song to the Midwest and Better Day. Don’t Look at the Mountain encourages us to let go of the past and find our healing in a new day with a bit of a gospel feel. Big City Blues comes in with a grindy, down at the crossroads touch and is sure to satisfy any blues fans. Cold Coffee, Warm Beer, is original retro; another with a new twist on that old time feel.

Lewis’ songwriting takes us back to a simpler, easier time. It’s a soft, soothing country sound with a gentle healer’s touch. She’s classic in her ability.

www.tlewismusic.com

 

 

Austin to Boston

 

 


Reina Collins - Austin to Boston

A veteran performer, Collins' newest CD, Austin to Boston, fires up with Medicine Burn, a hearty, throaty vocal growl indeed "burns" good goin' down on this track, as Collins states, she is the remedy.  More good country follows on Mae Belle Road, adoringly executed as any good story should be.  Collins is obviously a highly accomplished musician and performer with that Judy Collins, Kate Wolf, Joan Baez feel.  Safe has a strong fundamental rock sound.  Ruby moves back to a twisting little country sound dancing around the ballad of a beauty.  Good rolling sounds on Put the Message in the Box.  Nice cut on Woodstock, where her vocals really re-work a borrowed piece of time offering a nice strong cut of rock with really great electric guitar on it (and others) by Tim Ellis.  Sisters in Crime has that Riders on the Storm feel. They're all great listening.

Collins says she has a hard time labeling the genre.  It's a lotta country, a little blusey, folky and some fundamental rock.   Her bio states that she's been playing out for twenty years.  She's currently based in Portland and the rest of the country is clearly missing out!
www.reinagcollins.com

 

Blueberry Belle'Blueberry Belle' (Jana Risher) - Proxima Centauri

Instrumental.  Ethereal and haunting.  Risher's debut album cuts straight to the nuance of light, gliding, perpetual sensations using bass, drums, guitar.  Twelve tracks, uniquely performed and blended with the versatility of one talented musician.  Suitable for relaxation, yoga, meditation.  Soothing and peaceful.
www.blueberrybelle.com

 

Monique Berry - I Won't Pretend

The third CD from this California-based singer-songwriter, I Won’t Pretend, is a beautiful blend of alternative pop and easy listening just right for that "mood" you’re in.

The title cut, I won’t Pretend, combines an ethereal voice with a classy piano behind her as do all of the pieces. I Can’t Believe, is a soft but moving flow with lyrics like, "I’m burning like a wildfire . . . I can’t believe how the world turns and love burns, friends let you down." Others like, Feel the Fire, are comfortable listening with that beautiful, soothing voice. We sense that Berry may be holding back but it’s a mellow album full of soul-ful easy listening, especially, Turn Around; melodic, heart-felt vocals.

There’s some sadness here, there’s life here, and Berry’s here, giving us a little piece of what she has known, and it is endearing.  www.moniqueberry.com

 

 

PATSY GRIND: Call It LovePatsy Grind - Call it Love

If you like eighties-sounding hopping girl rock with a twist, Patsy Grind will hit close to home. a lot Blondie but enough of a hint of Edie Brikell, to keep it soulful.  A southern California pop/rock band, energetic and playful with a list of tunes you won't want to miss.  Featuring Danielle Silva, Judy Cocuzza, and Leslie Stoddard.  www.patsygrind.com

 

 

Carole Troll - Fine and Mellow

It's nice to receive a cd submission with heart.  Just look at her, one look and you know: she's got it.  She's full of heart and soul and power from the minute you turn the cd on.  Summertime, is one example from her new demo, Fine and Mellow.  Hitting high notes diving down into growls and rising again.  Impetuous.  The second track and title track is as promises.  Fine and Mellow is sultry and sassy, then ellipses into a Streisand/Broadway feel.   Listen and make your own comparison.  If you like jazz, you will love Troll.

Troll is in the studio now and promises to complete the full cd for release soon.  In the meantime, listen to Carole Troll at www.myspace.com/caroletroll

 

HILARY SCOTT: Road to HopeHilary Scott - Road to Hope

Singer-songwriter Hilary Scott has a fresh blend of country and contemporary sounds.  With so many wanna-be's around these days, an artist is hard-pressed to find a fresh sound but Scott has done it on tracks like Daydreamer, Sugar Bomb Loser Blues has a highway ballad feel with great vocals and guitar.  Her band  is undoubtedly the right mix for her voice and their musical talents.  Scott's rendition of Hallelujah is soulfully soothing with a country slant.  But it's not all country, the title cut, Road to Hope is upbeat and very much up there with the likes of today's pop sound.  All in all a great listen.  Be sure to pick up a copy of the CD because the booklet contains some wonderful photography of Scott and her guitar and American classics.
www.hilaryscott.com

 

 

 

 

2007 Reviews (soon to be archived)

November 2007

Carole King - Welcome to My Living Room

 

Recently I was honored to be asked to review the new Carole King DVD, Welcome to My Living Room. I do not normally write reviews with editorial commentary, however this performance struck me on too many levels to avoid personal comments, bear with me.

First let me say that this is one of those reviews that I spent an inexcusable amount of time on. I didn’t want to write; I wanted to watch, I wanted to listen. Each time I would put the DVD on again thinking ‘ok this time I’ll do the review,’ but I would get lost, lost in the magic that is Carole King.

Welcome to my Living Room, is an enchanted evening with a woman who has been there for us through thick and through thin. From her first alum, Now that Everything’s Been Said, in 1968, to the 2007 release of Welcome to My Living Room, King has been there through our happiness, our heartbreaks. She’s made us dance, sing, cry, and love. There is not a milestone in my life that is not documented in my heart with a Carole King song.

 

This DVD is a celebration of all that King has given us through a lifetime of talented dedication. You will hear favorites, some new sounds with a guest performer, show tunes, intimate conversation, and much more. A petite power-house, King is not afraid to sing out. With those oh-so-familiar chords we are instantly transported to a place thought lost inside the heart. With an impish, ‘but I am a good girl grin,’ it is indeed a pleasure not only to hear King perform but to see her perform.

Turning on this DVD, a lifetime of wonder came rushing back to me as I am sure it will to you. Do not miss this opportunity to see one of the music world’s finest perform. Stunningly heartfelt.

'Welcome To My Living Room’ hit stores 10.23.07 on Carole King’s own Rockingale Records. The long awaited live DVD is packed with additional features and footage that offers an intimate, unadorned glimpse into the "Living Room" of one of the greatest singer / songwriters of all time. Filmed in Southern California in 2005, the set features twenty-nine songs and nearly two hours of music from King’s sold-out 2005/06 ‘Living Room World Tour’.  Learn more about Carole King at www.caroleking.com

Editor’s note: I would like to say, Thank you Carole for sharing this performance and for all you have brought to the world, for providing the songs of not only my life but the lives of millions of fans.

 

 


September 2007

What can I say about Ann Wilson that hasn’t already been said? Doubtless little; however, there is plenty to say about her forth-coming CD, Hope and Glory, to be released 9-11. As one half of the ever-loved Heart, this rock queen was a pioneering force in paving the way for many women in rock today. She is back now with her first solo CD ever and has chosen a collection of her favorite songs to reflect our current times. Accompanying Wilson on this unique release are her sister Nancy Wilson, Elton John, K.D. Lang, Wynonna, Gretchen Wilson, Alison Krauss, Deana Carter, Rufus Wainright and Shawn Colvin.

In her selections Ann has covered all but one, which she penned, Little problems, Little Lies, and is heart-wrenching. As for the others like Led Zeppelin’s Immigrant Song, it is refreshing to hear a woman’s voice on such a timeless piece while Wilson returns our attention to issues which though presented long ago, are still ever-present and have yet to be resolved. She reminds us again, decades later, our work is still not done.

Ann’s searing vocals have been sorely missed as she explores a crossing of genres like none before her. Bluegrass, blues and rock mingle into an elite collection with fresh delivery and arrangements. Talk about pouring it out, just listen to what she did with Lennon’s Isolation.

The collection includes: Goodbye Blue Sky, Where to Now St. Peter, Jackson, We Gotta Get Out of This Place, Immigrant Song, Darkness Darkness, Bad Moon Rising, War of Men, Get Together, Isolation, Hard Rain’s a-Gonna Fall, Little Problems Little Lies.

Maybe this time around, the message from the songs will be heard more clearly. It certainly won’t hurt to hear them again, like you never heard them before, from a woman. This took guts and Wilson has what it takes. Sing on Ann. 
Visit Ann's MySpace at
www.myspace.com/officialannwilson or www.annwilson.com
 

June 2007

Mary Karlzen - The Wanderlust Diaries

Is it possible to rock-out and two step at the same time?
Mary Karlzen is refreshing; grabs you from the beginning with For One Moment and takes you right on into Straws where she brings two genres into one, taking the cross between alternative rock and country into her own world of great sounds, great songs. Skyway finds that Nashville sound, rediscovering what may have been lost for a while and adding to it, new and grand. Show Me shows us yet another side and sound of Karlzen, too cool. Jump sounds like hit material and Heart of a Saturday Night, a duet with Matthew Ryan, is touching and memorable. Karlzen is making Friends Along the Way, and invites us to Stay Forever. (Post-script: the cover’s cool too . . . ) www.marykarlzen.com

Anya Singleton - Not Easy to Forget

We tend to think we have the corner on the blues here in the US but Tunisian-born actress/singer Anya Singleton proves beyond a doubt that the blues are indeed universal on her latest CD of all-original music. Classic-sounding country with an old-time blusey feel. Singleton take us honky-tonkin’ wherever we are on I’m Just Fine, slow swaying and great rhythm. Nice lead on the title cut, I’m Just Fine. Sultry, salty and slow, Singleton belts out heart-warnings on Slow Man as she transports us from that honky-tonk to a smoky speak-easy with more incredible lead to accompany her. One Trick Pony melds into a jazzy-blues piece that’s upbeat and exemplary of its genre. Not Easy to Forget is a classic, and so is she. www.anyasingleton.com

May 2007

Carol Martini - The Rose in the Boxcar

The Rose in the Boxcar is a fresh return to a beloved genre and a feel for the sixties folk movement. With all songs written by Carol Martini, this CD is a wholesome accomplishment in what could qualify as future classics. Surprising acoustic quality on Love Is. Upbeat, good rhythmic sound on tracks like Rockin Robin. Martini takes us on a feminist adventure with Biker Chick making it tempting to even the most timid of us to pack our bags and feel the wind. Songs of the heart, from the heart, like Writing on the Heart. Another Day Without You resonates like poetry in song. Damn Those Eyes is a beauty and pleasing. Martini is most unique in her writing and her performance and if you enjoy original folk tunes, you will not be disappointed.  www.carolmartini.net
 

album coverSarah Burrill - If By Chance

Sarah Burrill is one of those artists who makes us listen. After surviving a rare form of breast cancer, Burril has gone on to record a hauntingly beautiful folk cd. This cd is excitingly surprising. Incredible stories, an incredible story-teller. Burrill’s voice is wonderful, soothing; the music is flowing and great quality, with a good message as the icing on the cake on tracts such as Act of love. A beautiful folk-sound with that 60s sing-a-long feel, love-ins, flowers on some tracts and a dreamy reflective quality on others. Burrill shows the other side of poetry and song from a woman’s journey. If you like folk, you’ll love Sarah Burrill. If you don’t like folk, you will now.  www.sarahburrill.com

Lea - Great Big World

Not since Tracy Chapman has a singer/songwriter come along whose magnetic voice and deep heartfelt appeal draws us in like Lea. Lea is so refreshing in a sea of wanna-be sound-alike cookie-cutter performers. She stands alone as a reminder of true talent, bringing not only a fresh perspective, but sound, to the contemporary recording world. Comfortable, kicked back, and immeasurable. Lea’s Great Big World is truly, Another Sunny Day www.thisislea.com

March 2007

Emily Burridge - Bridge between the Worlds

This cd, Bridge between Worlds, plays like a soundtrack, but rather than a film soundtrack, a soundtrack of life. Burridge’s time spent in the Brazilian cultures of the Xavante Indians provides the backdrop for this most accomplished collection of work. Tracks such as Adolescents are a hauntingly beautiful cello set against a soft background of chanting; there is a peaceful feeling that is indescribable and must be the magic of the Xavante culture softly bleeding through. This piece of work by Burridge is proof that music is truly the universal language and that we can bridge any distance; create peace and harmony in the coming together of different worlds, and in this day and time, that is a great feeling, and so is this CD, aptly named, Bridge between the Worlds www.emilyburridge.com

Jennifer Parsignault - From the Dark

Jennifer Parsignault

Jennifer Parsignault’s, From the Dark, is a unique blend in styling; sweet and luxurious, featuring her talents on piano, violin, keyboards and incredibly dreamy vocals. Orbit Again, the first track has almost enough of a pop sound to please many listeners, combined with a little saxxy jazz and a bit of easy listening, it is pleasure to the ears. On the Outside is beautifully structured with a soothing, waving intro, feeling fresh from the sea as Parsignault’s voice has the ability to transport your senses to other, more pleasing, environs. There is a mystical quality here not apparent in many songs. Last Dance has a familiar quality of the current trend coupled with the unspoken depths that this woman seems to carry, the makes for a big hit. (September) Winter, gives pleasure in a rainy day. Back Home is a bittersweet reflection of growth. Not to be missed, this album has a classic sound, yet is more profound than most contemporary collections. www.greene-house.com


Lana Lane - Gemini

It takes a lot of moxie and talent to cover bands like Pink Floyd, Cream, The Moody Blues, Jefferson Airplane; and that’s exactly what Lana Lane has, plenty of both. Her new album, Gemini, is resplendent; sizzling with new life breathed into fourteen of rock’s most classic compositions.

It is possibly more difficult to listen to a new artist performing old favorites while keeping an open mind; we have our opinions, we have our minds made up. From White Room to White Rabbit, Lane’s vocals twist, probe and pour out a powerful spell in sync with excellent guitar and back-ups. It is truly a joy to hear these songs again, especially those previously recorded by males, in a new light and in a woman’s voice. Long, Long Way From Home, Starrider, and Breathe in the Air particularly.

We need to listen to Lane, really listen, repeatedly, so that we can fully respect, appreciate and honor the accomplishment she has made. Proving Kate Wolf correct in her belief that the songs should be sung, the stories told over and over again, Lane is carrying on a bardic tradition.
www.lanalane.com


Rew - that*s*rite

I like Rew. I don’t know why. She’s funky, she’s brassy, she’s a character, she says “like me, or not.” Almost retro in her punk. Hoppin’ na na na’s, electric sound, vibrant and alive on tracks like Think About. The third cut is one that we all probably wanted to write at one point or another . . . she tells it like is, and again on U Annoy Me. Rew has her own unique style and is evident on Skeletonz. Megan is a slower tale with some nice mellow guitar. The title cut, that*s*rite, is bassy and rhythmic, nice electric guitar with a Riders on the Storm feel. Rew is not one to be taken or heard lightly. She’s on the edge; the edge of something newwww.luvrew.com

Michelle Rounds - A Matcha Chocolate Love Adventure

International recording artist Michelle Rounds, currently based in Japan, has released a glorious, slow-moving collection of jazz favorites, recorded with piano and rich, deep, rounded vocals on tracks like Runaway. Blue Gardenia takes you back with a Casablanca feel, while They All Laughed picks up the tempo in a lighter mood, and even quicker and lighter on Robbin’s Nest with a hint of Ella. Rounds’ vocal are smooth and velvety on Round Midnight.

Let Me See Now, although it is the first track, exhibits Rounds’ multi-dimensional talent with a world rap sound that catches your attention and says listen. Sophisticated Lady is dreamy and sophisticated just like Michelle Rounds. If you like jazz vocals and beautiful piano, give her a listen.
www.michellerounds.com

album coverTamara Lewis - Long Time No See
This is just the type of story we like. Twenty-year career gal turns to music and beats the odds.
She calls it folk, I call it blues, but whichever it is, it works. Listen Me Back is beautiful vocals with a meltdown (as if it needed a violin, Lewis’ voice is a violin, a perfect blend). This is a touching song. Many of the cuts like, Just Because, have a great old western swing-blusey feel, good for slowwwww dancing. Loose Ends World, seems timeless, though it’s tick-tock slow rhythm reminds us “time is a tide-pool in our dreams . . . surprised to find it’s in a straight line in this time-flies world.” He’s not you, sounds like a good old Patsy Cline heartacher, making you want to sit in a soda shop, feelin’ dreamy-eyed and lovesick.   Other cuts like, This Good-Bye, whisper of a sadness we have all known.
All in all this cd is good folk, good blues, good country. Lewis is definitely a woman on the rise.
www.tamaralewismusic.com

 

February 2007
 

Kathy Greenholdt & the Edsel Bros. - Wake-up Prayer
Kathy Greenholdt does it again on her brand new 2007 cd release, Wake-Up Prayer along with her Chicago-based band, The Edsel Brothers.
Summer’s Through is a beautifully done portrayal of sadness and loss, holding true to Greenholdt’s former pieces in that they can be almost too sad to listen to. Mary, Mary, brings in the guitar a little harder with the rock-folk sound and hits the ground running, while Greenholdt’s voice really syncs in on this one; softly, then intensely, competing with the best of them in a genre that may need to watch out. Sky, returns to a softness with an incredible bluegrass yet contemporary pop sound that works. The title cut, Wake-Up Prayer an upbeat, rocking reminder of faith, responsibility and spiritual duty, petitions God to save us from ourselves.
It appears that after two previous cds of soul-searching, Greenholdt has found her niche and emerged energetic and ever-soulfully talented in her own sound, capturing a new edge on a classic genre. Amazing.

 

Katrina Parker - Only Dreaming
The Los Angeles based artist, Katrina Parker, will softly steal in and capture your deepest listening desires. From the cd Only Dreaming, Killing Me with vocals and piano is smoky, sultry, moody. Parker is powerful, strong and emotional. Thinking it Over is heart-moving. Softly swaying enigmatically peaceful and a lulling lullaby charm. Running hits a high note both in music and love’s longing. Only Dreaming, the title cut highlights it all in one song.  All in all, this cd is for the mood to listen. Sit down, dim the lights, get a glass of wine and you’ll find yourself dreaming right along with Parker in another space and time.
www.katrinaparker.com

 

Casey Desmond - Casey Desmond

If you’re looking for good honest music, good quality, and a young sound, look no further than Casey Desmond. WR loves this gal, she’s on the shooting track. From the cd, Casey Desmond, Did We Make It is hit material right off the bat. Peppy, hip, rock-pop-girl sound. Taste It, another one for the charts. Two Girls, expresses those feelings of eruptive jealousy and confusion in early relationships with a lovin’ dance beat. Alternative sounds and vocals appear on Shivering in the intro but lead once again into that hit sound that seems to be Desmond’s trademark. The Child is ballad-like and lets us know that Desmond may have some Celtic bardess tendencies as well. Sorry Ain’t Enough carries a heavier rock rhythm, increasing the intensity of the cd. I Was Right goes into a comfortable acoustic sound, rounding out this album of great music, making it a number one pick for listening pleasure.
www.caseydesmond.com


Jen Porter - Moving On

Moving On, Chicago-based Jen Porter’s third cd and 2006 release, expertly exhibits her playful, cocky, and fully-rounded voice. From the very first title, Along the Way, you’ll be ready to pack your bags and travel a little further down this gutsy road with Porter. Aaron’s Song, puts perspective on our human and political trials today and is of a deeper mood, offering powerful incentive for further contemplation. “Oh say can you see, what we’re meant to be . . . together we can fly.” Performing vocals, guitar and piano, Porter flows a little softer on this cd, showing us yet another side of her talents without losing any of that blusey-feminine power.
www.jenporter.com


album coverAnnie Dinerman - 1001 American Nights
Debuting at the Kerrville Folk Festival and receiving the Abe Olman Award from Songwriters Hall of Fame, both in 2006, Annie Dinerman has made some record accomplishments with the release of her first cd, 1001 American Nights.

An angelic voice, upbeat with some pop-jazzy twists on the traditional genre of folk; especially on cuts like Same All Over. Greasy Spoon relates a woman’s move after a broken relationship, capturing that lonely, on-the-road feel.

This is a woman’s cd. Dinerman is most certainly a story-teller, reminding us of memories, loves lost and some forgotten feelings and desires. She may just remind you of that girl you used to be.
www.anniedinerman.com

 

Tara Wrobel - A Great Letting Go

A solo artist, Tara Wrobel seems to accomplish alone in her debut cd, A Great Letting Go, what it takes many to accomplish otherwise. Beautiful piano, with voices layered above it creating a chorus of herself (or is it her many muses in harmony together?). Earth-born Child is a melodious up and down of the beauty of the voice. Sliding Down is almost a contradicting element in its nature but you want to follow Wrobel’s experimental creation.
www.tarawrobel.com

 



 

 

 


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