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Joanne Juskus
Joanne Juskus
Image 2001 Rudderfish Music

(25 July 2001) The debut album from Joanne Juskus is a 13-track self-titled project produced by Brad Allen (Rudderfish (USA) HM7720, 2001). Musical Discoveries' visitors will recall our review of the promo in November 2000. The Washington, DC-based artist has just released her full length album. Produced and co-written by Brad Allen, the recording highlights Joanne's heavenly vocal work compared by some to Annie Haslam and others to Joni Mitchell and Kate Bush. Yet others hear Sandy Denny at times. The album certainly illustrates the artist's range.

Light guitar- and keyboard-based arrangements compliment evocatively sung lead vocals in "Never Be The Same" and "Meet You There." Instrumental arrangements in the concluding passages of "Never Be The Same" are especially intriguing; we weren't exactly sure what was going on with the first play. We were especially reminded of Joni Mitchell's work in these tracks. "Waters of March" has been reworked since the demo with a warmer arrangement. The track, written by Antonio Carlos Jobim, illustrates the clarity of Joanne's voice.

"Breathing Underwater" and "Intersection" move into light rock and blues respectively. Joanne's voice is especially evocative in "New Religion" and the dynamic guitar arrangements add greatly to the overall sound. Joanne's emotional vocal delivery in the dynamic "New Religion" and soaring excursions in "The Taste Of You" and "Wish" reflect her artistic sensitivity while gentler acoustic instrumentals reveal another side of Brad Allen's production talent. The bluesy "Good Thing" and "2 Days In July" are very Joni Mitchell vocally as well as instrumentally.

Especially noteworthy tracks are "I Am" and our favourite "Within Your Fire." Soaring and sensual vocals sung are effectively complimented by light keyboards and light guitar and percussion in the former, while progressive arrangements of the latter produce a very Renaissance-like sound and reflect the Annie Haslam side of Joanne's vocal style. The track blends Indian sounds with modern rock and Joanne's soaring vocal lead. Dynamic keyboards and guitar solos reveal the artists' instrumental skills and extremely well-produced progressive arrangements. Joanne's voice is perfectly suited for progressive rock. The album concludes with a piano-based ballad called "Birthday" evocatively and sensually sung with gently soaring vocal excursions.

Our preview of Joanne's demo recordings revealed a notable singer / songwriter with an extremely bright future and this is further underscored with the full length album relase. Also an established graphic artist, the stunning pre-production demo package and presskit for the full length album were self-produced. Click here to access Joanne's mp3.com webspace where you can sample some of these tracks for yourself. Joanne's debut release is worth a journey, and indeed is a very nice listen!

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