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While this website has become known for its in-depth album and concert reviews, the digest contains concise comments on new music our audience has either recommended or might enjoy. Click on album covers or label names for links to further information. Click on the title to view the article.

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Liv Cummins Exactly CD Cover
Image © 2000 22 records 

(09 April 2000) In the case of Liv Cummins' album Exactly (22 Records (USA) 22-1012, 2000), one would be best not to judge the music by the album cover. We're told by the producer that it was meant to show her "wackier side." Liv is an accomplished singer and songwiter as well as an attractive young woman—a better photo is available on her website.

Originally from Minneapolis, Liv began performing in Los Angeles after attending Skidmore in Saratoga and is now currently based in New York City. Liv is vocally similar to Kate Bush yet lighter with a more contemporary and creative along the lines of rising star Michelle Young, her new seventeen-track album Exactly produced with partner Sandy McKnight is certain to appeal to a wide range of female vocal enthusiasts. You can listen to soundbites at the artist's mp3.com website. Liv's debut album, Some Days remains in print and is available from the artist directly.

Exactly is an album of varying styles. Short well-written folk-rock songs, pop numbers and ballads comprise the vocally laced album. Liv's vocal work is soft and sweet, evocative and sensual, and highly polished. Well produced instrumental work includes guitars, cello, bass, lush keyboards including Hammond organ parts and crisp percussion. Vocals are naturally mixed way up, yet they are sung softly with only rare soaring excursions. Frequent use of multi-tracked backing vocals adds to the overall texture of the album's sound.

We especially liked the range of styles included on the album and the balance between folk-rock, almost-pop, ballad and even an occasional jazz-oriented number such as the stunning "Hurry Up Your Love" with its uniquely sensual lead vocal part. The highly accessible, almost-pop track "Deal" is especially notable and actually perfectly suited for radio. The album's ballads are most like one would expect of Kate Bush and, with heartfelt performaces, are the most vocally stunning songs included. A multi-tracked and equally heartfelt contemporary cover of "I'll Be Back" (J. Lennon/P. McCartney) is especially memorable.

Liv Cummins' Exactly is an excellent album with great vocal work that should be explored further. Artwork includes full lyrics and performing credits as well as a couple of non-descript photos. With soundbites available both at mp3.com and cdbaby.com, online listeners can easily do so. Liv's album Exactly can be obtained at cdbaby.com. Worth a journey, the album is a very nice listen!

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