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Michaela Foster-Marsh Fairy Tales and the Death Of Innocence
Image © 1998 Michaela Foster-Marsh 

(13 May 2000) The debut album from Scottish born and now Canadian singer / songwriter / piano player Michaela Foster-Marsh is entitled Fairy Tales & the Death of Innocence (Kavanagh Productions (Canada) HD3078, 1998). The stunning recording is comprised of eleven heartfelt vocally-intensive tracks that are complimented by lush atmospheric and orchestral instrumental arrangements. Lyrically as strong as the beauty of the music and performances, the songs are "born from the artist's experience on how the paradoxes, tensions and conflicting aspects of life affect us all." The artist's live performances are reported to be intimate experiences and should not be missed.

With musical influences of Kate Bush, Pink Floyd, Beethoven, Enigma and Celtic artists, comparisons of her music are often made to that of Tori Amos, Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt, Kate Bush, Natalie Merchant, Joni Mitchell, Ani DeFranco, Fiona Apple, and Sheryl Crow are often made. An occasional allusion to Stevie Nicks may also be evident to some listeners. The debut album is a collarobration with Toronto-based, Juno Award winning producer Greg Kavanagh. Michaela has a wonderful voice that is certain to appeal to a broad range of audiences.

While some of the album's tracks move right along and almost rock ("Right Now," "Falling Angel" and "Naked in the Water"), the majority of the songs are whispier ballads sung evocatively over orchestrally lush accompaniment. We were especially drawn to the moving ballad "Fallen Angel" with it's contemporary keyboard-based instrumental arrangement and most sensitive yet powerful lead vocal. Michaela recently recorded a video to promote the worldly track "Naked In The Water" in Toronto with images that effectively accompany the various passages of the song and also illustrate her physical beauty.

The album's ballads are evocatively sung and lightly accompanied by strings and piano. "The Maker or the Holy Man" has gently soaring vocal excursions that perfectly support the lyrical content. "Rag Doll" is performed in a similar style. A lovely piano melody underscores a beautiful vocal lead in "Drawn;" strings add additional textures underscoring the message. The album's concluding track is a lovely ballad accompanied primarily by piano with light strings entitled "The Other Side."

The album has several blues oriented numbers; in "Time Bomb" vocals and strings produce the desired effect. "Obvious" is performed in a lighter vein with sounds equally bordering soft folk rock and blues undertones. The title track is a bluesy ballad carried by stunning lead vocals completely illustrative of the artist's vocal talent and is accompanied by the lightest string arrangements in the first movement. Thicker arrangements build as the song develops with crisp percussion, more dynamic instrumentation and soaring vocal passages. A similar style is evident in the bluesy ballad "Torn To Bits" with it's orchestral instrumental backing arrangement.

You can read further reviews, hear sound samples and order Michaela's album Fairy Tales & The Death Of Innocence from amazon.com here. With a broad range of styles, excellent songwriting and instrumental arrangements joining her amazing vocal prowess, Michaela's album is a must listen!

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