Image © 1998
(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
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
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!