(26 July 2009) We first heard Flo Paris as one of the singers in the progressive band Glass Hammer. Her solos and backing vocal parts across the band's numerous albums, DVDs and live performances added a lot of texture to the band's sound. In the run up to her 2006 debut album Practice Room (review), Flo contributed a song to All This Time (review). Flo's latest release is a ten track collection entitled Coming Around (Flo Paris Music (USA), 2009).
With the release of Coming Around, Flo identifies her music with the folk/Americana style. There is a country flare to the acoustic guitar or piano backed tunes. The album's arrangements are largely acoustic but are also at times filled with lush keyboard washes. Flo's sweet voice glides atop the arrangements of the ten individual tracks.
With all music and lyrics written by Flo, she also provides vocals, backing vocals and acoustic guitar as well as the piano part on "The Truth." She is joined by Jason Massey (electric guitar, synths/seys/organ sounds, mandolin, banjo, Bass) and Seth Roberts (background vocals and bass on "The Lie"). Andrew Osenga contributed electric guitar on "Coming Around." The album was produced by Seth Roberts and Jason Massey and was co-Produced by Flo Paris; recorded at Lynsong in Atascadero, CA and, like her othe work had a bit of Glass Hammer involvement, it was mastered at Sound Resources in Chattanooga, TN.
Flo's sweet voice is unmistakable whether she is singing solo or with Glass Hammer. Practice Room was a fantastic appetizer to the main course featured in Coming Around. Life themes within the lyrics in her new songs have evolved from the gospel intonations of her former work. The infectiously upbeat title track that closes the album speaks about growth and perhaps says it all.
"Goodbye" is the album's rhythmic, heartfelt and folk-styled opening number. A reprise of the lyrical content entitled "Goodbye 2" is differently arranged as a slower paced acoustic ballad and is evocatively sung with lush vocal layers adding texture to the tune. Each version has individual merits and it's obvious why Flo included them both on the album.
"Love and Music" is an upbeat rock-oriented Americana-styled number. Acoustic and electric guitar, bass and drum set provide the perfect instrumental foundation for Flo's evocative vocal part. Equally percussive, accompanied by a tender mandolin part, the lyrics to "Love and Music" tug at listeners heartstrings. Flo delivers the ballad "Maybe" with wrenching emotion atop lush keyboard washes and acoustic guitar.
"The Lie"--the first of a pair of brief opposing themed tracks--is brightly performed atop two acoustic guitar parts and is graced with lovely vocal layers supporting Flo's lead. The second is entitled "The Truth" and in contrast is sweetly sung with simple piano backing, entirely solo. The production is outstanding.
The standout "Dance" is an infectiously upbeat verse-chorus acoustic number. Again, Flo's sweet voice glides above the outstandingly produced arrangements. "Gypsy," which begins in stark contrast sung atop lone acoustic guitar, develops into a lovely more robustly arranged tune. The two tracks work extremely well, as in the pair above, alongside each other in the running order.
The balance of Coming Around is achieved through variety of the tracks, tempos and rich production. To promote her new album, Flo has teamed up with NoiseTrade in a limited time pay-what-you-want or a tell-five-friends album download campaign. Visit the artist's website to listen to samples and to obtain the album. Flo Paris has produced an outstanding second solo album and has provided her listeners a novel way to obtain it online. Bravo!