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Something Unbroken CD Cover
Image © 1999 Andy Hill and Renée Safier 
 

(09 January 2000) The latest album featuring a collection of songs by Andy Hill and Renée Safier is entitled Something Unbroken. With twelve vocally rich tracks of varying styles penned either by Andy (8), Renée (2) or Larry and Terry Tutor (2), the stunning album is self-produced and was self-released. Enthusiasts of Jennifer Nobel's work with Sojourn and Grey Eye Glances and Marianne Marino with November Project will certainly appreciate Renée's vocal work. They regularly perform in Redondo Beach at The Blue Moon Saloon, one of our long standing favourite southern California restaurants.

Both artists have former releases together and individually. Their earlier release together is entitled The 14th Of February and is a a ten-song collection that the duo co-produced. It includes seven Andy Hill originals; the mood of the album shifts from jazz and pop ballads to guitar-based rock and roll. In 1998 Renée released They All Laughed with Bob Malone. The album consists of eleven jazz standards performed by Renee and Bob Malone, including such classics as "Embraceable You" and "Our Love Is Here To Stay" by the Gershwins, "I Could Write A Book" by Rogers and Hart, "Soon It's Gonna Rain" by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, and Arlen and Mercer's "One For My Baby."

Renée sings lead vocals on half of the new album's tracks ("Second Story," "After All That's Passed Between Us," "Something Unbroken," "Autumn," "Take My Hand" and "When You Remember Me") while Andy sings lead vocals on the others ("You Chose Me," "The Part Of Me That's Over You," "Two Trains," "I Already Know," "Before I Go To Sleep" and "The Eye Of The Beholder"). Renée sings backing vocals on most of the songs where Andy sings lead. There is a slight country texture to several of the album's tracks largely achieved with slide guitar and keyboards.

The album opens with "You Chose Me," a lovely ballad with light instrumentation with Andy doing vocal lead and Renée on backing vocals. The album moves to a country sound largely achieved with a slide guitar and Renée's sweet lead vocals in the track "Second Story." Renée sings the sensitive ballad "After All That's Passed Between Us" with mainly piano accompanying her although a gentle slide guitar adds to the instrumentation as the song develops. This is clearly the song to hear Renée's voice most clearly—simply stunning. Her highly emotional vocal performance of the title track, "When You Remember Me" and more heavily instrumented "Autumn" ballads are equally awe inspiring. Renee's lead vocal performances are mostly done without multi-tracking. Renée's vocal peformance on "Take My Hand" is warm, powerful and sensitive. Some light multi-tracking here and Andy's backing vocal adds to the colour and depth of the track.

Harmonica and light acoustic guitar provide the gentle instrumentation for Andy's lead vocal on "Two Trains." Slide guitar continues to provide a slight country edge to the song. The highly accessible "The Part Of Me That's Over You" is a moving almost-country sounding number with lead sung by Andy. The acoustic guitar perfectly suits the rock ballad "Before I Go To Sleep" sung by Andy. Electric guitar excursions add to the colour of the song. Renée's backing vocals on these two tracks are reminiscent of an earlier Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks) sound while the joint vocal performances within the track "I Already Know" that approach a duet are highly memorable in their own right.

A certain favourite is the adult contemporary light rock crossover "The Eye Of The Beholder" that concludes the album with Andy's lead and Renée's wonderful backing vocals. This highly accessible track has tremendous instrumentation (with excellent improvisation in the instrumental that closes the song) as well as a nice hook.

This latest album by Andy Hill and Renée Safier is a stunning combination of excellent singing, songwriting and instrumental performances. Heartfelt lyrics, top notch production, and professional in every way, the music is excellent and worth detailed exploration and a journey; it struck us immediately with its timeless quality—certainly a must listen!

 
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