(29 November 2009) Cherish Alexander has a magical pen that dips into those dark unspeakable places that haunt us and isn’t afraid to expose them and let loose when she cries out her raw, soulbearing songs. Musical Discoveries and Cherish were brought together by Aeone, an artist reviewed and interviewed here several times in the past few years.
"Songwriting has always been a natural process for me,” reveals Cherish, who has been singing and playing the piano since age seven. Early on, the artist landed a deal with a major label and publishing powerhouse Warner-Chappell, which enabled her to hone her instinctual gift for songwriting and toured natiionally with the Los Angeles based band, 'The Painkillers' after three successful albums.
In her first solo album, Cherish springboards from the harder edged tunes of her earlier work with The Painkillers (Medicine for the Soul (1998), State of Mind (2002)). Together with drummer Billy Baker, Cherish started the rock band The Painkillers in Los Angeles, CA. The energetic duo quickly added guitarist Curtis Hooker and bassist Matt Boyd, to piece together a fuller sound. Each member brought his or her own contributions and experiences to the new group.
In 1998, The Painkillers released their debut offering filled with alternative pop numbers. The group also completed music videos for two of the tracks, "Broken" and "I'm Sorry." Other tracks were featured in films; "In Between" was used in Burt Reynolds' movie The Last Producer. "Good Enough" found a spot in Alligator Alley. Three other tunes from the debut were featured in the television series The Crow: Stairway to Heaven.
Fast forward five years following The Painkillers last album. In 2007, Cherish finshed writing and producing her debut album Fallen Awake (Violently Peaceful (USA), 8 37101 37135 3, 2007) with up and coming producer Billy Baker of Magnum Opus Productions. Fallen Awake captures the same audience who respond to songs of the heart and everyday love and loss. The eleven-song music CD is packages with a "making of" DVD.
Cherish pours blood, sweat and tears into her music. She says, "I am about trying to bring the realism of life back into music. The musical cliche has been to fabricate yourself into whatever is hip, and you can feel a sense of loss for real music. Finally, I think there's a slow resurgence of singer/songwriters and a place for me." And she is well on her way to claiming it.
The tracks on the album span singer songwriter and pop territories. Cherish has a sweet yet powerful voice while, in the production, layering adds further texture. The arrangements are rich and polished delivering a solid performance on the record. The album opens with the rousing and highly accessible pop track "Blue Skies." The lovely and powerful piano-driven melody never overshadows Cherish's tender vocal work. "Bigger Than Me" is lovely blend--part ballad and part stadium-style rocker--with evocative vocals that tug hard at heartstrings.
"People" and "Break Free" on the other hand are longing and heartwrenching ballads with string sections that underscore the deep emotion in the vocals that Cherish clearly wishes to evoke. "Hold On" is more a promising song that is more accessible, especially with the lush vocal harmonies that contribute to the warm arrangements. The crisp piano in "The Other Half" provides a perfect backdrop for the heartfelt lyrics while warm harmonies contribute to the hope of the chorus.
In addition to the pop-oriented tracks and ballads, Cherish can deliver solid rock songs. Album standout "For So Long" is an upbeat rocker with thick--read about her formation to learn more--Led Zepplin-style guitar allusions and wonderful keyboard riffs. Her sweet voice contributes to the excellent sound of this track. The unique electronic arrangement of "Heaven's Here" is a welcome addition to the album and everso complementary to Cherish's lead and harmony vocal lines.
Haunting string arrangements lead into the evocative track "Bulletproof." Listen to Cherish sing at her most vulnerable without backing harmonies in this fabulous track. The instrumental solos are gorgeous. "Another Day" is an accessible pop-(maybe even country-) oriented song complete with lush backing harmonies and a lovely chorus. The album concludes with the evocatively delivered "Buy Me Love."
While Cherish's work with The Painkillers is still available second hand and on mp3, her new album, with the "making of" DVD is nowl generally available. Cherish Alexander is a
tremendous singer songwriter and significant musical talent. In addition to her music, she actively supports other artists and has extensive credits. A great album!