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Click on the title to view the article.
S. & K. Lynn Huggens
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Image © 2000
Hearts Of Space
More Méav Ní Mhaolchatha
Interview and Photos (2007)
Interview and Photos (2002)
(27 February 2000) The Irish choral group
Anúna are well known for
the soprano vocalists they have produced over the years—Eimear Quinn
won Eurovision with "The Voice" in 1996. Méav Ni Mhaolchatha—also
from Anúna—gained international attention with the group as a
featured soloist performing in the London and US productions of
Riverdance and on their albums. Eimear and Méav
are the dominant soloists on
Omnis and are the two women in the centre of this 1996 Anúna
Entitled Méav (Hearts O' Space (USA)
11098-2, 2000), her debut album reveals an
effortless mastery of Celtic and classical pieces,
traditional songs and early music. Méav's
crystalline soprano voice is perfectly accompanied by
contemporary and elegant instrumental arrangements.
The album's repertoire consists of twelve relatively well-known
compositions. "Ailein Duinn" (theme from the motion picture Rob
Roy) originally performed by Capercaillie's
Karen Matheson is sung wonderfully and sensitively in Gaelic
and backed with lovely instrumentation. The flute part is incredible.
Méav's stunning soprano rendition
of "I Dreamt I Dwelt In Marble Halls" originally written by Michael
Balfe in 1843 for his opera The Bohemian Girl
pales Enya's version on Shepherd Moons. David Downes'
rich arrangement of "She Moved Through The Fair" with additional
vocals and orchestra perfectly suits Méav's vocal performance.
Mark Armstrong's arrangement of "I'm A Doun" with similar textures
provides a contrast to Vanessa Mae's 1996 recording.
The classic "Solveig's Song" was written by Greig in 1876.
Méav writes about the calling vocalise within the track, "I love
the ethereal wordless melody that forms its chorus." Crystalline
solo vocals over light acoustic guitar and violin are joined by
whistle in the Irish classic "I Wish My Love Was A Red, Red Rose"
and by traditional drums and additional backing vocals in "Si do
Méav's sublimely clear vocals dominate the modern ballad "Since
You and I Were True" as well as in the traditional of "The Death of
Queen Jane" written for the court of King Henry VII in the early
1500s. Listen for the harpsichord and the flute in the instrumental
bridge. The sensitive vocals for the soft lullaby "Close Your Eyes"
are accompanied by lovely violin and harp performances. A stunning
a capella performance is used to introduce "One I Love"; vocals are
lightly multi-tracked during the song's choruses and only the
very slightest instrumentation backs it in parts. The album closes
with the track "Celtic Prayer." Soaring vocals are combined with a
grand instrumental arranged to passes the melody from instrument to
instrument, certain to entrall a broad audiences.
You can order Méav's album via amazon.com
here. Méav's self-titled debut is clearly one of the best heavenly
vocal albums we have heard in a long time and with stunning crystalline
vocal renditions of well-known compositions, it is worth a long distance
journey and significant further exploration. Now released in the USA and
other territories, it is definitely a must listen!
Image © 1999
River Basin Records
(27 February 2000) The self-titled and independently
produced debut album
photo) by father and daughter duo
Stu & Keri Lynn Huggens
was released in 1999. The pair of five-track Digital Audio Music (DAM)
(Stu & Keri Lynn Huggens
Same Old Game)
together contain the same tracks as the self-titled
commercial release. MP3's DAMs will play mp3 format on computer
using provided Macromedia software as well as normal audio on a
standard CD player.
Classified by the Lancaster, Pennsylvania
artists as 'American Music,' the album is rooted in country, touched
by swing, enriched in blues, tempered by folk and kicked by rock.
Well produced and balanced instrumentation backs lovely vocal
work by the duo. Keri Lynn
is a very attractive young lady with an equally stunning voice; note
her visual similarity to the everso popular Katie Holmes
(Dawson's Creek). Further
information and photographs are available at the artist's
official website while
free music downloads are available at
webpage. [all Photos © Krisha Martzall, 1999]
Vocals for the album are deeply rooted in a country style.
Keri Lynn sings sweetly in mid register and has quite a bit of
power. The photos available at their website and critics' acclaim
indicate she must be dynamite to see perform live. While Keri Lynn
likely has an equally extensive range, the songs on the album don't
Stu sings, plays acoustic guitar and wrote or co-wrote most of the
material on the album. Further instrumentation is
provided by supporting musicians: Mickey Dean (lead guitar); Mike
Bitts (bass and baritone guitar); Dave Spak (drums and percussion);
Lee Derstler (pedal and steel guitar); Chris DeVitry (fiddle);
Mike Wolpert (keyboards and piano); Dave Huxta (bass on "Troubled
Waters") and Paul Keaveney (acoustic slide guitar).
The duo alternate singing lead while the other sings
harmonies—an effective and attractive combination of voices.
Stu sings lead vocals on "Solid Roots" and the sensitive ballad
"That's What Love Is About." He also leads the way on the album's
closing track, a swinging bluesy number entitled "Why Did I Bite
Keri Lynn sings lead on "Same Old Game, Brand New Love" and the
two tracks she wrote for the album, sensitive ballads entitled
"Troubled Waters" and "My Child." She also sings lead on the
swinging country tune "All Hat, No Cattle."
The country ballad "All Over Again Tonight" and the rocking tune
"Trouble's Coming" are sung as thoughtfully produced duets.
A cross between swing and rock, Stu also sings lead on "When Elvis
Gives Another Cadillac Away."
Clearly the album is a collection of eclectic and interesting
interesting vocal numbers. The complete album may be purchased from
the artists' website or as two CDs from mp3.com. Different from the
music reviewed typically at Musical Discoveries, we found the music
easy to sample online and the technical quality of their commercial
release to be quite good. It should be further explored by those
wishing to expand their entertainment sphere—a nice listen!.
Image © 1999
Weeping Buddha Music
(26 February 2000) The self-titled independently
produced debut album by Jenna Music was released in late
1998. From their website, "Jenna Music is a rock and roll band.
Based in Los Angeles, California, the idea for the band was
conceived four years ago by Jenna [Lee], the band's leader,
singer and songwriter. In late 1993, Jenna put a small band
together to accompany her quickly growing repetoire of songs
and began to perform at local coffee houses and acoustic clubs.
Soon after in early 1995, the band evolved into an all-electric
four-piece rock group and became Jenna & The Weeping Buddhas.
Under this name, they quickly began to rise to the top of the
local Los Angeles scene, performing regularly at The Viper Room
and The House of Blues.
"In 1998, after gaining local popularity, they changed their
name to Jenna Music, released their first CD independently and began
to perform in several regions outside of Los Angeles, including San
Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta, San Luis Obispo and San Diego.
Over the past two years, Jenna (lead vocals, guitar), James
Patterson (bass), and Brett Garsed (lead guitar, vocals) have
been playing heavily, and gaining recognition from such magazines
as Musician and LA Weekly." They have also had three
songs from their album featured on hit television shows Dawson's
Creek and Time of Your Life. A second album is in the works.
There are several songs available for online listening at
The album is comprised of nine average length tracks of varying
styles centered around Jenna's lead vocals. Her emotional delivery
likely led to the music being selected for popular television series
soundtracks. Highly accessible mid-tempo songs include the album's
opener "If It's Love," "Reality Hurts" and "Hardest Thing." The
band's more agressive style is heard in "Little Bit Of My Love"
with elements of jazz and blues they call 'groove-oriented rock.'
A rich almost orchestral guitar style emerges in "All For You."
Jenna's power and range are illustrated in the moving track
entitled "Wait For Me." Her backing vocal part is equally notable.
"Moving Like Water" is a slower track with a slight country edge
and Rikki Lee Jones-like vocals. An lovely ballad with sensitive
vocals, "See Right Through You," is a certain favourite; it
concludes the album.
The artwork that accompanies the compact disc contains full
lyrics, performing and recording credits and various photos of
Jenna and her band. Further biographical information is
available on the band's website.
You can order Jenna Music's debut album at amazon.com
here. A lovely album with heartfelt rock songs with expressive
female vocals, this debut is a nice listen!
Image © 2000
(26 February 2000) Vocal elements combine with modern instrumental
arrangements on the eleven tracks that comprise this worldly progressive
Celtic-oriented album. Our review of—Norway's leading Hardangerfiddle
Lien's latest album, Baba Yaga (NorthSide (USA) NSD6044, 2000)
is as comfortable here as it would be in our our
Instrumental Album Review Digest. The album is a modern mystical
tapestry incorporating ancient sounds and sprits with the modern age;
her band brings elements from all over the world to a distinctly Norwegian
traditional base. More photographs and further information are available
at Annbjørg's own
From the notes that accompanied our promotional copy,
"Baba Yaga is an original instrumental concept album, written
by the aritst with producer/band member Bjørn Ole Rasch based on
old Russian fairy tales. Lien and Rasch chronicle with words and
music an encounter between the title character, a powerful
and multi-faceted being, and a joyn mand to whom she teached
and upon whom she confers gifts. It's Lien's hypnotic Hardanger
fiddle (a violin with a flatter fingerboard and a set of
sympathetic strings that resonate as the instrument is played)
and Nyckelharpa (keyed fiddle) playing and vocals along
with the imaginative contributions of her band members—Rasch Bjørn Ole
on keyboards, minimoog and programming; with Rune Arnesen on
percussion; Hans Fredrik Jacobsen on flutes, bagpipe
and Meraker clarined and oud; and Roger Tallroth on guitar—that
tell the story, as well as convey its deeper metaphor for the
Lovers of the fiddle music in Riverdance and Lord Of
The Dance will certainly appreciate the album's progressive
Celtic style with its rich orchestral arrangements ("Iriandia,"
"Old Larry" and "Ritual").
Annbjørg Lien explains, "Baba Yaga stands for both the dark
and the bright side of the human." The album's multi-textured title
track weaves international themes "into a stunning mini-epic
inspired by Mussorgsky's "Pictures At An Exhibition" and is
even reminscent in places of Emerson, Lake and Palmer—especially
in the electronic instrumental bridge within "Wackidoo"!
The calling soprano vocals in "Ája," are most reminscent of those
in Robert Prizeman's Libera (more info at amazon.com
here). Lien further explains the central character's
influence, "She forces us to confront the dark side of our being
and control it by bringing it over to the bright side. She gives
us a big room to work in musically, we have wide contrasts in the
tunes and each one shows a different side of her." We are told
that Annbjørg 's on stage performances are hypnotic, her connection
with the audience is powerful and her one-on-one eye contact with
her fans is riveting. Her music is wonderful as well.
Fiddle parts indeed dominate the album, but several of the
tracks have been produced to highlight Annbjørg Lien's performances.
These include the "January," "W." (a completely stunning track
dedicated to the memory of Hans W. Brimi) and the uptempo "Wackidoo."
Lien is a representative for Save The
Children and travelled to Mozambique with Bukkene Bruse. She writes,
"there we had an intense experience dancing and singing with the
local children, learned Norwegians move their hips as though they
were made of wood, and discovered that music is life itself. The
worldly track "Inoque" is dedicated to that experience.
You can order Annbjørg Lien's Baba Yaga via amazon.com
here. Certainly worthy of further exploration by those riveted
by stunning fiddle (e.g. Vanessa Mae)
performances, her latest album has evolved to
a unique worldly texture combining rich instrumental arrangements
with vocal passages. Celtic, international and new age—it is a
Image © 1999
(26 February 2000) The debut adult contemporary album from piano-based
singer songwriter Ginny Owens is entitled Without Condition
(Rocketown/Epc (USA) EK63617, 1999). The compact disc is
enhanced with interview segments designed to play with Quicktime's
16-bit player—the CD will not play on your computer if this is not
installed properly. Owens lost her sight at the age of two
and overcame significant personal challenges to culminate currently
with five Dove award nominations and a standing ovation at the BMG
Music Showcase at the Sundance Film Festival. Her songs have also
been featured in Warner television's Felicity and Roswell.
Her full biography, soundbites and further information including artist
photographs are available at Ginny's
Without Condition is comprised of eleven tracks of varied
contemporary, vocally strong, styles penned by Ginny alone or with
co-writers Michael Puryear, Kyle Matthews or Dwight Liles. Lyrics
and themes are often secular in nature. "Be Thou My Vision," which
opens the album with Ginny's stunning—almost a capella—vocal
performance, is a well known traditional Irish hymn; Joanne Hogg
(Iona) also recorded it on her album Looking Into Light
The album's title track, "Someone Searching" and "If You Want Me To"
continue to develop the album's secular theme. Sensitive ballads sung
mainly over piano, the latter has a jazz edge while the first—with its
incredible vocal performance—was featured on WB hit series Felicity,
Roswell and Charmed.
A mid-tempo heartfelt ballad, "I Am Nothing" further develops the theme
with clear vocals and richer instrumentation. The varied texture of the
album's songs is refreshing.
"I Wanna Be Moved" and "Land Of The Gray"
have a more agressive vocal approach with thicker guitar and keyboard lines
and contribute significantly Ginny's balanced approach to contemporary music.
"Free" was the album's first single and it went straight to the top of
various Adult Conteporary charts. Here and in the up-tempo "Springs Of Life"
Ginny's vocal work is most reminscent of Andrea Corr
(concert review) and
the multitracked backing vocals add significant texture to the artist's
overall sound. The bluesy "Symbol Of A Lost Cause" with its harsher vocal
line and thick instrumentation shows yet another side of Ginny's talent.
The album closes with "Own Me," a lovely sensitive and heartfelt ballad sung
over acoustic piano.
You can order Ginny Owen's Without Condition album via amazon.com
here. With excellent support by the industry as evidenced by
numerous award nominations and critical acclaim, Ginny has a bright future.
Her music certainly should be explored further. Her stunning debut album
with its varying styles is certainly a must listen!
Image © 1999
Hidden Star Publishing
(26 February 2000) The debut album from singer songwriter
Esther Valentine is entitled Can't Watch Yourself Dance
(MadamRex (USA), 1999). It is comprised of seven richly instrumented
and vocally staggering tracks written and arranged by the artist.
Esther's core group includes: Garrison White (acoustic guitar);
Gregg Montante (electric guitar, production and mixing with Ken
Allardyce); Robbie Myers (drums and percussion); Joe Caccavo
(electric bass); Robin Rader (flute); and Connie Deeter (stand-up
bass). Vocal performances, instrumental arrangements and
production quality of the recording are absolutely tops. Additional
biographic information and photographs are available at Esther's
are available from
With stated influences including Joni Mitchell, Kate Bush,
The Beatles, Elton John and similarities including Natalie
Merchant, Loreena McKennitt, Enya and Linda Rondstadt, one
certainly expects the artist's first album to exhibit
vocal virtuousity—Can't Watch Yourself Dance delivers from
the first, it's title, track. The vocal lines and supporting flute
within the mainly acoustic instrumental mix are highly memorable,
drawing the listener into the recording. Although the genre of
the varied yet rocking "I Can't Keep Jennifer Waiting" and
"Lost Emotion" differs from
Kate Bush's typical sound, Esther's sensitive vocals are quite
reminscent of the well known artist's in this terrific track.
The layers of backing vocals in the choruses are especially notable.
While the album is vocally oriented, the instrumental arrangements
have actually been given equal emphasis, adding to the overall quality
of the album. "Dreaming" is lighly arranged with flute and
strings carrying the backing for Esther's most sensitive vocal lead
and a similarity to Jeni Saint (review).
Esther's vocal harmonies in this track and the highly accessible
"When the Idol Falls" with its richer instrumental production,
soaring lead and thicker backing vocals are wonderful.
"When Your Eyes Stop Talking" is lovely highly emotive ballad
sung over the lightest instrumentation that builds to compliment
soaring vocals as the song develops. Perhaps most illustrative of
Esther's vocal dexterity, it is a stunning track. The album
concludes with the brief multi-tracked a capella "If My Complaints
Your Passions Move."
Esther Valentine's Can't Watch Yourself
Dance is a stunning tribute to a rising west coast talent.
Vocally strong with tremendous instrumental arrangements the
recording is certainly worthy of further exploration—a must
Image © 1999
Bum's Rush Records
(20 February 2000) Her career to date includes comedy, singing and
Robin Greenspan's first album, entitled Gardener of Eden (Bum's
Rush Records (USA) RGGOE 726, 1999) is comprised of eleven alternative
rock tracks featuring the artist's stunning and highly accessible vocal
style. She wrote all the music and lyrics and The Turtles' Andy Cahan did
the keyboards, acoustic guitar, programming and co-produced the album.
Robin is known to audiences as a stand-up comic and an actress and
has appeared on Comedy Central's Out There In Hollywood,
Showtime's In Through The Door and has toured the US and
Canada. Once the lead singer songwriter of her own band, Arms
Akimbo, Gardener of Eden is Robin's debut solo album.
Her critically acclaimed one-woman show Kickin' Hard
played to sold-out houses at the HBO Workspace in Hollywood
and featured some of the songs from the album as does the stage play
Real Girls which she co-wrote and starred in with
Lacie Harmon. Other critics have described Greenspan's music
as "poetic," "provcative" and infectious" and her vocals as "a hybrid
of a more classically trained Tori Amos and Natalie Merchant." While
we agree with these comments, Robin's vocal work at times is reminiscent
of Heart's Ann Wilson and Lana Lane
Lacie Harmon wrote, 'On Gardener of Eden the artist takes on
many topics from original sin on the title track to an exploration of the
mind of Janis Joplin on the haunting ballad, "Comfort".' The album opens
with an alternative rock track, entitled "Lay It On The Line," lush with
its instrumentals and striking with Robin's vocal work. The rocking
ballad "Wierd Love" is sylistically most similar to those Lana Lane has
sung, and Robin's powerful voice soars above the instrumentals. By
contrast, "October" has a slight country edge, much like we've heard
from Heart during their career. Vocally stunning, the production quality
of the instrumentation on the track is also excellent. The jazziness
of the piano sets the mood for "Measly Little Me" while vocal effects
also add to the mood of the track. "Kickin' Hard" is an emotionally
delivered, vocally soaring, ballad accompanied largely by piano with
other supporting instrumentals.
The album's title track is a highly accessible rocking track with thick
keyboards and lovely (at times multi-tracked) vocals created in a 10,000
Maniacs-style. "I'm Not Through" continues in a similar style with keyboard
replaced by guitar and crisp percussion. "Comfort" and "Don't Let Nobody"
have a jazzy beat and are sung more deeply, the former in a slightly spoken
style, with thick guitars underscored by keyboards. Reminscent of
some of Kate Bush's most dramatic work, the short track "Psychic Power
Shack" has lovely vocals and crosses over between jazz (with its
tremendous big band sounding instrumentals) and alternative rock
textures—highly accessible with a nice hook, the track will please
many female vocal enthusiasts. The album closes with the soaring vocal
of jazz-influenced "Optimistic"; multi-tracked vocals provide a great
effect as do the stunning instrumentals and highly notable guitar solo.
Be sure to visit
You can also hear soundbites of the tracks and order Robin Greenspan's
Gardener of Eden at her website and even more at
amazon.com. This is an album certain to please many female vocal enthusiasts
and one worth a journey. Be sure to check out the soundbites
online—a great listen!
Image © 1998
(20 February 2000) The debut album from singer songwriter
Kristin Banks, entitled House Of Echoes (Moon-Rose Records
(USA) KB101-D, 1998) is a collection of twelve highly accessible
and well produced songs. The Connecticut native began her training
at Hartt School of Music at the age of 13. Later she studied Musical
Theatre at Syracuse University and moved to Southern California.
Kristin sang for the country dance band Ramblin' Rose and was nominated
for "Best New Female Vocalist" by the California Country Music Association
in 1996 before launching her solo career. Now based in San Diego
Kristin specialises in soft rock and pop love songs with excellent
dramatic and theatrical delivery.
Supported by guitars, keyboards, bass and percussion, Kristin's
debut album is first and foremost a vocal-oriented album. Additional
backing vocals are by Kristin, Patty Klien, Sara Weivoda and Sharon
Bishop. Ten of the tracks are written by Kristin herself while the
remaining two are co-written with Rick "Raven" P., who also plays
guitar and verious keyboards on the album. Instrumental production
is top notch and faithfully permit Kristin's theatrically
soaring vocals to dominate the album.
The album opens with a very catchy and somewhat country-style
ballad entitled "Tossin' Anchors"—Kristin's voice will capture the
attention of the listner, regardless of their typical musical
Evocative and theatrical, the title track is a slow
ballad with lush instrumentation carried by a piano melody and
stunning vocals. The album's soft rock numbers have richer
production, more backing vocals and modern vocal effects that
add lustre to the sound of Kristin's voice. "A Better World,"
the exquisite "City Of Angels" and "One Small Candle," with its
lovely guitar part. The style is further echoed and combined with
a slight country edge in "These Dreams Of Mine."
"Jewel In Your Crown" and "Danglin' From Your Chain" are sensitively
sung ballads sung performed with light instrumentation and only a
touch of backing vocals. The lovely soft rock ballads "Another
Woman's Dream" and "Midnight Lady" are certainly most illustrative of
the extensive the range, emotional depth and sheer power of Kristin's
voice. The most accessible track on the album, co-written with Rick
"Raven" P., is "Make You Mine," is a testament to their songwriting,
instrumental production and Kristin's soaring vocal ability—and one
with single and airplay potential. Dramatic and theatrically sung
with lush instrumentation,
"Rest In Peace" concludes the album, again illustrating Kristin's
vocal power, emotional energy and tremendous range.
An album certain to please female vocalist enthusiasts,
House Of Echoes is stunning and captivated us from first
striking visual similarity to
the UK's Patsy Palmer (East Enders) and the Sarah ("Fergie")
Ferguson (Dutchess Of York) in some
doesn't hurt her either! An extensive array of soundbites can be
heard at her mp3.com website.
A digital audio music CD with nine of her debut
album's tracks can also be obtained there.
You can order Kristin's album House Of Echoes from amazon.com
here. Certainly worthy of extensive exploration, this album is a
Image © 2000
(20 February 2000)
Larisa Stow's debut album Moment By Moment is a tremendous
recording, alive with sound, soaring vocals and production quality
second to none. It is available either in standard compact disc format
(Open Heart Records (USA) OH-12456, 1999) or in Digital Surround
20-bit DTS format (DTS Entertainment (USA) 7 1021-51054-2 2,
1999). Those with DVD players and home theater systems should
seek out the DTS version. Larisa most recently won the coveted
1999 "Most Outstanding Female Singer" at the ninth annual Los
Angeles Music Awards. She was also selected as one of
"Music Connection's Top 1999 Unsigned Artists of the Year";
a submission to the Levi/Lilith Fair Acoustic Talent Search
won her a performance with Grammy award winner Sarah McLachlan.
interview from DTS Sound Waves (Volume No. 12,
Fall 1999) addresses the artist's
background, songwriting thoughts, and unique production process
insights. A must read, it has been transcribed by the
label and is available
All lead vocals for the album's ten tracks were sung by Larisa.
The songs were also written by Larisa—three of them were co-written
with David DelGrosso who also recorded the acoustic guitar parts
on the album. Much of the additional sonic texture on
the album is directly attributable to keyboard and violin parts
played by Diana Lorden. Timothy Chen (electric guitar), Matthew
Basile (bass) and Bryn Mathieu (drums and percussion) also perform
on the album. David Tickle, who also did the 5.1 re-mixes of
Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales and The Police: Every
Breath You Take (greatest hits compilation) is credited as
the producer and mixer of Larisa's DTS 5.1 release.
The recording has a remarkable "live" sound to it, making
excellent use of the DTS 5.1 technology, marrying it perfectly
to Larisa Stow's music. Wonderful!
The album's opening track "Blue Mountain" is highly illustrative
of the range, depth and power of Larisa Stow's vocal work and her
songwriting. Whispery, melodic and soaring vocals are combined in
one track, rich with guitar-based instrumentals, power-pop and
jazz rolled together to a marvelous effect. Jazzy instrumentals,
including a highly notable violin part, join powerful vocals not
Robin Greenspan and Ann Wilson in the rocking
ballad entitled "Living In Your Eyes"—a certain favourite for
female vocalist enthusiasts. "Heaven" is a texturally thicker
track, rough and hard in spots, with a highly memorable
backing vocal part. "Invitation" is sung in range of styles
from soft to hard to spoken, soaring with power and passion,
accompanied by a lovely violin part.
The most sensitive of the album's ballads is "Corner (4th &
Cerry)," accompanied by acoustic guitar alone and is a certain
testament to the artists' vocal virtuousity. "Flame" picks up
on this style beginning as a ballad and migrating into a
powerful vocally rich rocker with deeply textured violin-laced
textures, and a tremendous chorus. "I Lied" is jazzy
and powerful with a country edge and interesting vocal and
instrumental excursions. "Moment By Moment" is certainly the
most accessible track of the album, with each verse building to
a completely hooking chorus, soaring vocals—in all of Larisa's
styles—and tremendous instrumental arrangements including some
notable guitar and violin solos.
The album's final two tracks are certain to please frequent
Musical Discoveries visitors. The variation in style and
highly textured instrumental arrangements contribute to the
progressive rock Kate Bush /
(feature) sound of "The Serial
Dream"—it would be awesome to see performed live. The album
concludes with the ballad "Innocence," a track rich with lush
keyboard-based orchestral style arrangements and Larisa's
sensual, evocative and melodic soaring lead vocal—a certain
favourite and totally tremendous track—this is Larisa Stow!
You can order Larisa Stow's Moment By Moment at
amazon.com. Soundbites and a sampler digital audio music CD are
available at Larisa
Larisa Stow's music is worthy of a long distance journey for
further detailed exploration either in DTS 5.1 sound or
vanilly CD format. Try it today—the album is a must listen!
Image © 1999
(20 February 2000) Fisher's debut release is entitled One
(Rawfish Records (USA) FTRC1001). Fronted by the extremely
attractive lead vocalist
Kathy Fisher, who also sang the song "Breakable" on the Great
Expectations soundtrack, the nine-track vocally intense recording
also includes contributions by Ron Wasserman (production, programming,
keys, bass, drums and backing vocals), John Adair (guitars), Cush
(guitars and backing vocals), Shawn Jones (harmonica) and Jo Pusateri
The majority of the writing was done by Fisher and RAW (Ron
Wasserman) although one track was co-written with John Adair.
Fisher's music is highly accessible and pop oriented, highly vocally
influenced with thick guitar and keyboard providing additional
dimensions and texture. The album's opening track, "Any Way,"
has a highly memorable chorus with a strong hook, and the
instrumental arrangements perfectly compliment the occasional
multi-tracked vocal. "Never Say Never" is more choral in its
vocal texture and dramatic in its arrangement while "The Life"
builds a power pop texture with almost spoken vocal part,
further melodic and highly layered sung vocals and a deeply
textured and rich guitar arrangement.
"True North" and "I Will Love You" are a softly
sung ballads, the former textured with guitar and light keyboard and
the latter accompanied by piano alone. Here Fisher's
emotional delivery is perfectly complimented by the softness,
sensitivity and energy of her voice. "True North" has additional backing
vocals layered with light instrumentation. The track "Had To" continues
much in the same vein, opening almost a capella, yet building with
powerful instrumentals and soaring vocals to a rocking
crescendo—the entire range a testament to the artist's talent.
The track "Hello It's Me" combines jazz musings—piano,
sax, snare drum and bass—and rock sensibilities with a high
energy vocal part and memorable hook. "Every Time" is a
dance-oriented pop number with lots of percussion, thick guitar
and a highly memorable vocally multi-layered chorus—the vocal
work and instrumental arrangements are highly notable. The
slow moving and highly varied arrangements of "Six Hundred 66"
conclude the album.
You should be able to order Fisher's One album at her website. Be sure to check out the soundbites at
her www.mp3.com website.
Fisher's One is an exciting debut and illustrative of a stunning
artist with lots of potential. The songs should be sampled online and
the album further explored by female vocal enthusiasts—a very nice
Image © 2000
(20 February 2000) The electrifying five-piece Vagabond Lovers
Naked Barbies for ten years previously) are fronted by
Patty Speglanin who formed the band in 1990 because she
loved music and wanted desperately to be in a real band.
In 1996, they won the Whammie Award as the Bay Area's best
Americana band. In 1998, the band was a finalist in the
Levi's/Lilith Fair Emerging Talent Concert. Three albums
were released by the band under their former monniker before
Mattel insisted on a name change. You can still order their
Dancing With Vacuums (1995)
and Living Independently (1998)
The forthcoming album by Vagabond Lovers scheduled for release on
May 16, 2000 is entitled
When I Was You (Monarch Records(USA) MONA-1023, 2000).
The new album is comprised of twelve richly arranged alternative vocal numbers,
including a stunning cover of The Cars' "Drive" albeit arranged more lightly
to better suit Patty's voice. It is a stunning track and an album highlight.
She says, "we often pick covers that were
originally sung by men because when a woman sings it, there's a different
perspective, a different connotation." Patty has a tremendous voice with a
richness, range, power and style certain to warm the hearts of most
female vocal enthusiasts.
The album opens with "Junkie," a smooth tune written by song-writing friend
Sarah Decker. "I think of myself as somewhere between Joni Mitchell and
Linda Ronstadt," Patty reveals, "in the sense that I'm a songwriter but I
also have a great appreciation for great songs. "Midnight Radio" is one
of those great tracks, with a well-balanced guitar instrumental arrangement
matched to the easy going light rock tune. "For Sale Sign" is vocally
stronger and instrumentally lighter and the underlying musical theme is
a cross between a ballad and a country tune. The pace picks up and the
texture changes to be more jazzy in "Wonderful Thing." Here Patty's
vocals are right out in front, well on top of the guitars, and the extent
of her range becomes evident. The guitar solo that concludes the track
Not only did they happen upon the idea of "Drive" while hanging out with
Austin producer Dave McNair in an Oakland bar but they were able to include
a Siglanin favourite, "Him," written by former Green on Red member Chuck
Prophet, who she encountered after one of his gigs. This is a bluesy ballad
with vocals soaring way above the light instrumentation—easy to understand
why it's one of Patty's faves. "Living Independently" and "A Thousand
Different Reasons" are brighter songs, with heartfelt lead and harmony
vocals; a mix of acoustic and electric guitar backing produces an almost
country sounding tune.
A unique instrumental arrangement compliments the ballad "I Got Killed"
which was reminscent of several of the themes from Evita. Jazz
influences (principally on piano) are joined with rock in "Kitchen."
The vocal excursions within the track are tremendous. The
album concludes with "Division Street" a soft ballad with country
influences, heartfelt lyrics, and light instrumentals and "You Make
It Easy," a bluesy, vocally rich ballad.
The forthcoming release by Vagabond Lovers contains a wide variety of
songs that illustrate the range of the band's talent and Patty Spiglanin's
vocal abilities. For soundbites and further information also check out
Certain to interest female vocal enthusiasts, the album
is worth watching for in the coming months—a very nice listen!