Tasked with reviewing three albums from this artist, having listened to all three at this point, but only reviewed one other before this one, I would have to say that of the three, this is the best album. It’s really the most consistent and has some of the best music. That said, I think the lyrics on “Barking up the Wrong Tree” are better. Those who enjoyed female songstresses like Carole King and Joni Mitchell will be the most likely audience for this act, and this album.
“Don’t Tempt the Tigress” feels a lot like something Suzanne Vega would create. It has a lot of jazz built into it. The lyrics are all about the empowered female, in almost a primal goddess way. The guitar solo section seems a bit like Dire Straits. The ocean breeze is blowing through your hair. It’s vacation and you are on “Island Time.” The track by that title is a “slice of life” kind of song with tuned percussion and more. Although this doesn’t rise to the same level as the opener did, it’s an entertaining piece of music.
Starting with gentle, folk like music, “Parting Gift” is a pretty song. It has a more jazzy section mid-track. The lyrics are again along the lines of the “bit of everyday experience” variety. Fun and playful, “Sweetness” has a real accessible groove to it. The multiple layers of vocals work well. The piece is built on a toe-tapping incentive.
The lyrics to “Dandelions” paint such a beautiful picture. It is one of a simpler life of really being in the moment. It’s a Zen like quality. Musically this has a gentle folk kind of approach. It’s a pretty song that stands out nicely. An energetic jazz piece of music, “Cream Puff” is a sultry depiction of sensuous dessert love. It’s a fun tune. .It has some scat singing, too.
With a gentle folk music approach, “I Have Carried” has a lot of Joni Mitchell and Carole King woven into it. It’s an empowering piece of music. Songstresses like King and Mitchell again seem like the inspiration on “Beautiful.” The piece has a lot of jazz in the arrangement. The saxophone weaves some powerful melodies later.
Intricate guitar brings “Cry of the Loon” into being. As the bass plays in the backdrop the music weaves waves of beauty. When the vocals join the piece takes on more of a folk sound with the same reference points as the last couple songs. The lyrics create a restful, scenic picture. The music creates an accessible approach, growing in rather jazzy ways later.
The jazz concepts of the later parts of the last song really come to fruition on “One Too Many.” There are 1970s rock elements, too. Carole King again seems to be channeled on this song. The lyrics are all about creating an image in the mind. It’s a word painting in so many ways.
Guitar harmonics start “I Am Her Own.” As it evolves from there it becomes a magical soaring kind of number. It’s more in line with folk music in a lot of ways. Yet, it’s rock, too. As always with this artist, the lyrics bring their own type of magic for sure.
Energetic jazz drives “Sharp Edges.” It’s another pretty song. The layers of vocals bring some of the magic, but the whole song has a lot of that. There is almost a freeform element at play. The lyrics don’t seem as poignant here as on some of the other songs, but they do flow nicely. This ends the album in a satisfying way, bringing it all to a strong close.
by Mary Angela Tobin