STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 13770-9598 LABEL: Independent FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1
Reviewed by Tony Cummings
There are few things more worrying for the record reviewer than to be confronted with the second album by an artist when you went overboard about its predecessor and a bit of your rave review has been quoted in the artist's press material. What do you say to your colleagues or indeed the artist herself if the new album is a stiff? So it's with some relief that I can report that this folk roots singer from America's Mid West now delivers an album which completely fulfils the potential of her 'A Restful Sense Of Urgency' set. Whether you're looking for poetic songs of devotion ("House Of Hope": "Our house is a house of hope/Building jewel-bedecked castles of our hearts/Where your truth shines bright as sapphire/Against the diamond of your love"), haunting instrumentals (the title track), a beautiful reading of a Joni Mitchell classic ("Slouching Towards Bethlehem") or a deceptively simple paean of praise ("Glory Lord!") with a mountain dulcimer arrangement sounding like it was plucked straight from the Folkways Records archives, you'll find fine music in abundance. My current favourites are the wistfully enigmatic "On A January" and a dark-honed exploration of Psalm 142:3-7 with its stark images of being ensnared in our sin ("And now she hears, she hears an angel calling/With wings that whisper, whisper of being free/She's alone, she's forsaken/In the hell of her own making"). Throughout this rich music, shining with heart-baring honesty and real faith is brought out by vibrant arrangements from producer John Pisciotta. And if all this wasn't enough, 'Grace Exhaled' is superbly packaged with paintings from Angela. A final note to the producer: what IS that fragment of jazz pop classic incorporated into the arrangement of "Live And Breathe"? It's driving me bananas!
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