Reviewed by Ian Hayter
Michigan-based Jean Watson has struggled with clinical depression and brings that experience, together with a background in classical music - she's an accomplished violinist - to this set of ten songs which both calm and inspire at the same time. Her own vocal ability (which sounds at times like Joanne Hogg) and skilful playing, married with some excellent backing from producer Paul Koch on keyboards, Matt Pierson on bass and, amongst others, Mark Baldwin on guitar, and soul-stirring strings by the Prague Symphony Orchestra, are superbly blended together to create a sound which is unique and enjoyable. The opening title song sets the scene, with its confident lyrics: "If I call upon Jesus/Everything can change/You turn darkness to light/Water to wine, blindness to sight". Six of the songs are written by (or collaborations with) Watson herself, and her emotion shows through, particularly in the song "Horse Dreams", written in memory of a child from the therapeutic riding centre where she volunteers. There's also a version (arranged by Paul Koch) of the great hymn "Praise To The Lord, The Almighty", a couple by Sherry Wendling and a closing cover of "You Raise Me Up", which is probably the only mistake on the album, as Watson's voice doesn't seem made for the powerful delivery that the song demands. That apart, this is a set which really showcases Ms Watson's talents at writing, singing and playing the violin and is one of those albums which truly deserves the adjective 'inspirational'.
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