(31 July 2001)
The self-titled release from Epiphany Project is a chilling, but emotionally
compelling collection of folk/Celtic/pop melodies. Vocalist Bet Williams' sings
with both clarity and power in a style quite reminiscent of Connie Dover or Laura
Powers with a dash of Tori Amos's uncanny emotiveness thrown in for good measure.
Be sure to stop back to check our review of Bet Williams Rose Tatoo which
is planned for our next digest.
A well-practiced troubadour in the truest sense, Bet has been singing and writing
songs for over a decade, travelling across the United States and performing on
stage with the likes of Joan Osborne, John Gorka, and Arlo Guthrie. Johm Hodian,
the other half of Epiphany Project, is a highly accomplished pianist and composer
who has scored hundreds of soundtracks for film, documentaries, and dance company
and theatre performances. Bet and John are joined on this recording by a wide
array of musicians who contribute to the beauty and richness of each song by
providing percussion, strings, and guitar to the musical tapestry.
While each song on the album has its own strengths, several tracks deserve special
mention. The song "Lockerbie" commemorates the 270 people who lost their lives in
the Pan Am 103 flight disaster in 1988. Suprisingly fierce in tone, "Lockerbie"
evokes a mood of Celtic/tribal epic-ness that is somehow appropriate in the way
that Gordon Lighfoot's "Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" so masterfully recalled
the sinking of the great ship. "Tubwayhun" is a rousing but haunting musical
interpretation of the Beatitudes sung in Aramic. Bet's ever-present voice
chimes in beautifully while John's piano flourishes propel the song forward in
a lively fashion. The melancholic "To the Lighthouse" is an icy piece that
features John's deeply stirring piano and Bet's lyric-less vocalisations.
Another standout track is the mesmerizing neo-classical "Goth." Here, Bet's
overdubbed vocals create a basso-continuo effect over which a thrilling harmonic
arrangement swirls. Listeners should also be aware that the album contains a
wonderful untitled hidden track at the end of the album. Part Kate Bush, part
Portishead, this closing piece features an unusual fin de siecle piano melody
paired with Bet's vocals that have been treated with a unique static-like effect.
Truly, a perfect finale for a superb album.
Perhaps this album's greatest strength lies in the emotional honesty with which
these songs have been written and performed. While both skilled musicianship and
talented songwriting may seem rare in today's world of pre-fabricated music, Epiphany
Project have demonstrated that such talent still exists. Although one may have to
search a little harder to find music of this caliber--the pleasure in finding such
music as has been created by Epiphany Project is well-worth the effort.
You can find further information about the artists and purchase
the album at their
Read further reviews,
listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.com
here. The debut album from Epiphany Project is eclectic; with Bet Williams'
stunning vocals, it is worth further exploration and a long distance journey.
It is certainly a very nice listen!--Justin Elswick