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Current concise reviews of the albums by adult alternative, contemporary, and crossover artists. Images of album artwork and links to both internet-based resources are always included. Click on the title to view the article.

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Racing The Clouds Home
Image © 2000\r\n\r\nStreamline Music Ltd  

(23 November 2000) The debut album from Julienne Taylor(photo) is entitled Racing The Clouds Home (Virgin Music (UK) CDV2931, 2000) and two singles have already been released featuring tracks from the album which blends traditional withcontemporary and almost-pop sensibilities. Julienne is the latest singingsensation from Scotland. Supported by guest musicians—Gordon Campbell, Richie Harrison, Rab Howat, Finlay MacDonald, Dougie Pinckock, ChrisStout and Stuart Wood—the album is a certain to further her internationalfollowing.

Racing The Clouds Home opens with Julienne's stunning a capella opening to the track "Rose of Sweethay." Keys accompany the latter half of the song, sung sensitively introducing listeners to the whispiness of Julienne's voice. A wonderful cover of the Fleetwood Mac classic "Second Hand News" backed with a blend of traditional Celtic and contemporary accompaniment immediately broadens the appeal of Julienne's vocal talent to a wider audience; it is no wonder why the label elected to feature this track as the album's first single. The whistle part perfectly compliments the vocal layers in the song's choruses.

"Just Let Me Be" is gentle country style ballad accompaniedacoustically with layers of heavenly vocals adding texture to the chorus.The country sounds are further emphasized in the track "Woolball" whereJulienne's lead is perfectly offset by the extensive backing vocal harmonies."I Will Protect You" continues in a similar vein but is stronger acousticallyboth with traditional and contemporary sounds supporting Julienne's delicatevocal layers. One is immediately reminded of The Corrs' arrangements in the upbeat and highly accessible Celtic crossover track "Dreamworld" written by Stuart Wood who also shares the album's production credit with Gordon Campbell and Julienne Taylor. Julienne's vocals are generallywhispier and more sensually sung.

"I Would Love You" is a stand-out track on the album. Whispy lead vocals are supported by light mainly acoustic arrangements. Yet harmonyvocals and Celtic instrument arrangements build towards the chorus to tremendous power as each crescendo is reached. Julienne's interpretationof "Caledonia" is performed in a similar light acoustic style. "Land Far Away" is a traditional-based hymn with new arrangements by the production team. With extremely light instrumentals, Julienne's voice soars heavenly and floats well above the keyboards, and demonstrates the artist's vocal virtuosity. A stunning cover of "I Burn For You" features soaring whispy lead vocals while traditional instrumentals in the bridge and lovely harmonies add texture in the chorus.

Clearly "Tell Me Where You're Going" is the most pop-orientednumber on the album. Upbeat and accessible, it blends contemporary withCeltic instrumentation and crystalline lead and harmony vocals. The albumconcludes with "What Am I Gonna Do?", a signature Julienne Taylor andGordon Campbell track. Julienne's whispy vocals soar above further supporting layers and are joined by light acoustic arrangements that build in the chorus.

Julienne Taylor's Racing The Clouds Home is a stunning debut album from a rapidly rising Scottish singer and songwriter.Certain to please fans of All About Eve, The Corrs and even Enya, thistwelve track is certain to widespread commercial success and criticalacclaim. While currently only available in the European Communityas a domestic product, we're certain it will find equivalent successin other territories. There are soundbites available at the artist'swebsite that should be explored further. Order your copy from amazon.comhere. Certainly worth a trans-Atlanticjourney, Julienne Taylor's new album is a must listen!

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