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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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Image © 2000 \r\nMonarch Records  

(20 February 2000) The electrifying five-piece Vagabond Lovers (the Naked Barbies for ten years previously) are fronted by Patty Speglanin who formed the band in 1990 because sheloved music and wanted desperately to be in a real band.In 1996, they won the Whammie Award as the Bay Area's bestAmericana band. In 1998, the band was a finalist in theLevi's/Lilith Fair Emerging Talent Concert. Three albumswere released by the band under their former monniker beforeMattel insisted on a name change. You can still order theiralbums Dancing With Vacuums (1995)(here), Tarnished (1996)(here)and Living Independently (1998)(here).The forthcoming album by Vagabond Lovers scheduled for release onMay 16, 2000 is entitled When I Was You (Monarch Records(USA) MONA-1023, 2000).

The new album is comprised of twelve richly arranged alternative vocal numbers,including a stunning cover of The Cars' "Drive" albeit arranged more lightlyto better suit Patty's voice. It is a stunning track and an album highlight. She says, "we often pick covers that were originally sung by men because when a woman sings it, there's a different perspective, a different connotation." Patty has a tremendous voice with arichness, range, power and style certain to warm the hearts of mostfemale vocal enthusiasts.

The album opens with "Junkie," a smooth tune written by song-writing friend Sarah Decker. "I think of myself as somewhere between Joni Mitchell andLinda Ronstadt," Patty reveals, "in the sense that I'm a songwriter but Ialso have a great appreciation for great songs. "Midnight Radio" is oneof those great tracks, with a well-balanced guitar instrumental arrangementmatched to the easy going light rock tune. "For Sale Sign" is vocallystronger and instrumentally lighter and the underlying musical theme isa cross between a ballad and a country tune. The pace picks up and thetexture changes to be more jazzy in "Wonderful Thing." Here Patty's vocals are right out in front, well on top of the guitars, and the extentof her range becomes evident. The guitar solo that concludes the trackis tremendous.

Not only did they happen upon the idea of "Drive" while hanging out withAustin producer Dave McNair in an Oakland bar but they were able to includea Siglanin favourite, "Him," written by former Green on Red member ChuckProphet, who she encountered after one of his gigs. This is a bluesy balladwith vocals soaring way above the light instrumentation—easy to understandwhy it's one of Patty's faves. "Living Independently" and "A ThousandDifferent Reasons" are brighter songs, with heartfelt lead and harmony vocals; a mix of acoustic and electric guitar backing produces an almost country sounding tune.

A unique instrumental arrangement compliments the ballad "I Got Killed" which was reminscent of several of the themes from Evita. Jazzinfluences (principally on piano) are joined with rock in "Kitchen." The vocal excursions within the track are tremendous. The album concludes with "Division Street" a soft ballad with countryinfluences, heartfelt lyrics, and light instrumentals and "You MakeIt Easy," a bluesy, vocally rich ballad.

The forthcoming release by Vagabond Lovers contains a wide variety ofsongs that illustrate the range of the band's talent and Patty Spiglanin'svocal abilities. For soundbites and further information also check out theirmp3.com website. Certain to interest female vocal enthusiasts, the albumis worth watching for in the coming months—a very nice listen!

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