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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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Public Record CD Cover
Image © Mpress Records 2003

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Painting Of A Painting
Illusion's Carnival
Public Record

(17 August 2003) The fifth album from New York's award-winning Rachael Sage comes on the heels of her stunning contribution of "Twentieth Century Fox" to the Love Her Madly, a compilation of Doors covers by new women artists (review).Public Record (Mpress Records (USA) MP9090-2, 2003) is comprised of fourteen alternatively styled singer songwriter tracks picking up quite naturally where Illusion's Carnival--the artist's 2002 offering--left off. Our editorial staff were exposed to the album in both pre-mastered and final production versions.

Interested visitors will likely have already explored our coverage of several related artists Bernadette McCallion (review), Dor Lata (review), Evelyn Downing (feature), Mermaid Kiss (feature), Jo Gabriel (feature) and prior albums by Rachael Sage (links below album cover, left). The evocatively sensual vocal delivery Rachael has honed since her 1996 debut album draws listeners to her recordings. She continues the journey here.

Rachael contributes vocals, piano, wurlitzer, mellotron, voco strings and lofi loops and is responsible for the album's songwriting as well. The band features Doug Yowell (drums), Dean Sharp (drums), David Rosenberg (percussion), Ben Butler (acoustic and electric guitars), Walter Parks (electric guitar), Stephanie Winters (cello), Julia Kent (cello), Conrad Korsch (upright and electric bass), Mike Visceglia (bass), Richard Gates (bass), Jack Petruzelli (guitar loops and hammond organ), Trina Hamlin (harmonica, tambourine, acoustic guitar), Russ Johnson (trumpet and flugelhorn), Allison Cornell (viola, violin) and Jenny Bruce (background vocals-review).

Like Rachael's earlier recordings, the material is heavily laced with sensitively played piano arrangements and delicate vocalisations. Additional arrangements make some of the material--like the gently rocking "What If" opener--more robust and at times the memorable melodies make it more accessible. But it's the piano-backed material, like the closing number "Frost," that links Public Record most to Rachael's earlier work. Additional vocal effects and lush backing harmonies contribute to the development illustrated in this recording. "Too Many Women" perfectly captures the artist's development. Evocative verses accompanied by tender piano playing are joined with richly arranged choruses in this album standout.

With excellent songwriting and an extensive supporting cast of additional musicians, listeners will find--as our editors did--wonderfully lush arrangements on Private Record. Strings, horns and harmonica as well as backing vocal layers add tremendous texture to the material. The arrangements in "Bravedancing," "Chasing The Girl" and "Someone Save Me," for example, demonstrate the virtuousity of the band. We especially enjoyed the instrumental support in these tracks with piano, strings and guitar working perfectly behind Rachael's evocatively delivered vocal lead.

Public Record again illustrates why Rachael Sage is one of the leading women in New York alternative music. A stunning progression from her prior work, it is certain to draw further critical acclaim. Rachael tours widely--check her website for dates and venues. Read further reviews, listen to soundbites and order the album from amazon.comhere. Clearly worth a trans-Atlantic journey, Public Record is a must listen!

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