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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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Narrow Road CD Cover
Image © Otherdoor Records 2004  

(10 December 2004) San Francisco-born indie artist, Paula Brisker, released her ten-track debut album, Narrow Road, in November 2001 under her own label called Otherdoor Records (O5045-1958-2, 2001). The album has influences of Celtic, rock and folk music in this skillful collection.

Paula's unique style is inspired by the work she did throughout the 1990s with Raz Kennedy, one of the members of Bobby McFerrin's a capella group, "Voicestra" and vocal coach to such artists as Adam Duritz and Counting Crows, Los Tigres Del Norte and Lavay Smith to name a few. She learned invaluable vocal technique and singing during this time, and the co-writing with Raz brought in new musical dimensions to Paula's budding career. Raz introduced Paula to guitarist Danny Heines who taught her about open tunings and gave her the confidence to not be afraid to use the guitar as a percussive as well as melodic instrument.

Likened to Alanis Morrisette and Sarah McLachlan, Paula's vocals are powerful and intense. The band was assembled from a group of top-notch musicians: drummer Joey Peters of Grant Lee Buffalo, guitarist Ty Stevens of Mandy Moore, and bassist Tad Wadhams of Cheryl Crow and Bernie Taupin's Farm Dogs. Additional musicians on my "Narrow Road" CD are Rami Jaffee & Ben Peeler of the Wallflowers, Cameron Stone, Tim Pierce, David Channing and Robert Powell. The production, engineering and mixing were handled by Ross Hogarth, whose credits include Shawn Colvin, Black Crowes, REM, Keb' Mo's 1998 Grammy Award winning record "Slow Down" and Jewel's "Spirit."

Powerful lyrics and captivating vocals abound throughout this album. The title track, "Narrow Road," opens the journey into this inspiring CD. The music and lyrics capture the listener and Paula's soaring vocals create a lush atmosphere. There is an honesty as well as complexity about her music, and the melodies are sung with passion and vitality.

The folk, pop and rock songs on this album are exceptional in their fluidity. With the strong interest as a child in folk singers and lyrical storytellers, Paula's mature collection of songs are well beyond one's expections. Her blend of harmonies is outstanding and one is mesmerized by the beauty of her work. She sings with passion and conviction. This fabulous album is certainly one to be listened to again and again.

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