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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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Bittersweet CD Cover
Image © Under The Radar Music 2004

Image © Under The Radar Music 2005

(23 July 2005) A rising star has emerged high above the musical horizon with a dazzling display of talent, shining like a beacon in the night. Bittersweet (Oar Fin Records), the latest recording from singer/songwriter Susan Angeletti, illuminates the soulful purity of the blues and the hard driving intensity of rock and roll with unbridled passion and heartfelt emotion. Angeletti's no nonsense, high voltage performance style, continues captivating blues enthusiasts as well as the rock and roll faithful all across the country. Receiving high praise for her debut release, Next Years Model of The Blues, Angeletti soon discovered her loyal fan base had quickly expanded into a major following, playing to packed blues clubs and music halls throughout New England.

She absolutely electrified the audience when opening for legendary bluesrocker Johnny Winter, manager Teddy Status wasted no time signing Angeletti out on tour as the opener for Winter. Her first national tour performing to sell-out crowds at popular concert venues up and down both coasts, proved to be a major turning point in her career. Angeletti's solid debut release and successful tour experience generated quite a buzz, catching the ear of multi-talented producer Tom Hambridge. Hambridge has collaborated with several artists on a variety of projects, but is better known for his work with Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Susan Tedeschi on her celebrated debut, Just Won't Burn. Hambridge was so impressed by Angeletti's talent, he agreed to produce her next recording. After working together on a few arrangements and reviewing several new songs Angeletti wrote with her Seagull (model S-6) acoustic guitar and on piano, they agreed on final selections for the new album.

The result of this dynamic duo's creative efforts is Bittersweet, a powerful, robust recording firmly planted in rock and roll with a noticeable late '70s Jagger/Richards influence heard throughout. What's most distinctive and inspiring about Bittersweet, is the soulful essence of Angeletti herself, a singer/songwriter who's amazing talent just radiates throughout this latest release. It's difficult trying to categorize Angeletti in a specific genre, considering she easily incorporates a variety of musical formats into her repertoire, representing each one with infinite exuberance and emotional purity. Her unique performance style is honest and straight forward, very authentic and deeply heartfelt. She vocally articulates the stylings of artists like Janis Joplin, Etta James, and Tina Turner with remarkable detail, blending them together into a genuine sassy style, truly all her own. Compared at times to these legendary woman, Angeletti equally shares their instinctual expertise when expressing that gutsy, raw emotion especially performing on stage as it erupts from a place deep within her soul.

Bittersweet contains twelve tracks of original songs and co-writes by Angeletti, as she vocally delivers a wealth of emotion, conveying both the pleasure and pain of the human experience with commanding authority. She vigorously exercises her vocal prowess on the opening track, "Don't Want Your Love", a solid rock tune with Angeletti grabbing your attention right from the very first note and never letting go. She's backed by a group of experienced, wily musicians who know exactly how to drive the message home with some sizzling harp solos by Stuart James and blazing fretwork by Pat Buchanan.

The following track, "Go To Hell", is a tasty, fast-paced rockabilly tune, seasoned with plenty of Chuck Berry flavor. Tony Harrell lets loose on this fan favorite, tearing up the ivories and motivating you right up outta your seat. Another great track is, "Love Doctor", this spirited blues shuffle finds Hambridge keeping a steady beat as Buchanan offers up a generous portion of stinging guitar licks. Angeletti is heard having a heck of a great time on this one, serving up some sassy vocals and spicy attitude.

Just when Bittersweet sounds like a stick of dynamite ready to explode, Angeletti eases off the throttle to explore the pain and sorrow of lost love and a broken heart on several ballad tracks. This is where Angeletti truly shines, not only as a talented singer/songwriter, but also as a gifted storyteller, especially with sensitive subjects on ballads like, "Feel Love Tonight". Here you'll find Angeletti sharing the pain of loneliness, the intensity of that lonely ache is painfully expressed through the depth and grit of her sultry vocals, along with some poignant guitar solos by Buchanan. "Nowhere To Run", is an originally penned southern rock style ballad with Angeletti singing about a broken heart with such sincerity you begin feeling the pain literally pouring from every verse. The background vocals and guitar solos only add to the emotion. A personal favorite, "Feels Like Rain", is slower paced soft rock ballad with a just hint of R & B, as Angeletti delivers an extremely soulful and moving performance, effectively showcasing the overall theme by vocally accenting both the highs and lows of the experience.

Bittersweet's final track is the Joplin classic, "Piece Of My Heart", an appropriate selection by Angeletti as a personal tribute, honoring the legendary Janis Joplin who's spirit and unforgettable performance style were a continual source of inspiration. I was guilty of assuming she would cover this popular classic with the same amount of intensity found on the opening track. Instead, she maintained the strength and staying power behind this hit song, while poignantly emulating her personal admiration and respect. The sheer emotion and soulful, sultry texture heard during Angeletti's vocal performance, might just tug a little on those heart strings. After listening to Bittersweet, I'm sure you'll agree Angeletti's greatest, most valuable instrument is her amazing voice. She knows just how to stir the soul when singing the blues and knows just how to tear the roof off when it comes to rock and roll. Bittersweet is an excellent recording, a true showcase of this singer/songwriters amazing talent, a CD you'll listen to again and again.

Anyone who's ever expressed an interest in experiencing what this singer/songwriter has to offer, I strongly encourage them to attend one of her live performances, cause she'll blow you away. Not only does she have the vocal chops, she knows just how to deliver them, just her stage presence and vocal delivery is well worth the price of admission. I had the good fortune to see Susan Angeletti perform on stage for the very first time, when she opened for B.B. King at the Calvin Theater. I was so impressed with her definitive stage presence, she immediately took command the moment she stepped on stage, firmly holding this sell-out, standing room only crowds full attention, right from the very first note. Everyone kept jumping to their feet with every song in her set. After finishing her final number, the entire theater just seemed to explode, the entire crowd stood there yelling and cheering, as if unwilling to let her go.

After a short break, B.B. King appeared on stage and commented to the crowd how impressed he was with his talented opening act. Susan Angeletti is the "real deal", "the complete package", her live performances are something you experience and something you won't soon forget. She'll make her way across the room, reaching out to everyone in the audience, giving them absolutely everything she's got with every fiber of her being. She gives you nothing but pure heart and soul, and you begin feeling the emotion and meaning etched behind the music itself, a rare gift indeed. This newcomer continues turning heads and has well established herself throughout the music community as one powerful performer. Her latest release is definitely sending a message, telling everyone, "Susan Angeletti is here to stay!"

She has a brand new CD just released called, Live In Concert: 99 & a 1/2 Won't Do! (Oar Fin Records (USA) 2005). This new release contains seven tracks highlighting songs from several of her live performances, including cuts from her performance at the Calvin Theater with B.B. King. If you haven't had the opportunity to experience this amazing singer/songwriter in person, I highly recommend getting yourself a copy of this live recording, available now at Susan Angeletti's website or her label's website.--Pamela L. Dow in western Massachusetts

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