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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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Heart Of Innocence CD Cover
Image © Valley Entertainment 2004

Features Contributions By:
Happy Rhodes
Miriam Stockley
Tina Malia
Lisbeth Scott
Donna DeLory
Suzee Waters Benjamin
Suzanne Sterling
Pollyanna Bush


(11 September 2005) Heart of Innocence (Valley Entertainment (USA) VLT-15186, 2004) is the first volume of a series produced by Lloyd Barde of Backroad Music. This compilation of magnificent female vocalists celebrates the creative spirit of songs that touch and inspire people. This uplifting CD is filled with familiar voices that ask you to stop and take time with yourself, as they are filled with truth, acceptance, freedom, imagination, visions and dreams.

The opening track, "In the Sun," as well as the closing track, "On and On," is by Donna DeLory. She is best known as a background singer and dancer for Madonna. Donna continued to make her presence felt as a soloist and a member of a band named Bliss, the duo that she shares with cellist Cameron Stone. Her second solo single, "Just A Dream," written by Madonna who sang harmony vocals, became a top ten dance hit. Pollyanna Bush, whose dulcit tones create a lovely tenderness in "Innocent Heart." She is a rising star who is known for her lush and sensuous music.

Tina Malia sings the beautiful and melodic "Shores of Avalon" which is from her album of the same name. She is a classically trained vocalist, pianist and guitarist and has a pasionate, crystalline sound. The next track, "Rosalinda," is sung by Suzanne Sterling of Alycone (review) fame. She has pure and magnetizing vocals.

Lisbeth Scott was the featured vocalist and co-lyricist for "The Passion of Christ." She is well known as the voice of State of Grace (review), numerous other Paul Schwartz recordings and has a significant solo catalog that showcase her stunning vocals. She sings "Crucial" and "Fair Skye" on Heart of Innocence which are certainly two of the album's standout numbers. Will Ackerman on guitar and Happy Rhodes performing the vocals on "Before We Left All This Behind" highlights Happy's magnificent five-octave range and soulful tenderness.

There are two tracks from the UK group Bliss, who have a huge following in Europe but little visibility as yet in the United States. Bliss is the duo of Lucinda Drayton (vocals) and Andrew Blissett (keyboards). They perform "Naked" and "Child" from their album, A Hundred Thousand Angels (feature). Lucinda's powerful vocals blended with Andrew's expert keyboards present a truly mood-inspiring effect.

Maniko sings "And Now" from her album, House of the Beloved - Ecstatic Grooves & Songs of Divine Conspiracy. Her vocals have a poetic clarity with a unique fusion of layered sounds. Suzee Waters Benjamin is a multi-faceted artist, maintaining careers as a singer/songwriter, visual and clay artist, healing facilitator, and teacher for over 25 years. Her clear voice of compassion that takes the listener on a musical journey of truth and healing.

Another highlight of this album is the amazing Miriam Stockley, who is best known as the voice of Adiemus. She has one of the most distinctive voices in music,and Miriam has probably sung on more hit records and with more success than most artists achieve in a lifetime. In her song, "Tula," from her album Second Nature Miriam presents a flawless performance, with her incredible voice and exquisite stylistic range.

Heart of Innocence expresses themes of a personal nature, with words from the heart and a purity of purpose. All the artists performing here have memorable and graceful vocals that touch the heart. The album generates a feeling of peace and solitude in the listener, making one want to treasure these special songs and listen to them over and over again.--Audrey Elliot in New York

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