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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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Tears For Jack CD Cover
Image © Margaret McClure Music 2005  

(25 September 2005) Stunning indie artist Margaret McClure has just released her new six-track EP, Tears for Jack. This pop/contemporary album emphasizes her beautiful, thoughtful vocals. Margaret describes the music on this album as "a cross between the alternative rock edge of Sheryl Crow, the texture of Norah Jones, and the emotion and modern sound of Dido with a little Americana thrown in and a bit of European flair."

Having grown up in southern California, Margaret spent much of her free time at the beach and in the ocean. Her musical interests began as a young child, giving concerts in her backyard charging a quarter for admission. She later studied piano, dance, theater and voice as well as classical violin. She became first violinist with the Orange County District Orchestra. She was also admitted to the Eldorado School for the mentally gifted, where she played with the school’s string quartet.

Margaret later worked as a demo and backup singer. She was greatly influenced by the punk scene, due to her love of the honesty, edginess and rebellion that accompanied it. She's endured numerous hardships in her life including bad relationships, deaths of close friends and a battle with cancer. She's also had the joy of the births of her two daughters. Margaret's focus has always been brought back to her music which resulted in her debut album, Sound of the Storm.

Over the last five years, Margaret has concentrated on what she describes as her "out of control energy" on singing and songwriting, and she says she has never been happier. She said, "I love writing songs. It is fun for me, like a big puzzle, and I want to leave something behind in the world, something good."

Tears for Jack is a story of love and longing, breaking up, and making up. The melodies are generally upbeat and singsong with lots of strumming acoustic guitars and pop tunes. Margaret has a breathy, earthy style which enhances the impact of her powerful lyrics. Working with hit songwriter/producer Tom Trapp and talented music composer/singer Brian Russell, their musical writing styles have involved indie rock, pop, americana ranging to electronica d&b, r&b and jazz.

"Stay With Me" has a tender melody, with Margaret's lovely, breathy vocals. The gentle guitar accompaniment enhances the tranquil music. A mood setting piano intro sets the atmosphere for "The Story is Still the Same (SEO's d&b mix)" which changes to an almost techno sound. The percussive tune along with her airy singing makes this song a standout. The same titled final track on the CD is the acoustic version, highlighting her soaring vocals and the flexibility of her style. The clarity of her voice is especially enjoyable in this version.

"You're Not Gonna Break My Heart" has a poetic tenderness with a sensuality to her performance. The more pop/rock "Brick Wall" and "No Love Voodoo" are modern and edgy, with an irresistable beat. Her engaging voice draws you into the catchy melody.

Margaret's passionate musicianship and lovely singing on Tears for Jack creates an imaginative and poetic album. However, with only six tracks, it leaves the listener wanting more. Her emotions and varied life experiences have enhanced the creative aspect to her work. Her exciting music blended with her sexy vocals bring this lovely artist to the forefront and leave us anxiously awaiting additional works.--Audrey Elliot in New York

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