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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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Image © Fierce Records 2002

More Cathy Burton:
In Concert At Greenbelt (2005)
Share Your Love (2002)


(08 December 2005) English singer-songwriter Cathy Burton is one of those wonderfully talented artists that should become huge stars, but always seem destined to inhabit the fringes of the music scene. A support gig here, a low-key acoustic tour there, musicians of Cathy's calibre deserve so much more. Nonetheless, her pedigree is impressive. She has written with a variety of respected musicians, including Deacon Blue's Ricky Ross, with whom she performed at the 2005 Greenbelt Festival, Paul Statham (of Dido fame), and has supported or sung backing vocals with a variety of top names. She has found a home on Fierce, a Christian label, yet with the odd exception her lyric writing tackles universal subjects in a way that all sensitive people will understand.

Cathy Burton's first album (Fierce Records (UK) Fiercd02, 2002) has arrangements clearly aimed at the contemporary pop market, pitched somewhere between the soft rock sheen of Dido and the harder edged rock sound of Michelle Branch or Avril Lavigne, held together by Cathy's powerful, yet appealingly girlish vocal performances.

"Don't Wannabe" is a strong, rhythmic opener, with some crunching guitar, while "Take me Out" is lighter and poppier with a delightful chorus. It is a song that should have been earmarked as a single. "Hollow," up next, is a shimmering, atmospheric ballad with a lovely vocal performance from Cathy, and an arrangement that complements the song beautifully. "The Fuss" is a mid-paced song with a more traditional arrangement, dominated by guitar and piano. Cathy once again delivers a charming chorus, while the next song "Sending" is a pleasingly gentle waltz.

Shimmering keyboards and programmed percussion herald the gentle ballad "Won't Make It," where, perhaps for the first time, the contemporary sheen masks the delicacy of the song itself. However, the pace quickens for the guitar-led rocker "Melting," before returning to more familiar territory for the faintly disappointing title track. "To Say You Love," however, is an excellent up-tempo song with a faintly alt country feel to it, while "To Close the Door" is an aching, heartfelt ballad with a beautiful vocal performance. The heartfelt "Belongs to You" is both a very strong song to close with, and the only overtly Christian piece on the album.

While this was a strong debut, the contemporary arrangements and production often feel unconvincing, masking the true quality and dynamics of the song writing. Nonetheless, Cathy's voice andher undoubted talents as a writer still win out in the end, making this, on balance, a satisfying debut.--Stephen Lambe in Cheltenham, England

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