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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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The 14th Of February CD Cover
Image © 1999 \r\nAndy Hill and Renée Safier  

(05 February 2000) The 1996 album by Renée Safier The 14th Of February is a collection of ten songs of varying textures and styles each featuring absolutely stunning vocal work. Produced by Renée with Andy Hill, the album's tracks include one song by jazz writer Bob Malone, another by Bob Dylan - "Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" - and seven by Andy Hill. The album's final track entitled "The Night I Left Town" was written by Larry and Terry Tutor. Reviewed below, Renée and Andy's latest album, Something Unbroken, features songs by many of the same writers. Renée is featured as a jazz vocalist on a 1998 album with Bob Malone entitled They All Laughed. Soundbites from this album can be heard here.

Renée's first "solo" album is a tremendous introduction to her vocaltalent as well as that of the songwriting team. The album is perfect gift for partners of either gender this time of year and we hope thatthis review will motivate our readers to explore it further as the first Valentine's Day of the new Millenium approaches. The album can be ordered from the artists'website.

The 14th Of February opens with the welcoming "I Want To Believe Me," a light and highly accessible ballad accompanied primarily by guitars and piano. Backing vocals include both Renée's multi-tracking and additional texture that Andy provides. The title track is a slow, jazz/blues oriented number with Renée's vocals accompanied strictly by piano with multitracked choir-like backing vocals in spots. Vocals and piano are a true testament to the artists'talent.

"Homeless Night" is a light and very sensitive rock song performedas a lovely duet that will appeal to everyone. Andy and Renée's vocalwork as well as the whistle and piccolo parts by Nelson Rangell arehighly notable. "Three Women," certainly one of the best tracks on the album, is a lovely ballad performed much in the same style. Renée sings the jazzy "What Are You Doing Here With Me?" written by Bob Malone primarily with light piano accompaniment with a small saxophone part that adds the right ambiance to the track.The pace picks up and instrumental accompaniment increases in "Man Of Virtue," which combines jazz with rock and country sounds. Bob Maloneis again featured on piano. "Fear To Eternity," one of the more rocking numbers on the album, builds upon this sound. The Dylan ballad "Senor (Tales Of Yankee Power)" illustrates Renée's range and power with her stunning lead vocal work in the verses and symphonic instrumentation and backing vocal work with Andy and Steve Curto backing in the choruses.

"Schopenhauer's Blues (Everybody Passes By)" is a fast paced and very highly accessible number and was one of our favourite trackson the album with its combination of styles. A range of stunning vocals are perfectly complimented by keyboards. The lovely ballad "The Night That I Left Town" combining country and western with rockstyles concludes the album. Andy Hill's guitar solo is highlynotable.

Renée Safier's debut album is best characterised by itsstunning vocal work, superb songwriting and great instrumentalperformances. She demonstrates an uncanny ability to capture the listener in a wide range of heartfelt song styles. Femalevocalist enthusiasts will adore Renée's recordings; her first album is worth a journey and is a must listen.

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