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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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Something Unbroken CD Cover
Image © 1999 \r\nAndy Hill and Renée Safier  

(09 January 2000) The latest album featuring a collection of songs by Andy Hill andRenée Safier is entitled Something Unbroken. With twelve vocallyrich tracks of varying styles penned either by Andy (8), Renée (2) or Larry and Terry Tutor (2), the stunning album is self-produced and was self-released. Enthusiasts of Jennifer Nobel's work with Sojourn and Grey Eye Glances and Marianne Marino with November Projectwill certainly appreciate Renée's vocal work. They regularly performin Redondo Beach at The Blue Moon Saloon, one of our longstanding favourite southern California restaurants.

Both artists have former releases together and individually. Their earlier release together is entitled The 14th Of February and is a a ten-song collection that theduo co-produced. It includes seven Andy Hill originals; the mood of the album shifts from jazz and pop ballads to guitar-based rock and roll. In 1998 Renée released They All Laughed with Bob Malone. The album consists of eleven jazz standards performed by Renee and Bob Malone, including such classics as "Embraceable You" and "Our Love Is Here To Stay" by the Gershwins, "I Could Write A Book" by Rogers and Hart, "Soon It's Gonna Rain" by Tom Jones and Harvey Schmidt, and Arlen and Mercer's "One For My Baby."

Renée sings lead vocals on half of the new album's tracks ("Second Story," "After All That's Passed Between Us," "Something Unbroken," "Autumn," "Take My Hand" and "When You Remember Me") while Andy sings lead vocals on the others ("You Chose Me," "The Part Of Me That's Over You," "Two Trains," "I Already Know," "Before I Go To Sleep" and "The Eye Of The Beholder"). Renée sings backing vocals on most of the songs where Andy sings lead. There is a slight countrytexture to several of the album's tracks largely achievedwith slide guitar and keyboards.

The album opens with "You Chose Me," a lovely ballad with light instrumentation with Andy doing vocal lead and Renée on backing vocals. The album moves to a country sound largelyachieved with a slide guitar and Renée's sweet lead vocalsin the track "Second Story." Renée sings the sensitive ballad "After All That's Passed Between Us" with mainly piano accompanying her although a gentle slide guitar adds to theinstrumentation as the song develops. This is clearly thesong to hear Renée's voice most clearly—simply stunning.Her highly emotional vocal performance of the title track,"When You Remember Me" and more heavily instrumented "Autumn" ballads are equally awe inspiring. Renee's lead vocal performances are mostly done without multi-tracking.Renée's vocal peformance on "Take My Hand" is warm,powerful and sensitive. Some light multi-tracking here andAndy's backing vocal adds to the colour and depth of thetrack.

Harmonica and light acoustic guitar provide the gentleinstrumentation for Andy's lead vocal on "Two Trains." Slide guitar continues to provide a slight country edgeto the song. The highly accessible "The Part Of Me That's Over You" is a moving almost-country sounding number with lead sung by Andy. The acoustic guitar perfectly suits the rock ballad "Before I Go To Sleep" sung by Andy. Electric guitar excursions add to the colour of thesong. Renée's backing vocals on these two tracks are reminiscent of an earlier Fleetwood Mac (Stevie Nicks) sound while the joint vocal performances within the track "I Already Know" that approach a duet are highly memorable in their own right.

A certain favourite is the adult contemporary light rockcrossover "The Eye Of The Beholder" that concludes the album with Andy's lead and Renée's wonderful backing vocals. This highly accessible track has tremendous instrumentation (withexcellent improvisation in the instrumental that closes thesong) as well as a nice hook.

This latest album by Andy Hill and Renée Safier is a stunningcombination of excellent singing, songwriting and instrumental performances. Heartfelt lyrics, top notch production, and professional in every way, the music is excellent and worthdetailed exploration and a journey; it struck us immediatelywith its timeless quality—certainly a must listen!

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