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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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Beautiful Distraction CD Cover
Beautiful Distraction
Image © Unison Music 2008

Marianne Keith
Marianne Keith (singer/songwriter)
Image © Unison Music 2008

Beautiful Distraction (CDBaby version)
Beautiful Distraction | CDBaby Version
Image © Unison Music 2008

Make no Mistake
Make No Mistake | available at CDBaby
Image © Marianne Keith 2004


(18 October 2008) Riverside, California-based Marianne Keith, 22 years of age at this writing, released her first album Make No Mistake (Marianne Keith (USA) 641444944521, 2004 four years ago at age 18 to critical acclaim, characterized then as a soulful singer, talented songwriter, and instrumentalist. The pretty young woman has a diverse background in music ranging from gospel to country, and 70s rock to jazz, Marianne integrates many of these elements into her sound. Described as pop/rock-singer/songwriter, her blending of styles is reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan, Sheryl Crow, Susan Tedeschi and yet her vocal style and power makes her entirely unique.

Marianne Keith has been singing in church from the age of six, and decided to play guitar and write her own music when she was 16. To get her hands on her first guitar she literally pawned her clarinet. "And I got completely ripped off," she laughs. "I got a guitar that wasn't that great. It was a classical guitar and I didn't know the difference between that and an acoustic guitar." But by the age of 18, Marianne was off and running. She started performing at open mic nights, like at the Coffee Depot in Riverside.

Marianne said, "That was the first time I attempted to play my guitar and sing. It was scary. "I was willing to be nervous because of how much I wanted to do it. If I was going to be a musician I just had to get over it." Marianne has accomplished more than simply overcoming her nerves. Audiences throughout the Riverside, San Bernardino, Los Angeles and Orange County areas grew quickly. She was voted one of the top five artists in Orange County for Best Live Acoustic Female and won the Orange County Music Award in the Best Country category for the charming and up-tempo "Make You Mine." The award-winning song, along with "Kiss Me in the Rain," became fan favorites and top iTunes sellers.

About her still available and independently release debut, the album was recorded and engineered at Midnight Hour Productions with producer Kelly McGuire. Kelly describes her as, "a talented, distinctive vocalist with a keen sense of melody and composition. Marianne's songs say something. Add in an attractive look and stage presence just as strong as her music and you have a winning combination." In preparation for recording and live shows, Marianne's voice has been refined by her natural abilities enhanced by the renowned vocal instructor Billy Purnell, a Seth Riggs associate. Billy says about her, "Marianne has the kind of package the industry is looking for--vocal talent, inspired songwriting, and a great look, and I believe she has the drive and the stamina to make it in this business."

Her bright purple guitar personifies Marianne's bubbly spirit both on and off stage. She has been featured in various types of performances including regional competitions, charity benefit concerts, and dozens of solo gigs. Not only are crowds captivated by her catchy songs and profound lyrics, but also by her warm and inviting smile. Easily approachable, this magnetic performer draws you in and keeps you there. One listen and you'll agree, there's something special about Marianne. Her dazzling, doe eyed beauty, her cascading curls of chocolate brown hair, unmistakable voice and soulful songs total in only one person: Marianne Keith.

Marianne is back with a twelve track collection entitled Beautiful Distraction (Unison Music (USA) 897834000425, 2008). Combine a magnetic stage presence with prolific songwriting, the album covers all the bases, from unforgettably catchy uptempos, to introspective ballads and an occasional dash of country. Beautiful Distraction includes "The Angry Song", voted Orange County Folk Artist of 2007 and "Make You Mine", voted Orange County's Country Artist / Song Of The Year, 2006.

Marianne Keith's Beautiful Distraction is an engaging work of introspective sentiments, pop sensibilities, Marianne's expressive emotions, and keen sense of melody. Lively songs such as "Kiss Me in the Rain," give way to the composed passion found on "That's Just the Way Love Goes." Sultry numbers like "The Angry Song" easily connect with the open emotions and raw musical talent found in the piano ballad, "Sideways Rain."

Says Marianne, "I tend to write a lot of poppy songs, but I also balance them with quirkier, more unique songs." She has the knack for adding a familiar pop element to her tunes--but not in a Britney Spears or Hilary Duff kind of way. "Some of my songs are kind of feel-good in a way, but they're not bubblegum. Being a singer-songwriter and also embracing pop is kind of a lost art," she adds.

Integrating pop, folk, country and more into her musical mix, Marianne crosses musical boundaries much like the diverse female musicians who continue to inspire her: Sarah McLachlan, Tori Amos, and KT Tunstall. Keith’s many fans have learned not to be fooled by her small frame and young age, her vocals command the room as if she were an old pro. After all, she has been preparing for this moment for years. On Beautiful Distraction, Marianne started playing the piano, allowing her to expand her musical repertoire. The lush piano ballad "Sideways Rain," was recorded in one live take. "Any time there's a grand piano anywhere, I'm in heaven. I love playing it," she says. "Also, I really wanted to add something like that to the record so people knew I was legit."

One listen, one show and you'll know Keith is legit, even though she has also found herself sometimes defending her positive outlook on life. Raised in a middle-class family that has always supported her career goals, Keith's music focuses on the ups and downs of life, as opposed to the more melodramatic hardship within her genre. "People think that in order to be some great songwriter, you have to have gone through some sort of tragedy. And I don't have a tragic life at all," she says. "But as I see more and more of the world, I think I have something to say and share about it. I think a lot of people have had lives similar to mine."And if those emotions come out as a simple, ol' love song, so what? "What do people care more about in life than relationships? People spend their whole lives looking for a good one," says Marianne. "I think love songs are important, as long as they're a relatively interesting take on love. I feel that's real music forever."

Happy or sad, sentimental or sweet, Marianne has plenty to say and with her sweet, stylish delivery, people are listening. "I love Beautiful Distraction, and I'm focused on the records I'm making now, but I want to be remembered as someone who made an impact on the record industry," she says. "I'm also thinking about the music I'll be making 30 years from now."

Marianne has the talent and drive to make it in the business. With two albums currently available, a resume with increasing awards and critical acclaim for her debut and latest album, this young lady has a long way to go. Her album, albeit somewhat formulaic, is available digitally via iTunes and physically via many online outlets including amazon.com. Visit her MySpace to hear streaming audio.

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