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Elizabeth South - The Mysteries of our Minds - CD Cover
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\r\nImage © Elizabeth South 2010

Elizabeth South
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Image © Elizabeth South 2010

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(18 April 2010) The Mysteries of our Minds (Cat No. 700261290904, 2010)is the new album by Elizabeth South. It follows her debut Have Faith released in 2008. Elizabeth has a well trained voice that is perfectly suited to music that fuses pop, rock and inspirational. As part of her artistic development, she attended North Carolina School of the Arts and New York University. She studied musical theater and drama at the Tisch School of the Arts and presently has two undergraduate degrees, one in drama and the other in music therapy. She also earned a Master of Arts in Teaching at UNC-Chapel Hill. Her producer Billy Smiley (founder of rock group White Heart) feels that her direction and style is similar to Sarah McLachlan, Enya and Sheryl Crow combined.

The Mysteries of our Minds was co-written with Smiley in Arizona and Nashville. The album includes the work of a bevy of established musicians, including: Blair Masters (piano and synths); Dennis Holt (drums); Matt Pierson (bass); Scott Dente (acoustic guitar); Christine Dente (vocals); Rick Florian (vocals); George Cochini (guitars); Gordon Kennedy (sitar); Brennan Smiley (guitars); Greg Hagan (guitars) and Bill Whittington (mixing engineer). Their work has contributed to the excellent sound delivered on this album.

The album is comprised primarily of heartfelt ballads and includes tracks featuring many of the artists that contributed to the album. It opens with the gorgeous track "Falling in Love Alone" with vocals contributed by Christine Dente. Elizabeth joins with Rick Florian on "Someday," a warm and upbeat ballad the two sing as a duet. "Your Voice" is an upbeat rock track. We appreciated the power in Elizabeth's voice and the delivery of the lyrical message. Her duet with Billy Smiley in "I Know" is tenderly delivered. The vocal layers contribute to the lush sound of the song.

Elizabeth's solo tracks include "If Tomorrow Never Comes," a piano-backed ballad, with subtle warm backing vocals provided by Terry White. "Forgive" best illustrates the range and sheer power of Elizabeth's vocal work. The edgy rock arrangements of this album standout perfectly complement her voice. "Am I Stronger" is performed in a significant contrasts with whispy vocals layered over light piano and string arrangements.

"I Will Follow" is very lightly backed duet with Rick Florian that continues to underscore the inspirational theme of the album. "Perfect Love" further highlights thevocalist's talent while building instrumentals and backing vocals by Billy Smiley add texture. Somewhat thicker arrangements and additional layering contribute to the lush sound of the White Heart cover song "Fly Eagle Fly," with Elizabeth backed by Florian, Smiley and Kennedy. The synth and guitar arrangements that complement the vocal work in the song's climax are superb.

"Never Looking Back" is a pop-oriented song with soaring lead vocals delivered atop layers of building arrangements. Listen for Elizabeth's strength to crescendo vocally across the track. The album concludes with the inspirational lyrics of the National Radio Single, "Have Faith," a final ballad tenderly delivered atop acoustic guitar and gentle string arrangements. The choruses release all of the tension developed each each of the verses.

Elizabeth is a busy young woman. She is a full-time elementrary school teacher. She teaches music and drama and also writes a fourth grade play every year and directs it. Even with all of this going on, she is pursuing her goal of finding a nationwide audience with as much passion as she always devotes to hear teaching. We're happy to help her spread the word. While we would have appreciated an additional song in the style of "Forgive," The Mysteries of our Minds is a wonderful album.--Russ Elliot on assignment in Boston, MA

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