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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.

White Willow
Tori Amos
Kate Borkowski
Candice Night
Antigone Rising
Magnolia Memoir
The Wyld Olde Souls
Janet Robbins

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White Willow - Terminal Twilight - CD Cover
cover art: Rene Lynch
\r\nimage © Termo Records 2011

More White Willow:
Sacrament (2000)
Live at Spirit of 66 (2002)
(interview, review and photos)
Storm Season (2004)
Signal to Noise (2006)

Related Material by Opium Cartel:
Night Blooms (2010)

White Willow Band Photo 2011
photo: Dagfinn Hobæk | click to enlarge
Sylvia Skjellestad, Jacob Holm-Lupo, Ellen Andrea Wang, Ketil Vestrum Einarsen, Lars Fredrik Frøislie,
Mattias Olsson
image © Termo Records 2011


(17 September 2011) White Willow's sixth studio album Terminal Twilight (Termo Records (Norway) TERMO CD0009, 2011) is their first in four years. The album's nine tracks run one hour and include several extended masterpieces. White Willow's prior album Signal to Noise (review) received international acclaim, also a certain destiny for this new release. While Terminal Twilight was being completed, the band's principle song writer and guitar player, Jacob Holm-Lupo assembled a stunning side project with other White Willow artists called Opium Cartel. Their 2009 album Night Blooms (review) and Lizard Sleeps EP drew significant attention from progressive audiences and White Willow affectionados.

White Willow chose to abandon the high cost/hi gloss environment of the professional studio on favor of their own music this time. The album was recorded with minimal, often primative equipment and has been mixed with very little in the way of processing and editing. The result is raw, real and almost live-sounding, relative to the band's meticulously polished last three albums, anyway.

Sylvia Erichsen returns on Terminal Twilight as the band's lead female vocalist. The lineup also includes: Lars Fredrik Frøislie (keyboards); Ketil Einarsen (flutes); Jacob Holm-Lupo (guitars). Mattias Olsson, who played on Ex Tenebris, returns on drums. Mattias is perhaps best known as the drummer for legendary Swedish proggers Änglagård, and he is also a well known producer. Bassist Ellen Andrea Wang completes the new rhythm section. She played with members of White Willow on The Opium Cartel's debut album, and is also a member of Norway's acclaimed avant-jazz-rockers SynKoke.

Guests complete the talent pool on Terminal Twilight. No-Man's Tim Bowness provides melody, lyrics and vocals to the acoustic "Kansas Regrets," co-written with Jacob Holm-Lupo. Swedish prog-rock Gösta Berlings Saga lent out keyboardest David Lundberg on "Snowswept" and "Kansas Regrets," while American avant-rock guitarist Michael S. Judge (The Nerve Institute) plays guitar on "Hawks Circle the Mountain."

Terminal Twilight embraces all of White Willow's sounds and builds upon them. Soaring flute and warm keyboard passages complement vast guitar excursions and the band's solid rhythm section. Themes developed in one part of the album recur in others. Sylvia's sweet vocals glide atop the arrangements and are joined in some of the songs by Jacob's. And while some of the material is on the more accessible side, tempo and style changes as well as angular arrangements remind listeners that this is indeed a progressive album.

White Willow delivers their unique sound with sweeping keyboards, soaring flutes and notable rhythms. The instrumental arrangements clearly contribute to the band's individuality. Terminal Twilight opens with "Hawks Circle," a track whose angular arrangement bridges to White Willow's earlier work. Sylvia's vocals are immediately recognizable and immediately reminiscent of the band's Sacrament album. However Jacob's electric guitar parts are more aligned with White Willow's Signal to Noise album. The song's memorable theme will return later in the recording.

"Snowswept" is the first album standout. A progressive rock ballad-style tune fronted by Sylvia's delicate lead vocal, the accessible melody is balanced by a very crisp rhythm part. Harmony vocal layers add great texture to the song's crescendo. The album's selection of light acoustic guitar backed numbers includes "Kansas Regrets," initially sung just by guest Tim Bowness (of No-Man) and later joined by Sylvia's light harmony layer. The flute led instrumental section of the song is just breathtaking.

"Red Leaves" picks up where "Snowswept" completed. A piano-based melody provides the foundation for Sylvia's sensitively delivered stunning lead and additional vocal layers. A splendorous guitar solo opens a powerful instrumental break that continues with a vast keyboard passage. The song concludes combining the full range of White Willow's instrumental power with layers of Sylvia's stunning vocals.

"Floor 67" is another album standout combining thematic accessibility with progressive rock interludes. Sylvia's crystalline vocals lead the central melody, backed by the band's robust keyboard, guitar and rhythm section when singing. Instrumental breaks are enthusiastically played and powerful with amazing guitar, flute and bass excursions but fortunately are never overdone. The variations between light acoustic arrangement and powerful rock that recur within the ten minute track are outstanding. The well-arranged and rhythmic White Willow instrumental "Natasha" highlights the band's virtuosity and provides an excellent bridge to the album's next three tracks.

"Searise" is the album's thirteen minute epic opened with Sylvia's vocalise and acoustic guitar before the lyrical part begins. Transitions between lyrical and variations of angular, warmer and lighter progressive instrumental passages are very smoothly executed. "Searise" will be a tremendous performed on stage live.

The instrumental "A Rumor of Twilight" provides the primarily acoustic guitar and vocalise (or is it keyboard) interlude to the album's concluding track. Terminal Twilight concludes with an unusually styled track entitled "The Howling Wind." Listen to the crisp percussion underneath flute, keyboard and guitar arrangements as well as the massive tempo shifts. A brief passage of Jacob's Beatlesque vocals enter the song more than mid-way through that add contrast within this primarily instrumental track.

Terminal Twilight is an album of amazing diversity, oustanding musicianship and stunning vocal work. White Willow have delivered an oustanding sixth album, one that is certain to continue earning them significant worldwide acclaim.

Yesterdays - Colours Caffé - CD Cover
image © Yesterdays 2010

More Yesterdays:
Holdfénykert (Moonlit Garden) (2007)
exclusive interview and album review

Yesterdays - Band Photo
click on image for band's MySpace
image © Yesterdays 2010


(12 October 2011) Yesterdays is a progressive rock band based in Cluj Napoca (Romania/Transylvania). They live in Romania as romanians but they are ethnically Hungarians. Formed in 2000 the band plays progressive rock, a mixture of the wonderful vintage sound of the seventies and the modern sound of the progressive rock including elements from jazz and pop music. Since their first full length album, the band contributed to an array of compilation albums.

Yesterdays long-awaited second album, is entitled Colours Caffé (Yesterdays (Hungary) Rockszerviz, 2011). Also sung in the artists' native tongue, the eleven track record is a more accessible project than the band's first full length album Holdfénykert (Moonlit Garden) (2007). Colours Caffé has also been released in Japan with an eight track bonus disc.

The new album is fronted by Yesterdays' stunning new lead singer Linda Horváth. Linda takes over for the band's former vocalist Hannah who sang with Yesterdays on their contributions to various artist compilations. The balance of the lineup is: Ákos Bogáti-Bokor (guitars, keyboards, vocals); Zsolt Enyedi (keyboards); Zoltán Kolumbán (bass); Domokos Csergõ (drums); Gábor Kecskeméti (flute). The revised lineup builds on the individuals' talents and the band's songwriting as well as Linda's crystalline lead vocal work.

The new Yesterdays album begins with the upbeat pop-oriented "Játék" and percussive "Forog a tánc." Listen to power of Linda's lead vocal work and the very lush backing harmonies in the Yesterday's sound. Guitar and keyboards are also perfectly arranged, paying tribute to the band's muse. Gábor's flute solo during the instrumental break in "Forog a tánc" adds great contrast and is superb!

Although several of individual tracks are very accessible, make no mistake: Colours Caffé is a progressive album. The three track "Némafilm" suite is clearly a testament to both the band's progressive influences and artistic growth. In the first movement "éjszaka," Linda's powerful lead vocals are jointed by band member harmonies and are balanced with plenty of keyboard- and guitar-based instrumental riffs during the instrumental breaks by Zsolt and Ákos respectively. Gábor's flute solo that concludes the piece is tremendous.

The second and jazzier self-titled movement not only includes some of Linda's most evocative and diversified vocal work, rich band harmonies and additional layers by the lead singer, but also some of the most remarkable instrumental arrangements on the record. Allusions to Magenta are evoked with the chime parts. The third and memorable movement "mélyrepülés" features keyboard washes and a crisp guitar part providing a solid foundation for Linda's tremendous lead vocal.

The short, accessible and upbeat folk-styled track "Tükör" is built on flute melody with chimes and acoustic guitar to provide the foundation for the lead vocal part. The jazzy sound of "Bábu" follow with flute, guitar and keyboard underscoring Linda's powerful vocal. The instrumental break explores the virtuousity of the band's individual players and would work well in a live setting to introduce the members and was likely completed with that in mind.

Vocal harmonies and lush arrangements grace gentle rocker "Flautoccatta Megpihensz egyben" while the short instrumental "Prelúdium egy esőhöz" provides the bridge to the album's two concluding tracks. Listen for the recurring theme from "mélyrepülés" that builds further in "Zápor." "Kerdes" is the shortest and most tender of the tracks on Colours Caffé. Linda's sweet vocal is accompanied by just acoustic guitar and flute.

The 38-minute bonus CD of the Disk Union Japanese Limited Edition includes songs for the Yesterdays completist. Says Ákos, "We dug deep into the archives of Yesterdays and found songs, versions of songs that in the past meant the world to me. We got very nostalgic about it and now, that the end of this process is near, we are really thankful to Tetsuo and our friends in Japan that they made this thing happen."

The new version of "Seven," arranged more in the Colours Caffé style and fronted by Linda, is stunning. Two versions of "Hol Vagy" with the band's former lead singer--one an early recording and the other half as long--is the second track reissued from the band's debut album. The flute part in the early recording is stunning. Yesterdays have also included the acoustic jazz-styled "Cherry Pie" ("It's So Divine") taken from the band's Yesterdays' 2004 Dream is Now (A Whole Half), the one piece sung Andrea Emese Ercsey in English.

The upbeat and melodic "33 (Paradiso)," was a contribution to the Dante's Paradiso - The Divine Comedy Part III album, sung by former vocalist Hannah. The funky rock number "Way Back Home" is also sung in English but features male vocals. The acoustic track "Don't Be Afraid"--with a Camel- or Quidam-allusioned flute solo--appears to be from the Moonlit Garden sessions and sung by Andrea Emese Ercsey. An even jazzier alternative mix of Coulours Caffé "Bábu" concludes the disc.

The Colours Caffé album is available from CDBaby in both physical and digital formats. Those that wish to obtain the bonus disc should shop for the Japanese version online. The individual tracks on this album are outstanding and illlustrate the significant artistic growth since the band's debut. Colours Caffé is also a fantastic progressive rock album.

Tirill - Nine and Fifty Swans - CD Cover
image © fairymusic.no 2011

More Tirill:
Nine and Fifty Swans (2011)
Tales from Tranquil August Gardens (2011)
A Dance with the Shadows (2003)
Interview and Photos (2004)

image © fairymusic.no 2011

(05 November 2011) Tirilll Mohn released her first album entitled A Dance with the Shadows through Michael Piper's label The Wild Places in December 2003. The record got some brilliant reviews in international music press, and this first edition was relatively quickly sold out, thanks to Piper's love and enthusiasm for this album.

During the years that followed, Tirill prepared songs for a second album, but in 2008 Michael Piper sadly died after a short period of illness. He left an empty space in the hearts of many a music lover, being a rarely sympathetic and sincere man in the US independent music industry. In the wake of this, Tirill decided to start her own Norway-based label for future releases.

A Norwegian reissue of the debut album also became part of the plans: a copy of the master tape was found, andideas for new cover artwork took shape. Read our review of the reissue here. Tirill's second album is presented in a lovely sepia-hued digipak with a removable illustrated eight page booklet.

Nine and Fifty Swans (FairyMusic (Norway) FAM002, 2011) is Tirill's second album of all new material. Says Tirill, "The music has been categorized as Norwegian feminine gothic folk with progressive elements, a description that mostly covers everything." All lyrics for the album are by W. B. Yeats. Tirill wrote all but one song, arranged and produced the music herself and is credited for vocals, acoustic guitars and mellotron as well as percussion on two tracks. The ten tracks have a running time of just over 37 minutes.

Tirill has employed a vast array of musicians for the recording as well: Audun Kjus (flutes, additional vocals); Nils Einar Vinjor (electric guitar, electric bass); Nils Herman Schultz (double bass); Sigrun Eng (cello); Øyvind Sørensen (percussion); Nick Jones (violin); Dagfinn Hobæk (vocals); Jan Tariq Rui-Rahman (piano); Johanne Gallagher (Gaelic vocals); Wandering Finn (spoken words); Kostas Stefanopoulos (vocals) and Tonje Ettesvoll (backing vocals). Listeners will clearly recognize that the musicians played together before the music was recorded.

About the album Tirill says, "It is atmospheric musicwith worked through arrangements, while the selection of instruments this time is giving this album more space and air in the feel of it." The album opens with the Tirill's delicate delivery of "O do not Love too Long." The string arrangements, hint of electric guitar and backing vocals perfectly complement Tirill's sweet voice. The instrumental break features a lovely flute solo and presents the strength and sensibility of Tirill's arrangements.

"The Cap and Bells" is a lightly arranged folk ballad with sweet vocal work and a good selection of instruments. Listen carefully for the outstanding cello and flute parts in the mix. In "He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven," Tirill and the musicians deliver a stunning yet short folk ballad. Vocals are whispy while the arrangements are crisp--with progressive influences coming through in the electric guitar passages. Audun Kjis' flute melody in "To a Child Dancing in the Wind" gives the standout a Celtic flavor. Rich strings and percussive elements add texture to the arrangement supporting Tirill's sensual vocal delivery.

"Parting" is a melancholy track whose melody is carried by cello. Tirill sings the lyrical passages alongside Dagfinn Hobæk. Listen for the White Willow-styled dissonance in the arrangement. Audun plays the dominant flute melody in "The Fisherman/Carolan's Ramble to Cashel" which is further supported electric guitar that backs Tirill's spoken word vocal. The electric guitar based instrumental build is tremendous. Tirill sings the stunning "Before the World was Made" atop acoustic guitar and double bass. The softly played singer songwriter folk tone clearly pulls on heartstrings.

Dense arrangements with lush vocal harmonies are found in "The Song of Wandering Angus," a tremendous duet sung by Tirill with Wandering Finn. Tirill sings "The Song of the Old Mother," a folky singer songwriter track atop acoustic guitar. Backing vocals by Kostas Stefanopoulos and Tonje Ettesvoll add a lovely texture to the delivery. The album concludes with the gentle ballad "The Wild Swans at Coole." The string arrangements provide a foundation for sung parts by Tirill and Audun Kjus. The flute part is stunning and this track makes a superb bookend for Tirill's second album.

Although it has been eight years since the artist's last solo release, she has been actively working on this wonderful second project. Tirill's selection Yeats' poems alongside her arrangements complements her voice and demonstrates the significant talent she has honed for this second album. Bravo!

Tirill - Tales from Tranquil August Gardens - CD Cover
image © fairymusic.no 2011

More Tirill:
Nine and Fifty Swans (2011)
Tales from Tranquil August Gardens (2011)
A Dance with the Shadows (2003)
Interview and Photos (2004)

image © fairymusic.no 2011

(05 November 2011) Tirill Mohn's Tales from Tranquil August Gardens (FairyMusic (Norway) FAM001, 2011) is the independent Norwegian re-issue of the artist's debut solo album A Dance with the Shadows originally released in 2003. Changes in the reissue include the digipak, booklet and addition of three additional audio tracks.

The ambience throughout is one of haunting beauty--of mystery, longing and calm. The tone is set even before the CD is removed from its case, by a wonderfully presented booklet, with its subtle, ghost-like eroticism. This is continued as the album weaves through an almost impossibly beautiful hour long experience. Though the songs maintain the same, tranquil atmosphere, the arrangements are amazingly varied. Tirill and Oystein Vesaas' wonderfully liquid production lifts each instrument from the speakers, especially the vocals which are delightfully intimate.

The album opens in broody, melancholic fashion. Strange, ambient noises and hushed voices introduce "Nights are Colder," which makes excellent use of a lower male voice singing in unison with Tirill. "Don't Dare to Love You" begins with Tirill's voice and an acoustic guitar singing a lovely, simple tune over lush keyboards and percussion, with subtle interventions from Ketil's flute. This tone continues on "Winter Roses" with its delightful chorus. "June's Flowers" employs cello, guitar, flutes and lovely harmony vocals to articulate a delightful, simple arrangement.

Highlight of "Dressed in Beauty" is the fragile theme played by Tirill's overdubbed violins during the vocal sections, while the songs mid-section adds an unexpected sinister note. "Heavy Heaves" again allows Ketil's breathy flute to dominate over funereal keyboards and more surreal noises, while Tirill sings a mantra-like refrain. The brooding "Vendela" is the song in which listeners will find most parallels with White Willow. Lead vocal duties are here handed over to Odd Hakon Solbakken and White Willow's Sylvia Erichsen, and the edgy backing builds to something bordering rock music for the only time on the album, except the final remix track.

The last few songs are lighter with a more traditional folk feel. Wailing flute and gentle piano introduce the quiet "Gold's of Morning," which its superbly intricate arrangement. Highlight, here, is Ketil's flute which breaks into a half-familiar folk tune as the song concludes. "It was Blue" has simpler, yet equally delightful instrumentation--light and melodic with Espen Lette's accordion to the fore. Trekkspill (an accordion-like instrument) and gypsy-style violin give "Ruby" a sensual, Eastern European feel, and the album finishes in similarly Southern European style with the playful "When you sleep" featuring the impressive bouzouki of Christos Sarakatsianos.

The reissue includes an instrumental version of "It was Blue" that appeared as a video only track on the 2003 release. Tirill's "Signs," which was originally released on White Willow's Ignis Fatuus has also been included. A flute melody and White Willow instrumentals add great contrast to Tirill's voice. The airy track provides an essential view into the artist's background. The album concludes with the stunnnng Parenthesis "Hole in the Soul Remix" of "June's Flowers." The thicker dance-oriented arrangement provides a wonderful contrast to the reissue.

This is a stunning album, which rewards repeated plays and considerable concentration to unpick Tirill's intricate, sensitive arrangements and each song's subtle melodies. On the other hand, as the root of each song remains Tirill's nylon-stringed guitar, it is not difficult to imagine them performed entirely solo. Lyrically, the album considers simple themes, moments of melancholy and joy, the sadness of passing seasons and remembered love.

Whether you choose to concentrate on every moment or allow the general mood of the album to wash over you, this is an exceptional album by a hugely talented musician. Buy it for those quiet, contemplative moments. Read our interview with Tirill as well.--original manuscript by Stephen Lambe in Cheltenham, UK and revised for the reissue by Russ Elliot in Boston, MA

Tori Amos - Night of Hunters - CD Cover
image © Deutsche Gramaphon 2011

More Tori Amos:
Welcome To Sunny Florida (2004)
The Beekeeper (2005)
American Doll Posse (2009)
Abnormally Attracted To Sin (2009)
Midwinter Graces (2009)

Tori Amos
photo: Kyle Gustafson/FTWP
image © The Washington Post 2011

Tori Amos
photo: Kyle Gustafson/FTWP
image © The Washington Post 2011


(06 September 2010 updated 11 December 2011) Tori Amos marks her debut album for Deutsche Grammophon, the world’s most celebrated classical music record label, with Night of Hunters. The record is being handled by Universal Music in North American markets. An extensive tour to promote the album with Tori playing to live audiences was also conducted. An artist that has redefined industry genres since her first album, Amos' twelfth studio release clearly redefines the classical crossover genre. The album combines Tori's piano-driven singer songwriter background with classical-style strings and woodwinds to deliver a simply outstanding result. Production quality is amazing as classical On Night of Hunters the artist's vocal styling also claims a marked diversity from earlier releases with other singers adding more than just a touch of Bjork to the recording. Also read our concert review below.

About Night of Hunters, Amos says, "It's a 21st century song cycle inspired by classical music themes spanning over 400 years. I have used the structure of a song cycle to tell an ongoing, modern story. The protagonist is a woman who finds herself in the dying embers of a relationship. In the course of one night she goes through an initiation of sorts that leads her to reinvent herself allowing the listener to follow her on a journey to explore complex musical and emotional subject matter. One of the main themes explored on this album is the hunter and the hunted and how both exist within us." We think the vocal work blends perfectly with the classical crossover arrangements on the new record.

The Album. The orchestral arrangements deliver additional dimensions and provide a new texture to Tori Amos' music. Listeners need to be patient with this music and listen to the album a few times to really appreciate the project. People will find that this album is not as accessible as Tori's earlier projects. And while the whole 14-track album should be heard start to finish. The angular opening track "Shattering Sea" introduces the musical and lyrical themes that develop as the rest of the album unfolds. Tori's piano is an ever-present percussive element while the strings contribute a foundation that best supports the lyrical part.

The project's two distinct vocal characters emerge in "Snowblind," one of the characters more typical of Tori Amos, the other sung by her daughter Natashya Hawley with her strong vocal allusions to Bjork. The characters' harmonies in "Snowblind" are especially interesting, although singing opposite in duetsis even more dramatic. While the first character played by Tori clearly has the album's lead part, the second played by Natashya continues to appear and has her own distinct contribution to the lyrical delivery in Night of Hunters.

In "Battle of Trees," Tori's lyrics are delivered over a moody and percussive piano part with orchestra providing additional textures to the primary melody. "Fearlessness" is a smoother number, primarily fronted by strings and woodwinds with the piano part joining more as a member rather than as a standout element. Two distinct Tori-style vocal lines intermingle as in a duet, one delivering the verse, the other joining in the rich chorus and singing opposite. The two characters introduced earlier in the recording perform a delightful duet in "Cactus Practice."

Effectively combining orchestra and piano, Tori delivers the three part "Star Whisperer" suite. In the second movement, tempo change brings the piano melody up front and gives members of the orchestra opportunities to show their individual virtues. The delightful third passage delivers further verses and a memorable vocal reprise. Upbeat and sung using both characters'voices, one of two most memorable and typically Tori Amos-style track of the album is "Job's Coffin." The second is album standout "Nautical Twilight," where Tori's vocal layers and soaring harmonies will produce spinal shivers even in the most insensitive listeners.

"Your Ghost" is an extremely gentle Tori Amos-styled piano ballad, only lightly accompanied by the orchestra. "Edge of the Moon" is the album's second two-part suite. Following naturally from "Your Ghost," the song's piano-based style introduction is later augmented by thick woodwinds that draw to a tempo change in the brief percussive typically-Tori Amos vocal passage. The album's second character returns in "The Chase." This powerful standout finds the two characters singing opposite in another duet.

The album's richly arranged title track is sung in a different--and far more operatic--style than any of the other lyrical portions of the album. Rich orchestral arrangements accompany Amos' piano melody. Tempo and style changes within the number give the song a progressive style. A standout in its own right, the title track further demonstrates Tori Amos' diverse musical talents. Layers of harmony vocals perfectly underscore Tori's crystalline lead. A lovely interplay between solo clarinet and Tori's percussive piano form the foundation of the album's only instrumental entitled "Seven Sisters." The album concludes with "Carry," a lovely and typically Tori piano ballad. The orchestra provides warm textures beneath the vocal and piano melody.

The deluxe edition of Night of Hunters is accompanied by a bonus DVD. Musical Discoveries will include credits for the project and further information on the DVD when the package is received. The artist has planned an extensive tour to promote the album. It will be fantastic to see the project performed on stage.Tori Amos' significant artistic growth since her last recording is evident in Night of Hunters. The tour will be fantastic. What will the artist do next?

The Tour. Our editorial staff saw Tori Amos' Night of Hunters tour performance at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, MA on 06 December 2011. Accompanied by the Polish quartet Apollon Musagète, Tori played for almost two hours split between tracks from Night of Hunters and many favorites from her vast back catalog. She also covered Fleetwood Mac's "Changes" and Elton John's "Someone Saved My Life Tonight." The Orpheum is an old theater with great acoustics. Our seats were in the middle of the orchestra section with a great view and oustanding sound.

It was evident that Tori's diehard fans comprised most of the audience. They knew all the songs, freaking out in acclaim at the intro to each of the numbers, including the new tracks from Night of Hunters. Sadly they confused the theater venue with a bar and thought nothing of getting up for drinks at any time during the show and changing their seats almost at will.

Tori's string quartet played on all the tracks from Night of Hunters and they also accompanied the singer songwriter on much of of the back catalog. We were disappointed that neither Tori's daughter Natashya Hawley nor niece Kelsey Dobyns joined the show as guest vocalists.

The live Night of Hunters versions sounded fine but it was far more exciting to watch Tori play them and hear her voice. The balance of back catalog was especially well performed and sounded great, even without her former band mates. While we enjoyed their live performance, we didn't find that the Night of Hunters tracks work that well in a concert hall without an orchestra. Much of the album's sound was lost without the woodwinds in piano- and string-only arrangements on this tour.

We were blown away by Tori's stage performance and most fascinated with her approach to the audience, piano and keyboard. At times she sandwiches the seat between her legs and puts it up on two of the feet, almost making love to the music via the seat. Tori is very athletic on stage. And what a voice! See Tori Amos live.

Kate Borkowski - Vodka Honey EP - Cover
click on image to visit Kate's website
\r\nimage © Kate Borkowski 2011

Kate Borkowski
click on image to visit Kate's MySpace
image © Kate Borkowski 2011

(28 August 2011) Now based in Mercer Island, Washington, singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist Kate Borkowski is originally from South Bend, Indiana. Her family helped cultivate an intense love of words within Kate. It is difficult to miss Borkowski's literary roots, and the fruits of her own Notre Dame bachelor's degree in English, as she sculpts her songs, with precision, weaving trance-inducing and almost eerie vocal melodic play with lyrics that are as likely to invoke vodka as they are to jaunt playfully between rarely used terms in a literature book.

Kate was taught never use a big word where a small word would do just fine. However, when translating the complexities of her inner self, however, she often finds a small word just won't do. Perhaps that's why she has resonated with Paul Simon and, more recently, with Tori Amos. In contrast to her 2005 more folk-influenced Seeing In The Dark album, her Vodka Honey EP and forthcoming full length Beautiful Little Fools CD evoke clear Tori Amos images. Borkowski has said of Amos that she has been a needed reminder that there is a place for the intellectual woman who writes edgy, abstract, and allusion-filled songs within an industry inundated by cliches and demure women.

Vodka Honey EP. Kate's six-track iTunes EP is comprised of four versions of "In My Stoli" and two additional tracks. The studio version of the track reveals Kate's significant artistic development in the run up to her first full length release. Influence from the supporting artists and production staff clearly have derived the Tori Amos influence that her work now takes on. Listen for the incredible string work accompanying the singer. In sharp contrast, the three remixes--including the EP's vastly extended "Vodka Mix"--are clearly dance oriented configurations that add significant diversity to the EP. The slightly shorter "Dirty Mix" is crisper, gentler and is likely more accessible, exposing Kate's vocals more. The shortest of the lot is the "Alchemy Remix" and is most akin to the studio version. The keyboard washes and richer arrangements are only slightly intermingled with more typical remix adjustments. Listen carefully for the vocal treatment and deep bass chords in this one.

Kate thoughtfully included two remixes of tracks from her forthcoming album Beautiful Little Fools. The "Dutch Remix" of "Worker Bees" is a downtempo track, Kate's lead and backing vocals gliding above crisp percussion and delicate arrangements. The producers' vocal arrangement of the layers is completely stunning. The "In-n-Out" remix of "Beautiful Little Fools" features yet another lush vocal treatment of the artist's work, this time accompanied by rich guitar, string and of course piano work. The ever present rhythm section has been perfectly integrated. Raunchy electric guitar joins in the track's powerful crescendo. Bravo!

Beautiful Little Fools. Kate Borkowski's forthcoming twelve-track 54-minute long album is a diverse musical collection, including several Tori Amos-inspired material. However, listeners will clearly hear Kate's own vibe unfold as the album develops, specifically in the singing, songwriting and arrangements. The project was recorded and engineered at Garey Shelton Productions in Seattle. Yet Kate drew on Tori Amos and Paul Simon artists to achieve the desired result. Although the polished result is complete at this stage, no release date has been set.

Additional recording and mixing was done by Marcel van Limbeek (Tori Amos). Kate teamed up with Marcel in early 2010 and the dynamic and creative twosome spent most of the year recording additional vocals, cello, and Bosendorfer piano parts between London and Martian Engineering in Cornwall, England. And other Tori Amos artists contributed to the project: Mac Aladdin, John Philip Shenale and Rosemary Banks.

Further contributors to the project were: Ben Smith (Heart); Keith Lowe (Fiona Apple); and Garey Shelton (Tingstad and Rumbel). Beautiful Little Fools was mastered by the legendary Greg Calbi (Paul Simon) at Sterling Sound in New York and is currently being shopped around with release planned before the end of 2011.

In the first single from the album, "Siamroot" (which is an anagram of Amos' name) the cyclical nature of a volatile relationship and an almost Absinthian retreat from life into the landscape of Amos' songs. Borkowski dedicates "Siamroot" to Amos, a stunning effort in its own right, and no small gift to offer the very woman who has proven so inspiring. A certain album standout, we especially liked the track's robust guitar work and the huge tempo change halfway.

The twelve-track album continues with "Lot's Shoulder," an extremely gentle and bluesy guitar-laden ballad. Here Kate's now characteristic vocal work finds itself amidst some almost-country style arrangements. The arrangements contrast in "The Finest Diner," a downtempo and heartfelt ballad, but this time accompanied by piano. Emotion pours from Kate's soul in the vocal delivery.

The thicker instrumental arrangements in "Whore of an Oracle" are balanced by Kate's lead vocal delivery while her powerful vocalise provides additional texture to the arrangement. The rock-textured electric guitar contributes great diversity to the album's overall sound. The sound of the more accessible "Ice Cream and Snickers" combines rhythmic bass, electric guitar with a rock arrangement that backs Kate's again-powerful vocal delivery. Vocal production on "Volcano Daughter" is incredible. Layers of Kate's vocals perfectly back her voice alongside the rhythmic and lightly rocking guitar-laced arrangement.

Listeners will clearly admire the superb solo a capella singing of Kate's track "Boys That Park." And again in stark contrast, piano and percussion join Kate in the standout "Company Man." Listen for the harmony vocal part that perfectly joins Kate's lead in this album standout. Producers further turn up the reverb in "The First Nickel" which serves to deepen Kate's evocaltive delivery of the lyrical passages alongside crisp acoustic guitar and rhythm parts. We especially admire the contrasting vocal harmony to Kate's stunning lead.

Crisp acoustic guitar and percussion provide the foundation for the gorgeous ballad "Paris" (with emphasis on the French pronunciation of the title). While the album has some Tori Amos influences, Kate's own vibe clearly emergest with her signature backing harmonies and percussive textures.

The album concludes with its stunning piano- and guitar-laced title track. Kate's powerful vocal delivery against the electric guitar works well without any additional layering, although backing harmonies add a stunning texture to the final result. Listen for the singer's soaring backing parts in the song's powerful crescendo. The producers and artists contributing to this project have done an oustanding job. We expect Kate's new full length album to draw significant interest from female vocals enthusiasts worldwide. Incredible!

Candice Night - Reflections - CD Cover
image © Minstral Hall Music 2011

More Candice Night:
exclusive Candice Night interview (2011)
Autumn Sky (2011)
The Village Lanterne (2007)
Paris Moon (2007)
Winter Carols (2006)
Castles and Dreams (2005)
Live at the Reading Concert Hall (2001)
Interview/Album Review (1997-2005)


(23 October 2011) Candice Night is best known as the front woman for Blackmore's Night, an acoustic folk rock band formed with Ritchie Blackmore. Since the couple's first outing on Shadows of the Moon in 1997, the singer has continued to grow not only musically but in notariety. She has contributed her vocal work as a guest to Beto Vazquez Infinity and other projects that demonstrate her vocal chops, diversity and showcase her talent. In 2002, the artist released her first single "Alone With Fate" b/w "Call It Love." Her first debut album is a ten track project entitled Reflections (Minstrel Hall Music (USA) MHM 0527, 2011).

All ten tracks on Reflections are written and produced by Candice Night. Credits given in the album's booklet include producer Pat Regan and violin Elizabeth Cary. The artist is an extremely talented multi-instrumentalist, therefore the balance of the arrangements, including the stunning instrumental piece "In Time" were likely performed by Candice or the producer. The physical jewel-cased album is delivered with a lovely twelve-page booklet including full lyrics and high quality Candice Night photos.

In contrast to Night's first single that was more simply arranged, Reflections is lush, with strong allusions to Blackmore's Night work missing only the instrumental riffs and vast guitar or other six string excursions that the full band is known for. Most tunes are radio friendly both in style and running time. The powerful mid-tempo opening number "Wind Is Calling" clearly sets the mood for the rest of the album. Night's vocal layers draw the listener in from the first verse. Soaring solos illustrate the singer's crystalline texture.

The album opens with the accessible "Alone With Fate," an upbeat track with obvious single potential. Night's crystalline solos soar above instrumentals while multi-layered parts contribute texture elsewhere. In contrast, "Gone Gone Gone" is a bluesy rock number with more robust arrangements featuring guitar and crisp percussion. An album standout is rocker "Dangerous Smile." Raunchy electric guitar and a powerful rhythm section are supported by harmony vocals yet Night's solos soar well above them and serve to illustrate the singer's power.

Ballads draw on the singer songwriter's work with Blackmore's Night. "Black Roses" and the new edition of "Now And Then" have very strong allusions to her work with the band, the latter song appearing in its first incarnation on Under a Violet Moon in 1999. "For You" is a gently-arranged ballad. Rich orchestral instrumentals perfectly echo the lead vocal melody. The singer's voice shines against almost no arrangements in "Robin Red Breast," a perfect lullaby for the artist's baby.

Reflections also includes tracks to widen the artist's appeal to American audiences. "Call It Love" is a singer songwriter styled track with the type of lush arrangements that might be found on a country album. The album's final lyrical number is the artist's new and improved rendition of "Alone With Fate." Featuring rich violin solos, Night's vocals soar atop this Blackmore's Night-styled standout track.

Long awaited, Candice Night's debut solo album delivers ten outstanding tracks done outside the confines of Blackmore's Night. It not only demonstrates her virtuousity and diversity as a musical performer but illustrates the strength of her own singing and songwriting. Bravo!

Antigone Rising - 23 Red - CD Cover
image © Rising Shine Records 2011

More Antigone Rising:
From The Ground Up (2005)
Kristen Henderson Interview (2005)


(01 October 2011) The New York Cityh-based Antigone Rising have evolved since their highly successful acoustic live album From The Ground Up (review). Featured at Starbucks Coffee shops, the 2005 album is considered the band's breakthrough recording. In the gap since that time and their new studio project 23 Red (Rising Shine Records (USA), 2011), the band recorded a yet unreleased album entitled Tales From Wonderland in 2008, believed to be the last with the band's 2005 lineup.

The last few years have seen a series of changes in Antigone Rising's lineup. The band also went independent, establishing Rising Shine Redords in conjunction wth their departure from Lava. In support of the release of their new album, Antigone Rising's live shows with the Bangles have been a a huge success, generally playing to sold out venues and being extremely well received.

Antigone Rising have continued to grow musically. 23 Red is the latest in a long discography dating back to 1996. Their recordings include: She's Gone A Little Mad (1996); Snapshot (1998); New and Used (1999); Rock Album (2000); live albums SaY iT! an-TIG-uh-nee (2002) and Antigone Rising's Traveling Circus (2003); From the Ground Up (2005); the unreleased Tales from Wonderland (2008); Live From NYC (2010); and the download only single "This Christmas" (2010).

Antigone Rising's new record is comprised of ten outstanding studio tracks and a tight running time of just over 35 minutes in contrast to their almost one hour 2005 live acoustic recording. The new lineup features Nini Camps (lead vocals, rhythm guitar), Cathy Henderson (lead guitar, keyboards, vocals), Kristen Henderson (bass, vocals) and Dena Tauriello (drums, percussion). The expense of studio time likely led to its shorter running time in comparison to their 2005 project.

The first all-studio recording many will have ever heard by the band, Antigone Rising enthusiasts will immediately notice more polish and the smooth quality and more feminine texture of Nini Camps' lead vocal in the sound of the new record. The band's tight arrangements and harmony vocals continue to provide the foundation of Antigone Rising's sound. Indeed all of the band's recordings, except one studio track from the Live From NYC EP have been recorded live since the year 2000. The album's tracks are all accessible and radio friendly running lengths.

23 Red opens with an obvioius single called "No Remedy," Nini's smooth lead supported by lush harmonies and rich guitar-laced arrangements. The dense vocal harmonies and tightly produced arrangements on "Everywhere Is Home" couple perfectly to the lead singer's vocal lines. As a contrast to the album's more upbeat numbers, the acoustic texture of "Borrowed Time" gives it more of a ballad feel and permits Nini's vocal to shine. Another obvious single from the album is "One Foot In" whose arrangements feature a notable keyboard part. Listen for the country-styled vocal work.

Electric guitars glisen in the arrangements of "Gracefully" a track full of lush harmony vocals that back Nini Camps' evocative lead vocal line. The density of 23 Red's production is perhaps most notable in this mid-album track. And while loaded with guitar gymnastics, the upbeat and percussive country-styled arrangement of "Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring" reveals each of the parts with incredible imaging.

Album standout "Pink Sunglasses" is a verse-chorus styled rock track. Listen for the sharp contrast between Nini Camps' gorgious lead vocal and the backing harmonies. Eatliz fans will recall that their hit "Attractive" was also about pink sunglasses! The lead singer is clearly featured above the band's arrangements with an evocative lead vocal in "Breaking Me," whose backing vocals are more subtle and set back.

The album's second standout is "You Say You Want To Leave." As in "Breaking Me," Nini Camps vocal lead has been pushed right up front. Listen for the power and clarity of her voice in the album's penultimate track. Pay particular attention to the electric guitar solos in the arrangement. The album concludes with the percussive rock track, "Goodbye." Dense arrangements, lush arrangements and a memorable melody will leave listeners longing for more.

Antigone Rising's first studio album in over a decade has certainly been worth the wait. The CD is accompanied by a gorgeous tri-fold digipack. Their new lineup builds on the band's longstanding resume of great recordings. Also known for their amazing live performances, Antigone Rising have delivered an outstanding and well produced project with 23 Red.

Magnolia Memoir - What
image © Magnolia Memoir 2011


(01 October 2011) Magnolia Memoir will release their first major label album Perfect Crime in February 2012 but are offering enthusiasts a taste with the four-track EP What's A Good Girl To Do. Two of the tracks are from the forthcoming album while the remaining two are bonus tracks. The young ensemble is led by singer/composer, Mela Lee, with music direction by vibe/keyboard player Alexander Burke, an anchor of bass by Gordon Bash, Aron Forbes on guitar and Matt Lucich on Drums. Sweet, sexy, nuanced, and smart -- with a healthy dash of irreverence -– find out what critics and audiences have been raving about.

Internet savvy enthusiasts will find the band's first full length self-titled recording as well as this new EP available for preview at BandCamp. Mela Lee's stunning five octave range -- although not illustrated on the EP -- and unique sound are reminiscent of the spirit of a young Etta James or Billie Holiday along with the mischievous youth andsensuality of Grammy Award-winners, Amy Winehouse and Adele and the playful rock edge of Gwen Stefani. Lee's voice is classic, stunning, and instantly familiar. Andrae Crouch says of Lee, "She has the voice of an angel and can break the heart of heaven." A professional voiceover artist for film and television, Lee has been featured in numerous commercials, animated series, games and movies. The EP is just an appetizer for what the main meal will offer.

"Good Girl" is a rock oriented track with a bluesy edge. Listen to Mela Lee's sensual lead vocal glide over rhythmic guitar and swirling keyboard washes with backing piano melody. Perfectly produced and crisp guitar-based arrangements provide a gentle foundation for the lead singer's evocatively delivered vocal lines. Percussion perfectly punctuates the rhythm in this memorable foot tapping number. Mela Lee's vocal power shines in the pop style recording.

"Rainbow Connection" is the first of the EP's two bonus tracks. A ballad wrenched with emotion, the song's texture builds with lush keyboard centered instrumental arrangements. The almost a cappella vocal breaks are tremendous and illustrative of the singer's prowess. In stark contrast to the other three numbers, the final track of the EP is the raunchy rocker "Chelsea." With an almost live sound, this upbeat song demonstrates Mela Lee's vocal pyrotechnics. Listen for the saxophone solo in the brief instrumental break.

Magnolia Memoir have succeeded in whetting the appetite of enthusiasts for their major label debut Perfect Crime. The EP is available via iTunes and BandCamp presently. Fans will, however, need to wait until February 2012 for the album's release.

The Wyld Olde Souls - Ensoulment - CD Cover
image © My Generation Productions
\r\nThe Wyld Olde Souls 2011

The Wyld Olde Souls - Band Photo
image © My Generation Productions
The Wyld Olde Souls 2011


(03 October 2011) The Wyld Olde Souls are a psychedelic folk band from New York City who blend a variety of progressive influences with their passion for late sixties British folk rock. With influences ranging from twelfth century courtly love songs to Jefferson Airplane to Fairport Convention to Loreena McKennitt, The Wyld Olde Souls have created their own sound that links music of the the past with the music of tomorrow. The band's release of a highly anticipated album Ensoulment (My Generation Productions (USA) MGP 003, 2011) will delight those that have been waiting tens years for it to appear. An album entitled Poems from the Astral Plane was released by the band in 2000.

The well produced fourteen track album has a running time of well over an hour. It is presented in gorgeous full color triple gatefold digipak. In addition to credits, the cover has stunning photographs of The Wyld Old Souls five artists: Ivy Vale (lead vocals, guitar, hand percussion); Rick Reil (vocals, electric and acoustic lead guitar, bouzouki); Melissa Davis (vocals, hand percussion); Kristin Pinell Reil (vocals, flute, guitar, mandolin) and Naren Budhakar (tablas). Musical Discoveries readers will be delighted with music from a progressive band fronted by three female vocalists and additional vocal work by Rick Reil that adds texture to the harmonies.

The Wyld Olde Souls music features both acoustic and electric arrangements but is clearly more folk than hard rock oriented. None of the tracks are epic in length but equally they are not short radio-friendly numbers either. Lush vocal harmonies span the entire recording and complement both the vocal lead and instrumental arrangements. Listen for the glistening electric guitar within the group's instrumentation.

Newcomers to The Wyld Olde Souls will be immediately drawn in with the album's opening "Ferris Wheel," whose primarily acousitic arrangements and lush multi-part crystalline vocals paint a picture of the album that follows. The further instrumentals, including a mello guitar solo, provide the essential foundation not only for the track but in the band's sound. The folk-style number "Give It To You" brings Ivy Vale to the fore where she can show her vocal chops. Listen also for Rick Reil's and Marlene Reil's (who is no longer a member of the band) harmonies in the lyrical delivery. A stunning electric guitar solo highlights the instrumental bridge.

Swirling acoustic guitar arrangements back Ivy Vale's powerful lead vocal in the verses of "Take Me There" while the band's lush backing harmonies add texture in the song's chorus. The instrumental break this time sees the guitar solo joined by warm keyboard washes. Vocal harmonies introduce "The Dam" and are joined by both electric and acoustic guitar parts and crisp percussion.

The purely acoustic arrangement track "Wyld Maiden" is reminscent of Loreena McKennitt's material. Ivy's more serious line is supported by sweet harmonies by Melissa Davis who stepped in and took over the high harmonies in the band following Marlene Reil's departure.The acoustic arrangements on "My Lost Way" are especially rich and full of depth. A slower paced ballad, the lead vocal are complemented by an echoing electric guitar and extremely light backing harmonies.

The album's standout is a stunning and well-produced all-acoustic cover of King Crimson's "I Talk To The Wind." Listen carefully for the wide ranging vocal harmonies and Kristin Pinell Reil's incredible flute part in the song. The acoustic ballad "Anything" continues to build on the band's sound with electric guitar and rhythm section providing additional texture to the number. The band draws on Indian influences in the richly produced primarily acoustic instrumental "Love In Transition."

The short and light folk-styled ballad "Maybe" again features Ivy's lead vocal backed by rich harmonies from the other singers and lush arrangements. Strong keyboard washes add depth to the production. In a slight contrast, the even more richly arranged "Undertow" sees the band's vocalists accompanied by additional atmospheric effects. The band wheels out their broadest most powerful sounding percussion in "Worn Out." The soaring backing vocalise contributes to the light arrangement.

Kristin Pinell Reil re-emerges with a stunning flute part in the album's second standout "Where There Is Light," Ivy's powerful vocal backed by very lush vocal harmonies and progressive influenced Indian-styled arrangements. The song has a fantastic chorus. The album concludes with the accessible track, "Leave Her," a acoustic and electric guitar backed rock ballad that builds until the band is playing in full splendor.

Ensoulment is a large collection of primarily acoustic material featuring three female vocalists and contributions from Rick Reil who adds great texture to the band's harmonies. The recording spans sounds of the sixties and modern influences alikeand is certain to appeal to folk and progressive affictionados. The self-produced album is delightful.

Janet Robbins - Song of the Gypsy Tree - CD Cover
image © Janet Robinson 2010

Janet Robbins
click on image to visit Janet's MySpace
image © Janet Robinson 2010

(23 October 2010) Weaving sonic tales of magic and mysticism, Janet Robbins has released her fourth album Song of the Gypsy Tree (Star 7 Records (USA) 11175, 2010). The album, packaged in a unique four-panel digipak, is described as "moody, laconic, enticing, sometimes baffling." Janet's music possesses a dark beauty and symphonic grandeur. With ethereal ambient soundscapes intertwined with world music rhythms and hauntingly beautiful vocals, Janet's work continues in the path of her contemporaries Mike and Sally Oldfield, Kate Bush and Gilli Smyth.

"This is what you might listen to after you are awakened from cryo-sleep and find yourself adrift somewhere on Orion's belt," says Bill Binkelman of Wind and Wire about Janet's music. A world traveler her compositions are as equally influenced by the imagery of ancient sacred sites in Turkey, England, Egypt or the mountains of upstate New York and Asheville to her new home in Northern, CA.

"For me, the album is about relationship of all kinds," Janet explains, "the struggles we create when we ignore our relatedness to one another, the animal kingdom, and to the environment, and the offerings of the natural and spirit world and the surrender that's needed."

Born into a musical family in Nashville, TN, at five Janet began playing/studying classical piano. After years of writing and performing, she eventually made her way to Los Angeles, playing in bands before finding her compositional voice through the creation of atmospheric soundscapes, incorporating her vocal and instrumental talents as well as the many diverse cultural influences she has absorbed from her world travels. This new musical direction led to the release of her three CD series, Carrying The Bag of Hearts Interpreting the Birth of Stars.

Janet Robbins new album promises to take the listener on a spiritual musical journey through vast aural landscapes! The main difference between Janet's Song of the Gypsy Tree and her previous release is her singing on this album. She says, "There's more compositional structure for the lyric, although there are formless passages of lyric as well. Sonically I still draw from a source of tone and musicality, that seems to reside in middle earth and deep space. I do feel the quality of journey and travel still exists within the music." Listen to the samples at the artist's MySpace or ReverbNation pages.

She adds, "I think we have the gift of almost unlimited creation and a responsibility for what/the world we create. So cook a great meal and share it with friends! Sing a little tune to someone on the street, turn a moment into a radical departure from social dictates, use your voice and break the numbing acquiescence of a collective sleep. But enjoy life." Janet Robbins is like a musical spirit guide; follow her and she will lead you on an enriching and captivating journey!

Claudine - Wrestling Consciousness - CD Cover
image © www.claudinemusic.com 2011

click image to visit Claudine's MySpace
image © www.claudinemusic.com 2011

(23 October 2011) Much to the elation of fans around the world, San Francisco-based music artist Claudine has released her highly anticipated debut album Wrestling Consciousness (www.claudinemusic.com (USA) 8 84501 57554 6, 2011). The album's fifteen tracks run an hour span rock, pop and ballads demonstrating Claudine's singing and songwriting chops. Her sound combines the sensibilities of Pink and Pat Benatar. The artist is here to prove that good old fashioned rock music, with lyrics that explore the depths of the good, the bad and the ugly in life, isn't exclusively for the boys.

Says Claudine, "My album spans a period of time in my life where I was searching to find my own value and purpose and I am writing from a place, sharing some of those in my life who have made a strong impact, left their mark, if you will. We all have our journey, and though we may travel on different roads, we often share the same shoes as we experience similar perspectives in the human condition. My hope is that my fans can feel as though they are not alone, and that they may connect or find themselves in my lyrics, and in my music."

Claudine’s vocal performances are powered by natural talent along with life experience that she vividly brings to the stage. Her lineup further defines her message: Isaac Bolivar is on lead guitar with a memorizing touch on his strings, a young, yet seasoned talent, has toured with Taking Back Sunday, a Warner Brothers act that has played for tens of thousands of fans worldwide.

Claudine is also supported by another bay area great, Jason Wall, on drums; endorsed by both Pearl drums, and Zildjian cymbals, who always takes command while seated behind his kit, playing with power, precision, and a distinct energy that is infectious. Mark Kenoly, who has been on the music scene for many years and has a Grammy nomination under his belt, not only produces Claudine’s music, but also performs bass, adding texture and depth to every piece. The band members work as an ensemble to further define Claudine's sound.

With diverse subject matter is explored in Claudine's songs, one wonders where her inspiration is derived. She says, "I am inspired by a number of things; something as simple as a single word, an image or photograph, a phrase, or an emotion. It can come from the work of other artists that I admire, and event or experience in my own life, or even one that has been shared, and remains with me."

The album's rock numbers include the stunning opener "Vice," "All I Want" with its raunchy electric guitar line and the thickly arranged "In The Ruins." Claudine's voice is everso powerful. Electric guitars dominate the arrangements in the memorable tracks "Don't Make A Sound," "You" and "The Battle Rages On." Sensible pop tunes like the standout "If I Ran To You," its bookend "Clouds," "Come On Over" and "Play Me" are accessible, memorable, sung well and arranged in a radio-friendly format.

And in contrast, Claudine also delivers some outstanding ballads that include the crunchy "Bleeding Hearts" and "Fallen Angel" both accompanied by gentle acoustic guitar. Her vocal work is as evocative in her ballads as powerful in the rock tunes. Keyboard washes join acoustic guitar in "Stay" while Claudine's stunning rendition "Hallelujah" is stripped back to vocals and acoustic guitar alone. The concluding track on the album, "I Will Learn" is a pop-oriented ballad accompanied by light electric guitar and keyboard washes that perfectly illustrates Claudine's vocal prowess.

To accompany the the release of Wrestling Consciousness, Claudine will release a music video for the ballad "If I Ran To You." There are actually two filmed versions of the song, and she is asking fans to choose the one that they like the best! She plans to do a little touring on the west cost to support the album's release.

Claudine's album is packaged in a tri-fold digipack with a glossy finish and stunning photos of the musicians. Preview the entire album at Claudine's BandCamp page.Claudine has a bright future in store. Her new album will surely expand her audience and bring her the acclaim she has earned.

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