Sunday, 23 March 2008

CD Review - Lizz Wright

The Orchard
Verve Forecast

By M.D. Spenser

This beautiful album transcends genre. It has elements of blues, gospel, R&B, jazz and folk; but more than these, it has a gentle honesty that's deeply moving.

It’s tempting to talk about the musicians (wonderful) or Craig Street’s production (flawless) and especially
Wright’s voice, a rich and vibrant instrument.

But what makes this an album for all time are the songs and Wright’s interpretation of them.

The album begins with ‘Coming Home,' a song that refers to the orchard of the album title -- a place of truth remembered from Wright’s small-town Georgia childhood. The other songs detail the nuance and subtlety of love.

The emotional peaks are ‘I Idolize You’, a scorching Ike Turner blues about infatuation, and ‘Leave Me Standing Alone’, a sizzling, gospel-inflected original in which the lover is sent packing -- the two opposite poles of love. From these twin peaks, like the towers of a suspension bridge, the other songs curve in a graceful arc.

The record describes the changing colours of a relationship with sweetness and sadness but almost no anger.

One gorgeous song follows another. We meet the girl who loses the battle to protect her heart and is “quite well pleased.” We see love’s risk: “And what if the water's cold when I fall?”

We watch someone heal the pain of lost love in the waves of the ocean and all things eternal. We understand when the lover leaves but the love remains.

Whether with originals or covers, Wright is brave enough to open her heart with an honesty both bittersweet and true.

Treasure this album for life.

No comments: