Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Jazz, Pop, R&B
Wright's collaboration with Craig Street continues on The Orchard. While her prior releases boasted contributions from some of the jazz world's most respected jazz players, The Orchard features an eclectic cast that includ... more »
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Wright's collaboration with Craig Street continues on The Orchard. While her prior releases boasted contributions from some of the jazz world's most respected jazz players, The Orchard features an eclectic cast that includes noted singer/songwriter Toshi Reagon, who co-wrote several songs with Wright; Calexico members Joey Burns and John Convertino; avant-guitar hero Oren Bloedow; longtime Bob Dylan sideman Larry Campbell; Ollabelle member Glenn Patscha; and guest vocalists Catherine Russell and Marc Anthony Thompson (aka Chocolate Genius). The Orchard's fluid, intimate performances reflect the unpretentious spirit in which the music was created. The project actually began with a set of photographs taken by Wright in her rural hometown, focusing on the orchard of the title, a setting that she's known since childhood. That organic approach was maintained throughout the recording process, which took place at studios in upstate New York's Catskill mountains, in Tucson, Arizona and Brooklyn. The sessions emphasized spontaneity and chemistry. That rare ability to exist within the musical moment is one of the qualities that make Lizz Wright a special artist and The Orchard a career milestone. "This record was a huge learning experience, in every way, and I think it showed me a lot about myself," she states. "I never would have imagined that I would have written some of the things I wrote on this record, or told some of these stories. But I felt really free and I really let myself go, and I surprised myself."
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Like a Sleeping Lion.
A* | New York, N.Y. United States | 02/28/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The woman's voice is maddeningly beautiful. Heavy and sweet like molasses. And this album does it justice. Not to knock her other two albums, those were in there own right above average, but if you listened to her sing just once you knew there was something more, a fire to her voice she didn't tap into yet, but it stirred in the background.
It's on display all over this disc. It sounds as if Nina Simone made a country album, with all the trials, terrors and pain of her best work played up with fiddles, sullen choruses and just the right amount of a slow burn. Songs like "It Makes No Difference" is proof; it just breathes on its own, like a good song should.
"Song For Mia" with its guitar and piano leading into Wright's quivering voice is a soul cleansing revelation. As is "When I Fall," her delivery betraying the undercurrent of insecurity.
These songs wouldn't work so well if the voice wasn't so bonded to the music. Wright isn't striving or belting to give you angst. It's all subtle heartbreak, oozing out of that alto like smoke from a chimney in winter. I won't even get into her ripping through "I Idolize You" where she gives it a pensive, cautious warning to her lover instead of the rawness and sexy punch of Ike & Tina Turner's version -- it works.
Wright Goes Home Again
L. J. Allen | Atlanta, GA United States | 03/01/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit, I had to wait to comment on Lizz Wright's considerably warm pipes. I have been disappointed with so many young artists who either forsake all originality for the quick buck or they fizzle out after the first album. I listened to her first CD, the Jazz-Pop oriented SALT, and then the ethereal DREAMING WIDE AWAKE. Now that she has released THE ORCHARD, I cannot hold my tongue any longer.
Wright is unquestionably one of the most original and sincere young artists to arrive on the music scene in the last three decades. THE ORCHARD finds Wright again produced by Craig Street who has an uncanny ability to get vocalists to dig deep into their own psyches. Wright's smokey vocals blend folk, country, soul into what sounds and smells like her (and my) native Georgia. This time out, however, Wright co-wrote 8 of the 12 tracks on this CD. Her most frequent compositional partner here is the underrated Toshi Reagon (daughter of Dr. Bernice Johnson Reagon, noted historian, vocalist and founder of Sweet Honey `N the Rock).
The opening track, a Wright/T. Reagon composition "Coming Home" has a gospel/anthem quality. "Leave Me Standing Alone" is a decidedly funky uptempo plea. Yet Wright does best when she shows off her considerable interpretive skills on the old Ike & Tina Turner chestnut "I Idolize You." Her reading of Patsy Cline's classic mid-tempo "Strange" is slowed down here and turned into a languid and haunting torch song.
But buyer beware. This is not Soul music; it is not Folk; it is not Jazz; it is not Blues; and it is not Country. But it contains components of all of the above. It reminds the listener of the hybrid that is Southern music, and Georgia music in particular. I can smell the Georgia pines and feel the red clay between my toes with each listen.
All of Wright's albums tend to become more impressive and more enjoyable with each listen. THE ORCHARD continues that tradition. Wright's deep and serene introspection may not appeal to all listeners. She almost requires that the listener bring something of him/herself to the table. But if you hang around awhile, you will not be disappointed.
Lizz is WRIGHT On!!!
Mamadou Faye | Md | 03/13/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Lizz Wright is too be watched for a loooong time to come. This, her 3rd project, is another success. Her amazing contralto voice adds this velvet cover to every note played by the stellar musicians. Is it me or is her collaboration with Toshi Reagon (of her own musical notoriety which she was born into and then blazed her own path - the daughter of the incomparable Dr Berniece Johnson Reagon, the founder of Sweet Honey in the Rock and the late Cordell Reagon, who also lent his wonderful tenor voice to the Civil Rights Movement) the "Wright" medicine? Her cover of Ike's "Idolize You" makes me want to coerce my dad to send me his album so I can hear the two songs in succession. This was a birthday gift to myself and what a GIFT!!! Lizz is WRIGHT on!!! If you get the opportunity to see/hear her live, do so. Her persona comes through in her performance. When I last saw her, surprisingly the band was composed of all young musicians who delivered just as she, with this maturity, depth, wisdom, and love for their craft. Cant wait for her to sing these songs live as well."