Cindy Bullens's 1999 release, Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth, is an exceptional ode to her late daughter (who died at age 11) that does what great art should do: turn the passionately personal into the universal. Never... more »land is a transitional work that references the tragedy (in the title song and "Right Kind of Goodbye") while moving on to other subjects. John Hiatt joins her for "Hammer and Nails," about the work that must accompany the passion, while "Sensible Shoes" references rocker Bullens's refusal to conform to expectations. She even finds time to have fun with a sexy blues ("Baby I Want Your Love"). Steve Earle's twang-trust partner Ray Kennedy helps provide the perfect guitar-driven setting for the singer's pipes (Earle himself lends a vocal hand on the title tune), helping Bullens in the quest to move on with her life--at the same time enriching ours. --Michael Ross« less
Cindy Bullens's 1999 release, Somewhere Between Heaven and Earth, is an exceptional ode to her late daughter (who died at age 11) that does what great art should do: turn the passionately personal into the universal. Neverland is a transitional work that references the tragedy (in the title song and "Right Kind of Goodbye") while moving on to other subjects. John Hiatt joins her for "Hammer and Nails," about the work that must accompany the passion, while "Sensible Shoes" references rocker Bullens's refusal to conform to expectations. She even finds time to have fun with a sexy blues ("Baby I Want Your Love"). Steve Earle's twang-trust partner Ray Kennedy helps provide the perfect guitar-driven setting for the singer's pipes (Earle himself lends a vocal hand on the title tune), helping Bullens in the quest to move on with her life--at the same time enriching ours. --Michael Ross
Following Up a Masterpiece With a Visit To "Neverland!"
Jef Fazekas | Newport Beach, California United States | 12/31/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cindy Bullens must have faced a daunting task when she entered the studio earlier this year....she somehow needed to come up with a new CD that would match, or even top, 1999's SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN AND EARTH, the poignant and thoughtful ode about the death of her eleven year old daughter that many considered the creative and critical highpoint of Cindy's quarter-century career. What's a singer-songwriter to do?!? Well, in Cindy's case, obviously, not worry.....with NEVERLAND she has come up with a release that is every bit as good, if not better, than SOMEWHERE BETWEEN HEAVEN & EARTH. Full of smart lyrics that acknowledge the past, live in the present and look forward to the future, and music that rocks on so many different levels, NEVERLAND combines rock, blues and country with lots of sly, smart, sexy attitude. The result? Sheer perfection! The disc opens with the title track, a cautionary tale about getting lost in the past. Steve Earle's sinewy backing vocals add a nice punch to this delicate tune that tugs on your heartstrings while at the same time warns you against falling into the abyss of past thoughts and moments of long ago. Next up is "Long Way Down (I Liked Falling)". A hushed tale of new found love, this is one of those universal songs that everyone can identify with. Building in intensity as it proceeds, the song ends with a gut-wrenching flourish......just like many of our "perfect love affairs." "Cry To You" is a brilliant rocker, mixing mandolin, solid drumming and twangy guitars in fine form. The same can be said about "Hammer & Nails." This is Cindy at her rockin' best. From the grinding guitars to her shouted "Awright, now!" that would have been at home on 1978's DESIRE WIRE, this track represents all the things that are best about Cindy's career (special mention needs to be made about John Hiatt's growling harmony vocals; they are, without a doubt, better than any lead vocal off of his recent THE TIKI BAR IS OPEN CD). Things downshift with "The Right Kind Of Goodbye", a sweet, folk-based number that could be as much about saying goodbye to a lover as it could be about a lost child (the harmonica just makes the song!). Next up are "Send Me An Angel" and "Drivin' My Heart Around", a pair of tracks Cindy has recut from her 1994 WHY NOT? EP. "Send Me An Angel" is now a tad bit more world-weary but, in it's weariness, twice as haunting and angelic (how could it not be, whatwith Emmylou Harris' gorgeous backing vocals?), while "Drivin' My Heart Around" has acquired a new edginess and intensity. From here, things get kicked up another notch or five. "Baby I Want Your Love" is Cindy's most sensual track to date.....all growling, throaty, almost-spoken vocal, swamp boogie guitar and pounding percussion, this is what rock was always meant to be.....hot, sweaty and nasty! It's at this point that you realize NEVERLAND's genius: only a CD of this quality could segue to a totally different sound and make it sound right. That's what happens here with "Gravity and Grace", the CD's most poignant track. I won't attempt to presume too much about this song, but I think it has a lot to do with the light and darkness we each have inside of us. Featuring some stunning lyrics ("Gravity's so grumpy/He brings everybody down/My friend Grace on the other hand/She's the sweetest girl in town/Gravity I battle with/And he always makes me cry/I can't seem to win a fight/No matter how I try/Grace looks through the window/Waiting for a sign/When I've had enough of Gravity/She will find her way inside/But I have my suspicions/That I've harbored for awhile/When they pass each other in my life/I swear I see them smile") and a gorgeous lead vocal, this is singing and songwriting at it's best! Next up is NEVERLAND's best track, the rocking "Sensible Shoes." Dripping in attitude, you can just picture Cindy jamming with this baby, be it in a small club or in an arena, opening for the Rolling Stones (a group who's influence is all over this track!). Brilliant! NEVERLAND closes with "One Single Moment", a piano-driven ballad that is notable for it's simplicity, honesty and, ultimately, beauty. So......do yourself a favor and pick up NEVERLAND......it is, without a doubt, a highpoint in Cindy Bullens' career, and a true contender for 2001's Album of the Year."
jburrows | 02/26/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Neverland" is one of the best albums to come along in recent memory. I just saw Cindy perform solo on 2/23 at the Kennebunk (ME) Coffeehouse and she completely amazed the audience with an inspiring, rocking, deeply personal, and touching performance. I highly recommend this album and encourage everyone to check-out one of her live performances. Personal favorites on this disc include "Cry to You," the emotional "The Right Kind of Goodbye," "Send Me an Angel," with Emmylou Harris on backing vocals, and the rocking "Sensible Shoes.""
Moving second chapter of Bullens' loss and recovery
hyperbolium | Earth, USA | 12/12/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Bullens' recording career is like a bamboo plant, gathering material in private, and sprouting in the public eye only when ready. Her latest release, the second half of a pair initiated after a decade of public inactivity, finds continued inspiration from the untimely death of her young daughter in 1996. As on 1999's "Somewhere Between Heaven & Earth," Bullens explores the overwhelming mass of conflicting emotions a parent feels upon the loss of a child. And with two more years of healing, she finds further expression of understanding and inner strength.
The title track is a tremendous amalgam of loss, longing, sorrow, anger, helplessness, fatalism, and a thousand-and-one emotions in between. All rendered without a hint of bitterness, nor the sort of mawkish sentimentality one finds in much of today's pop music. This is the outpouring of a true rock 'n' roll heart whose scars may have temporarily slowed its beating, but in the end, have built new strength. "The Right Kind of Goodbye" illuminates how the lingering pain of separation can lead one to healing, and "Cry to You" shows how loss sharpens focus on the here and now. Throughout, Bullens' loss serves as personal motivation for songs that will find broad resonance with listeners.
Bullens and co-producer Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Jack Ingram) have loaded this album with vintage rock 'n' roll guitars, bass and drums, but tempered them with the occasional mandolin, acoustic guitar or sweet background harmony. The result has the energy of 60s and 70s rock, without toting the nostalgic baggage. From the drowsy balladry of "Long Way Down (I Liked Falling)" and "Send Me an Angel" to the Stones-inflected guitars of "Sensible Shoes" and Southern Rock sounds of "Hammer and Nails" to the sexuality-laced blues of "Baby I Want Your Love" there isn't a calculated or false moment to be found on this album."
A Legend that no one remembers
Red Angel | USA | 10/23/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cindy Bullens is one of the first women of true rock and roll. She made it big and suddenly slipped out of the biz for some time to have two beautiful children. Cindy made a heart warming yet all to tragic return to her unparelleled talent, music. After Jessie, her youngest daughter died, Cindy used her music to help and heal herself and others, and she did, beautifully. Now she is rippin' it up with a new album that is a mix of killer rifts, touching lyrics, and beats that are classic, smooth, and all around rock n' roll. Her daughter Reid also joins her again on this album and her harmonys are right on, Reid, we're waiting for an album of your own! So Cindy Bullens' Neverland = BEST ALBUM OF THE YEAR!"
Rock and Roll At Its Best
Red Angel | 10/13/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Cindy Bullens once again shows us that it is possible to be a sensitive, articulate songwriter and at the same time a classic rock and roll singer. These songs range from heart-thumping to sultry to tender. It gets my vote for best rock album of the year. A definite must buy!"