There's a music biz truism that says an artist has her whole life to write her first album and six months to write her second. What that statement fails to take into account are maturation and inspiration--two elements pre... more »sent in abundance throughout Bird On A Wire, the surprising second album from New York-based writer/artist Toby Lightman. With 13 songs running the gamut from the Rufus-style funk-pop of "Slipping" to the moving lullaby "Better" and the modern-day torch song "Weight of the World", the album documents an uncommonly gifted young artist in the act of becoming fully herself.« less
There's a music biz truism that says an artist has her whole life to write her first album and six months to write her second. What that statement fails to take into account are maturation and inspiration--two elements present in abundance throughout Bird On A Wire, the surprising second album from New York-based writer/artist Toby Lightman. With 13 songs running the gamut from the Rufus-style funk-pop of "Slipping" to the moving lullaby "Better" and the modern-day torch song "Weight of the World", the album documents an uncommonly gifted young artist in the act of becoming fully herself.
Patrick J. (bossajake) from TOLEDO, OH Reviewed on 4/30/2009...
a wonderful release filled with energy and soul - the kind of soul that enables a singer to fully express complicated and deeply felt emotions with subtle shifts in the tone of her voice - spectacular! i've read reviews where she is compared to country star shelby lynne and the jazzier vocalist norah jones. this may be true but for me her style reminds me of a softer beth hart, a more contemplative susan tedeschi or even jann arden - she has lots of blues in her but there's a depth of emotion that comes out in a very positive way with lots of spirit and soul. she feels the music, has emotional depth and shares her passion with all who'll listen. if you like goosebumps give this one a listen! patrick bossajake
2 of 2 member(s) found this review helpful.
A delight to the ears
Krissi | Maryland, USA | 12/11/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Bird on a Wire" is just a delight to the ears. The album shows off Toby's ability to sing in so many different vocal styles, each with such ease. From the soulfulness of "Don't Wake Me" and "Overflowing" to the thoughtful introspection of "Weight of the World" to the sexy jazzy "Slippin'" to the wholesome sweetness of "Better" and the blunt honesty of "My Sweet Song" (come on, admit it...we all have a song we feel that way about!). I can listen to the album a million and one times over and over and never get sick of it.
To those who criticize the lyrics of some songs, learn to occasionally enjoy simplicity, and everyday messages most anyone can relate to without using a hieroglyphics decoder. And don't forgot that sometimes hidden among simple words are deeper meanings - I feel that in Toby's voice. I think the album is gutsy, sexy and real. An awesome accomplishment and a beautiful follow-up to "Little Things".
If you get the chance to catch Toby live, do it. Once you see how she "feels" these songs you can only love them and her even more."
CD showcases Toby's soulful voice
J. Wolff | Portland, OR | 08/27/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album is beautiful! Her voice shines through this one more than her debut album because there's not as much going on in the songs to compete with her voice. I hear a retro vibe going on and the first song made me think of Carol King. The sound is much simpler and I think this one is more of a showcase as to what she is capable of. There are fast and slow songs, retro and modern which just makes me love the album!"
You're a Flower Blooming in the Desert Sunshine
Scooter McGavin | Ohio | 07/25/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Sadly, Toby Lightman's debut album was overlooked, but now she's back for another try with a vastly improved and more mature sound. But Bird on a Wire doesn't stray from the blue-eyed soul of her first outing. The opener Don't Wake Me starts off with a gospel feel that turns funky quick drawing you into the album. Then Don't let Go struts along and will make you tap your foot without realizing.
Throughout the album, the songs take you on different journeys like with Tripping which is reminiscing of the girl group era of the sixties. Round and Round lives up to its title as Lightman builds the song up only to have it come crashing down just to build it back up again. The acoustic guitar that starts off Alone sounds like a sped up version of Ryan Adam's version of Wonderwall only to morph into a rocker that wouldn't be out of place on a Michelle Branch album while Holding Me Down starts off much like Devils and Angels from her last album, but then goes into a different direction.. Overflowing bounces along like something you make have heard in a cabaret.
Where Lightman shows off her voice is when she slows things down and strips away and softens the backing musicians. On songs like My Sweet Song and One Sure Thing it sounds like she's channeling Ella Fitzgerald but still makes the songs sound modern at the same time. Then there's Better which could arguably have the best bass line of a slow song in recent memory aside from Crazy by Gnarls Barkley and Toby's toned down voice on the track blends perfectly with it. The album closes with two songs, I'd Be Lost and Good Find, that should be listened to at night with the windows rolled down while leisurely driving. Hopefully for Toby Lightman the second time will be the charm."
C. Dye | Los Angeles, CA | 09/08/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Toby is the best. I loved her as soon as I saw her music video for 'Devils and Angels' (the main release from her first album). I bought this second one as soon as it came out. I can't get enough of her! Her lyrics are amazing...I don't know how she comes up with the words that she does to express herself. I'm very into this genre of music right now...I think that if you like KT Tunstall, Brandi Carlile, Tristan Prettyman, etc. you would really like Toby, too. Every song on both her albums are great :)"
Is she STILL being ignored?
Anthony Rupert | Milwaukee, WI | 07/04/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As soon as I first caught the video for Toby Lightman's "Devils and Angels" on VH1, I went to check out her album Little Things. As good as that album is, sales showed that apparently I was one of the only people that bought it, even after Toby tacked on a decent contemporary remake of Mary J. Blige's "Real Love". And even less people picked up her second album, Bird on a Wire, but I don't know why because it's also great.
What really drew me to Toby was not only the music but the edginess in her vocals. I was a little disappointed when I found that that edge isn't QUITE as prevalent on here as it was on Little Things (it's on MOST of the tracks instead of ALL of the tracks), it doesn't really matter because everything is pretty damn good. Also, it gives her a chance to show that she can do more things with her voice (see "Slippin'").
There are wonderful harmonious tracks to be found on here, especially "Don't Wake Me", but "Overflowing" isn't far behind. And if you're looking for smooth songs to mellow out to on the ride home, try "Good Find" or "My Sweet Song" on for size. There are also some tracks that are just plain funky, like "Don't Let Go", "Holding Me Down" and "Better" (which might be confusing if you don't REALLY pay attention to the lyrics). Another highlight is "Alone" (the song that inspired the album's title), but it's kind of unnecessary to have a second version of it at the end of the album; the only difference being a slightly slower tempo.
While Toby's voice may go a little off-key here and there, she still sculpted Bird on a Wire into a quality listen. I don't know why more people don't know about her yet, but if you want great music, it's still not too late to help her career take flight.