Dreamy vocals embellish Char Butler’s evocative pop/rock

Reviewed by Carson James

Char Butler/”My Life”-“Tonight” [promo single]

Taken from her album Secrets of the Heart, the songs “My Life (I Love You)” and “Tonight” glide by with dreamy textures and somewhat ethereal vocals. With its sublime piano and subtle electronica touches, “My Life (I Love You)” is probably too gorgeous and evocative for commercial radio. Do they still play songs as sweetly arranged and fetchingly sung as this? I’m reminded of the Cranberries without the post-grunge guitars and Irish accents. “Tonight” is reportedly a success on Adult Contemporary radio stations, and I can easily see why. The singing is reminiscent of Paula Cole’s without trying to be (it just is), and the arrangements are more down-to-Earth, a warm bed of acoustic guitars as Butler’s soft voice drifts to the clouds. Daydream the afternoon away.

http://www.charbutler.com

Published in: on March 30, 2008 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Vickie Russell evokes laughs, tears on new album

 

Reviewed by Brooke Curtis

Vickie Russell/Next

Don’t be fooled by the smiling, innocuous face on the cover; there’s a wicked wit hiding beneath the pop country flavors and Adult Contemporary hooks on Next. More specifically, the title track which is about searching for Mr. Right and, well, sometimes ending up with Ms. Wrong. “Big, blonde and built/You thought he was a steal,” Russell sings playfully. “Then you caught him dancing/In your panties and heels.” Pretty funny stuff, and the kind of song which could leap onto country radio with its hilarious lyrics alone. (Actually, knowing the market quite well, it’d probably take a cover from a popular country act to get it onto the proper airwaves, which is too bad.) That tune alone is worth having this CD. Every woman should be able to relate to it, the frustrations of the dating scene wherein each seemingly good find turns out to be a bust – or even an arsonist.

Nevertheless, I don’t want to peg Vickie Russell as a novelty singer, either. “All the Time” is a moving tale of romantic reconciliation with a sad beginning and a happy ending, breaking away from country music’s soap opera formula of napkin weeping. Russell strays from her country roots, too. The piano-driven, cello-colored “Painted by Monet” showcases some elegant artistry while “Tell Me from Your Heart” recalls early ’80s AM radio Adult Contemporary. On “He’s Your Man Now,” Russell manages to be both humorous and melancholy, simultaneously missing an old flame while warning his new girl about his faults. 

http://www.vickierussell.com

Published in: on March 22, 2008 at 5:39 am  Leave a Comment  
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