Monday, September 19, 2016
MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: JESSICA RHAYE - SONG IN ME
Saint John, N.B.'s Rhaye goes a little more pastoral for this release, an eight-song set that keeps a relaxed, gentle vibe throughout. That suits her expression-filled vocals just fine, and gives her lots of room to glide smoothly through the songs. Producer Dale Murray (Christina Martin, Cuff the Duke) knows not to overwhelm the material, and keeps the emphasis on Rhaye's delivery. Plus, he adds some welcome pedal steel parts to add a little country feel.
A couple of Matt's add their talents as well. Fellow N.B.'er Matt Andersen co-writes the darkest tale here, Lovely Lady, and drops in one of his guitar solos as well. And Matt Epp makes his mark too, co-writing Time Will Only Heal Your Broken Heart, and proving a strong duet partner for Rhaye, not an easy thing.
Rhaye has grown to become a solid writer, but wisely grabs a cover version from her songwriting mentor, another Saint Johner, Ken Tobias. Her take on his Good To Be Alive In The Country, originally from a 1973 album, fits right in with the mood. And it's a much better version that the one done by the Bionic Woman, Lindsay Wagner, on a Nashville-based episode of that old TV show. I kid you not.