Tuesday, March 31, 2020

MUSIC REVIEW OF THE DAY: MAYA RAE - CAN YOU SEE ME?

Not quite 20, this Vancouver singer has emerged with a soulful and emotional voice, and better yet, something to say. Writing all the songs with her brother Gabriel, Rae is a lot more substance than style, and has already seen past the superficial in her songs. The title cut is about the masks we like to wear to hide and protect our inner selves. "Moon Girl" follows a young woman already lost to a toxic lifestyle. "The Sun Will Come Out Again" is that one piece of positive advice to get through the bad days in life.

This debut album sees Rae teamed up with the high-quality roots producer Steve Dawson, a bold move for both of them, as he's usually found working with more traditional roots/blues folk such as Matt Andersen, Jim Byrnes and Big Dave McLean. Both Dawson and Rae stretched to meet in the middle, resulting in a soul-pop sound that keeps her voice in the spotlight. That works best on bright numbers such as "The Sun Will Come Out Again," with its synth hook line and strong backing from the singers in The Birds Of Chicago. Other times Rae sounds a little young still for the heavy Nashville roots players Dawson uses, but I don't doubt she'll get there soon. In another producer's hands, she'd be shoehorned into dance-pop. Nothing against dance-pop of course, but Rae seems to have more weighty matters on her mind.

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