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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Bekah Barnett

Rise

Review by Gary Hill

This album really feels like it could have been released in the 1970s. It has a lot in common with the music of artists like Carole King and Joni Mitchell. It’s quite an entertaining set that covers a pretty wide swath of music exploration. It does have a tendency to get a little “samey” at times, but as strong as the music is, that can be overlooked quite easily.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2015  Volume 5 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
Grace

Jazz, folk and more merge on the arrangement here. This really feels so much like the kind of thing Carole King or Joni Mitchell might have done in the 1970s. It’s a great slow groove with a classic sound.

Rhyme or Reason
Starting with piano, this is even slower and mellower. It’s also far more jazz oriented. It’s every bit as classic in texture as the opener was. It’s just as strong a tune, too.
Fame and Fortune
Faster paced, this is still classic in sound. That said, it’s not really jazzy, but more in the contemporary female singer songwriter sound of the 70s.
Every Road
Pretty and intricate sounds open this in a mellower way and songbird vocals come over the top. This is more of a ballad in line with the style of the last track. That said, there are some more modern textures, too. The violin adds a lot. It’s a very beautiful piece of music, really.
Butter Your Toast
Bouncy and fun, this is a bit of change. It still fits quite well, but feels very different from what we’ve heard to this point.
See You Soon
In a lot of ways this mellower and more stripped back. Yet, it has a groove. Sure, it’s a slow groove, but a groove nonetheless. This is a jazzy piece in that same 70s style.
Fly
One of the slowest cuts here at the start, this really has a classy jazz sound. It’s one of my favorites of the set, really. It’s just set in such an awesome texture. It does have a faster paced movement later, though.
Beautiful Girls
Another mellow cut, there are some hints of space music in the overlayers here. This is fairly minimalist at first, but grows out as it continues. It’s actually a strong cut, but the formula is starting to wear a little thin by this point. It does improve, though, when it powers out to the real rocking section later. That brings energy and variety that elevates the cut.
Lemondrops
The vocals on the whole album are great, but they really shine on this song. That’s a good thing because a lot of the first part is based on just piano and voice. It grows out from there gradually, eventually getting more energy and power. It’s a jazzy kind of song that works really well. In fact, it’s one of my favorites of the set.
I Don't Believe in Love
Another bit of variety, this has an old school, playful jazz vibe at the start. It grows out to something a bit more rocking. In some ways this feels like something Billy Joel would do.
Get Outta Park
This is another that has some playful elements. It’s more energized at times, but also drops back at others. I like the half spoken fast vocals. They bring variety and a sense of fun.
Love Will Come Back
Starting with piano, there are no big surprises here, but this is an effective piece. It’s just that the stretching tight of the formula is back.
Jesus and Judas
This is a piano and voice arrangement. It’s quite powerful and pretty. The vocals really get to shine here.
 
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