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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Ellanora DellErba

Lost To A Coastline

Review by Gary Hill

This is such an interesting album. There are three songs here that really stand out in terms of quality. In fact, if the rest of the set were at the same level of magic as those three, this would be an early contender for my best of the year list. The rest, though, while still strong, don't stand quite as tall as those points of the release. This lands more or less along the lines of country music, but there are dream-pop and rock tendencies at play at points along the road. It's an intriguing and effective release with a few pieces that transcend into the level of being sublime. Ellanora DellErba's vocals are unique, but at times make me think of Dolly Parton to a good degree.

This review is available in book (paperback and hardcover) form in Music Street Journal: 2022  Volume 2. More information and purchase links can be found at: garyhillauthor.com/Music-Street-Journal-2022.

Track by Track Review
Highway Grass
The sounds of wind and weather bring this track into being. It works out from there to a killer slice of Americana that leans toward progressive rock. There is so much dream-pop sound in the overlayers of this. I'm reminded to some degree of Mazzy Star. The piano exploration later is all class, but so is the whole song. The violin adds a lot of magic, too. The wind returns at the end of the track, serving as a bookend.
Precious Time
There is a real down=home country vibe to this number. It's definitely not as strong as the opener was, but that's more about the other song than it is about this one. There is an intimate feeling to this. It has a real slice-of-life feeling to the lyrics. Bluegrass elements dance all over the arrangement on this.
Little Dreamer
With a healthy helping of country rock in the mix. This is another solid tune. I dig the guitar fills on this.
How'd You Know
Piano brings this into being. Some other elements threaten to rise up, but the piano keeps control through the extended introduction. The tune works out to a lush ballad approach from there as other elements gain more prominence. This is gentle and pretty.
4 Hearts and a Smiley Face
Another that lands in ballad zone, this track has a lot of class. It's very firmly set in an old-school country sound, but modern dream-like qualities are also in the mix.

 

It's Been a Long Time
I really dig the violin on this piece, or should I call it "fiddle." It brings some real style to the number. This is bit more of a country rocker than some of the rest. It's another slab of charm.
Starsong
A gentler song, this has some real lush beauty built into it. I love the vocal arrangement on this tune. The number is a real standout. It's the first track to get close to the level of magic that the first song on the album promised. This time it's in the form of a ballad, though.
Better Days
I dig the hooks and instrumental work on this country rocker quite a bit. This is another solid tune.
Riptide
This track is the most dynamic thing here. It really has an arsty quality to it, while still exuding all the country elements one expects on this album. There are so many different sections to this. It's ambitious and effective.
Lost to a Coastline
I love the timing change after the inrroduction here. This is another song that's quite artistic in nature It has more of a dream-pop, almost psychedelic edge, but it's still packed with roots music, too. This is another song that's among the best three here. It's full of magic and charm.

 

 
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