Let’s be honest for just a second shall we. I get a lot of albums sent my way for review and I mean a lot. Most of them don’t do anything for me. They don’t always get happily placed in the CD player, but the ones that do usually get a three song stay of execution and generally if they last past that they get my full unadulterated attention. Sometimes I’m hooked from the first track, and that’s precisely what happened when I put the latest release “The Season” in my CD player by Texas based singer/songwriter Laura Marie. The Album bursts to life with the upbeat title track and follows through nicely with a wonderful sequence of songs, 4 of them to be exact. It twists and turns the way great albums should with a little bit of rock, a little bit of Blues-Pop, melodic Singer/Songwriter and much in the way of harmonic goodness. I really like to song line up as well — the way each song masterfully transitions through to the next making for a great musical experience. So many bands and record labels get this basic skill wrong. They fail to listen to the songs at their disposal and seemingly throw the album together without giving it any real thought. I’ve known people who work to formulas making sure that their best songs start and finish the album with the remaining tracks squeezed between in a slapdash fashion. That’s not the case with “The Season” in fact each track could probably survive on its own merits, but the album just flows so well. Marie could easily heralded as the quintessential Singer/Songwriter but there is so much more to his music. I hear traces of Heather Nova, Beth Orton, Patty Griffin and even Dar Williams. Some pieces stand out more appealing to a mass audience “Perfectly Clear” and “Dark Horse” but there is a deeper and sharper edge songs like “Long Slow Burn” and “We are Liars”. Thus the strategic interweaving of systemic melody and impressive vocal performances from Marie is a sheer delight. But the solid rhythmical foundation and musical performances of his band are essential to their artistic and commercial potential. Having said this her overall sound presented is that of the golden era of popular music in the Eighties and the Nineties when musicianship mattered! But the beauty of Marie is Marie herself. I believe this woman feels and believes every word he sings. This is the most important aspect to being an effective Singer/Songwriter — the vocal emotion conveyed. I’m also a bit bemused as to why someone like Marie is not yet a household name. It’s not a case of all the elements being present but the final product being missing as the songs, the musicianship, the production, and the performance all knit together beautifully-even brilliantly. Maybe I’m lucky enough to be in on the ground floor? Maybe things are just about to kick on for Marie? Whatever the case make sure you get hold of this 12 Track latest CD “The Season.” It’s a must have and in the class of all by itself.
Rating — 8.5/10
Jennifer Hertzler edited by Michael Rand
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