CD REVIEW: April Hall - Something Like That
By Ben Ohmart - 05/21/2007 - 10:34 AM EDT
Artist: April Hall
Genre: Adult Contemporary
'Kisses aren't promises / Passion's not relief / All these things I see / Kisses they're not promises / No, love's not for sale / All these things are just as well.' The beautiful voice of April Hall makes songs like 'Kisses Aren't Promises' into something uniquely tranquil and content. Just that voice, and Malcolm Granger on soft acoustic guitar, that's all April needs to get the job done as resident landscape painter. I don't care if you call this folk, pop, or whatever. It's adult contemporary relief music that fully believes in the positive nature of the human condition.
Hall has one of the best voices around. She's Mrs. Joe Average, but never tries to demean the point like a Rosanne or such person. She has the same subtle prejudices, passions, dreams that anyone else has, but has the song inside her that transcends such mediocrity - so that she can get the tune right, and deliver the message straight to your mind in 5 minutes or less.
'I had a lover / Or something like that / I watched him closely / Cause I didn't want to forget / The tiny lines that crossed his brow / All the hard times passed / Well, they're just wrinkles now' is how the opening 'Something Like That' begins, harmonizing elegantly with Melissa Lewis, driving towards such a soft ending that is sadly over before you realize it.
Never one to repeat herself consciously, next up is the terribly different jazz-samba unit, 'Prides Crossing', written and arranged to gentle perfection by April herself. She wrote every song on the cd, why shouldn't she know just how all the tunes gotta be? Well, she switches from pop to soft jazz back to a folky base with clean, unshakable skill.
And next up is one of my favorites, 'Round About the Middle', a gentle soul that whispers through the darkness and employs a wistful violin to punctuate some of those quiet, foolish moments. 'Is that you down the hallway / And swimming in my pool / Am I givin' up everything am I just a fool / Are there instincts still unanswered / And little shoes sewn up tight / I can't be the same and what a shame / And what could be more right.'
Sweet brilliance. What else would you expect from a Berklee College of Music graduate, and winner of the Louis Armstrong Performance award? She now teaches a Jazz Vocal Ensemble at Brandeis University, when not busy cranking out exceptional cds.
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