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CD REVIEW: Beth Schafer - Raise It Up Bring It Down
By Don Sechelski - 04/23/2010 - 07:51 PM EDT

Artist: Beth Schafer
Album: Raise It Up Bring It Down
Label: Inner Sanctum Music
Genre: Acoustic Rock, Singer-Songwriter
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Best Songs: Innocent Things, Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li
CD Review:

There is a spiritual joy to Beth Schaferís new CD Raise It Up Bring It Down. Itís reflected in the feel good lyric as well as the bright, easily accessible melodies and arrangements.  Produced by Schafer and long time associate, John Marsden, Raise It Up Bring It Down is a warm, uplifting, and very listenable CD.

Schafer, on vocals and guitar, is joined by Marsden on vocals, keys, and melodic, while Bill ďGiffĒ Gifford plays bass and a little electric guitar. John Demarkis contributes some vocals, drums, and electric guitar. Larry Hoppen plays electric guitar also and is joined by Charlie DeChant on Saxcello.

The first cut, Raise It Up, exemplifies the spirit of the CD. In this bouncy rocker, Schafer exhorts the listener to ďRaise it up, raise the bar higherĒ and raise all mankind in the process. Schaferís strong vocal is backed by a chorus in a hymn-like finish. Innocent Things gives Schafer an opportunity to show some nice acoustic guitar finger picking as she sings a beautiful song about the sweetness of innocence. DeChantís saxcello is the perfect counterpoint to Schaferís clean guitar.

Schafer covers Cohenís classic Hallelujah admirably but itís her own songs that really stand out on Raise It Up Bring It Down. Im Ein Ani Li Mi Li is a delightful song that illustrates not only Schaferís Jewish American sensibility, but her openness to life and the fellowship of man. Modim Anachnu Lach is a joyful song of praise and thanksgiving that features some very hot guitar lead from Schafer on a nylon string guitar.

Raise It Up Bring It Down is a wonderful offering from Beth Schafer. Heartfelt, refreshing, unabashed joy shines from every track.  Although her website identifies Schafer as a Jewish American artist, her music is universal, her themes are the stuff of life. I recommend Beth Schafer and Raise It Up Bring It Down.

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