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u i blue: Songbird's Cry

Next time you're staging a quiet candlelit dinner for two, program your CD player to spin this album again and again. It is probably the prettiest record you'll hear in years. And it's more than just pretty - there's some solid music behind it all.

It sounds nothing like Annie-era Renaissance, but it does have this in common: A classically trained soprano singing beautiful melodies with an effortlessly soft, perfectly disciplined delivery, a folksy ambience, pleasant backing music, and a strong progressive influence with ebow, Mellotron, clarinet, viola, violin, cello by a String Trio. Think Paatos or Quidam or White Willow or a folky version of Magenta, and you'll have a rough idea of u i blue's sound.

u i blue is a husband and wife team - he's a transplanted Frenchman, she's the American girl next door. Jon Paul Davis writes the music and most lyrics, and Laura Lindstrom sings the simple, delightful melodies, and every track is a love song, to one another. The chemistry between them is clearly apparent in their music. Davis's European background contributes to the romanticism in the music courtesy of accordion and his occasional softly sung French-language lyrics.

Two of doyens of progressive music live in u i blue's hometown in Tennessee, and have taken the couple under their collective wings. Besides advice and friendship, Glass Hammer's Steve Babb and Fred Schendel contributed considerable talent to the record. Fred played keyboards, Mellotron, guitars, elbow, bass, drums and percussion. Steve also played keyboards, provided sound effects and handled editing loops. Other guest artists sang backing vocals and played bass, and of course that triptych of violin / viola / cello brings wonderful texture to the music.

But for all these external input the watchwords here are elegance, simplicity and purity. Listen to the rather basic piano line on "Dis-moi", with the couple exchanging soft French-language lines over a backdrop of ambient strings. Uncomplicated, graceful, and emotionally appealing. "The Songbird's Cry, Part 2" starts with Laura singing a straightforward a capella piece before a very European sounding solo viola adds its voice. Then Davis sings in French - and the couple trade passages in alternative languages as the piece builds up an almost-heavy well textured piece that is a melodic and unusual.

Songbird's Cry is a melodic piece of folksy progressive music that rocks softly and pulls at the heartstrings. Very pretty, and a wonderful listen.

Track Listing:
1. The Songbird's Cry , Part 1
2. I Can't Help Myself
3. When You Call
4. Unbroken
5. Thoughts In An Hourglass
6. White City
7. I Waited
8. Dis-moi
9. Monologue
10. No One
11. Tomorrow
12. Roses Artificially Made
13. My Dove
14. Mad Keys
15. The Songbird's Cry, Part 2

Added: May 4th 2005
Reviewer: Duncan Glenday
Related Link: u i blue's Web Site
Hits: 3799
Language: english

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