Trace of a Feeling
Elizabeth Bryson [USA]
Where do you start a review when you're trying to acknowledge a massive collection of brilliant original songs that are then brilliantly re-worked? Trace of a Feeling offers up this enjoyable but difficult challenge. Upon first listen, there is an overwhelming amount of musical imagination and talent that is evident on track after track. Upon repeated listening this only becomes more apparent.
To this listener, the arrangements stand out most of all. There are many, many examples within this 42-song compilation where one hears a musical arrangement that not only captures the spirit of the original, but re-creates the feeling in a surprisingly new and inventive way. Within many of these imaginative arrangements are standout performances instrumentally as well as vocally.
It is not easy trying to give a special nod to certain songs and leave others out. However, it is not so much leaving the others out as just being especially taken with certain performances – once again, there are many. In fact, one doesn't have to venture far into the album to find the first wonderful interpretation. The Truth Won't Fade Away performed by In 2 Deep offers up a warm country arrangement that is very well performed instrumentally and vocally. Other standout favorites on the first disc include Hang On Rose by Mad for Bread – starts off with a musical roar and continues with an aggressive musical approach to the lyrics that works powerfully well; the lead guitar is also very strong on this track. Trace of a Feeling has strong musical solos in abundance – quite impressive and quite enjoyable! Geoff Whitehorn gives us a shining example with some brilliant guitar work on Butterfly Boys. In addition, this track also serves up some very tasty piano playing by Roland Clare – his creativity as an arranger and musician come to the fore often on this album.
Some of the vocal highlights on the first disc are Fran Glendining's moving performance of Can't You Feel My Love (another lovely performance of this song can be found on disc two by Bellaire and Dunn). Ronnie D'Addario's performance of As Strong as Samson has a Beach Boys-style vocal arrangement that works very beautifully and naturally. The first disc ends on another musical highlight, Ian Hockley's church organ performance of Weisselklenzenacht – very stately, very grand, wonderful!
Disc two contains yet more of a vast range of wonderful musical interpretations. Highlights here for this listener are: Chasing the Chop (The Bluegrass Geeks) – a very appealing and wonderfully-performed bluegrass arrangement, Bridge of Sighs (Stone Lobster) – vocally and instrumentally captivating, Nothing but the Truth (The Oakes Brothers – when's your album out?) – a very witty and clever arrangement and nearly as funny as Robert's Box, but The Monoculaires take the cake on that one – what a gift of smiles travelling through that track – take many trips! Other highlights on disc two include About to Die (Never Void) – I've never been much of a metal fan, but they make it work – another wonderful musical surprise that comes on strong. The performance of Cerdes (by The Library Nuns) takes us through an imaginative musical landscape with some very timely and clever production touches. All Our Dreams are Sold (Shepard Rockette Band) – another standout performance instrumentally and vocally.
A wealth of musical enjoyment can be found here on Trace of a Feeling. It contains an intriguing collection of performances – performances that not only seem to capture the spirit of the originals in so many different ways, but also clearly show a genuine love and passion for the original music that inspires all of this. Don't hesitate – get a copy today, you will not be disappointed!