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Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Review: Linda Brooks - The Spaces In Between

Linda Brooks - The Spaces In Between
2009, Linda Brooks Music

Linda Brooks took a non-traditional route to releasing her second CD, The Spaces In Between. The New Brunswick native became a mom and gave up singing for a number of years. Her well received debut album, Under A Painted Moon, sat for a number of years as a lone testament to her talent. But talents cry to be used, and Brooks couldn’t stay away from music forever. She returned in 2009 with her follow-up album, The Spaces In Between, an adult contemporary offering made to match to the mores of Adult Contemporary radio.

Linda Brooks offers up eleven doses of Contemporary Adult Pop on The Spaces In Between, buoyed by a voice that is both beautiful and non-threatening. The themes on The Spaces In Between are fairly typical of AC radio tunes, although Brooks does show a bit of country and even CCM influence from time to time. "Stranded" is all about getting stuck right where you belong. "Not Gonna Take It "takes to task a friend who tries to tell others how to live. The resentment implied in the lyrics just never makes it into Brooks' vocal performance. Jenny is something of a Lifetime Movie Network film in song; a homeless woman who spends her life trying to make others' lives better when she can. Once again, the story is a passionate one, but the delivery is "just there". Brooks obviously thinks a lot of the subject of the song, but it never really comes through in her voice.

Brooks engages in some positive affirmation on "Stay", one of the better tracks on The Spaces In Between. Brooks loses some her stolid approach here, showing some heart in her voice on a tune that could easily transfer to the stage within the right show. "Never Better" shows a bit of reserved heart in a tune that is very radio friendly (particularly country radio). "Hand Of A Stranger" is a bit of musical altruism about helping others; the song is very positive in message but once again a bit flat on delivery. Brooks closes with "Last Train", a plain-spoken breakup song. "Last Train" is the best songwriting on The Spaces In Between, and Brooks sounds more alive here than at any other time on the album.

Linda Brooks has a highly enjoyable voice in her comfortable range, but her ability to emote and live in a song seems to desert her at times on The Spaces In Between. The songwriting on The Spaces In Between is solid, and the arrangements are likeable and simple. It would be good to hear some of Brooks' songs illuminated with a fuller lineup, particularly how more dynamics in given arrangements might bring Brooks out of her vocal shell. The Spaces In Between is a solid effort.

Rating: 3 Stars (Out of 5)

You can learn more about Linda Brooks at or, where you can order a copy of The Spaces In Between directly from the artist using PayPal. You can also download the album from iTunes.

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