All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Rachel Wagner - Untold

Rachel Wagner - Untold
2011, Rachel Wagner

Roseville, California singer/songwriter Rachel Wagner has a reputation for putting listeners at ease.  Wagner may take the stage in an auditorium or coffeehouse, but the atmosphere as if she’s sitting in your living room; telling stories to a good friend, guitar in hand.  Wagner’s third album, Untold, features her sweet, breath voice, her personal style, and winsome songs that walk the line between Sarah McLachlan, Enya and Joni Mitchell.

Wagner opens with "Untold", an ethereal ballad that nicely features her pretty, breathy soprano voice.  The cascading vocal harmonies build the song into a lovely sonic experience.  "Blackberries" is a song about thankfulness; this simple concept is explored in a complex arrangement that's pretty but certainly not what you might expect.  "She" is a water color in sound; Wagner paints with a musical brush, layering vocal parts to create amazing sounds in a song about a dreamer and the power of pretend.  "I Won't Be The One" is a lush, gorgeous statement of intent.  Fans of early Sarah McLachlan will dig the ethereal nature and layered sounds Wagner uses here.

"Hide And Seek" is a swaying number about finally being found.  Wagner's gorgeous arrangement builds the joy of the song like the blooming of a flower.  On "Something Happens", Wagner explores a reticence to give herself over to love.  When the breakthrough finally comes it is as a light, lilting them; pretty and pure.  Wagner ventures into the ether again for "Clean", before closing with the inspiring "Psalm 131".  Wagner's melody and lead vocal are pure beauty.  The interposing supporting vocals are a bit distracting however.  It's clear what Wagner was trying to attain here, but the song would play much cleaner with just her lead and the present instrumentation.

Rachel Wagner shines on Untold.  Even with a couple of mis-steps along the way, this is a very promising introduction to an artist who is a bit off the beaten path.  Wagner's penchant for musical imagery is unusual, as she bends and shapes notes and passages as a sculptor might shape clay.  Wagner's songs dance forth from a garden of beauty, capturing the essence and form of ideas that generally complement her lyrics very well.  This is an exciting start.

Rating: 3.5 Stars (Out of 5)

Learn more about Rachel Wagner at or  Untold is available via as a CD or Download.  The album is also available via iTunes.

No comments: