All it takes is 3 chords and a dream!

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Claudia Russell - All Our Luck Is Changing

Claudia Russell - All Our Luck Is Changing
2013, Claudia Russell
Claudia Russell is a singer, songwriter and stage actress with a distinctive voice and a gift for writing substantive, evocative songs.  Russell has shared stages with the likes of Willie Nelson, Loudon Wainwright III, Steve Forbert and Kris Kristoffersen, to name a few.  Russell recently released her fourth album, All Our Luck Is Changing, a collection of remembrances and stories set to song.  Russell’s voice and songwriting style blend perfectly as she sculpts words and notes into images both simple and profound.
Russell opens with "Pirate Girls", a sweet reminiscence of the innocence of youth. Russell's voice is pleasant on the ears, and her subdued storyteller's style strikes all the right chords here. "All Our Luck Is Changing" remembers a family vacation from her childhood both as a benchmark of happiness and as a corner turned toward adulthood. The folk/country setting is an appealing backdrop for this moment.  "Silver Bird" brings a bluesy element into the adult contemporary pastiche, loaded with a subtle melancholy beauty.   Russell delivers the weight of loss in dulcet tones, carving beauty out of heartache with a delicate ease. 
"You Are The Light" finds Russell in a duet with her husband and longtime collaborator Bruce Kaplan.  The song has real potential, but Russell’s vocal style is much tighter here, and the end result sounds emotionally flat. Russell snaps back on "Hey Hey", with a lively little folk tune about the last gasp of summer. Russell sings with the quiet joy of remembrance, and the magic of her memories is palpable.  "So You'll Believe" is a melancholy ballad with a country/folk flavor that's pleasant on the ears. This is Russell's forte, as she is adept at painting pictures with words, and backing them up with velvet arrangements that always seem the perfect fit.  
Russell takes a jauntier pose with the southern swing of "Charleston". Russell reflections are both happy and sad, seeing dark and light as all part of a wondrous whole. "Follow Your Tail Lights Home" is a wonderfully obscure love song reflecting on a simple act as definitive of a lifetime of love. This is a brilliant piece of songwriting set in a lively Celtic arrangement. 
"These Shoes" is an artful kiss off song that dwells deep in symbolism without engaging in the pedantic anger that so often riles this sub genre. Russell says goodbye with class and with an artist's touch.   Russell returns to a swinging blue sound for "I Remember The Wind", pulling off a quietly powerful performance that would be amazing in a love setting. Russell closes with the explosive quiet of "I Can't Stand The Rain", exploring the small reminders of a relationship that's run its course. Russell brings the emotional darkness of this moment to palpable life with a vocal performance you won't want to miss. 
Claudia Russell is a rare talent. He voice isn’t perfect, but it’s perfect for her, and perfectly fit to the songs she writes.  All Our Luck Is Changing is a wonderfully well-crafted and mature song cycle, delivering on Russell’s talent as a songwriter and storyteller, as well as on her personal charisma.  If this album doesn’t win Russell awards in 2013 it will be an injustice of epic proportions.
Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)
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