CD REVIEW: Cheryl Fare - Springfield
By: Cyrus Rhodes
"Fare is an artist worthy of spotlight, attention, & praise"
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST:-
Acoustic Singer/Songwriter Cheryl Fare releases her latest album entitled “Springfield” in 2008. She hails from the Richmond, Virginia area. Beside music she is a theatre director, actor, educator, playwright & volunteers he time on behalf of brain tumor survivors & their families.
Logging at just 48 minutes the CD gently takes flight with “One – This Thing” a smooth flowing intro piece that serves up seductive vocal groove that’s serves up against pulsating rhythm, inviting piano, & well placed vocal harmonies from Fare. Track 2 “Settle In” keeps thing moving in the smooth direction with a sultry vocal delivery from Fare with steady flowing rhythm, smooth melodic jazz piano accents making for an impressive ballad. Track 3 “Stones in My Pocket” is another impressive groove that dishes out soothing melody, well placed percussive accents against more honey coated vocals from Fare. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 solid songs in a row. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Along the way you will notice lush instrumentation with things like jazz piano, impressive solo guitar, percussive accents, & lush harmonies layered everywhere. As this CD slowly unfolds its obvious the players in Fare’s band are quite accomplished. Kudos goes out to the impressive jazz piano accents from Sonny Bohorloo. The rhythm section pushes the natural accents well. What I like the most about this band is how well they seem to groove together, testament to hundreds of hours of rehearsal time no doubt. Now turning our attention over to Fare - as for her vocal abilities, Fare’s voice works extremely well within the confines of vocal Jazz-rock. Her voice goes down smooth & fills the space peacefully & unobtrusively. I suspect some of her vocal influences are – Natalie Cole, Gloria Estefan, Barbra Streisand, & perhaps Ella Fitzgerald & a dash of Lind Rondstadt. By track 3 the CD hits sold stride delivering 5 solid tracks back to back including my personal favorites “Messy Song” & “Passion.” All songs are extremely well crafted & consistent across the board. This CD from Fare delivers 11 solid tracks all providing strong sex appeal & thought provoking wisdom with messages that are uplifting & positive. The music of Cheryl Bell has everything you would expect from a professional jazz-pop-rock production. From upbeat “Give Over” to powerful “Kinder Words” to soothing “Turn” to passionate “Passion” & tranquil “Show me How” to grooving “Springfield” this CD pretty much has something for just about everyone.
It’s had to find any serious weaknesses with this CD. But if could say anything to Cheryl Fare right now it would be take a few more vocal risks on some of your songs, & really push that emotional envelope – especially at the end during the powerful finale moments. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line – perhaps trim up the catalogue a bit. I also with the solo guitars stood out more within the mix & rhythm section had more bottom end. Drums lack crystal clear high end clarity – I can barely hear the cymbals & hi-hat & snare drums. It’s fair to say the mix though effective is somewhat dry, slightly dated, lacks dynamic & depth when compared to other production within this genera.
From start to finish “Springfield” is an impressive collection of music from Cheryl Fare. The music is highly passionate, uplifting, & extremely passionate. The songwriting – world class, all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair, & signature groove. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalogue. The writing & playing abilities of Cheryl Fare & her band are rock solid, the melodies & harmonies are well crafted, & the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with conventional wisdom & overfloweth with strong sex appeal. Last but not least the vocal presence of Fare is world-class. Cheryl Fare is an infectious artist worthy of spotlight, attention, & praise This CD was released in 2008, so I look forward to hearing more material from Cheryl Fare soon.