CD REVIEW: Deborah Henriksson - Traces
by: Cyrus Rhodes
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Deborah Henriksson
Genre: Euro-Pop, Celtic, Classical Pop, Singer/Songwriter, World
Sounds Like: Enya, Sarah McLachlan, Loreena McKennitt, Fairport Convention, Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins
Technical Grade: 9/10
Weakness: Cover art concept, short side songs, lack of liner note information
(Västerås, SE) Artists like Deborah Henriksson are rare. Normal people from everyday walks of life that have extraordinary talent just below the surface. Coupled with an inspirational spark that sets them of on a path to peruse a lifelong dream and of course a god given talent. Hendrickson’s latest (fourth) full length album is entitled “Traces” consists of 12 songs ranging in genre from singer-songwriter to folk to world to Celtic with a little scent of country and pop. It is currently available digitally from iTunes, spotify etc.
There’s a quote inside the CD that reads “Traces – a mark or a line left by something that has passed – a course or path that one follows.” It goes on to read “and the traces I know lead to places unknown to me.” The CD gently takes to flight with “Trains” a mesmerizing intro ditty that serves up methodical musical build against well placed melodies, piano, strings, Celtic accent sand and a striking vocal presence from Henriksson. Track 2 “Fly” keeps things moving in the right direction with its breathtaking intro, mesmerizing classical instrumentation and impressive vocal ambience that peak and valley its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Traces” serves up a rather striking pieces with impressive feel against a grand slam chorus and impassioned vocal delivery from Henriksson. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic Enya, Sarah McLachlan, Fairport Convention, Judith Marjorie "Judy" Collins, Lisa Stansfield, Loreena McKennitt and even Celine Dion. The music itself is an impressive blend of Classical Singer/Songwriter Euro-Folk-Pop with Celtic flair. All in all it's got a refined Pop aftertaste. Some of this can even be classified as Classical or even “high end” Orchestral Vocal-Pop. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Besides the 4 piece standard you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive guitar, sporadic percussive accents, lush harmonies, keyboards, piano, eloquent Celtic fretwork and instrumentation, Acoustic Guitar, eloquent strings, all built upon an impressive rhythmic section. Turning our attention now over to Henriksson – she has an extremely appealing voice smooth as silk and showcases a crystal clear Mezzo-Soprano with an impressive falsetto and vibrato. Henriksson has a unique and infectious vocal persona that is both mystifying, world class and infectious. She has a good look that matches the voice and musical style perfectly. Her vocal emotions at times can be gripping, striking, haunting and at times brilliantly hypnotic. Henriksson is a master at sliding into the musical pocket and singing her parts peacefully and unobtrusively. Henriksson and her amazing group of players handle all the pin drop moments well. The songwriting provides a lot of musical variety, depth and emotion. All the Engineering aspects are in check (Recording, Mixing, and Mastering) as the CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. I can honestly say I was entertained the entire time, with never a dull moment to be found on this CD. From hooky “Evening Start” and “I Feel” to gripping “Always Near” to enlightening “Fallen Disguise” to heartfelt “Only You” to hypnotic “Snow Falls” to my personal favorite “Soulscape” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with track “12 “Calling” the prefect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
I’m not crazy about the cover art, especially for this style of music, perhaps Henriksson should be on the cover. Track 2 “Fly” and “Track 7 “Fallen Disguise” feel like an incomplete statement to me. There is no information within the rather sparse liner notes on who the amazing musicians were on the project, and their subsequent contribution. I wish I heard just a few more solo segments thought the catalog.
From start to finish this latest release from Deborah Henriksson entitled “Traces” is a consistent, beautiful and powerful catalogue of music. The music is very consistent, well-crafted and extremely entertaining. Note for note, song for song there isn’t really weak piece on this entire catalogue. The production strokes: writing and playing abilities of this production are breathtaking. The classical sounding popish melodies and harmonies are well crafted and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom. What else would you expect from a gifted artist like Deborah Henriksson?