CD REVIEW: Nadia Ackerman - The Ocean Master
By: Cyrus Rhodes
- INDIE MUSIC DIGEST-
Artist: Nadia Ackerman
CD: The Ocean Master
Label: Spectra Records
Genre: Pop, Alternative Folk, Singer/Songwriter
Sounds Like: Feist, Edie Brickell, Suzanne Vega and Natalie Merchant
Technical Grade: 8/10
Weakness: A Few Winded Songs, Repetitive Catalogue
Australia’s own Singer/Songwriter Nadia Ackerman just released her latest release entitled The Ocean Master Nadia is no stranger to the music business. Nadia spent years studying and performing jazz. Nancy Wilson, Carmen MacRae and Betty Carter became her teachers. Today Nadia has written over 150 compositions and she’s back into drawing…Which leads us to her new books. Nadia has composed a body of work that coincides with her artistic ability. She has put together gift/novelty books. The story are her lyrics the drawings paint the picture of the song and there is a CD in the back so that you can experience the music.
The CD gently takes to flight with “Sometimes Things do go Wrong” a mesmerizing intro piece that serves up methodical intro against well placed Celtic fretwork and hooky vocal melody from Ackerman. Track 2 “Live Again” keeps things moving with its dynamic groove, mesmerizing Celtic instrumentation and amazing vocal ambience that peaks and valleys its way through to emotional fruition. Track 3 “Risk it All” delivers a smooth as silk rhythm section with impressive string section, heartfelt vocals against a grand slam chorus. As this CD slowly unfolds I can hear many different musical soundscapes reminiscent of such classic Feist, Edie Brickell, Suzanne Vega and Natalie Merchant. The music itself is an impressive blend of Celtic Folk and Alternative Rock elements with a Folksy aftertaste. The musicianship of everyone involved is clearly above the bar. Besides the 4 piece standard you will notice lush instrumentation with things like impressive Celtic fretwork, Cello, Strings, lush harmonies, Banjo, Horn Section, Mandolin, impressive keyboard accents against en earthy rhythmic section. Turning our attention over to Ackerman – she has voice smooth as silk. Ackerman has a unique and infectious vocal persona that is both mystifying and infectious. Her falsetto is to die and her vocal emotions are gripping and captivating. Ackerman and her band handle all the pin drop moments extremely well. and the songwriting is brilliant and provides a lot of musical variety and emotion. I can honestly say I was entertained the entire time, with never a dull moment to be found. From striking “Time Has Betrayed Me” and “Warren Bar” to mesmerizing “My Ship” to grooving “Mary Jane” to melodic The "Middle of the Sea” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with “The Salesman" the perfect finale statement for a CD of this caliber.
A few tracks over 3.5 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. CD tends to be a tad bit repetitive overall. I also wish Ackerman came out of her shell and took a few more vocal risks here and there, of course when the music calls for it. Watching the “My Ship” video I would strongly recommend Ackerman include more clips of herself in the actual production .This has nothing to do with the CD review of course, but it’s fair to say Ackerman needs to maximize her impact as a singer/Songwriter upon a fan base with more visuals.
From start to finish this latest release from Nadia Ackerman is a powerful, and impressive 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 rock solid. The earthy melodies and harmonies are well crafted and the lyrical content is packed to the hilt with rich conventional wisdom.