The story of Colorado’s Nina Storey
Colorado’s favorite singing redhead Nina Storey is back with another amazing and completely enchanting album. “So Many Ways” showcases her seemingly unending talent and appeal in the realm of songwriting. It could arguably be called her greatest triumph to date. She has raised the bar to new heights on her past projects, but with this work she jumps right over it. Gone are the mostly-piano and guitar-grounded tunes that she has become known for. Instead, Storey incorporates a much broader scope of instrumentation, including horns, cellos and violins, and the result is an entire album that sounds alive with passion and soul. There is a very cohesive feel that runs through every song, from start to finish, and it is one of the few CDs I’ve heard in a while that never get boring or tired when listened to in their entirety.Lyrically, Storey’s maturity can be heard loud and clear. “I Have Been Found” is a soulful melody that starts out slow and builds to a very satisfying crescendo, complete with powerful backup vocals and crisp percussion. It’s easy to see why she is often compared to Tori Amos – on the madcap title track “So Many Ways,” when Storey lets the vocal floodgates open, it’s hard to tell the two apart. Storey has never sounded more confident, and she obviously has spent enough time at her craft to start experimenting with new sounds and textures in her songs. She is growing up quickly, and her lyrics scream of personal experience and emotion, as in the “struggling relationship” song “Change Her,” when she croons, “But you keep trying to change her / You keep trying to win / You keep hoping your devotion eventually will mold / Her into someone you can finally be with.” “Getting Over You” is a girl-power anthem that is much smarter than most songs in this genre. Storey almost oozes “Diva” while belting out, “No one really tells you when it’s over / Unless you’ve bitten the apple and / You are the holder.” Storey is at the beginning of what should be a very long and rewarding career. She is young enough that she only can grow as an artist, and she doesn’t have that jaded view that tends to come with artists who have been around the block too many times. Her voice is fresh and very powerful, her songwriting skills are as sharp as a tack, and she has built her little empire with her own two hands and the help of her family, which is a tough job in today’s musical world. Her commercial success is well deserved, and if she keeps putting out work like this, it always will be. “So Many Ways” is worth checking out, especially for all you guys out there who think you are too tough to get into “chick music.” – Charlie Owen, Vail Daily Correspondent
Crowded House’Time on Earth’ATOIn its heyday, Crowded House could do no wrong. Celebrated by record nerds and top-40 audiences alike, the Australian band made sincere, Beatlesesque pop music anyone could enjoy.Roughly 10 years after breaking up the group and going solo, singer and guitarist Neil Finn has reunited with bassist Nick Seymour and revived the old brand name.While only two original members play on “Time on Earth” – keyboardist Mark Hart joined in 1992, well into the band’s career – Crowded House always has been Finn’s baby. As such, the new material has all the effortless melody and earnest sentiment one might expect.The main difference is that the songs are more timid and less immediate than those the band recorded during its first go-round.Of the 14 tracks, only three or four manage to break the delicate lull Finn attempts to stretch from start to finish. The best of these is “Even a Child,” a lively tune that bears the unmistakable mark of its co-writer, former Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr.While the slower, gentler moments are not without charm, large sections of the album land on the wrong side of the drowsy-dreamy divide.
Finn remains an undeniable pop master, but he’s fallen short of recapturing the understated passion that made his earlier work so universally appealing.- Kenneth Partridge, L.A. Times-Washington Post News ServiceSpoon’Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’MergeThe title of Spoon’s new album is said to reflect the insistent sound of the piano on one of the songs. True or not, the Austin, Texas, band demonstrates on its sixth album that smart music can come in dumb packages.And these songs are smart. And catchy. And so much more interesting than the ones on 2005’s “Gimme Fiction” that it’s hard to believe they’re from the same band. That record was meticulous and a little precious, but these tunes shimmy and swagger with expansive confidence. The piano does indeed sound like “ga ga ga ga ga” on “The Ghost of You Lingers,” an atmospheric tune soaked in singer Britt Daniel’s reverberating vocals. Elsewhere, the record is a study in sinewy bass lines and punchy guitars. A studied nonchalance drives “Don’t You Evah” until a raw guitar comes sweeping through, and spikes of guitar jump like the needle on a seismograph on “Eddie’s Ragga.”A wall of horns swells on “The Underdog,” with a melody Billy Joel would have been happy to write, while the oddball flamenco guitar interlude in “Japanese Cigarette Case” adds an eclectic element the indie kids are sure to love.
There’s plenty for everyone to love here, actually, and despite the silly title, Spoon’s latest is worth going ga-ga over.- Eric R. Danton, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service Kim Richey’Chinese Boxes’VanguardKim Richey is best known to country fans for the hits she has authored for the likes of Radney Foster and Trisha Yearwood. “Chinese Boxes,” the Ohio native’s first collection of new material in nearly five years, is full of literate musings atop sturdy roots-pop foundations.The breezy 1960s-style reverie of “Jack and Jill” is gilded with flavorful bits of harpsichord and flute. The brisk array of organs and electric guitar punctuation that colors “Not a Love Like This” fleshes out a catchy and accessible melody with lyrics that are substantive and smart without getting in the way of a good groove.Her singing is well suited to the ballad “The Absence of Your Company,” as she lingers skillfully on words that long for caressing. Her crisp tone brings observation without detachment to the mellow simmer of “Drift” and floats breathy warmth into “Pretty Picture,” the product of a voice as direct as the words it enlivens, one that propels pop music of uncommon character.- Thomas Kintner, L.A. Times-Washington Post News Service