|WENDY MAHARRY "Released" (CoraZong Records)
Ojai is a relaxed artists colony in a Californian valley. Singer-songwriter Wendy MaHarry found her ideal place to work & live there. As the world is relatively small, her double-CD was released on a Dutch label!
Disc 1 contains a live-recording (eleven tracks), made in November 2000 at the Zalk Theatre of Ojai. Wendy is an astoundingly good pianist with a very nice, expressive voice, clear yet with a hoarse brim. In the extensive line-up I see to my surprise a number of musicians I still know from the time I lived in Ventura! Jim Christie (drums & percussion), he plays with Dwight Yoakam. Suzanne Paris and David Holster (acoustic guitars and vocals), why these two still didn't get their breakthrough is a larger-than-life mystery! Perla Batalla, one of the background vocalists. Randall Richman is mentioned with the executive producers. Great to find them all back here!
Disc 2 brings us twelve studio-tracks, recorded over the period 1992-2001, a.o. in the renowned Capitol Records Studios of Los Angeles. Use of modern technologies with synthesizers and drumloops is enthusiastically embraced here, but there's also the flute of Ian Anderson (Jethro Tull) to be heard.
And how are the songs themselves? Interesting indeed, exposing feelings, "Devil Feels At Home", "Ashes" and "909" are the ones I like best. "Dyan Is Resting", the only song getting the studio- as well as the live-treatment, tells the story of a lady from the upper social circles, who jumps off a skyscraper.
The cover is appealing, Wendy is a painter, so in the heart of the CD-booklet we also find her work of art. With its sometimes lavish production the album isn't recommendable for the acoustic purists, but it's certainly a good one! I'm glad Wendy got her chance with CoraZong and I hope the label puts the ears to the ground over in Ojai and Ventura more often...
Written by Johanna J. Bodde, Dutch original of this review previously published on Real Roots Cafe, The Netherlands.