Anne Lindsay – Soloworks
Primary URL: http://www.anne-lindsay.com/music.htm
Longtime session player and respected musician Anne Lindsay debuts as a solo artist with Soloworks, a thirteen-song effort inspired by the loss of her father and a longtime collaborator. This album is also the product of a distinct methodology involved with its impetus, its growing scope, and assembly. Its genesis came into being while Lindsay toured Italy. Special, largely impromptu concerts resulted and those shows spring boarded her into recording material for this album. This ace musician, a fixture among artists as diverse as Roger Daltrey, The Chieftains, and James Taylor, has recorded a stunning personal work with range and drama.
“Pilgrimage to Pushkar” and “Dogs in the Hollow” leave a lasting impression. Lindsay manages an impressive balancing act by wholeheartedly embracing Indian influences in each song, but never restricts the content to a narrower, faithful interpretation of what that means. “Tour En L’Air” lacks any sort of pop sensibility, but it is impossible to hear the song and not appreciate the breadth of her skill. Her cover of “You Really Got A Hold On Me” startles me with surprise. Lindsay plays the song straight and her vocal, likewise, avoids pop music hysterics.
“The Spy Czar/Jokjenkka” has surprising theatrical appeal that reaches out and grabs listeners. Its invocation of Eastern European/Slavic folk music doesn’t miss a note and its vivid energy hits cinematic highs. “Sing Hallejuah” has a heart-moving, devotional feel. It never strikes a false note despite being yet another entry in a long, and often predictable, tradition. “Acacia Blossoms As Snow In Spring” is longer than the usual Lindsay song, but she once again uses transitions well and the song’s various movements have a natural feel. She has a tasteful ear for this music that balances a song’s various needs without ever committing herself too far in one direction over another. There isn’t another song on Soloworks where this talent is more apparent than “Acacia Blossoms As Snow In Spring” and it ranks as the album’s best all-around effort.
It is fitting that she ends the album with her rendition of “Amazing Grace”. This isn’t a ham-fisted version of the classic drowning in deep schmaltz, but instead, full of intense gratitude and kept stripped down to its essence in hopes that it strengthens the song’s impact. Lindsay has released a solid album capable of surprising listeners with its resonance and bravery. Not everything here clears the high bar she sets with songs like “Acacia Blossoms As Snow In Spring”, but it’s clear that she finishes this album with every bit of the gratitude heard in its final song.
Robert E. Fulford