This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 8/99
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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Samplers are difficult to review, especially those featuring one cut, or at most two, by performers whose names and artistic recognition are primarily regionally-based. Such is the case with "Songwriters' Solstice," recorded live in June, 1998, featuring 13 singer-songwriters from the South Florida music ranks.
The difficulty is in making a judgment call about a performer after barely getting a glimpse of the artist's portfolio. Each singer-songwriter here gets but a single chance to shine, save for Jim Collier who both opens and closes the release. It seems inherently unfair or incomplete to yea or nay a performer based on one solitary cut.
An alternate way to view such releases is to determine if there is a intriguing feature. Most striking here are the provocative voices. The aforementioned Collier has an tremulous-like drawl that fairly drips with emotion on both of his simple but moving tunes, "Step By Step" and "You Are The One." Marie Nofsinger offers smoky, emotional vocals that elevate the effect of her cut "I Am Blue." Grant Livingston's vocals on his winsome "Two Of Hearts" are the best on this release.
Folk veteran Rod MacDonald in part produced the release, and his offering "Days of Rain" is easily the overall standout cut. Amy Carol Webb's "With You Without You" is a close second, offering an appealing mix of strong vocals and well-crafted songwriting. Legacy's "At Last" and James London's "Road Not Taken" are the liveliest and most exhilarating songs.
This is an good opportunity for those folk fans interested in seeking out the more obscure but still talented singer-songwriters. At least several of these cuts will grab any listener and provide a reason for further exploration of these performers and their music.
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