Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Ynana Rose: “Tea Leaf Confessions” (2018) CD Review

Singer and songwriter Ynana Rose’s new album, Tea Leaf Confessions, features some wonderful folk and country music, also using elements of soul and jazz on certain tracks. The album contains mostly original material, written or co-written by Ynana Rose. Joining her on various tracks of this release are Damon Castillo on guitar and bass, Dominic Castillo on guitar, Dorian Michael on electric guitar, Kenny Blackwell on guitar and mandolin, Dylan Johnson on upright bass, Paul Griffith on drums, Daryl Vandruff on drums, Erin Inglish on banjo, Duane Inglish on accordion, Bill Flores on dobro and pedal steel guitar, Joel Tepp on harmonica, Kristian Ducharme on keys, Larry Kim on piano, Bob Liepman on cello, Tammy Rogers on fiddle, Brynn Albanese on violin, and Holly Ann Lewis on backing vocals.

The album opens with “Stardust Firefly,” an excellent and compelling song. There is a steady rhythm at its base, and some wonderful work on dobro over that. Of course, it is her vocals that are the main focus, and she gives an honest, passionate delivery. “I can see forever in your eyes/To the heavens I will speak your name.” I also really like that “La-la la-la la” part, which is catchy. This track also features some nice touches on harmonica. That’s followed by “Hard Work Of Love,” a beautiful and moving track with a lot of soul, both in Ynana’s lead vocals and in the backing vocals (which are performed by Ynana Rose and Holly Ann Lewis). There is also some good work on electric guitar here. “And I don’t give a damn/About a shower of diamonds/Or a pocketful of gold/Oh but baby, when I’m falling/Give me a steady hand to hold.” Then “Sugar On The Vine” has a lively vibe, due in part to that percussion and in part to her bright vocal delivery. Also, this song features banjo. “When the world’s gone crazy, I need simple things.” Oh yes. And, yes, the world has gone crazy. But maybe, just maybe, we are finally nearing the end of the Donald Trump disaster, and we can begin to put the country back together.

“Mendocino Sunrise” is gorgeous and somewhat haunting at moments, a song to pull you into another realm, something that is more and more desirable these days. And check out these lines: “I come to the ocean with my sorrow in the dark/I hear your voice in the motion of the tides.” Part of the beauty of this song comes from the presence of Bob Liepman on cello, an instrument that I always find incredibly effective and touching. “Mendocino Sunrise” was written by Ynana Rose and Damon Castillo. That’s followed by the album’s only cover, a delightful rendition of Lefty Frizzell’s “I Want To Be With You Always.” We are now obviously firmly in country territory, and this rendition features some wonderful work by Tammy Rogers on fiddle. A very different type of fiddle-playing graces the cool “Impossible,” a tune with a delicious old-time jazzy European vibe. That’s Brynn Albanese on violin. Duane Inglish plays accordion on this track. This tune also features some excellent lyrics, such as these lines: “My foolish heart serenading the stars/Writing love letters to the moon/I lost and yet I’ll never regret/My impossible dream of you.” And I dig Dominic Castillo’s work on guitar. This is my favorite track.

“Leave Me Lonely” is a sweet-sounding country tune of heartache, featuring more good work on fiddle by Tammy Rogers. Bill Flores is on pedal steel. “When you wrap your arms around me, no place I’d rather be/But you’re keeping your love locked away, and I can’t find the key.” The album then concludes with “Thin White Line,” a more serious number that begins with Ynana’s vocals prominent in the mix, pulling us in, the guitar somewhat deeper in the background, softly backing her up. Then the band comes in. It is a song of pain and forgiveness. “The world will let you down/But as long as it’s spinning ‘round/You can choose which way to turn/And cross that line when you learn.”

CD Track List
  1. Stardust Firefly
  2. Hard Work Of Love
  3. Sugar On The Vine
  4. The Gift Of A Song
  5. Mendocino Sunrise
  6. I Want To Be With You Always
  7. Impossible
  8. Lillian
  9. Love Song To A Hummingbird
  10. Leave Me Lonely
  11. Thin White Line 
Tea Leaf Confessions was released on November 16, 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment