Between the Broken Lines
One Take Productions
by Roberta B. Schwartz
Rachel Bissex is one of the great, unsung heroes of the acoustic music scene. Whether she is gracing the stage at Kerrville, Falcon Ridge, a Phil Ochs night, or back at home in her native Vermont, she's always doing something interesting. You want to know what she is up to next.
Between the Broken Lines is Rachel's brand new recording. And it is as smart, contemporary, funny and ironic as all of her previous work. The only difference is that she simply gets better and better.
Starting Over, the opening cut, finds a young woman taking to the road to begin a new life. It's a hip, melodic composition, with Mike Rinquist holding up his end on drums, and Rachel's soft alto offering up a keenly written short story in verse.
>Hurricane Desire has a jazzy, Latin beat and another great story to tell. Rachel, in soft, sexy rhythm, lays out the tale of two illicit lovers playing out their sad romance against southern beaches, islands and the hurricane of emotins they feel.
I love Sean Connery Looks. It's a song that is mostly spoken, rather than sung, against Stephen Goldberg's jazzy trumpet and Craig MacIntyre's drums. Can you get more hip than these lyrics:
You never know what to expect from Rachel Bissex as her music encompasses so many musical styles. Down is an unexpected pleasure. Rachel's vocals and lyrics lead us down into the center of someone losing themselves in desire: "holding the cliff's edge with my fingers /legs kicking free /desire, electric shock waves striking me..." Darcie Deaville's violin skillfully marks the descent. Brad Halfield on keyboards and Stephen Goldberg on percussion supply the drama.
Sweet, sexy and lovely is a tune co-written with Tom Prasada-Rao called One Another.
The recording ends with the powerful, a cappella Oh Jackson, with Kim and Reggie Harris, along with Greg Greenway on accompanying vocals. This is a powerful plea for others to be more involved in helping build a better society; to be more involved in helping the less fortunate.
Like many of the great performers, Rachel Bissex has the ability to involve and engage the audience in the music she makes. By incorporating jazz, a Latin beat, hip sounds from generations past, and contemporary dialogue and issues, her music remains vital, a joy to listen to, and always surprising and entertaining. Between the Broken Lines continue's Rachel's legacy of stretching the boundaries of contemporary acoustic music. She is a performer who always delivers.