I can sum up Gileah in one word: refreshing, and not refreshing in the mundane sense, but refreshing like the cold, crisp air on a mountain top or the smell of salt water and the feel of the spray on a perfect day at the beach. Every time I hear this, I can't help but feel cleansed. No angst, no suicidal bent in Gileah, my friends. This lady loves and, better yet, loves life. Not joyously or wantonly, but quietly and personally.
While gaining critical accolades for her voice, there is a purity to Gileah's phrasing which permeates the very fiber of the soul. Soft, quiet, sometimes wistful, always befitting, it draws you to her and sometimes refuses to let you go. From the opening lines of The Golden Planes to the dying phrases of For Things Beyond, it magnifies each song through a sort of rejuvenating simplicity.
For instance, the breathy almost little girl quality in Comfortable is breathtaking as she sings of admiration and love, telling someone that "your head will never be too heavy for my shoulder." Wrap Your Arms Around Me is a plaintive cry, a wanting to understand love, her voice almost cracking from emotion. Speaking of love, Medicine lives on the simple repeating of the end of a phrase--- "No doctor in the world could heal me now, could heal me now" and the repetition is the key. "Just" rides just two light chords at the end, but Gileah overlays a vocal flotation device which could carry anyone to dreamland. It could have been a longer ending--- much much longer.
Ten tracks here, all fine originals, but the capper is the best. For Things Beyond captures the very essence of this CD. Sparse and minimal, the background is soft carpet for Gileah's voice and the understated harmonies beneath.
Then, the chorus:
which becomes counterpoint to Gileah's
Gileah has been compared to Fiona Apple and Tori Amos, for some reason. I wouldn't know, because to my knowledge I've not heard either. The comparisons are intriguing, though, and I find myself wondering if Apple and Amos are worth hearing. I do know that Gileah sure is.
Lest I forget, if producer and engineer Chris Taylor was responsible for the almost minimalist approach here, he deserves a Grammy. Or a beer. I'll buy.
Look. Don't take my word for it. This is available through CD Baby and the last I looked, they provide samples. Check Gileah out. She could well be your find of the year.
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